Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Baggage That Comes With A Brain Injury

Good Wednesday to all. Hope you are having a great day.
A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) brings with many issues. Most of you know the common issues like balance problems or dizziness, headaches, trouble concentrating, memory loss, difficulty multi-tasking, tremors, difficulty swallowing, speech impairment (in some cases), lack of attention, sleep disturbances among many others. This symptoms required medical attention to help resolving them. If you are a TBI you know that sometimes as some issues get resolved others remain alive, and might be present in any level throughout the rest of our lives.
All the symptoms I mentioned above have improved, some more than others. It strikes me that I still struggle with them. In my opinion, memory, concentration, and attention, go hand in hand. Either one can cause issues with the other. I have noticed when I'm tired it makes it very difficult to concentrate on things. Sometimes Roxana at night after a full day is talking to me and physically I'm there but not mentally. The strategies that I am being taught are extremely helpful. But I have to master them to improve their effectiveness. Sometimes, issues with initiative, motivation, and the level of energy, make it really hard to apply these strategies. Some say a Brain Injury is for the rest of my life, they say I just have to compensate for the loss and learn new ways of doing things. I believe it. Even with rehabilitation I am not the same person I once was. But like I mentioned before, when properly applied the strategies work amazingly.
There are many struggles and frustrations with a brain injury. At times it saddens me that I cannot be how I was. I try to get on the mind frame of not competing with the old me. It is hard. Is like racing with a ghost. What makes it harder is that most of us remember how we were. I have gotten better but this is a present issue. Once a Soldier that was in charge of patrols, combat operations and 60 Soldiers, now I have to be supervised even doing the simplest things, not to mention making mistakes while doing these simple things.
There are a few things I would like mention. 1) Use your Support Network for feedback; they will be the best judges on how you are doing things. 2) Do not get upset when somebody shares feedback with you. I struggle with this one, because I perceived I am doing everything right, but reality turns out different. So the more I hear observations from others the more aware I am and the more I will work on improving it. I confess that at times it upsets me. 3) Strive to use your strategies on everything. It is my experience that by repetition the strategies become easier to apply. I have improved in this area but still have a lot of work to do.
We never thought we were going to be going thru this. Right? Out of the blue we are carrying the heavy load that comes with a brain injury. It is not a load easy to carry, physically or mentally. You will find some people that will understand, and you will find others that don't. It is going to be a challenge after challenge. Yes, it is hard to carry and hard to accept, but you can do it. Look for strength in your beliefs. It works for me every time. Do not get isolated, there are many people that will support you and will give you a shoulder to lean on. If you don't have any support, contact me, I will be your support. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!! CHEER UP!!!



  1. You are a baby in this new life that we live, but man are you smart!!!! Keep up the great work! your fellow TBI friend, Lee

  2. I just want to say don't think that you're not doing something "right", just different.

  3. Have been dealing with this for a few years now at first tried to hide it and suck it up, thought I could bulldoze my way through it as I had my entire career and when the seizures started I couldn't hide it anymore. This Drill Sergeant got stopped in his tracks. I have gotten better but have run into new struggles all the time, I learn a new way to cope and adjust, and I forget it the biggest struggle I have is the anger control but I am getting better, I guess I am just a work in process.