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badge2Living your life with a brain injury is much more complex than physical survival and medical progress. These blog articles discuss the long term effects of brain injuries on relationships over time.

Begin Again Ranch

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Hello fellow brain injury survivors. My name is Terri Mongait and I, too, am a TBI survivor. Months after my accident in September, 2009 I was able to complete my studies and received my certification in Equine Gestalt Coaching. I am now a Brain Injury Recovery Coach at Begin Again Ranch in Sedalia, Colorado.

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Never, never, ever give up hope

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It’s over six months since my last blog, and I’ve been a bit busy completing my PhD – which is now with the examiners. Phew! It’s been a battle with my constant brain injury shadows – the Brain Dragon that scorches holes in my memory, and doubles my vision and the Pain Monster isn’t much fun either! But it’s done and I’ve written three new chapters for the reprinting of my book ‘Doing Up Buttons’ and at last I can take a breath and spend a few minutes with you.

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Self-Compassion for Caregivers — Try a Little Tenderness

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If you are a family caregiver for a person who has a brain injury this scene might look familiar. You are sitting in the physical therapy waiting room and can’t help sneaking glances at that couple across the room. The young husband, Sam, sits slumped in his wheelchair, speaks slowly with garbled phrases and jabs at his communication board to convey that he needs a drink of water. His shaved head is crossed with heavy sutures, and his left arm hangs limply. His wife, Sally, bends forward patiently, offering him words, her forehead furrowed with the effort to understand him and make him comfortable. Their three year old son entertains himself by tossing magazines in the air as he sings.

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What Inspires You?

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When a brain injury has altered your life or your loved one’s life, often drastically and always without permission, it’s important to find inspiration in your life. It will keep you going on those dark days, providing some much needed light and comfort.

According to my friend Meira Yaer, in her book The Process of Empowerment: A Therapeutic Model After Brain Trauma, inspiration is “part of the mystery of the creative life force in humans. Once interest is indicated, inspiration leads the way.” The elements of inspiration, she says, are awe, creative impulse, the healing power of nature, and joy.

What inspires you?

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Voices of Wives of Wounded Warriors

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Now caregivers as well as wives and mothers, many women are finding that the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have changed not only their husbands but their entire family. As these women speak out about the changes in their marriages, parenting, and relationship, it becomes clear that the emotional trauma of war affects every member in the family as the wounded warrior comes home.

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Marriage and Divorce after Brain Injury

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If you believed everything you hear, you’d think hardly any one stays married after a brain injury. It’s a commonly believed that most marriages end in separation or divorce after a spouse has a traumatic brain injury. I’ve often heard folks quote an unknown source that, “Ninety percent of survivors of brain injury wind up divorced.” This is not exactly true. The reasons why relationships change after brain injury are complicated. Some research on marital relationships when a partner has a brain injury or a disability share some light on this.

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Music and Traumatic Brain Injury

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Every preschooler effortlessly learns the alphabet by singing a catchy tune. Both educators and neurologists have long understood music’s role in brain development and memory retention. Song and speech occupy separate but related areas of the brain.

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Help for Aging Survivors of Brain Injury

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As adults and veterans who have survived a brain injury age and grow older, many worry about further declines in memory and cognitive abilities. Loss of memory, difficulty recalling names, and confusion are common complaints of most aging adults. Physical abilities also change with aging. For survivors of brain trauma who already have some impairments in cognitive and physical abilities, concerns about aging are often magnified. Dr. Mary Hibbard, author of Aging after Brain Injury has some helpful tips for survivors and families.

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Compassion Fatigue: When Caring Hurts Too Much – Part Two

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Prevention is the best strategy. At the heart of compassion resilience you’ll find intention, connection, and the ability to shift from a stress response to a more relaxed response. These skills won’t take away the problems you face, but they may help you to be a stronger and healthier caregiver.

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Compassion Fatigue: When Caring Hurts Too Much

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In Part One of this post I’ll give you some information about compassion fatigue. In Part Two (next week), I’ll explain some good strategies to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Caregiving for someone who has severe injuries or medical problems can be very stressful. Learning ways to manage the stress and emotional demands can protect your health and help you be a better caregiver.

Compassion fatigue is a form of severe stress that comes from caring for a person who is very seriously ill or injured. The person’s injuries can be physical or psychological. Often there is a combination. By learning how to recognize the warning signs of compassion fatigue, you can take care of yourself and reduce the emotional and physical stress of caregiving.

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