Emotional Problems After Traumatic Brain Injury

Tessa Hart, PhD and Keith Cicerone, PhD, Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center
Emotional Problems After Traumatic Brain Injury

Brain injury and emotions

A brain injury can change the way people feel or express emotions. A person with TBI can have several types of emotional problems.

Difficulty controlling emotions or “mood swings”

Some people may experience emotions very quickly and intensely but with very little lasting effect. For example, they may get angry easily but get over it quickly. Or they may seem to be “on an emotional roller coaster” in which they are happy one moment, sad the next and then angry. This is called emotional lability.

What causes this problem?

  • Mood swings and emotional lability are often caused by damage to the part of the brain that controls emotions and behavior.
  • Often there is no specific event that triggers a sudden emotional response. This may be confusing for family members who may think they accidently did something that upset the injured person.
  • In some cases the brain injury can cause sudden episodes of crying or laughing. These emotional expressions or outbursts may not have any relationship to the way the persons feels (in other words, they may cry without feeling sad or laugh without feeling happy). In some cases the emotional expression may not match the situation (such as laughing at a sad story). Usually the person cannot control these expressions of emotion.

What can be done about it?

  • Fortunately, this situation often improves in the first few months after injury, and people often return to a more normal emotional balance and expression.
  • If you are having problems controlling your emotions, it is important to talk to a physician or psychologist to find out the cause and get help with treatment.
  • Counseling for the family can be reassuring and allow them to cope better on a daily basis.
  • Several medications may help improve or stabilize mood. You should consult a physician familiar with the emotional problems caused by brain injury.

What family members and others can do:

  • Remain calm if an emotional outburst occurs, and avoid reacting emotionally yourself.
  • Take the person to a quiet area to help him or her calm down and regain control.
  • Acknowledge feelings and give the person a chance to talk about feelings.
  • Provide feedback gently and supportively after the person gains control.
  • Gently redirect attention to a different topic or activity.

Anxiety

Anxiety is a feeling of fear or nervousness that is out of proportion to the situation. People with brain injury may feel anxious without exactly knowing why. Or they may worry and become anxious about making too many mistakes, or “failing” at a task, or if they feel they are being criticized. Many situations can be harder to handle after brain injury and cause anxiety, such as being in crowds, being rushed, or adjusting to sudden changes in plan.

Some people may have sudden onset of anxiety that can be overwhelming (“panic attacks”). Anxiety may be related to a very stressful situation — sometimes the situation that caused the injury — that gets “replayed” in the person’s mind over and over and interferes with sleep (“post traumatic stress disorder”). Since each form of anxiety calls for a different treatment, anxiety should always be diagnosed by a mental health professional or physician.

What causes anxiety after TBI?

  • Difficulty reasoning and concentrating can make it hard for the person with TBI to solve problems. This can make the person feel overwhelmed, especially if he or she is being asked to make decisions.
  • Anxiety often happens when there are too many demands on the injured person, such as returning to employment too soon after injury. Time pressure can also heighten anxiety.
  • Situations that require a lot of attention and information-processing can make people with TBI anxious. Examples of such situations might be crowded environments, heavy traffic or noisy children.

What can be done about anxiety?

  • Try to reduce the environmental demands and unnecessary stresses that may be causing anxiety.
  • Provide reassurance to help calm the person and allow them to reduce their feelings of anxiety when they occur.
  • Add structured activities into the daily routine, such as exercising, volunteering, church activities or self-help groups.
  • Anxiety can be helped by certain medications, by psychotherapy (counseling) from a mental health professional who is familiar with TBI, or a combination of medications and counseling.

Depression

Feeling sad is a normal response to the losses and changes a person faces after TBI. Feelings of sadness, frustration and loss are common after brain injury. These feelings often appear during the later stages of recovery, after the individual has become more aware of the long-term situation. If these feelings become overwhelming or interfere with recovery, the person may be suffering from depression.

Symptoms of depression include feeling sad or worthless, changes in sleep or appetite, difficulty concentrating, withdrawing from others, loss of interest or pleasure in life, lethargy (feeling tired and sluggish), or thoughts of death or suicide.

Because signs of depression are also symptoms of a brain injury itself, having these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean the injured person is depressed. The problems are more likely to mean depression if they show up a few months after the injury rather than soon after it.

What causes depression?

  • Depression can arise as the person struggles to adjust to temporary or lasting disability and loss or to changes in one’s roles in the family and society caused by the brain injury.
  • Depression may also occur if the injury has affected areas of the brain that control emotions. Both biochemical and physical changes in the brain can cause depression.

What can be done about depression?

  • Anti-depressant medications, psychotherapy (counseling) from a mental health professional who is familiar with TBI, or a combination of the two, can help most people who have depression.
  • Aerobic exercise and structured activities during each day can sometimes help reduce depression.
  • Depression is not a sign of weakness, and it is not anyone’s fault. Depression is an illness. A person cannot get over depression by simply wishing it away, using more willpower or “toughening up.”
  • It is best to get treatment early to prevent needless suffering. Don’t wait.

