9 Things NOT to Say to Someone with a Brain Injury

Marie Rowland, PhD, EmpowermentAlly
9 Things NOT to Say to Someone with a Brain Injury

Brain injury is confusing to people who don’t have one. It’s natural to want to say something, to voice an opinion or offer advice, even when we don’t understand.

And when you care for a loved one with a brain injury, it’s easy to get burnt out and say things out of frustration.

Here are a few things you might find yourself saying that are probably not helpful:

1. You seem fine to me.

The invisible signs of a brain injury — memory and concentration problems, fatigue, insomnia, chronic pain, depression, or anxiety — these are sometimes more difficult to live with than visible disabilities. Research shows that having just a scar on the head can help a person with a brain injury feel validated and better understood. Your loved one may look normal, but shrugging off the invisible signs of brain injury is belittling. Consider this: a memory problem can be much more disabling than a limp.

2. Maybe you’re just not trying hard enough (you’re lazy).

Lazy is not the same as apathy (lack of interest, motivation, or emotion). Apathy is a disorder and common after a brain injury. Apathy can often get in the way of rehabilitation and recovery, so it’s important to recognize and treat it. Certain prescription drugs have been shown to reduce apathy. Setting very specific goals might also help.

Do beware of problems that mimic apathy. Depression, fatigue, and chronic pain are common after a brain injury, and can look like (or be combined with) apathy. Side effects of some prescription drugs can also look like apathy. Try to discover the root of the problem, so that you can help advocate for proper treatment.

3. You’re such a grump!

Irritability is one of the most common signs of a brain injury. Irritability could be the direct result of the brain injury, or a side effect of depression, anxiety, chronic pain, sleep disorders, or fatigue. Think of it as a biological grumpiness — it’s not as if your loved one can get some air and come back in a better mood. It can come and go without reason.

It’s hard to live with someone who is grumpy, moody, or angry all the time. Certain prescription drugs, supplements, changes in diet, or therapy that focuses on adjustment and coping skills can all help to reduce irritability.

4. How many times do I have to tell you?

It’s frustrating to repeat yourself over and over, but almost everyone who has a brain injury will experience some memory problems. Instead of pointing out a deficit, try finding a solution. Make the task easier. Create a routine. Install a memo board in the kitchen. Also, remember that language isn’t always verbal. “I’ve already told you this” comes through loud and clear just by facial expression.

5. Do you have any idea how much I do for you?

Your loved one probably knows how much you do, and feels incredibly guilty about it. It’s also possible that your loved one has no clue, and may never understand. This can be due to problems with awareness, memory, or apathy — all of which can be a direct result of a brain injury. You do need to unload your burden on someone, just let that someone be a good friend or a counselor.

6. Your problem is all the medications you take.

Prescription drugs can cause all kinds of side effects such as sluggishness, insomnia, memory problems, mania, sexual dysfunction, or weight gain — just to name a few. Someone with a brain injury is especially sensitive to these effects. But, if you blame everything on the effects of drugs, two things could happen. One, you might be encouraging your loved one to stop taking an important drug prematurely. Two, you might be overlooking a genuine sign of brain injury.

It’s a good idea to regularly review prescription drugs with a doctor. Don’t be afraid to ask about alternatives that might reduce side effects. At some point in recovery, it might very well be the right time to taper off a drug. But, you won’t know this without regular follow-up.

7. Let me do that for you.

Independence and control are two of the most important things lost after a brain injury. Yes, it may be easier to do things for your loved one. Yes, it may be less frustrating. But, encouraging your loved one to do things on their own will help promote self-esteem, confidence, and quality of living. It can also help the brain recover faster.

Do make sure that the task isn’t one that might put your loved one at genuine risk — such as driving too soon or managing medication when there are significant memory problems.

8. Try to think positively.

That’s easier said than done for many people, and even harder for someone with a brain injury. Repetitive negative thinking is called rumination, and it can be common after a brain injury. Rumination is usually related to depression or anxiety, and so treating those problems may help break the negative thinking cycle.

