Grieving Losses Due to TBI By Denise Boggs & Debbie Leonhard, M.Div., M.A., www.livingwatersministry.com A person with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) faces many challenges and losses. The caregivers are also having to face their own losses and challenges. When we grieve, we are facing the pain and sorrow of the losses, touching them, experiencing […]
Communication among survivors of brain injury, families, and caregivers can be confusing, misleading and frustrating. It is about much more than speech and language as communication involves emotions, expectations, judgments and expectations. These blog articles discuss the impact of TBI on communication from various perspectives.
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.
As a pediatrician and mother of a son who sustained a traumatic brain injury when he was a teenager, Dr. Carolyn Roy-Bornstein discusses the pros and cons of sharing her personal experiences with TBI patients. Many clinicians are trained not to disclose any personal stories, but she proposes that it may be beneficial at times.
Talking with Your Spouse or Charlie Brown’s Teacher? Miscommunication in Couples after Brain Injury by Dawn Neumann, PhD
Couples after brain injury often find that their relationship changes in many ways, particularly their ability to communicate with each other. One partner often feels frustrated, angry, guilty and even avoids the other. Good communication is the foundation for a good relationship. Without it, relationships are as vulnerable as a house of cards. Miscommunication after a brain injury tends to revolve around the couple’s inability to share and understand each other’s emotions and needs. Dr. Dawn Neumann gives couples strategies on how to communicate more effectively.
Adjusting to your new life and interacting with people is a common problem following a brain injury. There are reasons why relationships after TBI are so difficult. The first obvious outcome always results in the Survivor not being the same after the injury. Friends and family expect the same person in personality, temperament, and general reaction to events of everyday living.
I was a schoolteacher who suffered a mild traumatic brain injury two years ago. Over the last two years I have faced many frustrating challenges with medical, legal, and insurance people. I cried more over my encounters with them, than I did about the loss of my old life or abilities. The most traumatic part of my MTBI, was meeting with doctors, employers, and insurance companies. So, I decided to speak out and share my story.
We were sitting around on the deck the day after the wedding and at one point I was having trouble following the conversation. My brother stopped and said “OK everyone dial their intellect down a notch so Terri can follow” That was supposed to be funny. My reaction was wow – that hurt. I realized that it was his way of dealing with my occasional processing issues. It makes him uncomfortable and he does not know how to handle it.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Remember this saying that our parents taught us to use when kids at school were taunting or belittling us? Well, if you haven’t figured it out by now, I am sorry to be the one to tell you… it’s a big lie! Here is my take on it, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your hurtful words will forever scar me.”
As troops are returning home from deployments in Iraq, a regular feature on the evening news has become reunions with spouses, parents, and children. Because I live inNorth Carolinawhere there are multiple bases, I see this at least once a week – finally, some joy on the evening news in between the latest disaster, political campaign, or financial report. Especially touching are the reunions when a parent – still in camouflage uniforms – appears at school to surprise a child who has not seen mom or dad for many, many months or more than a year. It is impossible not to smile, and I admit to tearing up occasionally, at the incredible joy of this “parent and child reunion” to borrow a phrase from a Paul Simon song.
We have all been in situations where we did something that was careless or thoughtless and caused distress for others. An example would be bumping into a table and knocking off a treasured ornament, smashing it into a gazillion pieces. We feel foolish and may even say, “Oh my goodness, look what I’ve done. I am so sorry. That was completely my fault. Please let me replace it for you.” Don’t confuse this with self-blame – this is being accountable for one’s action and making amends or rectifying the situation.