Now in Print: “Top 10 Things I Wish They’d Told Me After My Concussions”

Top 10 Things I Wish Someone Told Me After My Concussions
Top 10 Things I Wish Someone Told Me After My Concussions

I just published Top 10 Things I Wish Someone Told Me After My Concussions in print. You can buy a copy here

My hope is that the word will get out via Amazon – it will eventually be available there, after I get my proof copy and sign off on it. Because TBI/concussion is not only survivable, but there are things we can do that can help our recovery process.

You can also read the series on this site here.

 

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New eBook for “10 Things I Wish They’d Told Me After My Concussion(s)”

10 Things I Wish They'd Told Me After My Concussion(s)
Click the image to get an eBook for your reader ($2.99) – or click the link on the left to get a free full-size PDF.

I’ve slightly revised and updated my work 10 Things I Wish They’d Told Me After My Concussion. I’ve also changed the title from “Concussion! Now what?” I think the new title is more clear. Click here to get the free full-size PDF.

I also created an eBook for Kindle and other eReaders (Windows PC/PocketPC, Mac OS, Linux OS, Apple iPhone / iPod Touch, etc.) – it’s $2.99, and if you’d like to support this site, you can download it here.

Additionally, I’ve got a longer book in the works, which has more background and discussion of scientific research and personal experiences behind what I discuss. We’ll see which version is more useful for people 😉 I’ll admit, I’m an anatomy-and-neuro-geek, so the things that fascinate me may not light others’ fires. And since I’m not an official academic, some of my conclusions and discussions might not sound ideal to the advance degree experts who do this stuff for a living.

It’s something, though. And for me, it’s the kind of book I wish I’d had access to, 8 years ago, when I started to realize how much TBI had affected my life. I’m really writing the longer book for myself — the person I once was, who needed help… but couldn’t find it anywhere.

I’ve also been looking for ways that people can support this site. Some have asked what they can do to contribute, but I’m not actually comfortable taking donations. I need to give people something in return for $$$ they contribute, rather than just take their money.

I blog just about every day, and I’ve got nearly 800 followers on WordPress, 111 followers via email, and 955 followers on Twitter, so I’m putting something out there. But even if no one were paying any attention, I’d do it anyway. Because this is my daily “ritual” that helps me check in with myself and keep myself honest. Accepting money for it seems a little wrong to me.

So, I’m starting to publish some of my posts as eBooks (and probably print books, too). I’ll be publishing individual articles, as well as collections — with themes, like anger and memory and sensory issues, as well as most popular posts that people continuously come back to.

It’s also my hope that this publishing can spread more information around about TBI recovery, to show people that it CAN be done — even after years of difficulty and suffering. Even persistent TBI issues can become manageable. They may not disappear 100%, but they can be managed.

I’m living proof of that.

Free Concussion eBook Available – download here

Concussion! Now What?

10 Things You Need to Know, Right Away

Concussion-Now-What-Cover-600Download it here

PDF Format  ~45 pages, large-ish print to spare your eyes

Also coming soon on iBookstore, Amazon Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and other eBook outlets

According to the CDC, 1.7 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. Mild TBIs (concussions) account for 75% of those brain injuries.

As awareness about concussion and TBI rises, and debate rages about the long-term impact of brain injury, policies are changing to prevent the occurrence of concussion wherever possible.

But what if you can’t prevent concussion?

Immediately after you’re injured, what do you do? Where do you turn for help? How do you make sense of what’s happening? What can you expect? The actions you take and the choices you make, immediately after a brain injury, can significantly impact your recovery.

Concussion survivors need help – right away, to prevent further harm. But they don’t always get it.

This guide provides information on the Top 10 things I wish I had known, when I went through my own concussions.

With the right information and proper care, it is possible to make good choices, recover from concussion and get on with your life.

Spent the day writing, yesterday

Didn't write quite this much, but by the end of the day, it felt like it.
Didn’t write quite this much, but by the end of the day, it felt like it.

And I did a basic “brain dump” of what I feel is the most important information to pass along about the Top 10 Things I Wish They’d Told Me About Concussion(s). I basically wrote a short book – an eBook, really. I’m not sure if I’m going to make a print version. Maybe I will. With space for notes.

It felt good to spend the day just writing. It’s been a long time since I last did that. I had to take care of a couple of things in the afternoon, but I put in some good time, and I’m happy with the result. I’m posting the chapters, one by one, and I’ll post a link to the book when I’m satisfied with it.

The main thing I did, which was important, was actually finishing the work before I walked away. I have a bad habit of diving into something, then getting tired and getting distracted and walking away… never to return.

I did NOT want to do that, this time, so I just stuck with it. I tuckered myself out, but good. But it was worth it.

