Life is different after a traumatic brain injury. In addition to all the physical changes a brain injury may bring, a traumatic brain injury can also mean the loss of a career or the disruption of an education. It can change your plans for the future, alter the way you meet and make friends, and affect the way you think about yourself. Life after a brain injury usually involves challenges, but that doesn't mean life is less valuable or fulfilling.
While everyone with a brain injury embarks on their own unique journey toward recovery, there are some common experiences that many people share -- experiences that can offer tremendous inspiration and support at various points in life.
Acceptance and Attachment
BrainLine blogger Abby Maslin talks about how she is working on finally letting go of the "old," pre-injury TC with the help of a lot of yoga and self-reflection.
Let the Boat Do the Work
Before his TBI, Janna Leyde's father was passionate about waterskiing. Janna thought that love was lost, but she discovered there was still hope.
The Broken Watch
Remembering her father who had dementia — another sort of injury to the brain — Rosemary says that letting time stand still every now and then is good for the soul.
Learning to Live in the Moment After Brain Injury
"In hindsight, it’s probably best that we didn’t know what was coming. No one really wants to know that life is about to become difficult — very difficult."
The Real Truth About Brain Injuries
Caregivers often focus on the silver linings. Mother and caregiver Dixie Coskie has had enough; she's sharing how she truly feels.
The Chicken Book
BrainLine blogger Janna Leyde talks about the power of stories, back when her father was first injured and now, sharing her own with others.
Strength and Balance
One of the guiding principles of my life as a wife of a husband with TBI is to “explore everything,” says Rosemary Rawlins.
Of Fireflies and Thank Yous
A trip to visit the firemen who helped save David Grant's life brings both high emotion and deep gratitude.
I Love the Now
Janna Leyde wonders if fully loving the new version of her father is strangely like cheating on the old, pre-injury version of her father.
I Am Disabled
Saying "I am disabled" was an unexpected admission for David Grant, which brought about unexpected emotion.
The Cause of it All
"The cause of it all can’t be changed, but it doesn’t have to destroy us either," says Abby Maslin whose husband sustained a severe TBI after being attacked.
What You Bring to the Mat
Brainline blogger and yoga teacher Janna Leyde talks about the nuances of teaching yoga to vets and civilians with brain injury.
Churning Out the Miles
Can you bike along the same street where you were hit by a car? BrainLine blogger David Grant talks about when he first got back on his bike post-TBI.
When We Show Up
For Janna Leyde, her father, and her other students, yoga is often "the path away from the unfairness"
"The real eye-opener was how long it has taken me to realize that the light at the end of the tunnel is not a train," says David Grant about recovering from his TBI.
A sister looks back at how her brother's severe brain injury continues to affect her life and that of her family.
Soul Kitchen: Some Thoughts on Food and Cooking After Brain Injury
Su Meck, who lost her entire memory when a ceiling fan fell on her head, was sent home to feed and care for her family.
If the Whooping Crane Can ...
TBI Blogger Kara Swanson talks about how people with TBI can be like the whooping cranes that were in danger of extinction but learned to soar again.
How Drumming Brought Me Back to Life After Brain Injury
"Drumsticks are such familiar objects to me — almost like extensions of my own body — that I knew they’d serve as a crucial part of my recovery."
To the Kids
Brainline blogger Janna Leyde writes a letter to other kids out there like her who have a parent with a brain injury.
Traveling at the Speed of Light
"Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. If you have had a TBI, prepare for a very short flight. The rest of you, well, make yourself comfortable for the next few hours."
BrainLine blogger Janna Leyde talks about the ongoing struggles of growing up with a father — and family — that changed because of a brain injury.
The Day I Met Little Bear
BrainLine blogger David Grant talks about the healing he found at a Native American pow wow.
Time Warp or Puppy Energy?
Janna Leyde talks about the "small, fuzzy, blonde being" that is bringing out the two parents she has not seen in years.
All About My Mother
"My mother is amazing. Sometimes I tell people she’s an alien because there is no one I know like her," says Janna Leyde about her mother in the wake of a TBI that changed their family.
Reclaiming Intimacy After Brain Injury
David Grant takes on the tough topic of sex and intimacy after brain injury.
Get a Group, Get a Life!
In his TBI support group, David Grant learned that problems carried alone are problems doubled, while problems shared are problems cut in half.