Furthermore, if you tell someone to stop thinking about a certain negative thought, that thought will just be pushed further towards the front of the mind (literally, to the prefrontal cortex). Instead, find a task that is especially enjoyable for your loved one. It will help to distract from negative thinking, and release chemicals that promote more positive thoughts.

9. You’re lucky to be alive.

This sounds like positive thinking, looking on the bright side of things. But be careful. A person with a brain injury is six times more likely to have suicidal thoughts than someone without a brain injury. Some may not feel very lucky to be alive. Instead of calling it “luck,” talk about how strong, persistent, or heroic the person is for getting through their ordeal. Tell them that they’re awesome.

Posted on BrainLine October 10, 2012. Reviewed July 25, 2018.

Written by Marie Rowland, PhD, EmpowermentAlly. Used with permission. www.brainhealthconsulting.com.

Comments (520)

Please remember, we are not able to give medical or legal advice. If you have medical concerns, please consult your doctor. All posted comments are the views and opinions of the poster only.

You'll want to find a place that specializes in neuro rehab. Depending on the severity of his accident, there are inpatient neuro rehab hospitals across the country that provide 3 hours of therapy a day while also providing medical and nursing care. If the accident is less severe, there are outpatient physical therapy centers that specialize in neuro rehab for speech as well as occupational and physical therapy. You can start my googling neurological rehab centers near you. Or, if his case is very severe and he wouldn't yet qualify for a rehab hospital, long-term acute care hospitals offer a lesser amount of rehab, focusing more on medical needs. If his insurance won't cover that, you'll need to search for a nursing home that offers rehab services. Hope this helps.

I have a friend whose boyfriend was in an accident, and she texted me to see if i could help. She says that no one in the hospital wants to work with him. She didn't tell me why. So she asked me if I could get information and maybe try and help him with his speech. Can anyone recommend anything that might help? I'd be grateful.

Have his doctor make a referral to a speech therapist. Not only do they help with speech, but they help with memory and cognitive functioning. Watch YouTube videos on neroplasicity. Call your local welfare department and tell them you need a social worker and a care giver. Google local TBI/PTSD support groups. If you live near a college see if they have any programs. Ask your family doctor to make a referral for a neuropsycologist ... that's different from a neurologist. Hope this helps.

It's been 3 years since my very severe TBI from a car accident in December of 2013, or so I'm told. I was serving on active duty in the Air Force and somehow went off the road 1/2 mile from my house and hit a tree on the way home from work after a 12-hour overnight shift. It was the kind of accident nobody thought anyone could have possibly survived. After being airlifted to the trauma center and weeks in the hospital I finally started to realize what happened. I had Post Traumatic Amnesia for 6 weeks. That period is so difficult to understand because I have no memory of it at all. I was conscious and even recognized people and could talk to them, but I couldn't retain any new information. I don't know how many times my family had to explain to me what happened. My TBI at least made me immune to the pain from my broken leg, foot, chest, ribs, and collarbone. Once I was able to start remembering again and move to the rehab hospital, I finally realized the issues my injury was causing. I had a lot of trouble thinking, remembering, moving my right side. To this day, my right side is weak, and my sensation of feeling is very weak. After 5 months in the hospital, it was finally time to go home. Back at work, it was so strange, people were shocked to see me walking around. They heard I died. It was true enough that my supervisors weren't sure I'd pull through in the first few weeks. After 3 years, I've come to the realization that my right side issues are permanent. I go back and forth between feeling lucky to be alive, and so angry that I still have disabilities from my injuries. I had to be retired from the military from my injuries and to this day feel so strange that I'm actually a disabled veteran now. I wish more than anything I could go back and stop this from happening but then remind myself that I just have to move on and adjust to my new reality. It's frustrating because people have no idea that anything is wrong with me; I can talk, walk, do most everything. What people don't realize is how hard it is for me to actually do those things. I've explained to people that yes I can take a dish from the dishwasher and put it away normally, but when I lift that dish, it feels like it's 50 pounds to me, it isn't easy at all. I'm so grateful that I can do everything that I can do, but frustrated with how hard it is to do it. 12/20/2016

