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badge2Living with brain injury, whether it is caused by a traumatic injury, stroke, tumor, infection, or illness, is a lifelong journey for survivors, families, and caregivers. The Brain Injury Blog is about more than the care, treatment and rehabilitation of those who survive brain injury. It is about the journey of brain injury from the perspectives of those who live with it as well as those who provide care, treatment and support. Survival is just the first step in living with brain injury. Please join us in the journey of hope after brain injury.

A Glimpse into My TBI: A Survivor and Educator’s Perspective by Katherine Kimes, EdD

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The most psychologically draining impairment was my inability to speak, eat, or drink. My tongue lay paralyzed in my mouth. The innate ability to communicate thoughts, emotions and simple daily life experiences was taken from me in only a matter of seconds.

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Why Is Survivor Recovery Not Just Another Headline? by Bonnie Nish

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Concussion and survivor recovery stories told by Bonnie Nish and 19 authors, share personal experiences of support and hope. It has taken me a while to figure out in what context I wanted to frame why it was I wanted to pull this book together. Why in the middle of my own trauma would I start to think that Concussion and Mild Brain Injury: Just Another Headline was a good idea at all? Over the last few years I have had many gifts bestowed on me. Yes, some are the kind you can hold in your hand. Others however, are more cerebral and the kind you hold in your heart. Tonight I couldn’t find my keys and for an instant I could feel my stomach turn when I remembered last week having left them in the door for hours. It wasn’t that I was worried someone would walk away with them and use them later, it was that it was so reminiscent of that time in my life when I wouldn’t even have remembered putting them in the door in the first place.

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Relocation Rebound – Dealing with Mild TBI and Stress Because of Moving, by C.C. LeBlanc

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C.C. LeBlanc, a mild TBI survivor, has gone through relocation stresses and suggests that before you move, carefully examine your needs for a meaningful quality of life. Almost everything you have developed in your life to be functional will be disrupted. You need to be prepared for stress, that your TBI will be aggravated, and your coping skills will be challenged. C.C. LeBlanc would like to share some guidelines based on her own experiences.

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Coping – An Energizer Ostrich by Donna O’Donnell Figurski

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On the morning of January 13th, I awoke with a start at precisely 7:05 – the exact time eleven years ago that David and I began the journey of our new and unexpected life. We did not know what was in store for us. We didn’t even know if there was going to be an “us.” I relived the moments of David’s TBI: his excruciating pain, the wild ambulance ride, my signing on the dotted line, the taking of a saw to my husband’s skull (I didn’t do that – the surgeon did), my talking incessantly on my cell phone arranging – and arranging and arranging – flights and accommodations, my squeezing David’s hand and promising him that he would get better – even though I wasn’t sure that he would, my “threatening” that I would never forgive him if he didn’t fight to stay with me, and my telling the story – over and over and over – of how David stumbled into our bedroom with his hand clutching his eye and his falling into a coma as the paramedics strapped an oxygen mask over his face.

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Their War Came Home A documentary by veterans for veterans

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Developed to help veterans and their families recognize and understand the invisible wounds of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), this 50 minute documentary produced by Korean and Vietnam veterans Norm Seider, Carl Ohlson, and John Drinkard features the voices of veterans who have returned home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Veterans describe the impact of the invisible wounds of post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury and the effects on them and their families. Chronicling destructive cycles of depression, self medication, alcohol, and addiction, veterans and clinicians examine the search for a “new normal” after the devastation of war.

No matter how or where you served as a veteran, no matter how long ago or recently you came home… this documentary is for you, your family and those who care about you.

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Wondering: A Reflection / A Refraction

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Have you lost your self?

Why is it that our reflection of our self in the mirror is not what others

see? I see a little less color, an imperfect smile, a drabby look,

while others see me as colorful, beautiful and full of life. I hear it all the time, “You look great”!

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I’m Not “Me” Anymore (again) by Laurie Rippon

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Yup… living with brain injury’s a daily struggle. I don’t see when I make progress–I just raise the bar and work harder. Eventually I’m overwhelmed and blame myself for not using strategies I know will help. And honestly, I still measure myself by my old yardstick.

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How I Regained my Humanity after a Brain Injury by Jeff Sebell

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A brain injury brings with it a confusing barrage of physical, emotional and cognitive changes that affects the survivor deeply and personally. The simplest expression of this is when we say, “I don’t know who I am anymore.”

This is also known as a loss of humanity. It has profound implications, manifesting itself as confusion, doubt and depression, and making our “recovery” that much more difficult. In my own situation, the hardships I encountered left me thinking, a number of times, that my life wasn’t worth living.

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The Sound of Brain Injury by Mike Strand

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Mike Strand thought his speech was not affected by his brain injury. But when he listened to himself on a video and radio interview, he was shocked by how he sounded. Improving his speech became an ongoing goal, even after many years since his TBI. His experience shows the complexity of speech and communication in its various forms of answering questions, holding a conversation, and making a formal speech.

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You Look Good, You Sound Good by Amanda C. Nachman

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How many of us have heard these words over time since our brain injuries? I have realized that having a brain injury makes people uncomfortable. They don’t know what to say. Is it because they can’t see our injury? Is it because people who care about us just want everything to be okay? It could be all of the above. I don’t know.

I look good on the outside because it was my brain, an internal organ that was damaged.

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