The quick trip from tbi to ptsd

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Traumatic brain injury is by its very nature traumatic. The injury itself may not be life-threatening when it happens, but after you try to get back in the game with tbi, you can quickly find that your life is not the way it once was. You are not the way you once were. And your life as you once knew it is threatened.

That sets up more conditions for post-traumatic stress disorder. The only thing is, the trauma doesn’t end with the injury, or even one or two other life-threatening event. TBI is an ongoing life-threatening event — one that often strips you of your self-respect, even as it takes away your self-knowledge, the familiarity with everything as you once knew it.

I think that’s something that too many people just don’t get. Trauma in tbi doesn’t just go away. It can keep on repeating. Especially if you don’t know much about brain injury, and you don’t make the effort to get to know yourself and your own personal situation objectively, through the lens of someone who’s been injured.

If you are caught up in trying to muscle your way through the difficulties, and you keep ramming your head (figuratively) against all those walls, you’re going to keep traumatizing yourself. And every time you tell yourself “I’m stupid” or “I’m damaged” or “I’ll never be normal again” you continue that trauma, and you dig yourself deeper and deeper into a hole.

Even if the initial injury itself isn’t that “terrible” — say you get clunked on the head by something that falls off a shelf, or you’re in a fender-bender and hit your head against the window, and you can still walk away from the scene of the accident — the ensuing confusion and screwed up aspects of your life can traumatize you again and again until you have a full-blown case of ptsd… and a whole lot of exasperated family, friends and co-workers to boot.

Heck, you might not even have any left.

Long story short, stress can come quickly after tbi. And the stress can lead to trauma, and vice-versa.

… which is why the two should really be treated together. Whenever there is tbi, I really think that ptsd should be addressed as well. They look a lot like each other. They feed each other. And when you address one, the other can be relieved at the same time.

It’s all connected.

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.

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