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Survivors of acquired and traumatic brain injury share challenges and rewards of rebuilding their lives and futures. Learning how to live with a brain injury can be a long, stressful and slow process that involves rebuilding your life and reshaping your future. These blog articles by survivors share the challenges, frustrations, joys and rewards of finding hope and a new way of living. By moving forward toward what is possible rather than looking back at what has been lost, it is possible to bring meaning to your life.

Back to School Time… Reeducating a Damaged Brain

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No one really likes to think about brain damage.

Sure, around these parts, we talk a lot in initials. TBI, ABI, MTBI, EEG, PTSD, MRI… the list goes on.

But the reality in my world is that when I sustained a traumatic brain injury, I experienced brain damage. There is no way to candy coat this harsh reality of what happened. I was struck while cycling, broke bones, tore tendon and ligaments, bruised in places I never knew possible, and I sustained brain damage.

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Who Will Cry For Me? The Brain Injured in America

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Down the road a little ways from a large ranch in Texas, a cry goes out from wailing mothers and their supporters over the deaths of loved ones in an un-just war, in a land far away- but- who will cry for me?

I ‘died’, twice, in the med-evac chopper on the way to a hospital after being T-boned by a speeding police car coming toward me on an emergency call. The medics dragged me back each time I ‘died’ and gave me back my life? I have wished many times since that they would have just nailed the lid on my coffin and let me go in peace! For now, I face a new ‘death’ almost daily, such as the ‘death’ of a job I never knew I had and now can never do again! A nail for my lid if you please.

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Traumatic Brain Injury Injustices by David Grant

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Sitting across from my dad last Sunday at a local eatery, he shared something that caught my ear. “The principal of our elementary school was just fired,” he said as casually as if talking about the weather.

He went on to say that she had a recent skiing accident, hit her head, and was having trouble with her memory. Students names now escaped her. Teachers she had known and work with daily were also among the unremembered. And the town took action; action in the from of termination.

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Journey of Reflection

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An old man was walking down a long, lonely road one day on a journey he knew must soon come to an end. As the days passed slowly by, his mind was reflecting upon his journey thus far. There have been many trying times and a lot of uncertainties along the way, but there were many happy and joyous times as well.

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Death Unwelcome Visitor After Brain Injury

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Death was once again at my door, paying me an unwelcome visit! He was no stranger to me as this was his forth attempt to gain entrance through my weakened, bruised and battered door for the purpose of snuffing out my life. But I had the will to live, to survive by resisting all his efforts to break down the door that had so miraculously denied all his previous attempts!

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Healing Your Heart After a Brain Injury

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Winter can be a tough season for anyone but it can be exceptionally distressing for brain injury survivors. On top of struggling with the typical “winter blues”, brain injury survivors are struggling with a fundamental life crisis. Who am I and what is my value if I can’t do what I used to do, if my friends aren’t my friends anymore and I am a problem for my family?

Something you may not realize is that there is commonly a grieving process associated with healing from a brain injury. You have lost much of your “sense of self”. You don’t know how much you will get back and you may not know for a long time. There are often secondary losses as well – jobs, income, homes, friends, even family. These changes and losses all have a profound effect on a survivor, as well as their family and friends.

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Disinhibition and Meeting People after Brain Injury

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My disinhibition after TBI exposed me to real dangers that I was not aware of. Imagine being an adult suddenly being told by police, “Don’t give strangers your home address.” I learned that in pre-school, and here I had let an older man I hardly knew drive me home. He started emailing to ask if he could care for me and to criticize me for doing things without telling him first. (I’d just met him. I hadn’t even given him my email address.) I had friends and counselors intervene to get me to stop hanging out with people who sucked my life out of me. They guilt tripped me into hanging out and then overpowered me with manipulative stories and comments. I thought I was not being taken advantage of because I hadn’t been before. I was wrong.

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Brain Injury Pancakes

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When I do something well that used to be really hard, I am so proud. But if I get too proud, I call it “being sassy.” That’s when my logic has gone out the window. For example, if I finally finish a Sudoku, I might then decide I have no more brain injury impairments, and I will go for a run. I’m dizzy within a few blocks, and then a loud truck goes by and frightens me. I turn around and come home, head held low. Oh yeah, I think to myself. Sudoku is Sudoku. Jogging in a noisy, busy place is something very different.

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Why Mince Words? PTSD Sucks.

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Just like there are a myriad of flavors of ice cream, so it is with Post traumatic Stress Disorder. No two cases are alike. Unlike so many, I can bike by the exact spot where my soul was bruised in a cacophony of broken glass, twisted metal and wailing rescue vehicles… I can pass that exact spot, and do several times a week, without any real issue. Sure, there are still times I bike up Granite Ave and think to myself, “this is where I experienced the last few minutes of a life I now mostly forget.”

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Being Taken Seriously After a Traumatic Brain Injury

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Up until a couple of weeks ago, I never understood why any doctor, insurance company, or employer, would think my brain injury symptoms weren’t real. Did those workman’s compensation doctor’s really think I was faking them to avoid… earning money, having health insurance, and doing all of the things that I loved. What was it that gave me clarity? Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

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