Temper outbursts and irritability

Family members of individuals with TBI often describe the injured person as having a “short fuse,” “flying off the handle” easily, being irritable or having a quick temper. Studies show that up to 71% of people with TBI are frequently irritable. The injured person may yell, use bad language, throw objects, slam fists into things, slam doors, or threaten or hurt family members or others.

What causes this problem?

Temper outbursts after TBI are likely caused by several factors, including:

  • Injury to the parts of the brain that control emotional expression.
  • Frustration and dissatisfaction with the changes in life brought on by the injury, such as loss of one’s job and independence.
  • Feeling isolated, depressed or misunderstood.
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, expressing oneself or following conversations, all of which can lead to frustration.
  • Tiring easily.
  • Pain.

What can be done about temper problems?

  • Reducing stress and decreasing irritating situations can remove some of the triggers for temper outbursts and irritability.
  • People with brain injury can learn some basic anger management skills such as self-calming strategies, relaxation and better communication methods. A psychologist or other mental health professional familiar with TBI can help.
  • Certain medications can be prescribed to help control temper outbursts.

Family members can help by changing the way they react to the temper outbursts:

  • Understand that being irritable and getting angry easily is due to the brain injury. Try not to take it personally.
  • Do not try to argue with the injured person during an outburst. Instead, let him or her cool down for a few minutes first.
  • Do not try to calm the person down by giving into his or her demands.
  • Set some rules for communication. Let the injured person know that it is not acceptable to yell at, threaten or hurt others. Refuse to talk to the injured person when he or she is yelling or throwing a temper tantrum.
  • After the outburst is over, talk about what might have led to the outburst. Encourage the injured person to discuss the problem in a calm way. Suggest other outlets, such as leaving the room and taking a walk (after letting others know when he/she will return) when the person feels anger coming on.

Questions to ask your physician or treatment provider to better understand your problem

If you or your family members are experiencing anxiety, feelings of sadness or depression, irritability or mood swings, consider asking your doctor:

  • Would psychological counseling be helpful?
  • Would an evaluation by a psychiatrist be helpful?
  • Are there medications that can help?

More about medications

If you or your family member tries a medication for one of these problems, it is very important to work closely with the physician or other health care provider who prescribes them. Always make a follow-up appointment to let him or her know how the medication is working, and report any unusual reactions between appointments. Remember that:

  • There can be a delay until the beneficial effects of medications are felt.
  • Doses might need to be adjusted by your doctor for maximum benefit.
  • You may need to try one or more different medications to find the one that works best for you.
  • Except in an emergency, you should not stop taking a prescribed medication without consulting your doctor.

Peer and other support

Remember, too, that not all help comes from professionals! You may benefit from:

  • A brain injury support group — some are specialized for the person with TBI, others are for family members, and others are open to everyone affected by brain injury.
  • Peer mentoring, in which a person who has coped with brain injury for a long time gives support and suggestions to someone who is struggling with similar problems.
  • Check with your local Brain Injury Association chapter to find out more about these resources. Go to www.biausa.org to find brain injury resources near you.
  • Talk to a friend, family member, member of the clergy or someone else who is a good listener.

Recommended reading

Posted on BrainLine November 28, 2017. Reviewed July 25, 2018.

Our health information content is based on research evidence and/or professional consensus and has been reviewed and approved by an editorial team of experts from the TBI Model Systems.

Authorship
Emotional Problems after TBI was developed by Tessa Hart, PhD and Keith Cicerone, PhD, in collaboration with the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center. Portions of this document were adapted from materials developed by the UAB TBI Model System, the Mayo Clinic TBI Model System, the New York TBI Model System, the Carolinas Rehabilitation and Research System, and from Picking up the Pieces after TBI: A Guide for Family Members, by Angelle M. Sander, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine (2002).

Please check the MSKTC site for any recent updates on this article.

Emotional Problems After Traumatic Brain Injury. (2010).

Comments (136)

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.

Educated, WOW Seriously, and it personally seems as if there's plenty of U.S. nowadays assume that this wouldn't happen, yet We're on top of what's going on lately, yet this so-called quote on quote "Woke" Society crap shows me just how Stupid we've become and how some people appear to be able to get away with anything! Seriously, How easy it getting U.S. to follow after what ever it is that they're saying! Ever wonder Why it personally seems like every Major Metropolitan area, even Nationally who seem to be pushing U.S. Colored American Citizens for Generations (especially if We're Not Willing to just bend over and accept the massive amounts of False Allegations Gossip and Whispering that they're constantly putting out to completely send someone off or to act out of character, to do something, anything Wrong so that they're able to continue keeping saying that I told you so!) yet even with my having come out of a coma with No memory of anything, I'm not going to claim that I'm supposedly some "Lady", using this as any means of getting away with Murder, how is it that a person can come out of a coma, at first unable to even tell you what his own Name was and/or much of Anything else.. I'm mind-boggled at the fact that it's been over a decade now, that I've been saying the exact same thing around the Country through 20 State's and a District thus far begging for Empathy, Acknowledgement, a break or a bit of Help? Can Anyone Please explain to me how certain individuals have the power, the ability to get by and make sure that I'm unable to even Litigate or even gain Safe Suitable Housing during a Global Pandemic, even long before now, can't seem to come by Ethical Medical Attention since, nor gain the ability of blowing the whistle on a few things that I've noticed in all this time? I'm dead Serious when I say you honestly wouldn't believe the off the wall amounts of characters who've been either promoting or going way out of their way to make sure that you are the one who's supposedly out of it for thinking that it's the Right thing to do, thinking that you should go pointing out what they've been doing and trying to play it like it's supposedly cute or cool playing under the genocidal act, keeping U.S. Broke and Homeless and Hobbled, that way who's going to listen to whatever you might have to say, right?