I had a stroke 2 years ago at the age of 33. I have aphasia from the stroke among other things. I had to learn how to speak and use language all over again (well enough to fake it to make it). Nobody knows anything about what I go through on a day to day basis. Whether it be trying to clean house (never seemed to irritate me as much or take as long, what was I saying?), oh yeah, calling to make appointments (wow people are rude), getting ready (see ya in 3 hrs; and I might need a nap after), figuring out what to cook for dinner (it my brain hurts among other things), oh the list goes on but seriously I can't remember. Everyone thinks I'm stupid; hell half the time I'm convinced of it too. It's a struggle every day. My husband no longer wants to spend time with me because I forget stuff (I'm still cheerful) he says I'm too annoying. Well, thanks! I'm all alone and I almost forgot I have 2 teenage boys that hate me. Everything has changed for the worst. No one makes it any better. Only worse. How the heck do people make it through this?

A neurologist once said to me my mild closed brain injuries were "Water Under the Bridge".  As if brain injuries just mean nothing over time.  I found a study on football players (of course they are getting all of the attention) that I think the white or grey brain matter continues to break down years after the injuries. Another worthless nurse once said MRI and CT scans can pick up all brain injuries. I hate needing to turn to the medical establishment when I encounter medial so called professionals who don't even read any of the latest literature on the brain.  It is shocking to learn how much doctors are not taught and will not learn on their own. 

I am just convinced I need to "fake it til I make it" for the rest of my life, and apologize a lot for the mistakes I constantly make that I can't even remember happened. No one cares, no one is supportive, no one even believes me, I am a burden to everyone, and no one is going to help me out but me. So I just have to do it. No one is going to hold my hand or tell me it will all be okay. They are just going to be annoyed with me because they think I am mean, rude, dumb, and think I don't care and that's that. My sincerity will just be my solace, not meant to be recognized by anyone outside of myself, just known to myself as the truth I have always lived. So now I know how it is for stupid people: not much different than having anxiety as a smart person was, but with less data recall. Invisible disabilities really suck.

Maybe this isn't the right place but I have nowhere to turn and ask I can't find anywhere else that I can post to but It's been one year since my injury I was hospitalized for a long time after and now since the anniversary date of the accident I keep waking up in the middle of the night at the same time that I used to in the hospital and can't sleep at night again. I'm really feeling in so many ways the same as I did before can someone please help me and tell me how normal this is?

I got a moderate TBI 10 years ago  from being electrocuted and falling off a ladder at work. I've been on all sorts of medications and have been in therapy. Before the accident the world was my oyster, so to speak, but now the world is just a some weird place I'm living in. The first 5 years after my TBI  were most especially difficult for me because of my bouts with depression, suicidal thoughts, panic attacks, night terrors, and delusion thinking. The last 4 years I've been struggling with a gambling problem that may or may not be resulting from my TBI.( Some studies I've read suggest it does. I looked up the Iowa Gambling task and the Somatic marker Hypothesis). I tried to go to school (community college),but found it to be to difficult to learn. I was taking about one class a semester. My concentration skills  are messed up. But what I want to say is that when people say these 9 things to me- and they have- it doesn't bother me for several reasons. First, I don't expect them to understand what I'm going through because they haven't gone through it. Second, I understand that they are probably just as upset with my condition as I am. Lastly, I understand that in most cases they are just trying to help me get along in this world and help me to survive and maybe get better. And I appreciate that the people who are still in my life today, are treating me like they would treat any other person who "didn't" have a TBI  that acts the way I do when I with them. I find it better to be treated like some one as an equal instead of being coddled too because of my shortcomings.

I used to have such girly pretty handwriting before I got sick. Now I write like this sloppy manly chicken scratch. Its the only visible sign of me having a traumatic brain injury unless I'm having a trigeminal neuralgia attack. Life sucks after illness and living with an illness. I'm an obligation and a pity party that I don't want to be at anymore. I'm so over this sad excuse for a life since I got sick. I had the perfect life before. Now I'm just... existing.