The Value of Therapy
For Nicole Wight, it took a long time to get herself in therapy but she needed help to grieve the loss of her mother and the loss of who her children once were.
Managing the Future for a Special-Needs Child
Nicole Wight says her hopes and dreams for her son have not changed since he sustained a severe brain injuy; her biggest hope is that he will be happy no matter what he does.
Life After Brain Injury: Developing a Meaningful Life
David Grant knows that a brain injury is just about the last thing you think about until it becomes the only thing you think about.
The Car Crash that Changed the Wight Family
Nicole Wight talks about the day of the car crash that killed her mother and left her two young children with brain injuries.
The Moment Michael Wight "Wakes Up" for the First Time
Nicole Wight talks about when her son first re-emerged after his brain injury while in OT.
Not Just a Special-Needs Mom
When you bring normalcy to your own life, the kids can have more normalcy, too, says Nicole Wight.
Grieving Your Loss and Loving Your "New" Children
Nicole Wight talks about the wrenching pain and difficulty that was accepting the fact that although her two kids did not die in the car crash, they would never again be the same.
Life After Brain Injury: I Have a Secret
Most anyone living with a traumatic brain injury already knows this secret: not all is as it appears. .
Life After Brain Injury: Dead Man Walking
For David Grant, seeing the crash that caused his TBI through the eyes of others was quite surrealistic.
From Caregiver to Caregiver: Words of Advice and Encouragement
Few people are more qualified to offer caregivers advice and encouragement than others who have walked in their shoes. Hear advice and thoughts from TBI caregivers.
“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly.” September 4, 1982 was the day Mike “Pedal Monster” Heikes left his caterpillar life forever and began his wild adventure as someone who survived a TBI.
Reinventing the Family
Abby Maslin shares her thoughts on how her husband's brain injury is helping them become even better parents than they could have imagined.
Live the Synonym
TBI Blogger Kara Swanson knows that "life cannot be perfect ... but it CAN, however, be perfect for you."
Reclaiming Health After a Brain Injury
A TBI can put everything on hold, but as time passed, Abby Maslin knew she had to help her injured husband — and herself — return to their previous healthy habits.
Remembering Who You Are
Sarah Kishpaugh rediscovers her feisty sense of humor, which got temporarily buried in the maelstrom after her husband's TBI.
He Never Liked Cake
A brain injury can turn a family's life upside down. Add in adolescence. Read an excerpt from Janna Leyde's coming-of-age story — raw, honest, funny, heart-breaking and heart-affirming.
The Power of Mountain Pose -- and Beyond
Janna Leyde, writer, yoga teacher, and daughter of a father with severe TBI, asks: "So how do we reconnect the mind and body? How do we find ourselves in the now?"
Creativity in Caregiving
Loving wife and teacher Abby Maslin uses her creativity and teaching skills to help her husband recover from a severe TBI.
"Growing up with a father with a TBI is complicated, un-ending grief without closure. It’s the opposite of resolution. It’s missing someone like hell who’s still alive and with you."
Here’s What I’ve Learned by Accident … How About You?
People often ask Rosemary what she has learned from Hugh's traumatic brain injury and all that has come after. In this week's blog post, she shares some of the lessons she has learned along the way.
Life Out of Order
Rosemary talks with author and caregiver Sally Laux who lost her three brothers — two to death, one to a severe TBI.
Banishing Caregiver’s Remorse
Do you feel like no matter how much time you spend caregiving, you are not doing enough? Rosemary has felt that way, too, but realized she needed to do something about it.
Superman: Suzanne Laboy's Blog
In February 2013, police officer Peter Laboy was shot in the head. His wife, Suzanne, is chronicling the family's journey.
What Does It Mean to Survive?
"Life and living is the very definition of surviving. It is what the living do. Definitions are meant to change. Able to change. For the brain injured, begging to change. What does it mean to you to have survived?"
"Think for a moment about the best gift you have ever received. What made it so different from all the rest?" Rosemary shares one birthday present she will treasure forever.
Paper Trail or Trial?
Before Hugh’s injury, I loved getting mail in my mailbox. Afterward, I dreaded adding another pile to the piles of mail that permanently resided on my desk, office floor, and living room table.
Gray Matters: G. Gayle Kelley
"TBI does not change the fact that we are human beings. We have feelings. We are not second class citizens. We are different, but different does not mean worse."
