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 th ings 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 (425)

What do we do now

I have TBI. I say things to people I don't remember saying and I think I've said something to someone but didn't.  Does anyone else do this?

I have lived with my husband with an ABI for 16 years.  Apparently I say and do every thing wrong.  I am really tired of always being wrong.  I have tried to respect his ABI and capacities and we have kept running our farm for these 16 years.  I am not appreciated and have no sense that he acknowledges that I have feelings or emotions.  He is totally self absorbed.  He is now taking a separation from me to allow his head to recover as he is convinced that he is losing his sanity and it is all my fault.  He says he cannot establish a routine or  do the meditation and alike if I am in the house.  He is very irritated by whatever I say or do.  He has a list of my major stuff ups over the past 16 years which he trots out as proof of how awful I am.  Sometimes I respond and  I get angry too.  He has recently been diagnosed with bipolar with manic episodes. So why do I feel like shit, I have raised two sons successfully.  He goes around and tells whoever that his marriage is a disaster and I am a terrible person. I am not perfect and I do respond when goaded incessantly.   I have had it with people that tell me how lucky I am, how well he is, and that there is no sign of any damage - why don't they walk a mile in my shoes and acknowledge to me the wife of a man without a left frontal lobe and major damage to his right frontal lobe that I am OK and yes he is a bit odd.

The comment today on Oct 13th, I also really like. I feel that all the time with people. Trying to compare there everyday issues with TBI person. It's demeaning.
It's a horrible feeling. FOR EXAMPLE:
I don't go to someone with, say, cancer, and say to them, "oh, you feel sick? Well  I feel sick all the time too". Makes me feel awful to even think to say that. I do not understand what a cancer patient is actually going through so instead I would say " WOW, that must be tough. Your a strong person dealing with all that, and I can never understand what it is actually like unless I am going through it also. I get nasuea as part of my TBI but it is very different than in your case."
This way they do not feel you are comparing your own issues with theres to make them feel like they do not have that big of a sickness. Love all these posts and comments. They are very helpful.

 

Also, Do not compare your ieveryday ssues to a suffering TBI person issues, as if you have the same. It makes them feel like you pass off there problems as to say everyone has what they have. Feel hurtful and leads to depression when us suffering from TBI KNOW what we were before we had it and what we are after. It is NOT the same issues as other people or in the same way. So try not to tell a TBI patient, 'Oh ya, I have headaces all the time too" or "I have memory loss too", just try and be understanding that, these issues are EXTREME and it can really hurt our spirit for someone to pass our issues off as if it is nothing. Listen and stop talking aabout yourself nd taking over what a TBI person has and has to say and it will help them heal inside and out.

My boyfriend has a tbi and received it before we started dating.  He shared his injury with me right away.  I admit I had no idea what this really meant and just how his tbi affects his life.  I have read so much and gone to his doctors that now I fully understand there are things he does and says that he can't always control.   It isn't easy to remember he may be saying things without knowing how it sounds.  He can get angry very easy and focus on negativity a lot.  This site is giving me comfort that I am not alone. 

To all the people who say a person chooses to be angry, happy, sad, should try having a brain injury.

I had a very horrific brain injury. Around 17 years ago. I still have many problems. I cope pretty well. I have very bad sorry term memory problems. I really try to be very positive. Rather than dwell in sorrow Or discontent. I'm in control of my destiny if I want something I try to make it happen. I have ptsd and anger issues when confused or upset.

Please know that your are here for a purpose!! God loves so much, know that he has a plan for your life. DON'T! give up...Maybe it's to teach others how to understand people living with brain injuries...I'm not sure but God will lead you in the right direction, that I do know. Be encouraged, I can tell your a fighter because your still here! Your are courageous and wonderfully made!! Get excited about life and make your mark in this world...YOU can do it, it's already in you!!!!

I was a infant when I fell and had a brain injury.

When I started school  my mother told me to never tell anyone or they will say I am stupid.it did not  matter,my siblings would pin me down and show everyone the scare on the back of my head ,then say she is stupid,her brains fell out.

When I went to middle school my mother say never to tell the teachers or they will take you out of school and on one is at home to take care of you.