This is the new way I am doing things, now. I have less time available to me, so I have to make choices. And I know that if I walk away from something, I might never come back. So…

I’ll have a number of different options for people to buy. I’ll put it on Amazon, and I’ll also post it with Lulu and Kindle and other places, so people can get to it. Also, I’ll offer a couple of different prices for folks who want to support the blog. And of course I’ll have a PDF and an ePub version that people can download for free, if they are really short on money.

I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to have to choose between food and non-negotiable necessities like rent and medicine. And people with TBI frequently have to make exactly those choices.

So, there it is, my work for the weekend. It was a busy one, but it was good. I’m settling in at my job and getting used to my new routine.

It’s all good.

New section posted on TBI Types and Symptoms

A new section of my book – TBI Background and Info – TBI Types and Symptoms – has just been posted.

I’m trying to set the stage for the discussion, giving some background on the topic of TBI, convey some basic understanding of TBI / concussion, and provide links for further reading. One of the problems is, the numbers and statistics all keep changing, so having the most recent stats in place is all but impossible. TBI data is a moving target. I think I need to write a footnote to that effect.

This writing project is turning into a real challenge for me. It’s forcing me to collect my thoughts in a larger format than a single blog post at a time.

It’s good for me.

I just need to keep up with my sleep at the same time.

Onward.

Oh, hell – I’m just posting it all

Restoring your Sense Of Self after a traumatic brain injury is no small feat.

And you need all the help and support you can get.

So, while I work on my book, I’m going to be posting chapters to this blog, and making them available to people for free here – at TBI S.O.S.

Life is tough enough after TBI, to have to fork out dough on top of it.

I’m going to be making the work available in print and ebook later on, when it’s done. But this way, I can keep up the momentum, and also get the words out there. Somehow, what I write sometimes makes more sense to me — and I get valuable distance from it — when I see it online.

Strange. I used to be such a solitary. Still am, really. I just got hooked on the whole online publishing experience, I guess.

Later on, for those who want to support this blog and my work here, you’ll be able to buy print and ebook versions. But for now, I’ll just post what I’m writing, and let that speak for itself.

The book is going well

Working… working…

So, I’m finally sitting down to write one of the books I’ve been planning for some time. It’s an extended version of my series of posts I wrote about Recovering a Sense of Self after TBI. I had already written a good bit, for starters, so it’s filling out nicely.

Which is good, because I need to make some headway on it, and this coming week promises to be really crazy. I’ve got three big deadlines looming at work, and I’m going to be flat-out pretty much the whole time.

This book is letting me focus in on one thing that I can do, rather than a million different little details that I need to make sure everyone else is doing. It’s a lot of work, but it’s good. And it’s a welcome change.

It’s also reminding me about a lot of things I’ve conveniently blocked out of my mind, for some time now. All the issues that come up after TBI, all the confusion, the frustrations, the dead-ends, and back-tracking that’s a regular part of TBI recovery… it can get to be so overwhelming. And when you’re just beginning your recovery, finding a pattern to your life, a structure and meaning… well, that’s the main challenge. It’s critical to put positive, constructive structures in place, so the brain can acclimate to a routine again. Our systems are lovers of routine, and we need to have a sense of ourselves in a context that makes sense.

Beyond TBI, this book is teaching me lots about the world in general. The things that apply to TBI recovery, can also apply to other neurodiverse challenges, as well as life for the general populace. With TBI, they’re all made that much more extreme. Human relationships, how we live our lives, how we find meaning in the world, how we build a sense of who we are and how we will / would / can / should be to ourselves and others around us… all that becomes so much more confusing and frustrating. And with TBI they also all come into much clearer focus as important — essential — parts of human life and experience.

It’s like, with TBI we are pushed to the outer limits of what it means to be human. And with TBI recovery, we are forced to reach deeper inside ourselves and farther out around us, to develop the resources we need. People without TBI could probably learn a lot from TBI survivors about what it means to be fully human. The thing is, everyone is so afraid and under-informed. So who wants to listen to us?

Well, whatever. I’ve got a couple of hours to do some more writing, then I’m spending the day with my spouse. The weather is beautiful, and we have an all-day outing planned. So long as I get back at a decent hour. Because my day starts early tomorrow.

Onward.

Book Review – How to Be Brilliant

This from a recent New York Times piece:

Motivational gurus from Dale Carnegie to Tony Robbins have long promised access to these hidden stores of genius. Now here comes David Shenk with “The Genius in All of Us,” which argues that we have before us not a “talent scarcity” but a “latent talent abundance.” Our problem “isn’t our inadequate genetic assets,” but “our inability, so far, to tap into what we already have.” The truth is “that few of us know our true limits, that the vast majority of us have not even come close to tapping what scientists call our ‘un actualized potential.’ ” At first it would seem that Shenk, the author of thoughtful books on information overload, memory loss and chess, has veered into guru territory. But he has assembled a large body of research to back up his claims.