My hand writing has gone to hell... I always feel like I'm existing without purpose... It's impossible for me to feel like someone/anyone is listening to what I say/mean. More often then not I say "yes" to avoid that awkward feeling with people that are normal. Everything in my life takes effort! I barely got through "I'm not a robot".

Yes. This is so accurate no matter how long it's been since the brain injury. Some days I feel myself going forward fast, and some days I can't remember if I've changed my babies diaper recently or not. OH, and eating, I don't feel hunger or fullness like I used to or remember what I've eaten or when. I have to write down what and how much I have eaten. My brain injury was at the end of 2011. I still struggle daily with it. Sleep deprecation makes it 10 times worse, but with two babies I have to deal. Thank you so much for addressing people with brain injuries.

ain't that the truth "think I forget on purpose"

I was told I may not wake up, if I do I could be this that and the other. Yahoo I am still here today suffering common problems Arthritis Pain etc. But things could be worse I could have been dead. And my five beautiful children to 3 mothers wouldn't be here. My brain injury is a disability but no one can see that and I cope with it well. I pray to one true God threw Jesus & that is my answer cause he hears. I am not here to preach just to mention what works for me in coping.  Thanks for all the great input from all.
Be HaPpY. From Lewy

I hate living with a TBI. It's been 12 since my car accident so everyone assumes I'm just grouchy or having a fit. Or if I'm aware of it I can make it stop. But my girlfriend doesn't understand there's nothing to stop. It's not something I have control over. I try and read what I can to understand what others are going through but it still doesn't mean that I can change where I go. I mean I try because I hate being out of control but it's not a button I can turn on or off. Then she gets mad at me and stops talking to me and it just makes it so much worse. When that happens I start to feel like I'm already dead inside. I just need someone who understands I'm really trying and need to talk about things and not burry them. I just don't know what to do anymore.

My brain injury was so bad the doctors thought I'd never wake up, then I'd never talk, then I'd never walk, then I'd never breath on my own again. I overcame so much, I even had amnesia for two years, reoccurring too. But I overcame it all. But now, now everyone just thinks every time I say I forgot that I'm just being lazy and I don't want to remember. Because I overcame so much they just think I'll be fine, I'll be normal. They think I forget on purpose or I'm not even trying. I hate this, it's been years and I'm lucky to even be able to walk ! But they just keep pushing me every time I say I forgot they roll thier eyes. I really feel like sometimes the coma was the easy part of this all.

10"x 25' long oak limb fell from 30' up on me in my back yard, nurses said I was lucky; all I could think was, no I'd have been lucky if I watched the limb fall from a safe distance.

I had a stroke when I was 35 and couldn't walk or write and couldn't remember anything I did a lot of therapy to be where I am today but my brain is not the same I have tried to explain that to some people and they say your fine it is all in your head, the stress, the depression and anxiety and when I say "no" to social things I get pushed into it and it makes it worse. I was with a friend and her daughter today that I haven't seen in 2 years and told me about about this website. She was understanding of the way I think and saw to it that at the end of our visit that I was laying down. She said, "your brain is tired and it needs to rest from all the stimulation." It was the best thing I ever heard. She got it. Nobody else has ever said that to me. They would just say "you're tired? what is wrong with you?" and the part that she said about "it was the stimulation" was the best because she has read all about it!! I have been reading all the stuff from your web and feel very relieved that I am not crazy and/or I get what's wrong with you why are you in bed I have it way worse than you and your so disorganized just get organized!!! I felt when people say that it makes me feel worse. I work hard or as hard as I can and try to raise a family at the same time. It is way harder than it ever was starting something and going to another and not finishing any of it because I get to confused. I wish everybody's friends and family members could read your web pages when somebody has a brain ingury. Like it said in your article: that I may look ok on the outside my brain is not the same. I just have to thank my friend and her daughter for them coming over today and showing me brainline.org it is the best I have ever read about thank you 💜💜

I had a stroke 14 years ago and I find myself repeating things. I am on some pretty sedating medications. I feel stupid, even though I completed a Master's degree post stroke, got married, learned to walk again, drive, have taken up latch-hook and macrame and adopted two new pets. I wish I knew what was going going on. I am a lot more obsessive than I was pre-stroke. Did anyone else have this problem?