By grad three teachers knew some thing was wrong ,they said a learning disability.

This was   1969. support for my b/i was not Cleary understood at the times.

Funny how the support staff would go out side to smoke dubies all day long but was frustrated be me not being able to understand the process of math rules.

I am 52 now. And have had only customer  service work most of my life.

Now I am dealing with age discrimination .

Cant even get considered for a job as a night stocker at walmart.

Ontario works treats me like I am not trying hard enough.

I have worked all my life ,now I ha even begin for welfare.

I should just kill myself and stop the humiliation.

Jolene here…….1994 head-on collision in a full-size conversion van with no airbag deployment.  I blacked-out but came to, still buckled in, with rescue workers working on getting me out.  No one suggested during emergency treatment or during follow-up in the next 2 weeks that I may have suffered anything involving my brain – even tho I was in a constant state of “fog” (kinda like when you get up in the a.m. but not quite awake).  It was only after it took me 2 days to remember that 8 and 5 equals 13 that I knew something was seriously wrong.  I still can’t do math without having a calculator to check my answers.  Along with several physical injuries from which to recover, it seems the aphasia was the most difficult to deal with.  Back then blonde jokes were big so I went brunette to avoid the automatic “blonde assumption” thrown at me. The worst thing I heard was “There’s no such thing as a head injury.  If you’d just handle your stress better you wouldn’t have a problem”.  I had to give up my real estate biz.  It was devastating to wonder “will I ever be smart again?”.  The neuropsych test established my IQ at 135.  I didn’t know what that meant – just knew it was good to have 3 numbers (always wondered what it was before the accident)! Years later, an argument between Frasier Crane and his brother Miles about IQ test results helped me realize I’m not stupid (go figure)!  That epiphany empowered me to move forward like never before and I haven’t stopped since.  For  all those out there that just don’t know if you can…….its been 20 years for me and I can tell you…..NEVER GIVE UP – NEVER SURRENDER…….Just keep swimming……Just keep swimming….(I love Dorie!). Our brains are capable of amazing things. By the way, I am in a good, committed relationship for the first time since then and He understands much more now because of all these stories (lights, noise, organization, etc).  I no longer feel secluded after sharing this with him. Wishing you Inner Peace and Love.

I think a major one was missed from this list and perhaps should be added in as the 10th item for the top 10 things not to say instead of 9.  That is, "I didn't realize you were so sick."  Or, someone trying to come to my defense by saying, "Don't pay any attention to them, they just don't understand your illness or they just don't understand how sick you are."  I'm not sick.  I'm injured.  There's a vast difference between illness and injury; specifically TBI.  Please stop telling me I'm just sick as if I'll get over soon.

i am reading this and it saddens me i wento hospital 8 yrs ago and came out in a wheelchair a year later i was such an indpendt lady@ that time @ my partner@ the time was working in u.k. and i was working in i.e now its all changed i do accept it :times but my p.a.are a lazy bunch one shrunk all my clothes u know the drawer of the washing machine i mentioned to her todsay and she replied i only here for personal care and making u a cup of tea which i can make better myself is it the same in u.s. are we backward here in i.e. just give me ur honest thought please talk soon mags

My friend with a TBI sent this to me, and for that I am grateful. I admit saying at times some of the forbiddens on this list, and see that it is counterproductive to communication to do so.

My question has to do with the irascibility leading to an implied accusation (or sometimes its even outright). Is it too much to expect an apology in relative short order, or is it just as likely that her memory of the gone south conversation won't coincide with mine enough to make it meaningful to me, or that she may forget it even occurred? This is an ongoing problem that I'm sure others have too.

Yes! I'm a young adult with TBI, and I've read this article. I hate to say "all", so I will say, a majority of this text is true. I've never found anything on the internet that was precise with Traumatic Brain Injury, until now. After I post this comment, I will share this passage on the many social media websites that I go to. Hopefully, many more people will understand our, patients with TBI, situation.

On those rare occasions when I've told people what I live with after my accident, some have dismissively said, "Oh, I go through that too." That really ticks me off. I tell them, "I suggest you go out and get a brain trauma and when you come back, then we can compare notes." 

