5. You are probably going to be more distracted than usual.
Brain injury can make people very distractable. In my case, I am very light and noise sensitive, so on bad days, every passing shadow or bright light or sound catches my attention. With all the excitatory neurochemicals loose in our brains after concussion, our brains are on high-alert, and that can make us instantly notice tons of details that don’t mean a thing.
Your brain can get confused and not always know what details it should be paying attention to. It can get confused about what it really important and what it can safely ignore.
And because you have so much rattling ’round in your head, you might have more trouble remembering things — especially important things, like dates and schedules and appointments.
It actually takes a lot of brain power to notice lots of details and know what to pay attention to, and it takes special attention to commit things to memory. If your brain is so busy noticing everything and categorizing it without understanding what’s really going on, it’s not going to have a lot of bandwidth to devote to memorizing critical things.
Concussion / TBI is stressful, and stress make us more distracted than usual. It puts us on “high alert” where we think everything is important and needs to be noticed. This is a huge energy drain, and it tires you out even more.
A tired brain is a distractable brain.
And distraction makes the brain work harder, as it tries to “track” all the different pieces of information and put them in some kind of order – which makes it even more tired.
See the irony?
Yes, you’re right. It does suck.
What to do?
Again… sleep. Get plenty of rest. Your brain needs to heal, and pushing the envelope isn’t going to help. A tired brain is a distractable brain, so the less tired it is, the better your chances.
There are exercises you can do to increase your focus. Puzzles can help, and some online training supposedly helps, as well.
Meditation and mindfulness are highly recommended. They can literally alter the structure of the brain and strengthen the areas for focus.
Be careful of medication. Some meds actually make the brain more tired (some anti-depressants), which doesn’t help with concentration after a brain injury. Other meds will get you cranked up to high speed, which can fry your system. Be careful with meds, even over the counter ones. And talk to your doctor, if you’re concerned.
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