More quick responses to loaded TBI questions

question-brain
More Questions…

Here are some more answers to questions I found in my search stats the other day. It’s a continuation of this post: Quick responses to loaded questions

  1. tbi and no setbacks what does it mean? – It means you’re very, very fortunate. More fortunate than many. And you have every right to be happy about it. But it’s a double-edged situation. If you have a TBI and you have no real setbacks, are you actually injured? Do you need help? Do you need special consideration? Does your injury even count?
  2. broken bodies shattered minds book tbi and vision loss – This is a tough one to give a quick response to. It’s out of my league. A broken body is a hard, hard thing. It may come back, somewhat, depending on the nature of the injuries, but it can be a long road back. And the mind can be shattered by the experience. Mind and body are so closely connected — break one, and the other can easily follow. Likewise, healing one can help heal the other. Focusing on physical fitness and physical healing can do wonders for the mind. And putting the mind back together can help you see clear to healing the body. But in my experience, the body comes first and then my mind follows. As for vision loss and tbi, traumatic brain injury can result in spots in your vision, double-vision, vision loss, light sensitivity… the optic nerve is managed by the brain, so if that part of the brain is injured, your vision can be affected. See http://www.afb.org/Section.asp?SectionID=93&TopicID=417 or http://www.lowvision.org/traumatic_brain_injury.htm for some info. I’m not sure about how to fix it. I think there are corrective lenses — especially Irlen lenses for light sensitivity — and I think there are therapies you can do. But it’s not something I know much about; aside from being sensitive to light, I don’t believe my vision has been affected by TBI. Although… now that I think about it, when I was seven or eight, I had to get glasses. I looked up at the moon, and I saw double. It could have been a result of my TBI(s) when I was a kid. I really don’t know.
  3. how to keep a tbi journal – Journaling has proved to be very helpful for people with TBI. I used to journal a LOT to track my issues and come up with alternatives and solutions. I kept track of the things I needed to do each day, and I tracked how well they came out. If they didn’t come out the way I wanted/planned, I spend time figuring out what I needed to do to have them turn around and be better the next time. It helped me immensely, just to write it down and see what was going on in my life from a distance. It also helped me get in the habit of thinking things through while I was doing them. What I had been writing in my journal stuck with me through the following days, and it made me more present, more mindful. There are a number of different ways you can keep a journal that works for you. You can keep a diary where you write about your life experiences in general. You can keep a journal where you track specific issues. You can even keep a blog, as I do. Whatever works for you is important — and make sure it works for you, doesn’t pull you off track. I kept journals for years, where I simply perseverated on the same topics over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. Looking back, I used up a lot of notebooks and paper, saying pretty much the same thing, day in and day out. This blog is a better way for me to manage things, because chances are someone else will read it, so it keeps me honest. It also keeps me in touch with the outside world, instead of being off in my own private Idaho.
  4. tbi and evil – I once heard about a doctor who said that TBI survivors have no sense of good and evil. So much for their medical education. I think that when it comes to “evil” people’s perception of it can be relative. TBI can certainly reduce your inhibition and impulse control, causing you to mindlessly do things that seem evil to others. Or maybe they really are evil. But I’m not sure TBI actually causes people to do evil — I believe it makes them more inclined to do what they already do, but without the impulse control. If someone is already an evil person, an angry person, an aggressive person, TBI can make them worse. If they are a good person, an easy-going person, or an accommodating, gentle person, TBI can change them to seem more evil than they were before. I think it’s really about mindfulness and intention. Paying close attention to what’s going on with you and not giving in to whatever impulse comes up. But does TBI automatically make people evil? I vote no.
  5. discipline techniques for children with tbi – This can be quite a challenge, as kids with TBI respond differently to discipline than other kids, and the techniques everyone assumes will work with them, simply don’t. Project LearnNet has a nice tutorial on Discipline for kids with TBI – http://www.projectlearnet.org/tutorials/discipline.html – where they talk about different kinds of discipline styles, which involve different combinations of authority by parents, reward and punishment, arbitrary punishment, and permissive approaches. It’s a really great tutorial, and well worth the read — not only for people dealing with kids with TBI, but for all of us. My understanding about discipline for children with traumatic brain injury, is that you need to be consistent, clear, and not only rely on punishment to keep kids in line. Being positive and focusing on what they should do, instead of what they shouldn’t, is very important.
  6. +alarm with finder for tbi patient – I suspect this question is about locating a TBI patient who is prone to wandering off and getting into trouble. I’ve had elderly relatives with dementia who would do that. It’s very scary. There must be some products out there to help. Check with your local Brain Injury Association chapter for tips.
  7. tbi screaning for cognition/communication – again, I’m not sure about the screening possibilities. Check with your local Brain Injury Association chapter for tips.
  8. adolescents with tbi isolation – That would have been me. It still is me, to some extent. With TBI, you can get so turned around in social situations, and have so many bad experiences, that the anxiety becomes overwhelming, and it’s just easier to keep to yourself. It’s REALLY hard when you’re an adolescent with TBI. I was in the situation where I entered adolescence with TBI issues, so nobody knew me any different, and I was able to make some friends after some effort. I have to say, though, that the effort was often on the part of others. People actively worked to bring me out of my shell — I was more content being by myself. I was incredibly fortunate to have people reach out to me. But when I had a couple more concussions in high school, I withdrew again. Got into drugs and alcohol. Distanced myself from the people who tried to be my friend. Just isolated. It was easier. It was disorienting and depressing to always be surprised by the unexpected. Things just got jumbled in my head, and it was overwhelming. So, I withdrew. “Who needs ’em?” is what I told myself.
  9. tbi rage management – Classic TBI issue. Manage the fatigue and the anxiety and stop telling yourself you’re a broken-ass loser, and the rage may be reduced. That’s what I do, and it works for me.
