Emotions/Moods Issues


Emotional and Mood disturbances are probably some of the most troubling issues for people after TBI. Everyone is affected by them – the survivor, family, friends, co-workers. It’s a huge pain in the ass, quite frankly, and it can be pretty embarrassing and off-putting.

Project LEARNet, which is “A Resource for Teachers, Clinicians, Parents, and Students by the Brain Injury Association of New York State”, has some great tutorials on Social/Emotional Issues for students after TBI. Don’t let the focus on kids / students deter you – these are great resources for anyone who is seeking to better understand TBI. Check out the tutorials on Social/Emotional Issues here. They are downloadable PDFs that you can print and take with you – great stuff!

Emotions/Moods issues after Brain Injury can include:

8. Agitated, can’t settle down

9. Angerrrrrr!!!

10. Anxiety – Feeling vague fear, worry, anticipation of doom

11. Depression, feeling down

12. Excitability!

13. Everything feels like an effort

14. Feeling unsure of yourself

15. Feelings of dread

16. Feeling like you’re observing yourself from afar

17. Feelings of well-being

18. Feeling guilty

19. Feeling hostile towards others

20. Impatience

21. Irritability

22. No desire to talk or  move

23. Feeling lonely

24. Nervousness

25. Feelings of panic

26. Rapid mood swings

27. Restlessness

28. Tearfulness, crying spells

29. Feeling tense

30. Feeling vague longing/yearning

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4 thoughts on “Emotions/Moods Issues”

  1. I’m crying as I read this, I KNOW I’m not the only one but am isolated and ALONE with it. Woke up and cried today (as often): too much noise, not enough sleep, still NO diagnosis or help. Brain feels even MORE broken coz I’ve been told/made to do WAY to much.

    EXTREME exhaustion, emotions all over the place (VERY low), TERRIFIED of being homeless, EXCLUDED from so much. HATE how I am but not my fault, told I must ACCEPT how I am (try to do my best plus improve) but all around me = denial, minimising, disbelief, told I’m lazy and not trying hard enough (NOT TRUE, wrongly judged).

    Broken relationships, lost job, friends, home, possessions and ME: my strong body, my capable brain, my ability to support myself = earn enough to live on.

    MEGA fear, MEGA stress, MEGA anxiety – I know the causes but all I get offered (pushed by men in white coats) is DRUGS = cures nothing. They want ME drugged coz how I am isn’t acceptable.

    I hurt SO SO bad but am told I’m looking for attention/over-dramatising = NOT: I try to hide/downplay it because when I say/try write (WHEN can talk/write properly, not often/all the time, varies) can’t EVER describe/say it properly.

    Memory worse, vision worse, physically worse now than before but after my accident. Almost a decade of neglect and fobbing off = BROKEN. Lost my confidence (almost all the time) and no hope left.

    Some sneer: ‘why do you keep trying?’ Others snort ‘don’t give up’. Too afraid to kill myself (experienced my ‘death’ during med neg op) but this is a living death. And yes I KNOW many far worse than me = unbearable to think but I do and go even further down into my black hole.

    It could all have been SO different: truth/info after op, remedial care of EVERY kind, rehab, help back to work if possible, social care/info/help for me AND my family. ALL’s broken, way too late for me (and my family/friends) and WISH it’d change so NOBODY else ever has to go through what I did and am still trying to endure.

    But ‘the cost-benefit’ is always quoted as an excuse: costs too much for no proven benefit they say but that’s because they don’t count the REAL and ENORMOUS costs of every kind plus to the whole of society if we DON’T get the rehab/help we need. And the longer we don’t get that the worse our outcomes are. Down I (and we) go into a mega spiral of despair – oh and then oh: they might have money for a bed in psych ward. Ridiculous and very very dangerous, this neglect KILLS. Oh gear: problem out of the way, removed? They MUST think/want that or they’d help us PREVENT it. But I’m told that’s paranoia and ‘proof’ I’m sick and need drugging/locking up.

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  2. Thank you for sharing. What you say is so very, very true, in so many, many ways. The cost-benefit comparisons… I have no idea what they base it on. I guess the thing is, they’re talking about “proven” benefits to offset the cost. And TBI / concussion has been studied so little, they have no “reliable” data to base it on.

    I have a feeling this will be addressed in the future, as more people gather more data about TBI and recovery and work with that data to prove out their points, as well as find new patterns within the “chaos” of so much information.

