From TBI to stupid and crazy and back again

I checked my stats this morning briefly, and as is often the case, a lot of people have found their way here by searching for information about tbi/concussion making you stupid or crazy or both.

Can tbi affect intelligence? Why does concussion make you crazy?

These are questions that people search on, time and again… and they often end up here.

So, if you got here through that kind of search, welcome. You’re in good company.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this, lately — why and how does concussion/tbi affect your intelligence, your mood, your state of mind? Well, obviously, when your brain starts to behave unpredictably, it can lead to all sorts of upset. And since the brain controls the body, and tbi can lead to pain, insomnia, balance issues, etc., that can lead to depression. Because you can get so intent on just keeping things “normal” that you run up a huge adrenaline tab, and you end up really wearing yourself out — which can cause your mood to plummet into the basement, as well as affect the quality of your thinking and make you really feel/act stupid.

Most people I know think that depression is a psychological condition. But I really feel it’s much more physical than a lot of people will admit. Of course, with all the psychologists making their living off treating depression, the idea that exercise and regular rest and decent physical fitness (not to mention a bit more stamina) will resolve a ton of problems, isn’t going to be very popular or widely publicized. But I’ll repeat what I’ve heard someone else say (can’t find the quote to attribute right now) that a brisk walk will solve more problems than many hours in a psychologist’s office. And with all the research being done about the connections between exercise and cognitive/behavioral performance, there’s more and more science to back it up.

Personally, I know that after my own TBI in 2004, I became incredibly stupid and deeply depressed. I was hell to live with. I lost my job. I almost lost my marriage. I lost my self-respect. I lost most of the things I used to love, including being able to sit down and just read a book, memorize information, and recall it when I needed it. The rage and behavioral issues have abated considerably since then — and they really started to improve when I started exercising regularly, first thing in the morning.

I’ve gotten a lot more intelligent and sane since then — in large part because I started really taking better care of my physical fitness. It works. If you haven’t tried it, give it a shot. And keep at it. It’s worth the effort.

Anyway, I’ve got to get going. I slept in a little today — well, more like laid in bed for a few extra hours — and I have some things I’ve got to get done. I picked a doozie of a topic to blog about quickly, but I had to say something. More on that later.

Gotta run…

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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