What needs to be seen is the people who do the right thing finally be able to get away with what has been provided unjustly to those who lie, gossip, and hurt others to avoid taking responsibility, Too many people are accused of acting out of sorts and as being the problem for standing up in their own defense because no one else dares to go against the wrongful gossip that has ripped apart the life they have worked hard to build. If a person is out of sorts because no one listens, no one prosecutes, no one stands up for what's right, that alone is an injury inflicted unseparable to an individual at this point, and it's shameful. Criminalizing victims that the system failed to help failed to protect, and we somehow think that they are supposed to function normal it is revictimization at its worst and victims aren't the problem. I have no recollection of events after what I have pieced together as a severe anxiety attack after finding someone I did not let into my home there. This happened while dealing with an upcoming court date as a victim in a case that I had received numerous threats about and involved several incidents of physical, emotional, and physiological abuse. I now have a court case due to admitting I had been drinking at a friend's house. I was transported from my own home and have no recollection of anything, I fell asleep on my own couch woke up in a concrete room on the floor wearing a hospital gown. Having received multiple blows to the head during the abusive relationship in which the court case involved, I can tell you nothing has caused me more injury than this event that I still have no answers for. He is out of prison, and I am still dealing with a court case that relied on a statement of me admitting to something in a brief conversation with an n officer on the way from the hospital to the jail, I guess. It was like waking up in a horror movie, literally a concrete room with nothing to indicate where you even are. I finally, after the third time of going back to sleep thinking it had to be a dream, I called out not knowing if I would get a response to ask where I was. VICTIMS ARE NOT THE PROBLEM the system has created victims and problems this is a nightmare that has caused me to live in absolute fear. My home was robbed I fear the police the protective order failed on many occasions and the gossip and rumors have nearly destroyed my standing as a human.

My daughter had a TBI in 91 and another accident in 01 that put her backwards for a while. She is now 45 and at times her memory is even worse. She tell lies but does not know she did. It is difficult to know if she is worse or just older. Her r leg was affected buy the injury and she wears a brace. She has a walker with front wheels now after many falls. She needs to loose weight and does well for a short time then it gets worse. She now has her own apartment but has no interaction with people her age. Is there nothing that can be done to keep her independent but safe.

Well the part where y’all say the emotional part gets better a month after ( or starts too) WRONG!!!
I am an OPEN TBI survivor of 26 years, I just celebrated my 37 birthday Friday. I have had to believe Something is wrong with me ever since I have been punished and persecuted treated very very badly not given proper medical care or rehabilitation and I have beeN forced to suck it up and go through the worst HELL my whole life. My left frontal lobe is dead and at the accident my skull was crushed open piercing my brain fluid my left orbital broken. Nothing was said to me about things that could happen or occur down the road you would have thought I was to be the only person to have to go through this as if nothing happened and only celebrities who have to have a crutch or anyone but me had any affects from an open TBI. Which there are not a lot of it seems. I’m a little bit bitter because the hell I have suffered my whole life after my accident and has just gotten worse the older I got. But I have one thing that is the reason I am alive it’s God! I would say I am nothing but a testimony that God is VERY MUCH REAL AND ALIVE AND MEDICAL CARE IS A JOKE! I still am just having to go through with all this and try to make it with God. No medical care or any help has been given except punishment and to be made to believe I’m the only person who’s left frontal lobe is dead but I’m the only person that can live with out any effects. If others with similar problem they can not be blamed it’s not their fault they have had a mild TBI or not really a TBI but a small bump on the head and they can say that is why they are how they are. Me I have litterly been kicked out of my family and Been treated like I am the only person who can not have a reason that might have caused or led to certain things and I have not had nor never was offered or given any follow up care help nothing.