I am not a brain injury survivor but I have a wonderful friend who is. Recently a mutual friend to both of us said "You know he has more control than he thinks he does". REALLY!!! I wanted to smack him! Please don't make comments until you've studied and understand the situation. I am just glad my friend was not there to hear this ignorant statement.

What really gets me is when someone asks if it still hurts!  (Mine was almost 30 years ago.)

There were a few things on this list that I say to my husband who has TBI :(  I feel awful now....I am trying so hard to learn how to deal with his irritability & not take it personal.  I can handle just about everything else but his moods & impulsivity is really hard!  Thank you for this website...it has helped me so much!

I really found this to be very helpful, I think that I will do as others have suggested and post this on my Facebook page.  :)  That way, the "You look fine"s/"You seem fine to me"s will fade away, hopefully.  In any event, I believe you forgot one:  One of my biggest pet peeves, post-TBI is the whole, "I never said that/You said X/That conversation never happened (or didn't happen the way you remember)" thing.  I could do without hearing that forever.  It seems that my short-term memory, even these (almost) 29 years later, is not nearly as perfect as I would have it.  *sighs*  Another one that I hear all the time from my boyfriend is that, "Oh, so your life isn't worth living if you're not superior to everyone else, is that it?"  Simply because I *used* to have an eidetic memory, and now my memory is like a... metal things with holes in 'em... Sieve!  ;)  Seriously, I knew the word 'sieve' belonged there, but you get my point.  Searching for the right word is annoying when you used to know all the words in the dictionary, then you got bored and read the medical dictionary and Gray's Anatomy, too.  *sighs*

I hate when people, who have no idea, think my friend with brain injury is drunk because she limps and may forget what she is saying in the middle of a sentence. 

I have had my TBI since 1995 ( I turned 17 in a coma)   Im almost 36 now.....I wish I didn't live.  Nobody understands me ( what friends I have))!!!!      I had more friends then I knew what to do with?

WOW you hit the nail on the head with these things

It's not just what people say that's the biggest problem.  I would say my biggest problem with uninjured people is the looks and the assumption people have when either talking to me, walking by me, or in an area with me.  I'm 15 years post injury, and I've been able to come back almost fully with some deficiencies in my memory and/or speech but I appear injury free.  That's my biggest problem with uninjured people is that because I look relatively "normal" and I have problems remembering or getting more agitated, they think I'm doing this on purpose.  I'm not which is probably my biggest handicap now, frustration and channeling that frustration into something more productive and beneficial.  Finally, I would have to say if people want to understand head injuries more proficiently, get on an airplane, travel to a country they've never heard of, and try to fit in with the natives as if you've lived there your entire life.<span style="\\&quot;line-height:" 1.6em;\\"=""> 

Oh, what I would give to get people to read this! I am 8 months post TBI and I feel as if I have lost almost everyone I had in my life! I still have a few incredibly wonderful people that I would would give the world if I could!

I have a few people in my life who have suffered brain injuries, and this is a helpful reminder about things not to say.  I'd like things that WOULD be helpful to say, though.

This is perfect. It sums up my life at the moment and how hard it is when you want to get on but others don't accept your limitations. Thank you. Wish I could share on FB so my friends and family understood. 

I understand SO much - ALL of what has been written. It seems that no one has a clue about brain injury or the effects it has on individuals but those who have lived it! Especially, in the long term. As with all things, as mentioned many times, if others cannot see or experience it first hand it, they DO NOT BELIEVE IT! I have friends whom I will never spend time with again and I do not know how much longer I can stay married to my own husband!!!!!!! He was not around when my severe TBI occurred, refuses to educate himself on the facts, work WITH me on things that can help me with organization, etc, etc, etc, and blame me for everything and my "laziness" and "character".    God bless you all !

Excellent informtion, if we take a few things to use we all win.

I have heard a few of those. I stopped talking to the public because nobody would give me time to finish my sentence. I got tired of the "you're from outer space" look. I isolated myself, now I find that I have anxiety attacks when I have to speak in professional situations. I want to go back to work, but I no longer have confidence I used to. I need a class or something to help me .

wow..#9 is something I hear over and over again, its very frustrating and we can't explain that we don't always feel so lucky. Living with a severe TBI is no picnic and I am challenged daily by normal tasks. Emotionally I think I have lost alot of ability to care period...I never thought 2 years later things would get worse..but they do some days. I extend my love and hope for all of my fellow survivors..you are not alone, lets take it day by day..best wishes in the new year!! 