Gray Matters: T.K. Johns and Tim Johns
"You want your son back so bad and you want him to have a normal life. It's not going to happen ... all you can do is be there 100 percent."
Why Stories Matter
Rosemary talks about giving her first caregiving talk at a brain injury conference and how friendships and opportunities burgeoned from there.
Life Out of Order
Sally Laux has lost her three brothers — two to death, one to a severe TBI — and yet, as she walks on a landscape of new textures and colors, she somehow continues to find meaning in her life.
What exactly is "resilience"? In her caregiving blog, Rosemary talks about this important ability as a way to "bounce forward" after brain injury.
Watch this clip from a powerful documentary about a brilliant actress who triumphed over the loss of her short-term memory.
A Crash Too Late
Seven years after having to leave her beloved sport of alpine ski racing, Lesley LeMasurier shares her story and sage advice.
Rise and Shine
An excerpt from a stunning book about what it means to return to live after a near-death experience.
The Way I Walk
As a young Cub Scout, the "Broken Arrow Boy" fell and an arrow in his hand punctured his brain. More than 50 surgeries later, Adam Moore lives a spiritual and artistic life.
Creating Art After a Brain Injury
Since her brain injury, world-renowned artist Ginny Ruffner has had to discover different and more inventive ways to create her art.
Artist Ginny Ruffner's TBI: Yesterday's News
Giving up art after her TBI was never a choice. "Giving up art is like giving up having green eyes. It's who I am, not what I do."
The Benefits of Being a Gym Rat -- Before and After a Brain Injury
I keep making improvements partly because I go to the gym, partly because I do exercises at home, and partly because I'm so dang stubborn. I want to keep moving forward.
Choose to Laugh or Cry After a Brain Injury
Artist Ginny Ruffner thinks a TBI is like the universe having a really wicked sense of humor ... but she shows that determination and humor can outmatch any challenge.
Recovery Motivated by Fear ... and the Drive to Create Art
In therapy post-TBI, artist Ginny Ruffner was taught to bag groceries. That scared her — and motivated her to always do more than she needed to.
Best Advice to Keep Pushing Forward After a Brain Injury
Artist Ginny Ruffner's advice to others with TBI: "Persist! Keep doing it, trying it, pushing it, saying no I'm not stopping it. Keep Going!"
Artist Ginny Ruffner on Curiosity, Language, and the Brain
Artists may see the world differently from most people, but for artist Ginny Ruffner, especially after her brain injury, thinking about thinking, thinking about wonder and how the mind creates and is endlessly fascinating.
The Changing Wonders of Art and Beauty — Before and After a Brain Injury
Artist Ginny Ruffner believes that surrounding herself with beauty makes her happier in her head and heart ... and beauty is always changing.
Fighting the "TBI Wars": New Alternatives for TBI Survivors
In A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway wrote, “The world breaks us all, then after, some are strong at the broken places.”
Growing Up with Brain Injury
This is a glimpse into the life of girl whose father sustained a brain injury. Her life continues to be defined by the moment of her father's car crash — for better and for worse.
Bring on the Steeple Chase!
"For the brain injured, for anyone needing to restart their lives after all of their normal has been stripped, the Olympics provide a serious, wonderful, hopeful dose of what is possible in each of us."
What Is Your It?
"It" is the recipient of all of your best.What is your "it"?
Have you ever dreamt that you were terrified, you screamed, but nothing came out? Imagine you are paralyzed, too. You can’t shield your face with your hands or run away, but you see, hear, and understand everything coming at you.
"The puzzle of my life has a thousand pieces to it, and I am learning how to fit them all together."
“Please don’t keep bringing up my past. I don’t live there anymore.”
The Girlfriend's Guide to TBI: Or Everything Your Doctor Won't Tell You
Do you need to nap after showering because it's so exhausting? Is grocery shopping like climbing a mountain?
Most people in Upstate New York remember March 15, 1993 as the day the Blizzard of the Century paralyzed the region. For Jon, it was a day when a train hit him and his life changed forever.
How Yoga Can "Not" Wreck Your Body
"As someone who has sustained a brain injury, I am sure that yoga has helped my body, not wrecked it."
Finding the Words Again After a Life-Changing Brain Injury
After a life-changing brain injury, this sports journalist learns that words, as always, save him.
Halloween and Such
Take off your mask ... it's hot and sticky under there and the elastic gets caught in your hair.
