I often stutter.
I often close my eyes when I’m speaking.
I often lose my train of thought.
I often get overstimulated by a lot of conversations occurring at once.
I often forget complete conversations that I have had.
I often change subjects in the middle of a thought or conversation.
I often get frustrated with myself.
I often forget I have a traumatic brain injury.
Life after a severe traumatic brain injury is one learning experience after another. For some context, I would like to share the type of traumatic brain injury which I experienced. It is called a diffuse axonal brain injury. Here is a short video to explain what that means. This brain injury is the type that occurs in Shaken Baby Syndrome. Here is what occurs in the brain:
Here is a definition of Diffuse Axonal Injury that I find very helpful.
It was not until a few months ago that I really began to understand exactly what my brain went through. I began to understand why I was facing some of the challenges I was facing. The most troubling symptom for me continues to be communication. I get embarrassed, frustrated, and feel inadequate. Again I began doing research and I found the most helpful article that I have found yet.
It is from Brainline.org and is entitled “Lost & Found: What Brain Injury Survivors Want You to Know.” I share this article to be brutally honest with how difficult these skills are for me. By appearance, I look fine so it is difficult for people to know where I am struggling. This article says what I haven’t been able to put into words myself. Here are the top three things I feel like I want people to know.
Brain injury rehabilitation takes a very long time; it is usually measured in years. It continues long after formal rehabilitation has ended.
Please have patience with my memory. Know that not remembering does not mean that I don’t care.
Patience is the best gift you can give me. It allows me to work deliberately and at my own pace, allowing me to rebuild pathways in my brain. Rushing and multi-tasking inhibit cognition.
The whole article is incredible, though, and I hope you will take the time to read it. http://www.brainline.org/content/2011/07/lost-found-what-brain-injury-survivors-want-you-to-know.html
And please, if you ever have questions, ask me! I will do my best to find them. I have wonderful resources and am humbled by people wanting to know more.