How to Navigate Life After a Traumatic Brain Injury

A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can have life altering effects depending on the overall severity. The Brain Injury Association of America notes in their article, that TBIs can be differentiated by being either a TBI caused from an “external force” outside the body or from internal factors such as a “lack of oxygen, toxins” or infections.

Traumatic Brain Injury Challenges

How a TBI is sustained is a small part of the larger recovery process that takes place days, weeks, months, or years down the road. The personal challenges people with TBIs face is as unique as their own DNA. On the outside, the person may look ‘okay’ but many people are not aware of the internal turmoil and cloudiness that occurs inside the mind. From forgetfulness to not ‘feeling’ like their past selves – the past seems something like a long lost dream.

Some internal stressors people with TBIs face in life may include:

  • Challenges with anger, irritability, and rage
  • Insomnia and HyperinsomniaOur brains are remarkable organs that direct our cognitive and emotional responses to life.
  • Rapid mood fluctuations
  • Difficulty with attention and concentration
  • Poor impulse control
  • Difficulty with thought expression/vocalization
  • Problems finding the right words

Along with internal stressors, these external stressors can complicate may different areas of life. These can include:

  • Weekly doctor or therapeutic appointments
  • Navigating financial stressors
  • Work demands
  • Possible litigation related to how the TBI was sustained

The Dark Areas of Living with a Traumatic Brain Injury

As noted above,  TBI challenges can sometimes be difficult to see from an outside perspective. The gloom of grief and loss that follows changes in one’s functioning level, ability to provide, and changes to social networks can be lonely at best and lead to isolation at worst. TBI symptoms may influence feelings of hopelessness, thinking about the past, or losing the overall vitality of life. There can also be a trauma element to how the TBI was sustained.

Will Life Have Meaning After a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Every TBI and person is unique. Sometimes, how we live out our values needs to shift after someone experiences a TBI. Therefore, how do we live out spending time camping in the mountains when someone can only walk a mile at most before needing to rest? How does one show affection when they are filled with emotions? What does a person do if they can’t work the job they had before the TBI?

Finding ways to live these values out in some small way will go a long way. For example, maybe walking a mile off a trailhead can get you to a tent site. Engaging in mindfulness activities to help regulate mood changes can go a long way in expressing and receiving affection. Finding work that meets your abilities and/or applying for programs that can support you in the workplace can reignite your vitality of life. Finding ways to live out our values through committed actions helps us to foster and maintain a positive sense-of-self and self-esteem. 

TBI therapy cannot heal the brain. Working with a TBI therapist near you can help someone overcome the challenges that linger after a TBI is sustained. For example, therapy for TBIs can address guilt and shame, identity challenges, interpersonal issues, trauma related to how the TBI was sustained, and more.

Given that therapy addresses how someone thinks, feels, and sees the world, therapy for TBIs can help a person develop new neural pathways throughout the brain. This then helps the person learn to respond to stressors versus react, notice thoughts and emotions, and engage in valued living.

Start Working with A Local TBI Therapist    

At Revitalize Mental Health PLLC, we understand both the complexity of TBIs as well as, how to utilize psychotherapy to help you live the life you desire.  Submit a form here to begin the recovery process.

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