Wow! Thanks for the sharing. I have a 30 year old son with 2 TBIs. (Two different traumatic accidents.) Hearing your experiences and honesty helps me understand brain injury better. God knows I was blown away at how catastrophic brain injury can be. Best wishes.

Dear reservist in Florida: Thank you so much for your courage and persistence and for helping us all by sharing your story here.

I tried a spiderman trick off a rope swing on the river. Did it 3 time correctly. Then my hands could not handle it any more and let go prematurely. The water was 18 in deep. I cant walk right. I cant speak right. Memory sucks. Vision slightly worse. Loud prolonged noises bother me real bad. I get scared of sudden noises a lot more than i used to. My body feel like how a wringed towel looks. Sleep is bad. don't dream too often. I wake up confused and like my body is made of clay. I feel devoid of "spirit". I live alone. And have for sometime. Temps inside my florida home get suffocatingly hot and sometimes cannot even get up to turn on the air conditioning or a fan.I don't think i feel paralyzed.  Haven't even touched my guns since it happened. (I enjoyed them so much I would go out of my way to clean and work on and provide necessary supplies to people free of charge). I was raised in a volatile, pessimistic, patronizing, parentless environment. Ya probably know what that can do to a person. I was in the army national guard. It didn't pay much. And the 125 mile commute to ocala. Took a lot out of me. The closest "coworker". lived 85 miles way in jacksonville. I was the kid who sat alone. And did not have or the opportunity to make money growing up . So i didn't turn water into wine. Was homeless for all but 2 months of my 3 year career. I wouldn't talk about anything because honesty is a weakness. So none of them knew. I would miss drill here and there. I couldn't use my situation as an excuse. I was counseled on how i need to know my limits. I tried to compensate. They wont let you join with congenital scoliosis. I caught some hassling for collecting all the unused stuff from eveyone's MREs. I said i needed stuff with long shelf life for a bugout bag. Everything was harder for me. I got kicked out for unsatisfactory participation. Still haven't told anyone about my back or head injury. Haven't talked to or emailed anyone. The only social interaction i had with others was when i went to drill or checked out at a store. Never had friends, male or female growing up. I Feel like castaway.

I've been brain injured sense 9-07-88 , my skull shattered into my brain in Mass General hospital they removed all of my commonsense, parts of memory, parts of speech, parts of behavior, parts of motivation. yes I look fine and yes it takes about 10 years when you start to almost feel normal! But even my wife is like "you're lazy" but my mom she goes to bat for me every time, she was in the hospital when I got there September 7, 1988 - December 21, 1988 every day and when they thought that the doctors would need to remove my left eye, mom offered in the mass General to give me her left eye but they informed her that they do not handicapped one to help another!

Sub arachnoid hemmhorrhage Sept 14 Cognitive problems persist, attention and memory amongst other things. Difficult to live with

My TBI was in 1993 I was 15 . I suffered subarachnoid hemorrhaging and right thalamus brain damage. I am 39 now .can you please tell me more about the affects on your life now . I feel many different ways emotionally and physically attributing them to other things age, stress, etc . Maybe direct result of my TBI if so my focus needs to be shifted so my quality of life may improve

My heart goes out to everyone here. I have had two freak accidents that left me with brain injury. And I can relate to most comments. Only God has given me hope to go on. This type of disability is worse, people cannot see it, and if you tell them, they forget or do not understand. Heck, I don't even understand it. :( Thank you for all your comments. It helps.

god bless you for your balanced view i just hope that somehow there will be an answer to the way people view brain injuries and understand those who have through no fault of their own been afflicted.

