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badge2Care and treatment of acquired and traumatic brain injury must address wide array of cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and physical symptoms.

Writing for Relief after Brain Injury

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My memoir, Learning by Accident, was not a book I had ever planned to write. Living the story consumed me. Writing the book saved me. Somehow, writing about my husband’s traumatic brain injury helped me make sense of the chaotic nature of my new world, a world that changed in every way the moment a car hit Hugh as he rode his bicycle home on a sunny April afternoon in 2002.

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Writing and Karate after Brain Injury

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First, Karate. The picture I’ve enclosed is found on my FaceBook page and shows me and my instructor posing the day I was awarded my black belt. Here is the story, but I also have to tell you I am accident prone. Before the truck ran over my car (December 2007) leading to my TBI condition I had many other accidents. One that I will mention occurred way back in 1980. I was a karate student, brown belt advancing to black belt level. A few weeks before my black belt test, I was seriously injured in a sparring accident. My left knee was kicked out from under me leading to tears in both anterior cruciate ligaments and the medial collateral ligament. I gave up on karate and I missed a whole semester of graduate school. Scroll down many years (about 20) and I move to NJ and have two young children. As a family fun activity I enroll us in a local Karate club. The children drop out after two or three years but I stuck with it (again). I was once again a brown belt nearing the time for my black belt examination. Then the truck ran me over and I was out of commission, so to speak, for quite a long time.

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Reconnecting with Joy After Brain Injury

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So many things in life give us joy. From precious babies and newborn animals to music, painting, photography, sculpting, gardening, mountain climbing and cooking, people experience joy. When you suffer a loss, it snuffs the joy out of your life and it makes it difficult to put a smile on your face.

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Understanding Brain Injury as a Chronic Disease

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Many brain injury survivors live many years after the injury. Some continue to make progress and do well, while others develop more health problems. There is a new way of thinking about brain injury that has implications for all survivors and their caregivers. The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is striving to have brain injury reclassified as a chronic disease.

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Motivation!

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It is very challenging to get motivated when you are not feeling good about your situation. It’s normal for individuals to experience a drop in motivation following loss. Survivors may also experience a lack of motivation resulting from the injury to their brain. In any instance, a lack of motivation can result in the person becoming isolated and taking a direct hit to their self-esteem. It’s a vicious circle… don’t feel motivated, feel awful about myself, feel awful about myself… don’t feel motivated. Breaking the cycle isn’t easy, but it can be done. It requires determination, creativity and most of all, patience.

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Dependence, Independence, Interdependence after Brain Injury

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In the contract work that I do in the brain injury field, our goal is always to ‘work ourselves out of a job.’ This means that we strive to help the individual move towards independence and to living a life that is filled with meaningful activity, positive interactions with others, and achievements.

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Ten Tips for Caregivers in the “Multiple Transitions” Stage

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Family caregivers move through several seasons or stages as their loved one progresses through treatment in the intensive care unit, to inpatient rehabilitation, and finally back home. But we know that’s only a new beginning- not a finish line. Each stage comes with its own emotional responses and tasks to learn.

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Write Your Own Story – It’s Your Brain Injury

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People often tell me they would like to write a book or an article about their personal story. The problem is they don’t know where to begin. Writing a book is a tremendous undertaking and putting together an article is challenging too. However, keep your eye on the prize because there is power in your story… power to heal you and to inspire others. Below are some suggestions to help you get started:

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The Need for Purpose after Brain Injury – Part III

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So how can we help those that have survived a TBI reach that next level on the Hierarchy of Needs? How can we help them identify a sense of purpose that will serve as their prompt to press on and not get stuck in a developmental stage? If you are a friend or a family member of a loved one that is a TBI survivor then you can play a major role in helping your loved one reach the level. After one acquires a TBI, their likes and dislikes often change significantly. Before he or she may have loved scuba diving, but now detests getting into the water. The key is to identify in the TBI survivor something that they truly enjoy and feel passionate about now in their current state. Initially, they may need the assistance of another to draw it out of them or to help them see it. However, once it is identified, the hard part is over. Any identified interest can be used as a positive outlet, as a source of meaning and is worth looking into. If, for example, your loved one acquired a love for animals after their TBI, it may be beneficial for them to get connected with a support group of animal lovers or volunteer at an animal shelter and so on.

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Ambiguous Loss – The Sorrow that Won’t Go Away after a Brain Injury

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Ambiguous loss is also called “mobile mourning” and “chronic sorrow.” It can affect both the survivor and family member in deep and ongoing ways. Family caregivers may recognize it as that strange feeling that the person who survived the brain injury just is not the same person he/she was before. It’s confusing because you may be grateful that the person lived, but grieve for the person he was before. Ambiguous loss matters because it can make it hard for you to find hope or move on in this “new normal” life.

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