29 Aug The New Normal – Living (and Thriving!) with a TBI
In the United States alone, 1.7 million people have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Going through your daily life after a TBI may seem impossible at first, but we guarantee you a brighter future is ahead. Readjusting your life requires patience, guidance, and opportunities to re-learn daily habits.
Do you feel hindered in life after a major concussion, stroke, fall, etc.?
Below is a guide on how to live and thrive with a traumatic brain injury. Don’t allow your injury to define your life.
What Is a TBI?
A TBI is a brain dysfunction caused by force from an external object. A massive hit to the head or a sudden jolt of the body can cause a TBI. An object traveling through the head, such as a bullet, can also cause injury.
There are three main types of TBIs, including:
Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with a TBI, there are several effects you might notice. The severity and range of effects differ from person to person, but there are common ones to note.
The effects of a TBI include, but aren’t limited to:
- Sleep disturbances
- Memory challenges
- Attention/concentration issues
- Eye fatigue
- Reading difficulties
Many people think, “With effects like these, how can anyone thrive with a traumatic brain injury?”
Take Time to Heal
The healing and recovery process for any TBI feels long and draining. Many people experience severe negative emotions during the healing period because they’re struggling to accept their condition.
Keep in mind that frustration, depression, and anger are all natural emotions during the healing time. Your life changed in a matter of seconds, and that’s hard to grapple with.
Give yourself time to heal and work through your emotions. There’s a good chance you’ll have to go through multiple blood tests, CT scans, and other medical procedures while in the hospital.
Use the medical team around you as a resource. If you can, ask questions and gain information about your injury. Ask them to show you immediate accommodations that make your time in the hospital easier for you and your body.
Be Patient With Yourself
Directly after a TBI, many people want to see if they’re able to walk, move, and talk like before. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to hop right out of bed after a major injury to the brain.
Be patient with yourself and your healing process. The brain takes a while to reroute information. The surviving, healthy cells in your brain need time to catch up to what’s happening!
Incorporate Helpful Tools Into Your Daily Routine
As you return home, you’ll become aware of things that were once simple but are now difficult. For example, you might become aware of your memory issues when trying to hold a conversation.
Incorporate helpful tools and processes around your home to make the most of your everyday routine.
Stick to a Schedule
One of your most helpful tools is a structured routine! Building and sticking to a routine reduces confusion and anxiety.
Work with a team of therapists or your loved ones to create a routine. Highlight important everyday actions such as brushing your teeth, eating lunch, and bathing.
Keep a calendar close to your written routine to remind yourself of any changes. Track your doctor’s appointments and hospital check-ups.
Use Written Reminders
Combat memory issues by utilizing written reminders and explanations. Written reminders help increase your independence around the home.
Use sticky notes or notebooks to write down important phone numbers and addresses. Always include emergency phone numbers and contact information for your physician.
Are you still in charge of your finances? Jot down your banking information, such as your account and routing number.
Do you need reminders on how to complete daily tasks, such as making a sandwich? Ask your loved ones to print out a list of instructions, including pictures.
Lean on Your Team
The healing and adjustment process after a TBI is difficult. There’s no denying it. However, you can make it easier on yourself by leaning on the supportive team around you.
Reach out to friends, family members, nurses, therapists, and doctors to help you readjust to your new life. Lean on them for emotional support, helpful information, a steady hand to hold, and a shoulder to rest on.
Don’t Lose Your Sense of Fun
If you’re experiencing physical limitations after a TBI, brainstorm with your loved ones about how you can still have fun throughout the week.
It may be difficult to transport yourself and your wheelchair to the movie theater, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a movie night within your own home. Make some popcorn and pick out your favorite flick.
Find accessible restaurants in your area to enjoy a night out on the town. Make cookies with your kids. Or host a craft night in your kitchen, complete with plenty of paint.
Just because you have to approach things a bit differently now doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun!
Living Life to the Fullest With a TBI
A stroke, concussion, or major fall can alter your life forever with a TBI. Many people are left feeling helpless after experiencing a brain injury, but we assure you that you can still live and thrive with a TBI.
Lean on the support system around you and incorporate helpful tools into your home to assist you in your daily routine. And never, ever lose your sense of fun!
You can count on Synapse: Human Performance Centers as part of your team. We offer a variety of evidence-based therapies to improve the quality of life of our patients. Fill out our patient request form today.