From the Ground Up
One journalist makes sense of his TBI by once again putting pen to paper.
Ginny Ruffner: a not so still life
Watch this clip about world-renowned artist Ginny Ruffner, who refuses to let a debilitating brain injury slow down her drive to create art.
Learning to Let Go, Again
A day with friends on the links ended Ryan's life as he — and his family — knew it, but their life includes many more happy chapters.
The love of a family makes a world of difference after a brain injury.
Anne Forrest: Bringing Up Baby
By the time baby Daniel arrived, Anne Forrest “had been practicing having a baby for a long time.”
Libby Parker: Finding Her Rhythm
In the last chapter of Naomi Parker's book about her daughter’s brain injury, Libby was starting her senior year of high school. BrainLine wanted to find out where she is now.
"Normal" People Do Yoga
"I have to admit that I didn’t expect Satan to come as a yoga instructor ... "
A Brain Injury Support Group Could Be One of the Best Things That Ever Happens to You
"I never thought I was a 'support group person' ... I wanted to take action, not talk about my problems."
Brain injury Blogs: Voices from People Living with Traumatic Brain Injury
"You've got to look forward, you can't look back. Only look back in order to see how far you've come."
Part II: Brain Injury X-Posed: The Survivor's View
Experience the powerful images and words by a group of people living with TBI in this second installment of a photographic exhibit.
Mary Walia's Story: Humor and Moxie After a Brain Injury
"I’m a young woman with a lot to give to the world, and the world has a lot to give me yet.”
Three Thousand and Some Change
"The average person has 3,000 thoughts every day ... I’d be interested to see how many of mine begin with, “I forgive…” and “I am grateful for….” and “I am capable of….”
Making a Difference #11: Adriana
Learn about one young woman who has not stopped working hard on her recovery since the moment she woke up from her coma.
Making a Difference #12: Erroll
Six years after a car wreck, Erroll teaches elementary school PE. "I'm probably the most positive person you'll ever meet."
Making a Difference #13: Sammy
Watch how the lives of Sammy and his parents have taken new shape since his injury. "Life changes, priorities change ..."
A Friend's "Accident" Brings It All Back
"Hearing the news of my friend's car crash was like reliving the emotions and pain of my own crash and the battles afterwards ..."
With Brain Injury, Problems Mean Derailment
"It doesn’t take much to derail a person with a brain injury ... "
The Hidden Secret of Brain Injury: Hypothalamus Dysfunction
"Why did I look like the Michelin Man — puffy, round faced, fat feet, no bones showing?"
Head Injury, Rising Heart Rate, and Diabetes: A Crappy Combo
Being diagnosed with something like diabetes after a TBI seems like a cruel slap in the face.
Shireen Jeejeebhoy's Brain Injury Blog
Funny and irreverent, Shireen Jeejeehboy shares her brain injury blog that is full of stories and great information.
TBI Ten Years Later: A Mother's Story Continues
Ten years is a long time, but the shock and sadness of a child's TBI never goes away.
See how friends and family rallied around the glowing and fiesty girl they loved — and how that helped during her recovery from a TBI.
The New Me
Poems and thoughts from people with brain injury, created in a peer support group in Ireland.
Like a lot of people after a TBI, Geo Gosling had issues with anger ... and "furiadage."
When Libby Lost Her Smile
The story of a mother's relentless battle to help her daughter — in school and in life — after a brain injury.
How I Recovered from Brain Damage
The story of a California girl who, after a TBI, becomes a beacon of health and wellness for herself and countless others.
I'll Carry the Fork: Recovering a Life After Brain Injury
"Sometimes when your life ends, you don't actually die."
After Brain Injury: Telling Your Story - A Journaling Workbook
Learning how sharing your story can be "medicine" for you and others.
Passage to Nirvana: A Survivor's Zen Voyage
One man's journey after a brain injury that includes poetry, thoughts on Zen Buddhism, and a sailor's yarn.
Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog
Kara Swanson's blog is invariably filled with insight, wisdom ... and humor.
"Here. Make Yourself Useful."
"So, when someone like that tosses a rag your way and tells you, 'Here. Make yourself useful,' you get busy."
Cracked: Recovering After Traumatic Brain Injury
One girl's "regrowth of her adolescent spirit" after a brain injury.