I AM A TBI SURVIVER 6/22/07   2 MONTHS IN ICU WITH INDUCED COMAS.  WENT TO REHAB 5 DAYS A WEEK FOR A YEAR.  LOST ALL PAST OR PRESENT MEMORIES.  I AM MUCH BETTER NOW, MAINLY BECAUSE I HAD GOOD CARE AND DOCTORS.  BUT MOST OF ALL I HAVE THERAPIST WHO IS ALSO A TBI SURVIVOR HERSELF.  I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO HAVE A THERAPIST WHO IS ALSO A TBI SURVIVOR!  I AM A MUCH MORE POSITIVE THINKER NOW AFTER THE ACCIDENT.  I BELIEVE THAT OUT OF EVERYTHING BAD THAT HAPPENS SOMETHING GOOD COMES OUT OF IT , IF YOU ARE "PATIENT" AND ACCEPTING.  I NOW DO VOLUNTEER WORK IN THE REHAB FACILITY I GOT BETTER AT.  I WORK PRIMARILY IN THE TBI UNIT AND AM TOLD BY THE THERAPISTS AND DOCTORS HOW GOOD IT IS TO HAVE ME THERE.  BECAUSE IT IS GOOD FOR NEW PATIENTS TO KNOW THEY ARE NOT ALONE.  I AM SO GLAD MY THERAPIST TOLD ME ABOUT THIS WEBSITE!      GETTING BETTER EVERY DAY,  DAVID B. ST. LOUIS, MO.

All have been said to me by one or more of my relatives or people whom have said they care about me. Hard to handle at times, got to keep moving forward and looking up.

#9 Let's me know that I'm not alone. I really want to strangle people when they tell me I'm "lucky to be alive."  Lucky was what I was 12 and a half months ago. Thank you for this.

the one november sharing is great. yes, stop telling people with t.b. i's. that they are lucky about anything. luck is not tangible and no one can give what they don't have. my wife has a t.b.i. from 2005. and the neuro's i have encountered were pretty much idiots and morons, with the exception of one. i have spent pretty much the last several years reading nothing but neurological books and magazines. i have well over 100 books. and 70 more to read.  if you don't know what to say, i think one should be safe and just shut up. the best thing any family member can do is educate themselves.  when educated people use the word "luck" sad to say, poor excuse for education that you have. i will continue to read and educate myself on the brain.  since this whole mess started, it's been hell but getting better. there are more than 9 things not to say. but i don't wanna ramble. some of us could go on. don't want to. school starts for me in january for going for a degree in neuroscience, since no one seems to know what's going on with my wife's brain, i will get it figured out.  thanks for taking time to read this, if you did. Ian Lees

