August is nearly over. Back to School season is well underway. Kids have gone off to college for the first time, leaving plenty of parents wondering where all the years went. It’s becoming cooler, and the light is changing. Fall is right around the corner.
Here are the Top 27 searches people entered to get to this blog today, along with my responses.
- how to slow down my heart rate – This is a common search that brings people here all the time. Click here to read what I’ve said — I hope it helps.
- loneliness – Yeah, you and me both. I’ve been feeling really lonely, lately, partly because my work situation is so stressful and amped-up, and partly because I just don’t have that much interaction with people. Most of the time, I get depressed, when I see how people behave. It’s just not right. The political scene makes me nauseous. All the social debates and terrible things people do to each other — it’s so unnecessary and so pointless and it doesn’t achieve anything lasting that really helps. Everybody has pain, but not all of us inflict it on others. And those of us who are determined to not inflict pain on others for our own personal gain, tend to be fewer and farther between than I’d like. It’s lonely out there. But sometimes we manage to find people who can relate to us — and then it’s a little less lonely. That helps.
- solution for extreme light sensitivity – The only solution I’ve been able to find, other than sunglasses, is rest. And lots of it. When I am tired, I can become very sensitive to light. When I am stressed by having to process too much information around me, I can’t tolerate light. Resting and relaxing help.
- weakness is pain leaving the body – I’ve ranted about this before. ‘Nuff said.
- can being overtired cause you to feel dumb – Yes. Especially with TBI. And it’s not just feeling dumb. It’s being dumb — for myself, that is. I can’t speak for anyone else. When I am overtired, I can become a friggin’ idiot. Impulse control goes out the window, along with complex thought. It’s not pretty. I get Dumb and Dumber.
- what makes tbi a mental condition – Well, it happens in your brain, so that’s mental. And it affects your mind, as well — the mind and the brain are two different things. The brain is an organ, the mind is the whole system (including your cardio-pulmonary “brain” and your enteric nervous system “brain”) managing the flow of energy and information throughout your whole body and your whole life. I personally believe that TBI contributes to mental illness the same way that other traumas do — it kicks your fight-flight system into high gear and it can keep it there indefinitely, if you’re not aware of what’s going on or if you haven’t found a way to get out of that adrenaline loop. TBI can seriously mess with your biochemistry and set you up for depression, impulse-control issues, behavioral issues, and a whole lot of other problems that come from having a nervous system that’s totally whacked out. You may start out with a relatively “mild” injury, but if important aspects of your life are disrupted in ways that put you on constant guard and alert, eventually it will take a toll. Unless you can do something about that and figure out how to adjust and adapt, you can find yourself worse off, after a few years, than you were at the start. It happened to me, and it happens to a lot of people.
- impact brain test – I am not a huge fan of computer testing for concussion and pre-concussion baselines, mainly because people tend to use machines as crutches and often don’t put in the work they need to do, to understand and respond appropriately. If someone gets an Impact testing package, does that mean they don’t have to understand concussion/TBI, and they can just rely on the machine? Of course not. But not all people think that way, so ultimately it might do more harm than good. Education about concussion and the best way to handle it — by an independent person who has been properly trained and doesn’t have a vested interest in overlooking injury for the sake of “winning” — is really the best way to go.
- how well did my job interview go – Good question. That’s always a hard one for me. I usually find out later, but it’s notoriously difficult for me to tell, right after it happened.
- i forget where i am – I forgot where I was, about a week ago. I was driving through some woods not far from my home, in a section where I’m usually paying close attention to traffic and don’t look around much. I looked around me, and I did not recognize anything. I couldn’t even remember where I was going, for a few seconds. It probably lasted about 5-10 seconds, then I turned a corner and I recognized where I was. It was a little eerie, and it kind of freaked me out, but it happens.
- live by choice, not by chance. make changes, not excuse. be motivated, not manipulated. work to excel, not compete. listen to your inner voice, not the jumbled opinions of everyone else – Yes, what they said.
- pain is weakness leaving the body quote – see above
- univ of buffalo brain injury treatment – These folks have a protocol that helps people recover from concussion — even people with long-standing persistent issues. They also have a great success rate (last I checked). I have a bunch of things I’ve written about them here.
- ways to slow down your heart rate – Again, see above
- off work following a concussion – Probably smart. I never stopped working after my concussion(s), and it got me in trouble. It blinded me to the problems I was having, because I was so busy pushing and pushing and pushing, that I didn’t stop to look at what was going on with me. Only when I took time off to help a family member who was seriously ill, did I realize that my thinking was messed up, my noise and light sensitivities were intense, and I was in constant stress for reasons I didn’t understand. Taking time off work is so important. I hope the person who searched on this is making the most of it.