    Ultimately, though, I do believe that some basic information delivered in a variety of ways can help people understand, right from the start, some very basic fundamentals. Such as:

    1. You’ve had a brain injury. The connections that help your brain think may have gotten disconnected and information isn’t getting to the right places — like when electrical wires are frayed and not enough electricity gets through. Just like the lights get dim when there’s a brown-out, your brain is having its own brown-out.
    2. Also, when the brain is injured, it can release a lot of chemicals that do strange things to the connections that help you think. There may be a lot of “gunk” in your brain that needs to be cleared out, so that your connections can heal and be repaired.
    3. Your brain has changed. The connections that used to get information from one place to the next have changed, and your noggin isn’t processing things as fast as it used to.
    4. Your ability to plan and follow through may be affected — you may find pieces of information missing, here and there, and you may not pick up on every detail that you need to make the right decisions.
    5. You are probably going to be more distracted than usual. Your brain will get confused and not always know what details it should be paying attention to, or remembering. As a result, you might have more trouble remembering things — especially important things, like dates and schedules and appointments.
    6. All of this is going to make you feel very, very tired. You may need to sleep more than usual. Sleep also helps your brain clear out the gunk that gets released when it gets injured.
    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.
    8. You might feel like you are crazy… like you’re losing your mind. You’re not. Your brain is just “recalibrating” and figuring out how to do the things it used to do so easily.
    9. You may feel like this for a while. The best thing you can do is be patient with yourself and be aware of the ways that you are not functioning as well as you would like. Don’t rush it. These things take time. Eat healthy food, stay away from a lot of junk food, sugar, caffeine, and stress, drink plenty of water, and get lots of good sleep.
    10. Plenty of other people have had brain injuries / concussions, and most of them are getting on with their lives. You may notice some changes in your personality and abilities, but some of the changes may be for the better. Be patient. Pay attention. Be the best person you can. This is not the end.

    That’s basically what I wish someone had told me at the start in 2004. I had no idea what was going on, why I was the way I was, and how to make it better. It’s taken a long time, and I’m still not feeling like the person I used to be — close, but not exactly. It’s a terrible pity that more help isn’t offered in the ways we need it, when we need it.

    I don’t care what anybody says. No matter how badly we are injured, there is still a part of us that wants to live the best life possible, and needs the right information to do just that.

    Thanks again for writing – I’m very sorry to hear of your difficulty. I hope you can find some good somewhere in all of it… eventually.

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  3. Thanks for that, yes!
    But we don’t just need the right info: sometimes we need the right HELP.
    Not chosen by others on our behalf: us involved, asked, believed and when we say (repeatedly, year after year) ‘STOP, this ISN’T helping, it’s making me FAR worse’ EVERY person listens, believes and STOPS their harmful actions.

    And you say all the basics such as good sleep, no stress, good food = YES! But when too tired can be even too tired to eat. Sometimes go to bed to rest/sleep but can’t coz too hungry but too tired to eat. And all the buying, preparing, cooking food & clearing up = exhausting, when already exhausted.

    WAY too much stress for me for almost 10 years: money, housing, social, medical etc. As you know: EVERY facet of our lives affected PLUS for me the extra traumas of lies/betrayals by those who injured me = doctors and hospital. And even out of area hospital I trawled up to in London (when VERY ill) decided (or was it purely ‘error’ or stupidity?) to ignore my serious physical injuries and infection – untreated for over a year by then.

    Yes: I tried from the start to try to live the best life I could but living with the label ‘LIAR” and docs/hospital acting as though ‘nothing wrong = all in her mind’ is EXTREMELY damaging and that plus neglect kills. On top of being paralysed & suffocating and ‘died’ in op theatre and only the ‘awareness’ admitted, never the rest.

    Yes, I do my best, try to live a life, did from the start but boy some days (today did yet again) I fall to bits and cry most of the day and panic attacks: my brain feels WIPED, so hard to explain and I try so hard to pull myself out of it but can’t: TERRIBLE.

    Shame it depends HOW/BY WHOM you got your brain injury and whether you’re lucky enough (WHY has luck got anything to do with it?) to get a fast correct diagnosis – but even then so many of us DUMPED and just left to muddle on best we can = they assume friends & family will fill in all the gaps in services = criminal neglect of duty and targeting a particular group of vulnerable disabled people for worse treatment, in my opinion.

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  4. Well, information without action doesn’t do much good. Each and every day, something must be done, and unfortunately it’s usually by us. Here in the States, there is no implied promise that society/government will assist us, so I suppose it makes the disappointment easier. The UK seems to promise so much, yet deliver so little. Here, it’s almost a given that we are stuck on our own.

    As for being too tired to eat and sleep. Yes, I know it well. I was so “off” that I had no appetite and no interest in food for six months. But I knew I had to eat, or I would die. There was no joy in it. No taste. No experienced other than just putting food in my body. But I knew it’s what I had to do, so I did it.

    Doctors can be very little help. They don’t understand, usually, and they don’t know how to understand us — or even believe us. Even when a problem is right there in front of them — such as a relative’s long-standing infection that cost them their entire large intestine — they can’t seem to detect it.

    It makes no sense. And yes, it is criminal. But you have to pick your battles. Change what you can, and if you can’t change it, do what you can for yourself.

    Basically, I feel most days that in the system’s eyes, we’re little more than pieces of meat that are useful only as long as we are earning wages. As long as we are productive, we matter. If not… then not. For myself, I am finding a different way.

    I wish you some peace in the midst of this all.

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