Mindfulness and Brain Injury: The Central Park Jogger’s Story
Trisha Meili, known through the media as the Central Park Jogger, shares the story of her attack as well as how mindfulness and living in the present moment continues to help with her recovery.
One Bad Decision
Michael Nepola was loving life as a high school kid. Then he made one bad decision: to drink and drive. Telling his story, he beseeches people not to make the same mistake he did.
After a serious biking accident, "all I had to guide me was a damaged brain."
Water Under the Bridge
“Water Under the Bridge” was written by Jeff Shattuck after he sustained a brain injury. It is sung by Eryn Young. Guitars are the work of Tim Young. Bass is Sam Bevan and drums are Andy Korn. Everything was recorded by Jaime Durr at Hyde Street Studios, San Francisco. Used by permission. For more information on Jeff Shattuck and his music, go to Cerebellumblues.squarespace.com. Transcript of this Video.
Raising Mario Twice
A mother's story of the night that changed her family's live, and everything that happened since then.
Couldn't Happen to Me
"This is not the path I chose. But I have to make the best of it."
The Cerebellum Blues
After an injury, one man's brain on music.
Crooked Smile - Video Excerpt of Daniel Skiing
Watch Daniel Cohen, 33, who sustained a brain injury 16 years before, enjoy the Calgary slopes.
Trisha Meili: Going the Distance
Trisha Meili — the Central Park Jogger — shares her personal best.
To Wherever Oceans Go
Learn how one woman refused to limit her potential.
Brain Interrupted: The Story of John's Traumatic Brain Injury
Mt. Sinai's Dr. Wayne Gordon introduces one mother's powerful story about the importance of accurate diagnosis.
A Matter of Panache
Read how a school psychologist had to learn to ask for help after a TBI.
Every 21 Seconds
A story that puts words to what so many people with TBI experience.
A Voice for Traumatic Brain Injury
How did someone with TBI end up in a mental institution and then in prison?
The Smile on My Forehead
After her brain injury, Jennifer Mosher learned to embrace her two smiles.
Recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury: A Self-Help Primer
A self-help guide from someone who orchestrated his own successful recovery post-TBI.
A mother's tragedy, terror, and triumph through a child's traumatic brain injury.
A Conversation with Joan Ryan
Hear the backstory from the author of The Water Giver. A mother's love for her brain-injured son.
One Bad Decision
"Don't let this happen to you" — Watch one young man's story of his brain injury.
Wind Dancing: The Gift of Healing Traumatic Brain Injury
The story of how a brain injury helped one woman find her true self.
BrainLine Talks with Jason and Susannah Ferguson About Family and TBI
BrainLine talks with Jason and Susannah Ferguson about how Jason's brain injury has affected their marriage, family, and outlook on life.
How to Succeed in Biz-Ness by Really Trying (Logan's Story)
This is the story of a girl named Logan who persevered through her brain injury to create a magazine for other kids with disabilities and inspire them to achieve their dreams and goals.
Every 21 Seconds - The Story of 8 Survivors of TBI
See an excerpt from a video that profiles the stories of eight people with TBI.
Brain Injury X-Posed: The Survivor's View
A photographic exhibit created by a group of people with TBI to reflect their experience living with brain injury.
To Love What Is
“On a moonless summer night my husband fell nine feet from a sleeping loft to the floor and did not die.”
I Wanted My Brain Back
What happens when you’re a PhD economist and you suddenly can’t remember things or think straight?
Stories from a "Silent Epidemic": Oral History Project Counters Myths About Traumatic Brain Injury
In countless ways a person's life is altered in a moment after a brain injury.
My Invisible Disability
One young man's story of how he brought light to tragedy.
"Your life can change in an instant ... but ... life goes on. Don't trust anyone!"
I Am the Central Park Jogger: A Story of Hope and Possibility
The story of a competitive and driven young executive whose life was destroyed, and how she ultimately rebuilt it.
A moving family story that makes you wish the book never ends.
Being with Rachel
The story of one mother who uses stories to jumpstart her daughter's memory after a brain injury.
Companions in Courage
NHL Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine helps other athletes and people with TBI by sharing his story.
Over My Head
Dr. Claudia Osborn never thought she would be in the ER for anything else but treating patients.
Miles to Go Before I Sleep
One woman's "grateful journey" back from being shot in the head by the hijackers of EgyptAir Flight 548.