- tbi and anger – They tend to go hand-in-hand. Either someone was an angry person before, and their TBI has made things worse, or they underwent some personality changes because the way their brain worked before isn’t the same as it is now, and they get stressed, agitated, and they’re not able to regulate their emotions a well as before. Rage tends to accompany TBI, too. It’s a problem — and it’s probably responsible for a lot of people going to jail. Dealing with TBI-induced anger is critical — both for the survivor and the people around them.
- contagious trauma in managing change – It happens. It’s not easy to watch people go through things, and you can end up going through things, as well. Also, when you’re dealing with someone who has wild mood swings and outbursts and may be edgy, you can develop trauma having to deal with them every day. Being threatened by someone else is not easy, even if they have good reason to be on edge. But trauma is the “gift that keeps on giving” and it sometimes is contagious.
- navy seal positive self talk – I’ve written some things here (follow the link)
- i got a concussion now i cant feel emotions – This is understandable. Here’s how I think this works (based on my own experience, not on any research I’ve read). When you get a concussion, your whole system may need to work harder just to do the same things as before. Because it has to work harder, you depend more on stress hormones and adrenaline to keep going. Especially if the symptoms are confusing, disruptive, unwelcome, and uncontrollable, you can find yourself always on edge and always on guard. When that happens, your biochemistry shuts down the parts of you that are “unnecessary” — the emotions, the feelings, the more receptive parts of you. Your system is so busy trying to keep up, that it loses touch with the feeling parts of itself. After a while, you can get out of practice and end up feeling like a block of wood. That happened to me. I lost all the emotional stuff (aside from anger and rage and sadness and frustration), and I felt like a block of wood walking around. I’m starting to feel like that again, with my current job situation, so I know it’s time to go.
- you know you’re tired when this happens – Yes, you sure do.
- do you use your vagus nerve to sing? – I think the vagus nerve is affected (in a good way) by singing, but I’m not sure it helps you sing.
- head ramming concussion symptoms – You can get a TBI/concussion from head-banging. The symptoms will vary from person to person, but if someone is behaving differently (and seeming more stupid) than before, and they’ve been ramming their head against something, could be they have a concussion. And they should take care of themself so they can start behaving like a regular person again, as well as get smart again. These things can heal with time – but it takes time.
- mild tbi two years later – Is not uncommon. Some of us end up having symptoms for a while. It’s not uncommon. It has been said that about 85% of concussed folks recover fully without further problems, but that means 15% don’t. I’m one of the 15%. And in fact (thanks markinidaho for the nudge), when you get down to it, concussion effects are permanent. Even if you don’t have intense issues, you can still be more sensitive to caffeine and alcohol and drugs, and you’re always going to be more susceptible to another concussion. I’m still dealing with TBI stuff, more than 7 years after my last concussion (nearly 8 – coming up this Thanksgiving). That one came after more than 8 prior concussions, which started when I was a young kid. When the brain changes, it changes. And working with it to change it in a different direction has been an ongoing process with me. It just doesn’t end.
- brain injury complacency – Is also not uncommon. People tend to shrug it off, because people have been getting hit in the head for thousands of years, and most people have gotten a kick out of how funny it is to watch someone stagger around like they’re drunk, or lie there knocked out before they open their eyes and jump up again. We’re learning better now, but there’s still a lot of complacency — especially with regard to men. Getting hit on the head, hitting others on the head, punching people, getting punched, getting knocked down and getting back up to go back in the fray is all part of the stereotypical American male growing-up experience, and a lot of folks think it’s just how you toughen ’em up. The same is somewhat true for women, but not nearly as much. Still, that idea that you have to be “tough” and that you can just dismiss a brain injury and go back to what you were doing before, is common. And people think that things will just take care of themselves, or that we can “design” a new life on purpose, if we just try/think hard enough.
- how can i slow my heart rate down during exercise – See above. And try taking slower breaths. It could be that you’re breathing too fast — hyperventilating.
- warning sign photos – Shouldn’t be too hard to find here. I use them now and then.
- anxiety and vagus nerve – I love my vagus nerve, and so should you. I’ve written a fair amount about the vagus nerve. I really need to write more…
- pain is just weakness leaving the body – No, it’s not. See above.
So, that’s it for today, folks. Enjoy the last days of summer!