I've had TBI since 9/96, I was in the hospital for 2 months - when I did get out I had to go to physical therapy for 1 year 40/hrs a week - to learn how to walk,talk,eat everything like I was a 1 year old, I got TBI from a car accident which I also lost my 8 year old daughter in. I didn't know that because I was in a coma for 5 weeks - when they told me her name I didn't remember who she was and it took me along time to remember anything. To this day I don't remember the accident because I was sleeping - my boyfriend was driving.  A man ran a stop sign and hit us and that is how it happened.  The man who hit us was drunk .23 and my boyfriend also had a .09 but it was his 4th one. So needless to say he doesn't have a license anymore. After I got out of hospital I started doing my therapy and in that time I became pregnant - but didn't know until I was 3 1/2 months because with having the BI it made all my female things stop. Anyway I ended up marrying my boyfriend when I was 5 months preg. because he never had a kid and I wanted to have another.  All was good for about the first 4 years after we married then it just started going down hill - of course it was my fault because I have BI - but we moved to a northern state for him to get his degree (he's from up north) I've always lived in FL. so didn't know anything about driving in snow and ALL that goes with living up north and remember he didn't have a license so I had to do all the driving also was raising a 4 year old. We lived up north for 4 years then I told him I was moving back w or w/o him and he came because he was having a problem getting a job w/o a license. So now we were back and he got a good job making good money but everyday when I would go take him to work and my son to school I would then go p/u son and a hour later have to go pick him up from work. He would come home eat the dinner I cooked then go to the spear bedroom where he played video games like 4 to 5 days a week. One night he went in there after dinner and I put our son to bed then I went to bed a little later but woke up at 5am to find him not in bed - I was like "OH no he fell asleep in the spare room." So I got up real quick to go get him and he was awake still playing video games. That was a Mon. and we had been fighting for like 2 to 3 years before so on Fri. while he was at work I moved and lived with friends until I could buy a house,I bought one 30 miles from his and our son hasn't and won't come stay w/me he stayed living at the other house because of school, friends and of course his dad is cool and plays video games like he does. Now I have a nice house/divorced from the one I fought with all the time and I'm living on disability and alimony.  Fun Fun!!!  My ex acts like he's all happy but I bet the place hasn't been clean since I moved and my son only sees me when I go take him to get something to eat or drink or clothes shopping or whatever he might need or want to do. I've moved out and am doing the best for myself but I miss my son!!!!! He wouldn't come stay with me when I lived 5 miles away because he said it felt weird staying over someone's house. "I'm his mom and I had a bedroom for him then and now at the house I bought I got him a bed, dresser, cable tv in there and he still doesn't want to come stay with me.  I told him if he would come up like once a month that would be great and he won't do that.  But of course my Ex makes a deal about it because I never have him spend the night.  How are u supposed to make a 16 year old come stay if he doesn't want to?? But by the divorce parenting plan he is supposed too but won't. So that is how it is for me now. Yuk!!!!!

A brain injury" is unpredictable I had a right frontal Lobe injury! The important thing is to diagnose it to better no how to get help and learn to live with it. But Dr's are the real problem...looking at you like you are nuts! Its not easy to live w/a victim of a head injury! Just hope and pray it will get past the point of it being tolerable to adjust too. Best Wishes!

RE: "I wish i didn't have TBI. it been impacting too much on my life now that i am in college. i cry almost every day thinking about the past. this college has been so unfair to me. I keep thinking will i ever make it through with my biology degree in my hand."

________________________________________________________________

Above......hang in there.....i was in the  same situation in 1985. I had my TBI just after my 3rd year in College as a college baseball player. It was tough.....I cried most days as well. I graduated after my 5th year with my BS in Bus Admin. I have been a small business owner for the last 10 years as a Financial Advisor and Insurance Professional.

Good luck...I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone, although it seems that way. I'm pulling for you.

I have recently started a relationship with a man who acquired a TBI after a motorcycle accident 15 years ago.  I knew him before the accident but have not seen much of him in the past 10 years or so.  We are trying to work through the initial stages of our relationship carefully and together so that he feels comfortable and I do not do or say the wrong things so this article and others related to it are extremely helpful.  However, I have read that if the frontal lobe is injured, it can cause an impairment to right or wrong decision making and a lack of consideration of consequences to actions.  Recently my partner made advances (apparently in jest) to another female over the internet and explained our sexual behavior quite graphically to the other female.  He also suffers with low self esteem and often puts himself down.  Can someone help me to understand his behavior as I would really like to help him rather than judge him and just be yet another person who lets him down and leaves him lonely and isolated. 

Thanks and good luck to all.

I had a minor concussion about 11 months ago from snowboarding. I had a helmet on but.. i do not remember but i think my snowboard hit my head through the helmet I had a lot of these symptoms and still experience memory loss. Unfortunately, I feel anxiety, independence and articulating speech are the toughest to struggle with. One thing I am not sure about is.. it has been almost a year, am I still suppose to be experiencing discomfort with my everyday tasks? I can't seem to hold on to thoughts for long or recall memories as easily or frequently...

From my experience, having TBI is one sure way to tell who your friends are.
I think I'm starting to discover my husband has a brain injury like me, cause there are signs like mine!
Thank you for opening the the world of brain injury to me. Alexa

I suffered a brain injury in early 2011, from hypoxia due to a cardiac arrest. While most of this article resonates, you left out a very common thing people say. When a brain injured person tells a "normal" person that they have memory problems, the normal person tries to make them feel better by saying something like "Oh, that happens to me all the time! I forget stuff all the time."

