1. A clean MRI does not mean you are "OK."
If you feel that something is wrong, keep pushing for testing or have your loved one push for you. Do not trust that your GP is well versed in what a TBI means. Think of them as a gatekeeper to get you to people with the real expertise.
2. Symptoms change.
You may notice a lot of them. Don't dismiss anything and keep a journal. I originally tested negative for aphasia, but it came up a month later. Fun times. You will be dealing with so many changes that sometimes you don’t even realize that a symptom or problem is happening until another clears up and your brain finds room for identifying it.
3. Do not hide or minimize your symptoms or disabilities.
I know it's hard and almost impossible to accept how much you can't do anymore, and the only thing more impossible is trying to explain what you are going through. But hiding and minimizing only hurts you.
4. YOU ARE NOT CRAZY. You are not alone.
There are support groups, and the best resource for me was seeing a speech therapist. I didn't think I needed it because my speech was…Ok. But go. A Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) helps with many brain injury issues including speech, language, social communication, cognitive communication, and swallowing disorders in children or adults. Go to every specialist you are referred to if you can afford it.
5. If diagnosed with PTSD, seek that help and follow up.
Throw away any stigma or preconceived idea you have about what PTSD means and call. I waited almost a year to go, and my only regret is that I didn't go right away.
6. Respect your brain.
REST. A lot. Like crazy amounts. Like newborn baby or cat amounts. And get over it if you feel lazy or see a specialist to help you sort through why you feel that way.
7. Love yourself.
8. Both you and your supporters should read Brain Lash by Gail L. Denton.
Actually, ask your doc if you should be reading first…but your loved ones and supporters can gain some pretty great insight by cracking it open to any page and reading an entry. You don't have to read it straight through which great.
9. Learn to meditate.
I thought this was such weird advice, and I still struggle with it...my brain can't handle workouts or yoga yet, but meditation is key to healing. Try a guided one from YouTube. There are guided meditations to help you sleep, and there are guided meditations to help you feel less stressed.