I have a TBI injury & it is a life changing event you don't want to have. Your life is lost in fighting all the associated problems that comes with a TBI injury. I have a "closed brain injury" & every day is another struggle to get thru.You feel that there is no purpose in life & living on drugs is pure hell. The signs of TBI aren't transparent & you have to have a basic understanding before you can began to understand the challenges we people face each & every day. It drains every bit of life out of you & you have to try to stay the course to get better & overcome this deadly injury. It's like being on life support each day.

I have had almost all of them said or done to me and I think I am emotionally strong considering that I just went through an abusive relationship before the head injury.

My heart goes out to you people having such a difficult time. I wouldn't dream I saying any meaningless things to victims of brain ops. It is a tough time. I suppose the bystander wants their old mum or sister or brother or or whoever back the way they were. It's a mixture if frustration and fear. Wishing you all the best.

I have had every one of those things said to me except "let me do that for you". I was told by my doctor that "your just getting old". Today I was with a friend and they said that I was just letting fear get in the way (I have a TBI & PTS) and I need to just go out and get a job and quit limiting myself and think positive. I am now a mess and trying to stop beating myself up for being a negative and lazy person. People have no idea how damaging their words are to those that have no support system. Now I'm trying to dig myself out of depression. TBI has taken so much and it is difficult enough because I was a very motivated positive person prior to my car accident. I lost my job, receive not income or disability, in the process of losing my house and the advise I get is "snap out of it".

I totally relate to that comment. It's been two and a half years since an 80 year old man fell asleep driving crossed two yellow lines in a curve and hit me head on. My brain is just one issue. Since the accident I have dropped FOUR friends who don't and won't get it. "You need to focus on your kids and getting back to work". " you're fine". Hurtful and right now I don't need that negativity in my life. Living life is hard enough for me after spinal surgery with spinal plate fusion broken ribs lots of other surgeries and never knowing if I'll ever be me again.

My issues after TBI are primarily inability to function.  I cannot pay bill, the process of it, online or the old school way.  I cannot keep the house clean because I get overwhelmed, distracted, and fatigued.  I cannot negotiate the demands of relationships, the pressures from others to be Mary Sunshine, "get over it", and to "be normal"; and their anger,coldness and punishing behavior increases the level of my symptoms more than words can say.  I am seriously considering leaving my marriage of 31 years.  It has been 10 years, and my husband's anger towards me when I fail to live up to his expectations has evolved into my being on the receiving end of verbal abuse, emotional abandonment, and an overall condescending and cold manner towards me.  I am on medication to control the personality changes that caused me to feel anger and act out in ways that were God awful.  I have worked my butt off to become a person who does not act out in that way. If anything I am more controlled now than before TBI.   Now HE yells and screams and acts "bat shit crazy". Does anyone else have family that is angry 10 years after the fact.  I feel so helpless and sad that I am in this spot after decades of marriage.  Ugh!  I have to make a choice, stay in an environment that has made my functionality get far worse than it was a few years ago, or get out.  Has anyone else had to create a new life after TBI?  Being 56 years old does not help.  BTW, I cannot work, due to cognitive impairments.

I really get tired of my family ignoring it and tell me everything is fine. It has been over 4 years and I am not the old me before brain injury. My head still hurts on the area of impact. I still carry many of the symptoms and my family thinks I am going back to work to make them money or I can take on the world like I use to. It just is not in me any more.

I played football for 9 years, from 4th grade all the way through high school. I'm almost 50 now, and I find myself mad all the time. I do remember in high school hitting helmet to helmet and losing all peripheral vision. Xanax has helped for the last 15yrs. But getting worse. I love football, but if it steals your brain, it's not worth playing.