I read and can hear the frustration and the fight you have been going through. It has not been easy for you. you are not alone and I hope you know that. Every brain injury and every person is unique in their own and no two people or brain injuries are the same. I have been living with mine for almost 4 years now and have fought so hard. if you are on instgram please look me up @slowandsteadyandthatsokay, also please feel free to email me as well crm812002 -at- yahoo -dot- com. I promise you are not alone in this at all. I have had many family members walk away from me and not understand or get what has gone on. The comments have been horrible to say the least and I hear you on the medical field and how they just don't listen or think that its made up. I will say there are some good ones out there still and they are not easy to find at all. I might only be coming on my 4th year of my brain injury and what it has done to me, I will be honest it has not been easy and still is not easy to this day. I have to always try and I don't always have it in me everyday to do it. Sometimes I have down days and it is not easy I do still try no matter what. I am sorry that it has been a very lonely for you. I just turned 40 and before my injury I had a life I was living and it was gone in a moment. I hope that you are able to read this and it gets to you and I do hope that you reach out. There are so many of us out here and still going and trying to figure it out still. I do hope the best for you along the way still and even if not the best I still hope the best for you

[TW: suicide]

I used to work on a cruise ship 20 years ago. They say I fell down three floors on a metal staircase below deck. I woke up for an instant because the pain of changing altitude in a small plane was horrific. Permanent brain damage. Two hematoma the size of baseballs on my frontal lobe. These people said they were my parents. I never saw my face. I can't remember anything until I was in my parents' new place in S.F. Like 20 days after the airplane ride.
I am now a worthless waste of space. I can't get dressed. It takes hours. I can't organize. I can't remember words. I get lost driving every single day. I have ZERO friends. Why do I have to be here? Life will just get worse. No one can understand. My mom says" oh I forget that too". Yes but your 85. I'm so tired of losing my keys 3 times a day. Forgetting where I am. That fear is terrifying. I'm done. I have been tortured enough. I had major depressive disorder before my accident. That's the only thing that stuck with me. That little voice that says" you are such a stupid loser who can't even remember what day it is".
"A Waste of space". "No one gives a s%$@ about loser". "So die my die" Every day I hear it in my head over and over. It's right. I shouldn't be taking up space where a normal person should be. Why. Last time I tried to end it. I had it. Then the cleaning lady found me. I had wrapped duct tape over my head & face the tied plastic bags with duck tape.

I hope you are still around to receive this. You matter and are here. I understand the frustration of when people say that they do the same thing and it is not the same when you can not find keys are the words don't come as easily. I had an accident at my place work with a metal steal I beam. I have had brain bruising/contusion, my neck got injured and my lower back. I have seen multiple care providers and it is still on going even as I type this to you. I can relate to what you have said for I have struggled with will this ever get better, will I ever live a life with meaning again, how do I go on living like this when I am in a repeated cycle of this injury and I don't know how to get out. There are so many of us out there, please reach out to me and others, from Facebook, Instagram, to even meetings with other brain injury survivors. I am not sure where you are located but we have our own stories and can relate and help one another out. you can email me crm812002 -at- yahoo -dot- com. Instagram I am @slowandsteadyandthatsokay. Also its okay to not be okay, its okay that this sucks and is hard as hell. you can take up as much space as you want, you can get everything wrong and that is okay. I think its nice to hear these things when so many say keep your head up and just keep going and blah blah blah, it is okay to not be okay and I hope you are still around to read this.

My heart goes out to you people don't understand. You were a person and YOU STILL ARE, I am sorry you feel so alone in your struggle, so many of us do. I agree it truly is debilitating, please don't give up.

This article and America is the real source of depression. If you have an sTBI, the doctors go out of their way to save your life. But within 6 months of the accident, you're FORCED back into a job or you essentially go to prison from not being able to pay your bills. But I'm starting to reach the point where I'd rather just go to prison which would be a better fitting location for me at this point.

If you're young during an sTBI accident, you not only have to CONSTANTLY work 80 hour work weeks... But you also get screamed at non-stop the entire time. So you essentially have a mental illness, however, you're not allowed to sleep, you're not allowed to take breaks and you're not allowed to have any free time or respond with any anger.

Long story short: If you're young and in the US, prison is unfortunately the best place to go if you (unfortunately) survive an sTBI. And that's sadly what's on my checklist.

I think many of us feel the same way, sad but true. Please erase that from your checklist and hang in there, your not alone in this fight, but I know it feels that way.

My son was involved in a car accident when he was 12 an sustained brain injury. He cant talk...he repeats..very intelegent. He cant walk..left side of body is not working. He has this anger outburst but its on occasions...like when he has to have a nappy change or physiotherapy..or showering...or doing schoolwork. Other than that he is always smiling etc. He doesnt speak in sentences...if he wants water he will just say the word. But when he has the outburst he will say every swearing word in the book an more in sentences. Plz give me advice...the swearing an hitting an throwing things is realy getting to me. Im totally helpless. An to take him to a psychologist is useless as he cannot respond. Plz help.

Hi sir ,I'm anjana from India.I'm 16 year old.my dad had an little accident.he injured his head.he is in hospital and he is being violent at night.what can we do for him sir.can you reply fast.please.
I'm really worried about him.