  10. mbti and tbi – Traumatic brain injury comes in various shapes and sizes. Mild (mtbi), Moderate, and Severe. These definitions relate to the initial type of injury, not the long-term outcomes. The BIA website has a page all about brain injury severity at http://www.biausa.org/about-brain-injury.htm#severity. The important thing to remember is that mtbi and concussion ARE brain injuries.
  11. anger from a tbi – See Quick responses to loaded questions for discussion of anger and rage. Keep in mind, TBI alone can make you angry. And fatigue, anxiety, confusion, frustration, all that, can make it even worse.
  12. is it harder to suffer a tbi at a younger age or an older age? – It’s never easy. But there are differences between the injuries. People used to think that kids who had TBIs would recover better, but now research is showing that this may not be the case. A young brain is still maturing, and traumatic brain injury may affect development. It’s hard to say what the real deal is, but more people are studying this issue, and I would imagine we will learn more in time. In my case, having sustained TBIs both as a kid and as an adult, the concussions/head injuries I sustained as a grown-up were much more impactful, because I am dealing with the cumulative effects of past injuries, and they tend to affect you more if you’ve had ones in the past. I also had more to lose, so the job troubles, relationship troubles, money troubles all made for more serious impacts in my everyday life. But the impacts to me when I was growing up had to do with my development, so I’m sure that those setbacks affected me psychologically as well as cognitively. I think a lot of it depends on the person and the injury, but there’s no one simple answer to this question.
  13. husband is a tbi survivor– See these documents:
  14. mtbi online courses – Check out this course: http://www.neuroskills.com/edu/ceumtbi1.shtml to learn about MTBI and get continuing education credits. Also, check out Brain Injury Tutorials – LearnNET from BIA of NY State. They are really, really good, if you want to learn about how TBI can affect kids in school.
  15. how do you think after a tbi – Very carefully. Seriously. I’m not being flippant. After a TBI, you have to think pretty carefully, often about things you used to take for granted. It can be a long process getting back, but you have to keep at it. Remember, you’re building up connections where they have either been damaged or they didn’t exist before. Thinking things through, planning activities, and following through are very important.
  16. career change after tbi – I kind of did this. I used to do a lot of computer programming, but now I’m doing more general work that involves a wider array of activities. It’s actually better for my career. Staying specialized in that old programming area was not something I could do very well, anymore. I had a few false starts with trying to make it happen — made some poor job choices — until I found this present situation, which is working out much better for me. It’s important to be realistic about a career change. First, can you afford to do it? Second, do you HAVE to do it? Third, what can you do that is going to move you forward, not set you back? I had it in my head for some time that I was going to have to “downsize” my career and do things that were simple for me. But it turns out that I needed to go in the opposite direction – do things that involve more learning for me. One of the saddest things I’ve experienced is hearing a person with TBI telling everyone at a support group that they had to give up the career they loved so much, and they had to throw away all their materials and supplies, because it was out of their reach. I’m not sure that was true. TBI survivors often overstate our difficulties and understate our abilities, so we can make choices that work against us. Keep that in mind, if you’re considering career change after TBI.
  17. how long can’t i do things with tbi? – That depends on your TBI and it depends on what you want to do. If you are still healing, then you have to take it easy and rest and let yourself heal. If you’ve been dealing with TBI for a while, and your physical situation has healed, and you’re still not doing things because of your injury, maybe you need to start doing those things. It’s a fine line. On the one hand, no one is in a better position to re-injure us, than we are, ourselves. We can have poor risk assessment skills. We can misjudge situations, and we can overstate our abilities. But at the same time, we can really benefit from trying and practicing things that we want/need to do. Too many times, we are held back by the people who love us, because they are trying to protect us — trying to protect themselves — from another injury. Finding a balance between what you can and cannot do, what you can’t do now but can do later… it’s one of the great challenges of TBI.
  18. effects of tbi on schizophrenia – I have no idea. It might make it worse?
  19. tbi recovery gunshot – Here’s a great article on this subject: http://main.uab.edu/tbi/show.asp?durki=85704. From the article:
    Outcome After Brain Injury Due to Gunshot WoundIt is difficult to predict what type of physical and mental problems a person might experience following a gunshot wound to the brain. It depends on what areas of the brain have been injured, which varies from case to case. Some areas of the brain may have been spared injury, meaning that the functions controlled by those parts of the brain are unaffected. Because the frontal area of the brain is often injured, many people with gunshot wounds have difficulty with attention, learning, memory, and problem solving. These mental difficulties, along with physical problems (for example, paralysis of one side of the body) can impact the independence of the injured person. It is common following a gunshot wound for the injured person to need some assistance and supervision from family members. Sometimes people are able to return to work and to live independently, but that cannot be guaranteed. Return to driving may be impacted by the presence of seizures.A person can experience emotional problems following a gunshot wound to the brain. In part this may be caused by the area of the brain injury. In many cases, problems with depression are caused by the change in lifestyle for the injured person. The sudden lack of independence and the presence of significant mental and physical problems weighs heavily on some people, leading to depression. In some cases depression was a problem before the injury, particularly among those whose brain injury was caused by a suicide attempt. It is important that people experiencing emotional problems after brain injury receive treatment. In most cases, there is a good response to anti-depressant medication and counseling.So, it seems like TBI from a gunshot wound can be extremely challenging. If the gunshot is from a suicide attempt, you clearly have to address the problems around deciding “I’m going to kill myself.” TBI recovery is never easy, however.
  20. tbi brain stem injury disequilibrium after walking – See this web page: Balance Problems after Traumatic Brain Injury – it explains a lot. My own balance problems seem to be related to food allergies. If I eat/drink something I shouldn’t, my inner ear feels like it’s filling up with fluid, and then I have balance problems for days. I’m not sure my brain stem was ever damaged. There doesn’t appear to be damage on my MRI from several years ago. But balance issues are a real problem. With me, they create tremendous stress and anxiety, which in turn exacerbates everything else.