May I add another comment NOT to say to someone with a Brain Injury? Before my accident I had excellent language skills, speech, writing, it was my forte'. Now I have to rewrite this post numerous times just to make it coherent (I think :) maybe).  If I comment on my problem with language skills or memory mostly...my sister comes back with "oh yeah,  I am just like you."  Or "Oh yeah, I know ALL about that.  I bumped my head a couple of times too you know."  I don't mean to sound snarky but I know she never had a brain bleed nor even complained of a head bump.  I know she is trivializing my injury for whatever reason, it just makes everything harder when it has been years (9) and I still have moments when I realize I have lost another part of me.  I don't want sympathy.  There are very few who even know of my TBI, but for my personal relationships it would be nice to just acknowledge I have a problem with this or that and not be made to feel like I am  just seeking attention.  Sorry.  I did not intend this to be a personal rant.  Maybe just some advice on how to respond to her, what I have tried so far hasn't worked.  

I hear half of these from my family my anger makes me need to stay away from them. I am tired of trying to educate them. I am not the same person. I am different and a new person is evolving and taking care of myself needs to be first.

Wish more people would read this column

You can still have a good life!   and my reply now is (to myself) Up Yours!

I hate it when loved ones tell me that one day I will wake up and be all right.

I really don't know what to say. I haven't had a proper diagnosis in 5 years. My neurologist wants to put everything that has been wrong. With me as a result of an autoimmune disease. I have been telling him for years this is all a result of a horrible fall, I didn't realize it at first as my symptoms were not immediate. I know what you all live with. This is the first time I've ever written in any forum. I suffer from a vestibular disorder, lived basically in seclusion as going out on my own was impossible. There hasn't been much information given to me by my doctors as far as what I should or should not be doing. Now I have the scat bus which helps me to get around. Family has not been very understanding, often saying ridiculous those. I just laugh at naive people. I feel people with disabilities are better human beings. We are more compassionate and understanding. Be true to YOURSELVES, do whatever you have to to be as independent as you can be. Its important to try and educate others because the one thing you have that they won't have is knowledge of the unknown. I often tell people I don't like to repeat myself. A person is either for you or against you. I don't have time for the ones who don't get me or don't care to help me. I do as much as possible on my own, when I ask for help it is needed. A lot of things can be relearned. Do not allow the closed minded to close your mind. We may have problems however God has chosen is for a higher way of thinking. Be the first to help someone in anyway you can, you will feel better. A simple smile and act of kindness goes a long way. God Bless

I can relate too. I had concussion and post-concussive syndrome after fall from aerial arts apparatus. I was horribly misunderstood by my company. My director said I should choose safer activities. My manager was very punitive. It was obvious that they did not think the symptoms were real.

I just got hit with a tire iron a month ago I am telling the hospital I lose focus on what I am doing I can be doing something mind goes blank to me not normal what can I do to help my memory do I get answers all I get is it takes time this is normal... and it's just pissing me off

I'm 38 year old woman who was cracked in my frontal lobe with a wood cane intentionally. Ever since this injury, my life changed for the worse! My marriage going down hill, voice's everyday, spirit's and not good one's either. It was my mom boyfriend who cracked me in the head. My husband disrespects me everyday and the be nice to me but calls me names even blind and lazy! Don't know what else to do. Anonymous

I'm 15 yrs old and I can relate to all of these sayings. I've had 5 concussions from sports in the past 3 yrs. I have Post Concussive Syndrome and I can't do much physical activity without getting a major head ache. I have a terrible memory and I get yelled at for forgetting things constantly. I get frustrated easily and I'm usually always in a grumpy mood. I hate it when people treat brain injury like its a regularly injury. People act like it just goes away within a few weeks when it can last a lifetime .

My TBI was 6 years ago. Since then I have been fired from 3 jobs and 2 volunteering. Prior to my injury I always worked. I finally came to terms maybe I shouldn't try to work anymore. And my mom called me a quitter. By the way I do receive SSD. This was most hurtful thing anyone has every said. I know people look at me funny with my ataxic gait and my speech aphasia.

