i have a tbi and i am tired of being stupid

Just feeling broken tonight...

Somebody searched on that yesterday, and found their way to this blog.

Can I just say, it seems like a LOT of people are doing that, lately… So many people with TBI feeling dumb, and saying so.

I’ve been feeling pretty dumb, myself, lately. I know I’m not a complete idiot, but I have been feeling dense, not quite with it, sort of stupid, on and off a lot, over the past weeks. I try to talk myself out of it, but it only goes so far. I know I’m tired, and that has a lot to do with it, but I still feel… off. Can’t seem to get right.

And yes, I have to say I agree with the person who found their way here the other day…

I also have a tbi and i am tired of being stupid

It’s so weird. I have all these coping mechanisms, I have all these tools I’ve learned to use, I have some regular support, and I know a lot about TBI and what it can do. But I still feel stupid. Dumb. Dense. And I don’t see it changing. There’s a part of me that always feels like I’ve lost parts of who I used to be, and I can’t seem to get them back. All I know is, they used to be there, and now I can’t find them anywhere.

Oh, well. What can I do? I guess I just have to keep finding out, each day, who else is “in here”. And see how far I can go with that.

But I still really resent the loss of those parts of myself, the loss of the sense that I’m a “real” person, and the loss of confidence that I’ll ever get back what has since shattered.

What’s done is done. Too bad. But geez, what I wouldn’t give to just have a sense of being 100% again. Just once.

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.

10 thoughts on “i have a tbi and i am tired of being stupid”

  1. i can’t tell people how good it is to not know that I’m alone!…Reading things here it’s like MY THOUGHTS..being explained by somebody else..I feel comforted

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  2. Hi BB,

    Again you have inspired me to shift my perspective from the familiarity that you are describing here, and one that many of us share. I think that your unconscious mind, the behind-the-scenes processor, is filled up with trying to sort the wheat from the chaff of all that you have going on in your life right now. It is a strange phenomenon indeed but I do totally believe, from my own experience, that TBI causes functionality problems within the unconscious mind. It gets ‘filled up’ very easily and very quickly and I believe it splutters and stalls because it is trying desperately to match like-with-like to produce something coherent for us to work with, and yet there is nothing within the memory banks of the brain to match your ingoing information to. The thing is that this is not something we can control, unless we detach ourselves from the external world as much as possible and as often as possible. When the unconscious mind gets filled up it makes us ‘dumb’ and ‘stupid’ because things that we can normally handle become very difficult to process when the brain is already occupied and over-worked. It takes a very long time for our routine tasks to become habit and until they do, every routine task requires that we use the unconscious mind to fathom out what we are doing and to produce timely actions that enable us to achieve results in the smallest of tasks.

    In a way it is better when we are not so far forward on the path to recovery that we are still like children and oblivious to the inadequacies of our thinking which are pertinent to the fact that we have little experience to work on or with. Once our self-awareness begins to return, which happens once we start to instil some basic routine and habits back into our lives, we start to notice what is not happening and how our disabilities affect our basic functioning – our ability to be who we really are…

    It is incredibly hard to try and think, to try and make decisions and to invoke action into our lives when all we have to work with is a vagueness, a phantom memory…Often all we have is a black hole full of nothingness…

    We have to step back into the world to be able to gain experience, but life does not work in the slow motion we really need, we desperately require. It moves too fast, it overwhelms us and we end up stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. I am not sure if anyone on the outside of brain injury can really ever understand what driven forces of determination and fortitude we need just to face each new day, each new day that will inevitably be filled with goofs and hiccups. Can anyone understand what immense strength it takes to not judge yourself, to not tell yourself off constantly, and to not get cross with your ‘self’ for the inadequacies of this ‘self?’ Can anyone understand how it feels to send that space probe off searching and searching for the relevancies that will enable you to just be able to be without even thinking or asking that you could possibly get enough back to actually move situation ‘A’ to answer ‘B.’ Can any normal person understand how it feels to live your life as though you are a pea caught up in an eddy? No, no they can’t. No one can cross the bridge between the normal world and the nether world of brain injury, no one can envisage the struggle, no one can see what we see…