Hello I'm sarah I had a big tbi in 2004 and have never been the same x I ended up having a brain drain amongst lots of other surgeries as fell 48 foot .I feel no one really understands me anymore so I just have removed myself from society as it's easier i suffer with a personality disorder now and depression and anxiety and i just dont know where to turn anymore x

Hi Sarah, did you try any group support? Meeting with people who experience the same may help a bit.. and at least you will get more understanding. I feel sorry that it happened to you. I can't imagine how difficult must be :( Be strong. Try to find something what will make you happy. Maybe a hobby? All best

Is there any help? Is there any phone that this human beings cal call? It’s important to have someone that can listen when you need it

Hi,

The Brain Injury Association of America (https://www.biausa.org/) can help you learn more about the resources available to you. You can reach them toll-free at 1-800-444-6443.

Best, BrainLine

Hi, would you know of resource info in Canada, please? I live in Alberta. Thank you so much.

I felt so wortless, misunderstood and very sundial today. After reading this article it made me realise I'm nt alone and it was finally something made sense why I am this way now After my head trauma injury cause by car accident... I was never the same like so many of. You. I nw have anxiety, Chronic PTSd, Social Aniety Disorder, Hyper Vigilant and have many deficiencies with intellect, memory, reasoning and others which is permanent... it gets so exhausting trying to explain myself when I just don't get what or why...worst of all Im not or never really heard, I am left out, as no one gets me. I was looking up today the easiest way today on google and I found this... I only wish there was actual helping for all of us who yearn to be able to talk to someone who cares, would listen without judgement, or annoyance or rudeness...ias the helplines don't take into account our brains working and affecting us differently... IS THERE AN ACTUAL BRAIN INJUIRY HELPLINE THAT CONSIDERS things discuss as I feel this important. For myself...

Everything being written down here I feel like finally someone I can relate to and knows exactly how I feel every day

Can't get to sleep at night since the operation just can't get off why

I was in an accident about 4 year ago. I was sent to the I.C.U for head injury and was in the hospital for about 3 week. i have no recollection of what happened to me. For some reason I lost all my feelings and emotions. i no longer feel sad or happy or scared. I can no longer love someone or have empathy for someone who lost a loved one. I'm cold and can no longer recognize what a person is feeling. Some may say I lost my humanity that day. doctors still don't know what is wrong.

I had brain surgery a month and two weeks ago and it's been about two weeks that I have been getting where my head fogs up and then I get angry thought s about hurting other people around me and crying a lot and really bad anxiety I am feeling real helpless I had. A brain tumor removed on my brain stem I don't what to do or how long this will last

Hi I had hydrocephalus cyst tumor I had emergency brain surgery but unfortunately my per surgery I lost my all emotions feelings.i had many issues my per surgery my hospital and GP wrong diagnosed me I have been ill so bad .my post surgery many things gone better but still struggling some issues memory concentration I don't have emotions feelings I don't feel I am same person anymore.please anyone recovered similar situation or can I recover from this situation reply me thanks.

I suffered a mTBI twelve years ago.
I didn’t realise until I had pushed away everything and everyone in my life, including the woman I love and was supposed to spend the rest of my life with, how much I had hit self destruct.
I refused professional help until afterwards and was told that a fear of failure and an expectation that everything around me will leave me eventually anyway caused me to commit sub conscious suicide.
I have no doubt now that I have my emotions in check and I see clearer than ever since I ruined my life 7 months ago. But I fear it may be too late to repair the damage I have caused to the beautiful girl that stood by me for so long.
It is common that such life altering events such as a break up will set you on the right path after a bout of depression and/or anxiety following a TBI, but it is often too late.
Don’t think you’re on your own guys and don’t leave it too late to accept help as I did.

Good luck everyone

My boyfriend got in a car wreck and he has spinal cord syndrome and ever since he got in the hospital he's been screaming at me and yelling at me he's pushing me away he moved in with his sister when he was living here I'm losing my my baby right I don't know what to do because his sister's keeping him from me I don't understand any of it chilly riddle this I can't get to him until I get to talk to him in person I love him and I don't know what to do

I feel for you. The very same happened to me following a head injury from a car accident. This was many years ago now and like yourself, I did not realise the significance of TBI and pushed away many people, I to had that feeling of failure and an expectation that everything around me would leave me eventually anyway. I lost my then girlfriend who I love dearly. It took more than 6 months before I started to improve and around 12 to 16 months before I really felt like I was myself again, of course it was difficult to determine to what extent with heartbreak in parallel. I still feel a sense of sadness about that time.

I am 28 years old about to be 29 March 6. I've had three TBI from 3 car accidents that happened when I was 20, 22, & 23... I was married at the time of my first car accident an was goin to have a baby with her that got aborted... my ex didn't want to support me and help me through this. All the things I deal with now from the accident is the short-term memory, trying to remember names, directions and Exedra. I've been using a lot of hard drugs & drinking lately to self-medicate, feeling suicidal. Im basically stuck at this point I'm trying to find a solution before too late. 2/21/20

I wish I had died that day. Life has been pure hell. Nobody gives a shot. Insurance company cut off attendant dar again. 5 more concussions because they lied and said they would pay. Rotten pieces of crap. Nobody understands. They give you so. Can not even live anywhere on that. I am in my 60’s now praying I have my last fall and out of this hell of a life. Kids. They have no interest in helping me. I am a burden. Wow. Nobody is lucky to survive a Tbilisi your life as you knew it gone and the disabilities act well it falls very short. The government keeps you deeply impoverished. Meds or food? Food or a place to sleep. All lives should matter Wake up America.

