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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Debbie Wilson's "All In a Brain Injury"

Copied from Debbie Wilson's Family Brain Injury Blog: All In a Brain Injury

Debbie M. Wilson

All In a Brain Injury

We have memory problems.

We have concentration difficulties.
We have sensory deficits like blurred vision, 
      ringing in the ears or a bad taste in our mouths. 

We can have loss of sensation and feeling. 
We can have headaches. 
Many of us have loss of balance. 
We can have light sensitivity.
We can also have noise sensitivity. 

We tend to have mood changes. 
We tend to become depressed or anxious. 

We may have chronic fatigue. 
We may have sleep disorders. 
We may be confused. 
We may have speech and hearing deficits. 
We may lose judgement and reasoning abilities.
We may stay angry a very long time. 

We are usually not sure who or what we are angry about. 
The truth is we do not know ourselves anymore! 
We are usually the last to know or realize the extent of our injuries.
Many of us also have PTSD. 
Others of us have seizures. 
Please, if you see our symptoms, help get us the help we need. 

We need support, encouragement and hope. 
We need faith that we
can overcome our many deficits. 
We need immense understanding as we lost "ourselves." 
It is difficult to again find our way. 
Our futures are full of unknowns and extremely hard work. 

We are like a brand new person, starting all over again.
None of us wanted to start all over again. 
We may be resistant and we may deny, deny and deny.
We need nurturing and we need guidance to again find our way. 
We are unique in every way.
What the brain is able to again do 
will astound even those that do not believe in miracles. 
We are survivors in a special league. 

Many of us had experienced loss of family and loved ones prior to brain injury. 
These loses were heart breaking and hard to accept. 
They did not prepare us for the total and complete loss we have felt 
      as a result of our "loss of self!" 

We are brothers and sisters 
     as a result of the uniqueness of our loss. 
We believe we are the only ones 
     that can truly understand the magnitude of our loss. 
Together we are stronger, 
     and we learn tips that help us move forward. 

Please be kind and patient with us. 
If you have not experienced loss of self 
     it is very hard to comprehend. 
Please just sympathize and empathize with our loss. 

We are a group that has a tendency to far surpass anyones expectations or dreams. 
We are the "ultimate survivors" in every sense of our existence! 
We were chosen and are all an honor and a blessing to know!

Follow Debbie Wilson's Family Brain Injury Blog.

Life with TBI

So many tasks seem on-track until that moment when I suddenly ask myself, what am I doing? It happens many times each hour, and it just happened again. — feeling tired.
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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Expressing a little frustration

I need a better brain. One that will give me the word I need to use the moment I need to use it, not making me "click retry" a dozen times first! I need a brain that will click as fast as the inner self that's trying to get things done, not having to stop every couple of hours to get over brain fog. I don't need one set of people telling me to lower my expectations, while another set of people tells me I'm not trying hard enough. I need a way to work around having to stop all the time to "get my bearings" because at some critical point in a process I forgot what I was doing. I have things to do, and I can't be held back by faulty equipment. There has to be a way to work around these limitations!
I am tired of people questioning me every step along the way, stealing what mental energy I DO have because they can't or won't or won't admit they can't help me. I am tired of people trying to tell me to change my plans. I am tired of people telling me to be realistic. I am tired of well-meaning people telling me they will help me, but not helping me at the moment when I can use the help. I am tired of people getting back with me, ready to help, when I no longer recall what I wanted from them.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Sleep, Learning, and Memory

Dr. Robert Stickgold discusses how sleep plays a role in memory, both before and after a new learning situation. (Click below to view.)
I've said this for years, both from personal experience, and based on a rudimentary understanding of neural networks (such as the brain) SLEEP is necessary for memory. It is necessary BEFORE learning to ensure attention. It is necessary AFTER learning to ensure assimilation and recall.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tuesday, May 7, 2013



The following was posted on Facebook by another brain injury survivor. I reposted it here:
... "loss of self" was an unthinkable loss. It is a different loss than others EVER experience... 

Read Debbie Wilson's insightful post below.

'via Blog this'

A good day...

A good day is when I can laugh about my difficulties, and not take them too seriously.

A good day is when I can go from imagining what I want to accomplish,
to actually writing down a goal before the idea is lost and forgotten.

A good day is when I focus on others instead of myself. I have discovered it is easier to push past my limitations if I feel someone else needs my help, than it is to push past them to meet my own needs.

A good day is when I believe I can improve.

...winning a game of chess, even if I can't recall what I did to win.

...returning home from a grocery trip without having gotten lost along the way, without having to take a nap before I could head back home, and without having to take a four-hour nap to recover, depending on others to unload the car....

...appreciating the work others have done to make my day go a little better (thanks, Audra). (She's not the only person I should thank, just the most recent.)

A good day is when I build upon yesterday's successes, and push my goals ahead a little farther. when I show appreciation to others for the help they give me.

A good day happens when I choose to believe today will be a good day!

Friday, May 3, 2013

How is it possible to enjoy a show I cannot track?

(The Time Tunnel, 1966)
I watched an episode of a television show (sorry, I don't remember what show) on ABC's website. After watching the show, there was a survey asking about whether I am likely to respond to their advertising. Seeing that I had another browser tab open where I had located and marked one of the commercials to save for later review, I marked "yes." Then it asked me all kinds of details about who the sponsor was, what the product was, and details about the show. I could not recall anything about the commercials or the show, only that I had enjoyed the show.

How is it possible, I wondered, to enjoy a show I cannot track long enough to even answer a survey about it moments later?

Then the answer became apparent. It does not take event memory to enjoy a show. It only requires remembering facts and contexts to follow most television scripts. This is why I regularly watch the same episodes and enjoy them just as much, but often not recognizing I already saw the episode until I encounter some key scene that I recall.

My event memory is not TOTALLY missing, but it is a fraction of what it used to be. However, memory for facts seems almost augmented, and with the use of software to track events (such as opening a tab to bookmark a commercial) the combination of remembered facts and copious journalling makes up for lack of event memory.

It is strange to contemplate, but frankly, my pre-accident memories have a sequential quality that is missing from my post-accident memories. Time is difficult for me to judge in terms of estimating minutes, hours, or weeks or months, everything that happened more than a week ago seems far distant, yet specific memorable events seem like they just happened.

And here's another detail that makes no sense: I constantly get myself into trouble being on time because a half-hour can seem like five minutes, yet if you just surprise me with a question like "what time is it," my first gut reaction will usually be correct within two minutes.

How can these things be?

Photo Credit:Cobert, R. (Performer), & Darrin, J. (Performer), Allen, I. (Writer), Martin, S. (Director) (1966). 
          In Allen, I. (Executive Producer), The Time Tunnel. American Broadcasting Company (ABC).