My boyfriend of 3 months got into a car accident 15 yrs ago and suffered a frontal lobe injury. I have been having trouble understanding the side effects of it, as he downplayed it at first. But I have recently been seeing more and more signs of his injury. I want to try and make it work, so I have been reading up on those types of injuries and how to deal with someone who has them, to help me better understand, and to help control my annoyance and sometimes anger with him. This article has helped. Thank you :)

Ms. Roland , reading this is the most up lifting thing I've ever read since my own TBI on 5/14/2013 My family was told to proceed with my funeral arrangements, I wasn't expected to survive. Madame, you are my new hero, God bless you. Your faithful admirer Shelby

To the one that had a fall at the age of four!!!!!! I am just reading on TBI and it all makes sense now and your story made me feel like I finally have someone to relate to. Youre never alone and I am now writing this in tears thinking that all the damage of a whole life time could have been at least half avoided given proper care and a clear diagoisis at that young age. I was 2.5 and went off the ladder on to the cement  and suffered a closed head 3/4 way around fracture and to add to the trauma they accused my parents of abuse. I was also restrained by the nurses and had to be  tied me down in the hospital crib with rope. You can see it in the background of my photos. Then at 5 I fell out of a tree and hit some tar curbing that the city had left there when they did repairs on the road. That was an open head wound and I never went back for any tests or nothing growing up. The strange thing is my temper that is comaparable to the devils blue streak is and was said to be inheritied by my grandfathers. I was always told to try harder and still cant understand the concept of trying harder. Its like the term apply yourself more a friends mother used to say to him when he was younger., What doe these mean? I am very impulsive and I am sure my daughter was embarassed to have been even in the same airport with me when I was escorted off the plane and straight to jail. For what I never  knew becasue there were no charges. They released me to my parents and that was the end of it, Yet we found out later on that Portland airport had profiled three other women after me following the same proceedures to jail. Nice!  But ive lived through most of the rough spots constantly teased taunted abused used etc,,,, Its hard to understand why people are so mean and hate so much when a smile or good deed is all it requires to make someone happy. Im not very good at typing because it takes to long to find the keys as the words are rushing through my head. Out of all I have 4 degrees and had a career  for 20 plus years off and on. I didnt realize that there were any problems besides behavioral really until I started to take an inventory with speech impediment on certain words, migraines from hell sometimes 2 or 3 in a row, depression anxieyy etc.... yet my memory is impeccible. I have started on my Phd in Psych and am a third of the way through now I just need to finish it which is my biggest down fall... the finish lines.   Reading all that I have read  has given me a footing on all the years of counseling that never did any good. Now I now why. I just want to thank all those that shared your stories and I wish I could help fix the  hearts of the disenchanted  and the minds of those that have lost  their heads whether through accidents or from the people in our lives that had to  deal with us..

My mother has PTSD, but she does sometimes act like this. I've been concerned for a while that she may have had a stroke. TBI is not something to guess at, right? Except that when you are literally poverty stricken, and even a $20 copay is too much, you cannot get things taken care of. I will never say these demeaning things to my mother, but at the same time, I have Autism Spectrum Disorder. How am I supposed to cope with this when I cannot understand regular people? How am I supposed to take her lashing out and shouting in my face when I first get up in the morning, about something I don't know, because she forgot something? I'm trying to be supportive, but I've pretty much grown up with having to take care of my parents (my dad passed away in 2001 and was disabled for all of my life). I try to word things gently, I avoid entire subjects, I'm tense and ready to be shouted at, but...even if I forgive all that and accept it...it still just happens again. This time, it was a fee for an inspection on buying a house. Its not unusual to forget some detail in a complicated process like that! But I cannot even take a breath to say Anything, at all, without more shouting at me. I cannot distract her without sounding patronizing. If I just say, its okay, you forgot, then she starts calling herself stupid and retarded! I know that I'm better at remembering facts because of my own ASD. But really? I'm not really upset with her personally, but I'm tired already. Seems to me like that's another side of all this, this article takes burnout waay too lightly! Of course, TBI is a serious affliction that deserves all respect, but I think that the people who say these things should be acknowledged and forgiven if they slip up!