I have had multiple occupational head injuries and each time I am unsuccessful with getting workman's compensation to take responsibility for payment. I lost everything and had to file bankruptcy. I have to keep working in order to keep a roof over my head (it leaks) but no one will hire me. My job is too dangerous for me. I try so hard not to get depressed because I don't want to go down that downward spiral. I pray the rosary every night and try to hang in there.

Dear Kevin,

I'm so sorry that you're going through this and that you don't feel understood.. You may think no one has ever experienced what you’re going through and that no one can help you. I'm here to say that you can get through this.

Have you expressed what you’re struggling with to your family or to a friend? If you’re not comfortable talking with them or feel they're unable to understand, please consider reaching out to one of these confidential resources:

National Suicide Crisis Line (24/7)
1-800-273-8255

When you call you will hear a message that you’ve reached the crisis line, there will be brief hold music while you’re connected. Then a skilled, trained crisis worker who works at the Lifeline network crisis center will answer the phone. This person will listen to you, understand how your problem is affecting you, provide support, and share any resources that may be helpful.

Crisis Text Line (NAMI)

Text HOME to 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor to talk via text message.

When you text HOME to 741-741 the first two responses are automated. They tell you that you're being connected with a Crisis Counselor, and invite you to share a bit more. It usually takes less than five minutes to connect you with a Crisis Counselor. When you’ve reached a Crisis Counselor, they’ll introduce themselves, reflect on what you’ve said, and invite you to share at your own pace. You’ll then text back and forth with the Crisis Counselor. You never have to share anything you don’t want to.

“Talk to a friend, family member, member of the clergy or someone else who is a good listener.“
DO NOT TALK TO ANYONE EXCEPT A PROFESSIONAL!!! If you talk to a friend be prepared to lose that friend. Once people know what’s wrong with you they either fade away or you just never hear from them. This bulls**t is written by people who have not experienced it. And you keep thinking that someone will understand but no one does. By the time you realize there is no one that will understand you have lost everyone and everything.

Everything you wrote is Truth, pFamily and Friendships will wither away! No one understands, not even me...

One exception to avoiding non-professionals: Talk to other survivors. Many have information (e.g. clinics, doctors, exercises, experiences) that may help. I'm in several self-help groups and they are a boon for multiple reasons.

The biggest problem with doctors is how many are lazy, they want a "one size fits all" solution for brain injuries. Two people could be hit in the exact same place with the exact same force and have different symptoms or problems. And when doctors see this, many shrug and walk away or assume the injured person is faking it.

It's nice to know I'm not the only one who goes through emotional roller coasters due to TBI... I've recently lost my significant other because of my "impulsiveness, negative attitude and anger outbursts". I haven't had a concussion per say but I've had three surgeries in an attempt to cure my epilepsy if anyone can relate. The first was when I was 5 to remove a tumor in my right temporal lobe/amygdala. Then again when I was 22 to remove scar tissue and an apparent seizure focus in my frontal lobe. My last surgery was a year later at 23 because the previous surgery was unsuccessful. They tried going into my insular cortex this time. The surgeries drastically reduced my seizures to about two per year but the effect on my emotional state will be ever lasting. Nice to know that the amygdala, temporal lobe, frontal lobe, and insular cortex all take part in controlling emotions! I have anger out bursts and throw things at times. I am severely depressed and have trouble meeting people. I'm afraid to go back to work because I'm so nervous. My resume has big gaps in employment with only silly jobs like food service on it and I have a measly associates degree in general studies. A neuropsychologist diagnosed me with "mild neurocognitive impairment" a few weeks ago and noted that I am "at risk of further decline". I am only 25 and I'm already on social security disability. I am terrified of what my life will be like 20-30 years from now. Sometimes I feel like I was just convinced and used as a guinea pig by my surgeons in LA and Denver. Now I have to deal with the consequences so just f**k me I guess!

Sorry to hear that for you at such a young age. Mine did not happen until my mid forties and it has been an adjustment to say the least.

I hope you find healing, peace and overall happiness. Those of us with brain injury get you. You can and WILL do this day by day, moment by moment.