More to come…

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Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

9 thoughts on “More quick responses to loaded TBI questions”

  1. I think with summer upon us, there’s a real temptation to over-do it. I know that happens with me. I just have to cram everything in, while the weather is halfway decent. But I end up paying a price, of course. There always seems to be a price…

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  2. Thank you for posting this!!! I am reading your list of questions here and about 1/2 of them are very interesting to me… TBI and husbands, gunshot TBI’s, adolescents TBI, anger and rage… sigh I could go on and on!
    The one especially that stood out for me was if it is better for the survivor to be younger or older… people are always saying to me how lucky my son is to be so young and have one… but like you said it is hard to say which way is better… there is so much of him that we may never know now… but then there is so much of him that we have met since his accident too!
    Thanks again!

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  3. Thanks for writing – it is a saga, isn’t it… As for your son, it should be interesting when he gets to his teen years and the need for impulse control development arises. Who can say how things will go? It could be that his work with impulse control now can help him later on, or it may make things more interesting. One thing about my situation was that when I was a teen, everyone assumed that my “rebelliousness” and anger was about being a teenager, but mine was so much more extreme than most of my peers. Knowing about TBI now has helped me come to terms with all those years I felt like there was something really wrong with me being “off the charts” with my reactions… to everything. But at the time, it was hugely challenging, for everyone not least of all me.

    Good luck with everything. Keep the faith.

    BB

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  4. This was a really great post. The #4 makes me think about this article.
    http://ns.umich.edu/htdocs/releases/story.php?id=8423

    A recent University of Michigan study indicates that young people who sustain a serious head injury are more likely to engage in violent behavior one year after the head injury.
    I feel a conversation framed around around injury and motive can be done the most justice when the medical evidence and full history are equitably factored in. Thank you again for this list.

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  5. Thanks Les –

    That is very interesting about the study. I updated the link with the UMich press release (the other was broken). I’ll have to do another search – I’m sure it is a very enlightening study. If people look at the build-up of conflicts and dysfunctions that can accumulate after brain injury — the misunderstandings, the failures, the social isolation, the lack of realistic coping skills being taught, and the incredible anxiety that can “back up” — I believe it can tell a full-spectrum story about how these things happen. I just wish there were more awareness about this. I’m trying to do my part, but we need all the help we can get.

    Thanks very much for sharing that info!

    BB

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