You are the same person. Just different.

This can be hard to remember at times, but it’s important to keep this in mind during tough days.  Brain injuries affect different people in different ways, but many brain injury survivors will experience at least one of the issues below:

Fatigue

Even the smallest task that you used to simply do, and take for granted, can leave you completely drained. 

Memory 

You may find that your short term memory worsens. While you might well recall childhood memories with clarity, you may now find it hard to remember names, faces and more recent events. 

Planning 

Leaving home can feel intimidating, even if you were a confident traveller, pre-injury. Noise, traffic, crowds or unfamiliar places can leave you feeling daunted and unsettled. You may find that nowadays, you need to plan trips carefully, allowing more time than you used to and feel better writing details down about your destination and route. 

Concentration 

You can find it hard to concentrate, so may be unable to last through a movie, finish a book, complete a crossword or listen to/follow a conversation.

Slower Responses 

You may find that even if your hearing is Ok, you find that your body reacts more slowly to things, for example, if someone calls your name, or you’re trying to cross the street. 

Changes in Character 

Personality changes are very often linked to head injury/brain trauma. If you were once quiet and mild-mannered, you may now find you have a short temper and feel intolerant about things that never used to bother you. Perhaps you were once really laid-back, but now find yourself fretful and anxious. Dealing with these changes can be emotionally draining and very upsetting for both the survivor and their loved ones.

Physical issues

You may find that you experience muscle spasms, your balance is unsteady, or your hearing is affected. Sometimes the other senses can be affected – certain foods can taste completely different to how they did before your injury. You may have higher sensitivity to noise or certain pitches, lose your sense of smell, or the ability to tell hot from cold (which can lead to dangerous situations, for example, draining a pan of boiling vegetables in the kitchen and burning/scalding yourself without being able to sense it).

Relationship changes

It’s often the case that family dynamics can change for everyone after a brain injury. Of course, the injury is devastating for the survivor but there’s also a knock-on effect on family, friends and colleagues. It’s really important  to remember that. Everyone is put under strain and spouses may find themselves in more of a carer-type of role. If you are a spouse or family member, and need to talk, do bear in mind our Peer Group. Running every week in complete confidentiality, it offers the opportunity to talk openly and honestly in a safe, quiet and above all, non-judgmental environment. Simply talking through your concerns, frustrations and feelings can be a real help.

Above all, remember – you are not alone. 

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Affiliated to Headway UK– the brain injury association a Registered Charity