Anonymous....Im new to this, I suffered several TBI's from a car wreck at the end of June 2019...what actually could be called a fender bender although my car was totaled so maybe not. But I was sitting at a red light listening to music when a young girl slammed into the back of me, no breaking or slowing down...pretty sure she was on her phone but I guess Ill never know the truth. Anyway if I lost consciousness it was briefly but the impact left me very dazed and confused...my car was shot forward about 25 feet through the intersection I was sitting at...Im lucky it was clear of crossing traffic. But a brain injury is a brain injury...having your brain operated on is a very big deal so don't discount what youre going through..we all suffer from this...doesn't matter how we got to this point. I know exactly what you're going through..all these testimonies are the same and what Ive come to realize is it really doesnt matter how sever your TBI was..these awful symptoms affect us all. Im 55, I have a BS degree in Information Systems Security, I'm a husband and father of two girls and Im the sole bread winner in the family as my wife has a disability that keeps her from earning an income. Ive lost one job bc of these symptoms that I wish i would have been told about when It was found I had 4 brain injuries from the accident. I had no idea what was wrong with me...the fatigue, the extreme agitation causing me to go full MMA on whom ever just happens to be in my sites at the time..or Im so down and depressed I sob..for no reason. And the debilitating headaches from waking up to going to bed don't help. My wife claims she doesn't know me anymore..weve been together since 1984...and this has seriously challenged our relationship!! I almost hit her once and caught myself at the very last second, my wife is afraid of me now, she said she never saw such rage in my eyes as I had that night...Ive never once even remotely came close to raising a hand to her...and that in itself has driven my depression to dangerous levels..even my kids walk on egg shells...its no way to be and its the complete opposite of who Ive been my entire life. Now that we know whats going on, we work on it..its hard but we do. Im sorry youre so young and going through this...just try to remember its not who you are and you can change things with concentration and work with a professional. I dont know what my future holds, I can't stand the thought that I may (probably will) have to re-make "ME". That I may never be able to hold a job bc of my poor concentration, my short term memory and my inability to cope being around others for very long without becoming an butthole...only time will tell but all I (and you) can do is work on ourselves, the rest is out of our hands and thinking about it only makes it worse. God bless and I will keep you in my prayers.

I had a severe brain injury 32 years ago. I have accepted it but I still hate it and what it has done to my life. Most days I wish I had died.

I sustained a brain injury 30 years ago in a motor vehicle accident. “I” died that day, yet I am still here...it took my spirit and my very being . I miss who I was, and I loathe what I am.

:( my son had severe brain injury due to hydrocephalus and a brain tumor. He was 10 and had to have a shunt placed. He had very hard mood swings but it wasn't just that he changed. He lacks emotion at times. I cried after 6 months of non stop yelling when he came up to me and gave me a hug. It was the first sign of hope. It's been a year and he's not a violent or verbal but like your comment he's not the same. God bless.

Hi Heather how is your son now please let me know I have same problem lack
of emotionss and feelings is any hope feelings come back as normal?

Why don't you say anything about the role stress plays in triggering the limbic systems fight ,flight or freeze response and the "Amygdala Hijack?" The amygdala is the culprit to most of what you mention here. It's no wonder there are so many veterans taking their lives because all this article does is increase the burden of brain injury and does little to educate people about the consequences of brain injuries.

I agree with you Ken Collins. I've dealt with my son's TBI for 15 years. People just do not get it, and it is extremely frustrating! Caregiver's say "oh of course I know TBI, or oh sure, i've worked with TBI" well, evidently they were not "educated" as you say properly. It is very sad.

Hi,
I am a recovering motorcycle accident I had a head injury and lost memory for about 3 months. I am now back to work with full memory. The issue I am having is my husband he actually had a moderate to severe head injury along with leg injury needing rods, plates and screws.
His TBI is the issue he has emotion liabilty, executive function deficit, memory and emotional outbursts. Today he told me he was going to kill me and kill himself and burn the house with excessive verbal profane name calling slamming his fist on the table and came right up to me and tried to stare me down. This man is 6 2 and very strong but vulnerable with his leg injury. How do you deal with this I just left the house and walking away giving no response does not work. I need some guidance can anyone help

My mum has brain injury
And I find it hard sometimes to be patient as most of the time I’m always shouted at she says the most hurtful negative things to me where I’ve realised it’s causing me to have mental exhaustion specially already working in a stressful environment it doesn’t always help coming home to such an environment everything she sees it being negative nothing is ever good enough

I have a 30-year-old son that has anoxic brain damage, June 5th, 2014 he suffered a massive heart attack with multi-organ failure, both lungs collapsed, and he was in a coma for nearly a month after someone shot him up with Heroin laced with fentanyl. It nearly killed me to see him this way, but I stood by his side this whole time which he has improved far beyond what doctors thought He is physically independent living next door to me, that is very helpful because for the last 3yrs all of his friends deserted him. He is taking mood stabilizer's and depression meds as well as Vyvanse for concentration. In the last year, he has gotten worse with the verbal abuse towards me (Mother). I've read all the articles you can imagine about people with TBI and how they feel, how to deal with it as a caregiver, and I have been so supportive and loving to him. He is my only Son that I love with all my heart, but it is starting to affect me a lot, what should or can I do?