Two bodies, in fact. The first concerns the emerging science of epigenetics, the study of how the environment modifies the way genes are expressed. Since the days of Crick and Watson, we’ve tended to see genes as a set of straightforward instructions, a blueprint for constructing a person. Over the last 20 years, however, some scientists have begun to complicate that picture. “It turns out that the genetic instructions themselves are influenced by other inputs,” Shenk writes. “Genes are constantly activated and deactivated by environmental stimuli, nutrition, hormones, nerve impulses and other genes.” That means there can be no guaranteed genetic windfalls, or fixed genetic limits, bestowed at the moment of conception. Instead there is a continually unfolding interaction between our heredity and our world, a process that may be in some measure under our control.

The second body of research investigates the nature of exceptional ability and how it arises. We’ve traditionally regarded superior talent as a rare and mysterious gift bequeathed to a lucky few. In fact, Shenk writes, science is revealing it to be the product of highly concentrated effort. He describes the work of the psychologist Anders Ericsson, who wondered if he could train an ordinary person to perform extraordinary feats of memory. When Eric sson began working with a young man identified as S.F., his subject could, like most of us, hold only seven numbers in his short-term memory. By the end of the study, S.F. could correctly recall an astonishing 80-plus digits. With the right kind of mental discipline, Ericsson and his co- investigator concluded, “there is seemingly no limit to memory performance.” Shenk weaves accounts of such laboratory experiments, conducted on average people, with the tales of singularly accomplished individuals — Ted Williams and Michael Jordan, Mozart and Beethoven — who all worked relentlessly to hone their skills.

Read the whole piece here

One of the best books available about sports-related concussions

head gamesOne of the things that drives me nuts, is how little truly good and reliable information there is about sports-related concussions. There are many, many studies about it, and there is tons of life experience with concussions. Yet, precious few books actually exist to share this vital information with the general public.

Despite my difficulties reading (my distractability turns it into more work than play, at times), I got through this book in the space of a few days.

Head Games – Football’s Concussion Crisis — was penned by former football player and professional wrestler, Chris Nowinski, who had his career cut short by concussion. He gives good information that makes total sense. He also has some good ideas about how to address what is truly a crisis in our country. It’s well worth the read.

You can either click the image/link above, if you want to support this site by passing along Amazon affiliate commission to me (it won’t increase your cost), or you can just visit amazon.com — or you can do what I did and check it out from your local library.

Personally, I’ll be buying my own copy, so I can go through it again with a highlighter. There is much good in there to be had, learned, and applied.

Check it out!

Telling stories

I’ve been coming across a lot of references people are making to telling stories… what stories we tell ourselves, what stories others tell us… what stories we want our lives to embody.

Once upon a time, I was big into stories. I wrote constantly, and much of what I wrote was stories — fiction, non-fiction… just accounts that were meaningful to me. Sometimes others found them meaningful — when I showed them to others. Most of the time, I kept them to myself. They were my stories, and I didn’t want  anyone else meddling in them.

I continue to write, but now I share my stories. I do a whole lot more writing online, than in my onetime journals, and it’s good. It’s a good development. Looking  back at all my past journals, I’m amazed at how circular I was — rehashing the same topics over and over and over and over and… well, you get the point.

I have that problem a lot less, now that I’m putting what I write out in public.

Keeps me honest.

It’s good for me.

And I’ve been thinking it might be good for me to do more of this writing — along different lines. I’ve written books before, and it’s strangely easy for me to collect several hundred pages of words that hang together well. I’ve written under pseudonyms, to keep my writing identity safe and sound, and the material I’ve written has gotten good reviews from some. And I think it might be time for me to write about growing up with TBI. I’ve been looking around some, and it doesn’t appear that there’s much literature out there about kids with head injuries — especially from the point of view of the child.

The books that I have come across about kids with TBI have been either non-fiction (I did find a really good one, the other week), or they’re biographical accounts/personal stories from the point of view of parents. Not much — that I’ve found — has been written by people who grew up with TBI.

Could be, people just want to put it all behind them and forget about it. I could see that. I feel that way, myself, sometimes. But then I think about all the parents and the kids out there who have experienced TBI — especially concussions in sports, which is so common — and I think, “Maybe this is something I need to NOT put behind me. Maybe it’s something I need to put out there in front of me.”

I’ve been feeling incredibly emotional, lately. My life is undergoing some significant changes, with my home life shifting and taking on new aspects of independence for both my spouse and me, and my job not being the most wonderful experience in the world. I’ve been waking up regularly at 3 a.m., with this nagging sense that I need to make some changes… just what those changes are, exactly, I’m not sure.

I know what I would like to do — have a lot more freedom to move and breathe and travel and enjoy my life (I haven’t had a real vacation in quite some time). I would really like to devote more of my time to this work of educating folks about TBI, writing about my life, informing people of the important details, helping survivors better understand themselves and manage their issues, and reassuring worried parents and spouses and friends that things don’t have to end badly. There is hope.

Yes, I know what I would like to do. I’m just not certain how to get there.

But writing this book will be a start. Yes, I think I’ll start here.