7. Being tired makes you cranky. It also can make you more emotional than usual.
You may find yourself behaving in “strange” ways, or thinking “strange” things. You may also find yourself getting much angrier than before — and much more quickly than before.
A tired brain isn’t just a distractable brain – it’s an irritable brain, as well. Fatigue can cause an injured brain to overreact – to everything. It can give you a hair-trigger temper and make you unpredictable and volatile.
That’s not good for anyone.
I wish I’d known this from the start. It would have saved me so many years of real pain over watching myself blow up over nothing… at times becoming a danger to myself and the people around me.
I blew up with family, friends, co-workers, bosses, healthcare professionals, and yes, police officers. I lost jobs and relationships because of this.
It was so debilitating to watch myself go ballistic over things like dropping a spoon on the kitchen floor, or not being able to understand what people were saying to me. If I had known what fatigue does to my brain – because of my injuries – I would have worried less about being a bad person, and worried more about getting to bed at a decent hour.
What to do?
Pay attention to how tired you are. And pay attention to when you have a bad day – or a bad incident. Notice any connection?
To combat this problem, you can schedule important things for the morning, when you are still fresh. And you can postpone (or avoid) doing social things when you are tired.
Important activities where you need to keep your cool need to happen when you’re not fatigued. And that means doing important things earlier in the week, too.
By Friday, no matter how early it is in the morning, you may still be tired enough to fly off the handle over nothing at all.
There are medications that can help with the exhaustion that comes with TBI. Some meds will help you think better, so you get less tired, period.
If you want to go “med-less” (that’s what I prefer), you can always have a cup of coffee before an important event. But you have to watch out that it’s not too late in the day, or it may keep you from getting to sleep. A cup of coffee at 3:45 p.m. may help for that Thursday-afternoon meeting, but it may put the screws to your Friday.
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