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TBI & Memory Aids

Traumatic Brain Injuries can be quite hard for people to understand, and I actually mean the person who is dealing with the injury. From my own experience, I never knew anything was wrong and was very forgetful. If I had of known then, what I know now; these simple coping tools would have taken so much stress of my shoulders. As a brain Injury survivor, stress is the number one illness I have to try and overcome. Some of us do not show it and deal with it in our own ways, for others, it can be quite a serious illness and lead to many other physical illness’s.

I realised this myself due to a decrease in my overall health. Stress had taken control of my life in ways I did not understand and I was not accepting of my own difficulties as well. But then when I realised the problem and accepted it. I made a few changes to my own life. Here are those few changes;

  1. ย White board – Weekly one – when rubbish goes out, washing clothes days, clean my bird cage out, water plant, appointments, courses and anything I need to be reminded of for that week ahead.
  2. Blank white board – Daily routine – Brush teeth, wash, get dressed, when to eat, medication times etc All these tasks have a time and I set the alarm in my phone.
  3. Pin up board – Those important letters, gas certificate, bills etc
  4. Calendar – Birthdays, paydays, I even repeat some stuff in case I miss it in other places.
  5. Phone reminders – Birthdays, medication, meetings, appointments etc
  6. I explain to friends who make arrangements – please could you keep reminding me as the event comes up.

I know this can sound overwhelming to many with a TBI, we all manage differently and are at different stages. No TBI is the same. But for those who struggle on their own, without family help and the right support (because lets face it, we push people away or people take a dislike to us because we are not who they think we should be due to lack of understanding) these tasks I put in place every Sunday – a day when I know I am on my own and need to plan a head if I want a good week. Admittedly, I can not always follow my own routine, but I practice in hope it will come natural again.

Hope this helps and stay strong ๐Ÿ™‚

TBI & Mindfulness

Currently, I am attending a mindfulness course and I have to admit; it gets rather irritating as the information isn’t always going in. Fatigue kicks in, agitation and then stress. I get the handouts and take part in the meditation, but I am struggling to figure out if this is the kind of course I should be doing just yet.

For me, my memory is a huge problem and half the time I do not realise it myself. So trying to practice mindfulness on a daily basis is quite hard.

I started the course due to my old memories resurfacing and causing me mental distress. I suppose a lot of people would see this as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). However, for me; it is like I am remembering who I am, the only difference is, my life growing up was a very distressing one and it is hard to process, or even understand it. Others have seen it as OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) in my thinking. But really, it is just my brain remember who I am, or, who I was for that matter. So me being me, decided to do this course in hope it would help. Even if I can not remember it all, I may remember bits and use it at times of distress. But I do find it hard adding it to my daily routines.

One of the problems is; I am being shown how to be in the present, to stop the mental distress from my past. But its like a catch 22 situation….I need to allow the past in, so I can remember myself. I maybe misunderstanding something about the whole thing?

Anyone here that has done the mindfulness course with a memory deficit?

 

TBI & Playing Music

So I dedicated myself to playing an instrument, learning to read music and playing a long with others. It is one of the hardest things to do with an invisible injury. The noise can be overwhelming causing headaches, fatigue and agitation; but for me, I feel it is something I need to overcome.

I have the upper hand of course, when younger; I played in a band and learnt to play a few different instruments (drum, glock, trumpet and a bit of the guitar) even after the major operation I had had on my head. It was hard, but I noticed my brain was adapting in other ways; listening to the keys, music by real artists and visually watching others. I learned to ask for people to show me, even though it drove them insane by having to repeat over and over again. But I grasped it and didn’t care what others thought….I was adamant I was going to master it. I wasn’t great like, but I could play some music and learnt from it.

Now, years later after repeated head injuries; I have gone back to playing and I find it harder than ever. But it is slowly coming with repetitive practice. My problem is…..I can forget a song after I have learnt it, no matter how many times I practice. On the good days; I may remember. On the bad days; its as if I have only just started playing and never had experience before. This is the problem I am finding with relearning, or even learning a new skill.

Music is a great stepping stone for helping a TBI survivor. Our brains have the ability to create new path ways – we just need to figure out what that path way is. Are you visual? Could you repeat what others show you? Could you follow a tutor on youtube? Could you read music and play along? If you take something and break it down into small pieces, then repeat, repeat, repeat…..would you be able to master the art and enhance your brain?

You never know, until you try!! Is there anyone here that loves playing music with a TBI? Would be interesting to see other peoples views and coping techniques, or even how you learn?

 

TBI & DIY in the home!

Just a random post today!

Yesterday I put a mirror and a shelf up. I am usually good with tools, but not no more….burnt my finger with friction, constantly dropping tools and could not manage the straightness of the shelves…..even though I had a spirit level haha.

Will I accept help from others? Hell no!!! I need to relearn and want to figure everything out for myself and do a good job so I can look back and say to myself….see, you can do things on your own. Is this such a bad thing? Do you find your self doing the same thing after a TBI? Is it a way of self developing my own brain, or could this be an obsessive thing (not accepting help) because people have mistreated me in life? By mistreating, I mean people doing stuff for me to keep me quiet or expecting something back in return.

I often wonder about it….its almost like I need to be strong and capable. I do not want to be seen as having a disability and I will do what ever it takes to show I am good at stuff. Yet it exhausts me, takes me a year to decorate one room haha, and it is actually hard work due to the ‘it has to be perfect’ or it irritates me.

Anyone else struggle with this, and how do you cope with it?

Depression / Anger – Have you ever banged your head?

Something I have learnt through my own injuries, is that depression can be caused by head injuries. My fight for finding out what was wrong with me and being ignored by medical professions, lead me to find out I have damage to a small part of my brain.

Years of struggling with depression, thobbed off with anti-depressants that actually made me worse and it was worse than everyone realised. With the right support and treatment, I could have been better much sooner.

You ever find yourself stressed out to the max and wondering why you can not cope? Depressed and wondering why now? Agitated and think its all because of anxiety? confused about life? searching for something you do not understand? Sleep problems? and much more!!

Have you ever hit your head or suffered a head injury in the past? That is your starting point right there. Find a doctor who will listen, then fight for assessments and scans. Even if these are fine….at least you will know it is psychological and not physical. The two are different and I feel medical practitioners should be assessing anyone with a mental illness, for past head injuries. The correct treatment and rehabilitation, a long with correct information is much more beneficial to recovery, than being thobbed off with a psychiatric problem. We all deserve the right diagnosis…..fight for you rights!!