    It is a veritable pain in the backside when we finally get to notice our constant mistakes, because instead of being able to effortlessly move forwards with whatever we are doing, we have to stop and consider what we are telling ourselves. We HAVE to be very conscious of what the voice in our head is saying to us and we have to take this intricate care because we are actually rebuilding a ‘self’ upwards from the foundations and if we don’t use a spirit level, if we place all the bricks in a haphazard manner, then the ‘self’ that finally emerges will be a mess and we will have to then spend the rest of our lives putting it straight… The greatest and gravest consideration has to be given to everything we tell ourselves about who we are being, because inevitably who we are currently being in our own minds, will eventually be who we emerge as being…

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  3. I work in the hyperbaric oxygen therapy industry and I have personally seen the miracle that this therapy can do for someone who has suffered from a traumatic brain Injury. I myself suffered a significant head injury shortly after the first of the year. I had bleeding in my frontal lobe and my brain had four contusions plus swelling. Hyperbaric therapy helped me to one, suppress the horrible constant headache I had and two, to accelerate my healing time and return me to my normal self. Hyperbaric therapy helps the brain begin to function normally by saturating the blood with oxygen through permeation and osmosis. This helps the vascular system (veins and arteries) to start creating new capillaries thus helping the brain to fix itself and possibly return to normality. There is a website http://www.hyperbaricnation.org that lists centers and facilities nationwide to help people find the help they need. If you are wanting to have a chamber in your own home go to http://www.hyperbaricoptions.com I personally used the home portable chambers.

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  4. Thank you for sharing this. I will put a new post on my website to share even further… you will be able to see it in a few minutes at http://www.mylatentself.co.uk

    You can join us here by sharing your full story too – just go to the ‘Our Stories’ on the top menu and I will take it from there…

    We can all help each other… You will see a story from BB on the site too…

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  5. Brings tears to my eyes… I so desperatly wish I was the mom I used to be. I loved myself then…i beg for help i need – but am rebuffed for not being an ivy league graduate and of lower intelligence than all those doctors. After 3 years,infection began near my brain,on my head by my scar – and who woulda guessed it was glass from the accident?! No apologizes, just a letter that I was no longer their patient. How am I supposed to figure it all out, be a single mom, n try to be there no matter what.

    !!!¡¡ I hate what my mind has become¡¡!!

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  6. Hi there – don’t give up. Doctors don’t know nearly as much as they act like they do. It always surprises me, how little they know — and how little they realize it. Often, if your problems can’t be solved with a pill or a procedure, they are at a loss for how to help. They just don’t know – their education does not prepare them for people like us, for the most part, and it is a rare doctor who actually can help.

    Even if they could, your recovery is still in your hands. That’s what often gets lost in all the drama — ultimately, it is up to us, to get on the road to recovery. Don’t expect an apology — that would be an admission of guilt which could end them up in a malpractice lawsuit.

    I wouldn’t worry too terribly about not being the mom you used to be. I spent years feeling awful about not being “myself” — but you know what? Even if nothing bad had ever happened to me, I would not be the same person I was, 10 years ago. Life has its way with us, and we change in response to so much. Another way to think about it, is that despite all your difficulties, you are still up and around, walking and talking and learning each day. That’s all any of us can really claim — so many who are “geniuses” are complete idiots in other respects.

    If you have the time — and I imagine that since you’re a single mom, this might be hard — try to find stories of people who have overcome terrible odds and triumphed over tragedy. Awful things happen to good people every single day, and a lot of people have very inspiring stories to tell about their victories. There are always two sides to every story — a sad one, which takes all your energy and makes you bitter and angry and keeps you from being your brightest self… and a positive one, which gives you strength and hope and shows you just how much promise there is in the world. Both sides are always there — It is our choice, which we concentrate on.

    One thing, though — with brain injury, you have to stay rested, or there’s less chance of staying positive. When I am tired and not feeling well, nothing is good, nothing is positive, and the whole world is against me.

    It’s just because I’m tired — I know, because when I get some rest, the whole world changes.

    Being a single mom is extremely tough. I am alone in supporting my spouse who has a lot of health issues, so it’s kind of similar. I’m alone, no one else can help me keep the household going with money or other help, it’s all on me — for the most part. I’m not raising a child, but I’m responsible for the bulk of the work in my household, as well as they well-being of my almost-disabled spouse. It’s so important to take care of yourself and stay strong in body as well as mind. Body first — the mind follows. Stay healthy and clear, watch out for drinking and medications, as they can really wreak havoc on our systems after brain injury.

    Most of all, know that you are not alone. Everyone — and I mean everyone — struggles with a hidden difficulty that they don’t dare talk about. And there are many inspiring stories to help your spirits rise.

    Be well, know that you are doing the best that you can — and it will get better!

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