Louise Mathewson - Author & Poet

"A gem is not polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials." Proverb

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3 Hard Things about Brain Injury

Posted on August 11, 2014 at 1:30 PM


I was asked in an interview, “What is the hardest thing about a brain injury?”  “An excellent question,” I said.  In eleven years, no one has ever asked me that, at least, as far as I can remember.  In fact, I look and sound so good, most people think I am perfectly normal.  

 

My answer was that people don't see how hard some things are for me, like my family expects I’ll go to big family gatherings like I’ve always done, travel like I've always done.   They don’t realize how all the stimulation affects my nervous system and tires me out, can affect my sleep, and create a mood that is so not fun.  Large gatherings amp up my nervous system, when it’s already amped up way too high.  They can't see inside my brain.  They expect me to do what they are doing, because I look so good and because they all love me.  My answer to "what is the hardest thing" was what came to mind at that moment.   Today or tomorrow my answer might be different.  

 


 

So here I go with three of today’s hardest things about brain injury.

  • Making decisions is so hard for me.  My confidence has shrunk to mostly low tide, with rare high tides because my processor got whacked.  Processing information, remembering and thinking of all the aspects of a decision, is not a strong suit for me any longer. I think back to decisions I have made in the eleven years post-injury and cringe.  “How did I or could I have made that decision,” I wonder to myself silently.  Every decision seems like it could have consequences that I will regret, so I often freeze up or have to ask my husband what he thinks, which makes me feel very dependent, which doesn't feel good at all.   I was used to being able to depend on myself for most things.   For instance, how many times have I gone over this blog post looking for errors, checking if I said what I want to say.  You don't want to know!!
  • Receptive aphasia - yep, big word, but not being able to understand (or misunderstanding) when someone asks a question, not being able to understand movies, TV shows, some issue in the news; having to ask for help in understanding normal English is so horribly embarrassing.
  • Fear - of going outside my circle of comfort. That makes my world much smaller and for someone who likes a little adventure in her life, it’s hard to foresee and then to make preparations to ease any anxiety that may present itself in any situation.

  

So I suppose it depends on the day which thing is more troubling. I try to keep my life simple. Now I have to live different and stretch my circle gently, not take on too much, or stretch my circle too wide. One more thing, oh darn, this is the ending paragraph, so stay tuned for more hard things about #braininjury.

A Life Interrupted: Living with Brain Injury

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Categories: TBI, The Story , Stimulation

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2 Comments

Reply Louise
11:51 AM on August 12, 2014 
Thank you so very much for your comment, Kathy! We have to be brave in recovery from any trauma! You've hit the nail on the head - I try to hep others understand, with the gift of words.
Kathleen Pooler]
Reply Kathleen Pooler
11:01 AM on August 12, 2014 
Louise, this is such a brave and heartfelt post. No one knows what others goes through. In sharing this so openly, you help us understand. I'm sure this will touch others with brain injury and help those who love them. Thank you for sharing.