I have a friend who has an associate who has needed help for a long time, but apparently hasn’t gotten what they needed. This friend-of-a-friend (I’ll call them “Foaf”) is a very unhappy person who is just a drag, even to be anywhere near. I’ve encountered them in passing – literally – when we crossed paths in the past, and they had this really miserable vibe that totally turned me off.
My friend, who has a kind streak that’s almost super-human, has been trying to help them, with varying degrees of success.
A while back, Foaf informed my friend that they think they found out one of the things that has been making their life so hard to handle — when they were little, they got hit on the head with a baseball bat. And they think that their lifetime of problems could trace back to that experience.
My friend has been doing research about head injury, and I’ve been feeding them info as I go along. It turns out that my realizations around my own TBIs happened roughly the same time as this other person’s — was there something in the air/water? They’ve been able to pass along what I’ve given them to Foaf, and I think it’s been helping.
Now, over the course of the past months, my friend has mentioned a bunch of times that Foaf has trouble with light sensitivity. Their choices in life are actually pretty limited because of it, too. They cannot go some places because the lights are too bright. They have a hard time dealing with stuff in general, because of their light sensitivity. My friend asked, a few weeks ago, “Do you think this could have anything to do with their head injury?”
“Yes,” I responded emphatically. It hadn’t occurred to me that they might think it didn’t.
Light sensitivity is a common after-effect of head injury.
At the South Florida Psychology website, they list the following symptoms of post-concussive syndrome:
Symptoms of Postconcussion Syndrome
|Symptom||Percent of Patients|
|Tired a lot more||64%|
|Blurry or double vision||45%|
|Sensitivity to bright light||40%|
Even sensitivity to regular light could be a problem. And there are other issues as well, which are too many to go into at this point.
So, what can a person do about this?
Well, first of all
Understand that your vision problem may be neurological, instead of psychological. Nothing makes me crazier than thinking my head injury issues are because of some psychological problem(s) I have. I thought for years that my problems were “character defects” or evidence of mental illness that could be cured with therapy or support groups. While these things have helped me a great deal, understanding my issues as physiological ones lets me think about them differently and take steps to address them concretely, instead of trying to change my thinking or feeling about them.
See if corrective lenses help. There are a number of options you have.
Irlen Lenses can help. They “filter out the offending wave lengths of light which create [neurologically-based] stress” and givey our brain a break from dealing with crazy light frequencies that you can’t handle.
Amber sunglasses can also help — they are better at blocking certain kinds of light than the green or gray ones. I have amber sunglasses that I put on just about anytime I’m driving durin gthe day. Even when it’s cloudy, I wear them. There’s something about the wavelengths they block that is very helpful to me. In fact, when I’ve gone out on bright sunny days without them, I’ve had a tremendous amount of stress, and oneday when I was driving to work, I had a bit of a meltdown over next to nothing.
It puzzled me at the time, but when I think back, it was a bright, sunny day and I wasn’t wearing my sunglasses.
I’m not exactly sure how a person goes about getting Irlen lenses. I guess you’d talk to your doctor about it. For me, my amber-tinted sunglasses– and understanding that I have trouble with bright light — helps enough to get me through the day safely.
I told my friend about Irlen lenses and amber-tinted sunglasses. They’re going to pass the info along to Foaf. I hope it helps ease their discomfort and makes them a happier person. They deserve it.