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TBI: An Injury That Changes You Forever by Charles Watson


Posted on August 27, 2020

Do you feel like you’ve changed after your brain injury? Does that make you angry and frustrated? But why? Yes, brain injury brings a change in your personality, your habits, your emotions, and your lifestyle, but does that change who you really are?

We all have an identity. An identity that makes us unique from others. And it’s always something inside you that cannot be altered by any external factor, just like a TBI. If you have experienced TBI yourself or seen a loved one go through it, you probably know that you never lose the person you once were and knew.

However, in order to recover and cope up with TBI, you need to know your condition in depth. These changes occur mostly because of the damage to certain parts of our brain, which include the frontal and temporal lobes, amygdala, and the hippocampus.

The lobes play a vital role in our decision-making, memory, concentration, behavior, emotions, processing sound, and speech. Whereas the amygdala is more related to retaining and forming long term memories as well as helping recognize the danger and feel fear. 

Located near the amygdala, the hippocampus helps in creating and retaining new memories, converting short-term memories into long-term memories, and giving us a sense of navigation and awareness of our surroundings.

Having said that, not all patients experience the same set of symptoms, with the same intensity. Hence everyone has a different coping mechanism and needs counseling accordingly.

Most patients feel ’messed up’ even years after their injury. Which is nothing uncommon but indicates a lack of care and attention. The first few months after injury are considerably the most crucial time period. Your condition will either worsen or get noticeably better.

Moreover, these brain-related issues are directly related to your physical well-being. In many cases, people tend to gain weight, own up eating disorders, and self-harming habits. With the emotional and mental stress, most TBI victims also develop psychiatric complications, for example, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), severe depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Identifying its symptoms and diagnosing TBI can be quite easy and evident. However, tips for coping up and recovery are quite hard to find. Hence here are some general precautions and coping techniques that will help any TBI patient.

Tip # 1: Acceptance:

The first step to any problem is acceptance. Accept that you are going through these emotions, and it is okay to feel this way.

Tip # 2: Don’t let it get to you:

It’s easier said than done. But consciously controlling and thinking that these emotions are temporary, it will get better. Learn to let go.

Tip # 3: Aim for the future:

The past shall remain in the past. It’s not in your control. But what you can change is your future. So work on getting better, seeking any kind of help you need, and aiming for a better future.

Tip # 4: Highlight the good things in life:

Try to be more optimistic and appreciate what you have rather than being upset about what you don’t. Look for your strengths and resources and explore them.

Tip # 5: Take one step at a time:

Last but definitely not least, don’t rush into getting better. Take your time and let time heal the things you can’t control. Learn to be patient.