The normal person simply does not realize how different their forgetfulness is from a brain-injury survivor's innate memory issues.

I wish i didn't have TBI. it been impacting too much on my life now that i am in college. i cry almost every day thinking about the past. this college has been so unfair to me. I keep thinking will i ever make it through with my biology degree in my hand.
Well written - unfortunately physical is recognized and catered for, unseen impairments seldom receiving due recognition. My son became involved with paracyling and came home demoralized commenting that he felt he was the most disabled of all participants yet was given scant regard for his needs and impairments 'you look OK so you are OK' where those who were blind, had a missing limb were well catered for. The cousin with a missing eye due to a car accident had a dream run with insurance company, received a good payout and was able to continue with her life. This family is at a loss to understand but were told that losing an eye is a 50% impairment therefore worth more than a TBI. Sadly not all family members understand executive functioning and the cognitive side of things either so it makes it so much harder for the person with TBI. Articles like this are most helpful to pass on to others. Many thanks
I've lived with tbi since 1994 and I am sorry others have to live with it too...but I am happy to see others expressing the anger and fury I have felt (and expressed) about what we have to go through because of the injury. I wish there were mentions of people seeing which difficulties in life are from violations of our civil rights...and there are plenty. We can start with the medical establishment's insensitivity to our circumstances. Doctors' offices with bright lights, rapid-fire speaking office personnel, doctors and nurses who do not understand what it means to go through their routines with our TBI. I have to fight in hospitals for quiet waiting areas, slower speakers, etc. while I am managing illness on top of tbi. Just as hospitals and offices must make accomodations for people with other disabilities, they are required to consider us too. Even in county provided transportation, the needs of people with TBI are not accomodated, but the needs of people in wheelchairs are. Even in cross-disability advocacy groups, lights will be brightened for folks who need it, but not dimmed for those of us who need it. Civil rights education should be part of every rehab program for folks with TBI and their families.
i hear#9 the most.i'm near 10 years with tbi. i gave all of my 30s to it. i hear all the rest as well. sad because when people don't get the response from me. the response they want to hear, they often begin to drop contact with me. there is so much emotion in loss of old self and change/loss of relationships. yes, i am quite angry. i begin to distance myself too. because old friends and family they are all momentos of the person, i lost.
Hi. I want to give some insight on not just the article but the comments provided. In some cases it doesn't matter how much education you give people. As much as we wish those folks were educated on TBIs and the implications we face, the only effective way to teach them is first hand. How many of you would wish this impairment onto anyone else? I won't, not even to my worst enemy. I don't know any of you and I have no idea how far you have gone while facing your impairments to whatever degree they are. But look at where you are, the environment, and if it is not beneficial for you, move. I say that from experience. Because of where I was when I got my TBIs (I have three), I knew only violence accomplished anything. Keep yourself away from that whenever possible. Because of where I was forced to live, I'm aggressive. I'm an a**hole, I can be and usually am rude. And I'm not beyond using force to get my point across. That's not the way it should be. But be so very careful, because there are so many people out there that will take advantage of you, and because of your impairments the system is not in your favor. Nor is society. You have your friends and you have your family. Don't count on anyone else being there for you when the chips are down. Well, I also try to be a Christian, so if religion is important to you, stand firm by it no matter what. In my opinion, my three TBIs (first one was severe, second one was moderate and third one was serious) are not my disabilities, but my impairments. My impairments but society's disability. It complicates my life, but the only people it truly impairs are those that are not affected by it. And if at all possible, contact a nutritionist (not a dietician, a nutritionist) AND an accupuncurist. I stand by both services in how well they helped me. Enuff said....
After a subdural hematoma, I found that my 'friends' mostly vanished, but I realized who my true friends were. It was heartbreaking to have my best friend say,"You're not the same person," and walk away. I've found myself, even without the support of those who I assumed would have been there for me. If you have a head injury, you should come to terms with your situation, make amends, set goals, and keep working for your dreams.

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