I have TBI got it in an explosion from a bomb that exploded under the TC Seat of a M1151 Humvee up armored the best tactical vehicle in my opinion, unfortunately that truck cannot provide much protection from a bomb exploding underneath you. It killed my TC instantly and f**ked up my driver and gunner. I didn't remember a thing. F*ked me up too. I recovered eventually and suffered neck, upper and lower back pain, my right knee still has a deep gash scar that fills up with fluid. Really, not anything visible. I didn't care anymore. Oh, I forgot how to feel too. It's war, people die all the time, I remember feeling honored to fight for something I believe in I forgot how that felt, who cares. I just stop feeling and didn't care anymore. I returned home from deployment still listing to this LTC debrief our boys about how to act return to our duty station and not talk sh*t to rear det who stayed home. Everything changed. I didn't feel any different than before my injury. So I thought. My new squad had respect and love for me but talking sht at the same time. Too quickly to react when I tell them how it is down range in theater, I thought they were listening. They were more annoyed than anything more like oh sht there that guy rambling about stories again. I had my squad leader pull me aside to his bunk said some sht I couldn't comprehend much of what he was saying I couldn't pay longer attention looking passed him and all over the place the sky ground hands. Slow the fk down is what he said. People couldn't track on what I was saying and changed a subject every other moment. I was in charge of B team. My privates and specialists never seem to take me seriously and I couldn't react on how to feel or get anywhere speaking to others, I didn't care. I was having others saying why are you yelling or talking so loud when I thought I was talking normally. I took leave. I went back to my mom's house to stay for a few weeks. Man when I returned to my town, it was another war zone. I'm in my civi's and I noticed everyone looking at me. I stuck out buy didn't notice why. My mother said I needed to cut down on coffee and watching out for everything is making people uneasy around me and she also said quit cussing because every other words I say fk, pss, sht, MF, FK and rambling on sht nobody knows I am talking about. Stop being Loud, your too aggressive, Stay Stiil, can you listen to me, are you ok hello are you there? I felt something finally after like 4 months of feeling nothing. I exploded in anger throughout mom's house I can't take it anymore it was quick and it surprise her so much she was in shock then started to cry. She said what happened to you where is my son? I was like you all was just living good with no worrying about sht embracing all this freedom you got angry look around at me like some A hole punk kid that should be in school in a study of a course I give a crap about. I didn't see a future in going to a school in fact I didn't see a future at all I just want to go back to war again because I felt normal there and the only I was good at. After my leave was over and couldn't feel or act the way I'm supposed to act when mom feels uncomfortable heart broken thinking it's her fault and took what I said in outburst to her heart, I'm a born strictly raised Catholic, school boy, close to family, respectful to elders and fellow community, a nice guy, played ball in high school, I got along with others well, never got into trouble, rarely got into a conflict unless it was against my boys and family. I was known to be friendly and I had so much ambition I valued life and God. I returned to another alien world I couldn't understand Nothing was the same. People I thought I knew were disappointed pissed off and would anyone who were close family and friends and people in the middle class quite neighborhood ever thought I will be lashing back or acting that way towards my mother. They wanted me gone and couldn't wait to get the he'll out and get away from these people you all changed F You all I don't care. I didn't know how to feel. After Leave I jumped on another mission to deploy again. Medical cleared me all the redundant training again and go to go back in action. I Actually felt comfortable and at home there and didn't bother on calling home unless it was about my WILL and who's gunna my power of attorney when I died. My second Deployment received very little action compared to my previous one and man, people were looking at me like I was sick or something, this other soldier was like, you volunteered to comeback to this sht hole, you already did your time now go home and get pssy! There's sht Taliban, ain't shorty here just men, you must like men? Man love Thursdays. I was in the process of jumping on another deployment and I was already approved by the relieving unit's Commander when my request rejected by my unit commander from home. I burst out laughing uncontrollably then anger I wanted to kill him so badly I felt he was fking up career stopping a job I was good at. After my deployment ended, returned home. Then later found out why they rejected my request for a third deployment because many Joe's returned home and got sickness I didn't believe it was real, and I just figured that this sickness is a get out of jail free card that soldiers say they have to they can quit serving and get medical discharge ended their contract bid. Damn I was that guy in the back row of this debriefing saying this was way longer than my first-time coming home and sitting back listening to the VA talking about suicide and stuff! I joked to my buddy next to me and said if this session goes on any longer I'm gonna kill myself. Another group showed explaining PTSD, drugs, hitting spouses, conflict with the law! I was like don't pertain to me PTSD sht fake as fk don't give a damn. Finally I remember coming home to my mom's. I told her that it was a huge mistake that they denied my 3rd deployment. She was completely different towards me and kinda got along and used to her. I was like your son too! I got annoyed and easily angered. Throwing stuff just as quickly as it started crying uncontrollably while my mom watched. I started to get mixed emotions that at times someone should be sad I giggled and at a time I should be mad I wasn't and became very passive to things and got numb to my emotions. This is what my mother did: she gave me space just like you did and suggested to 3 months until my contact with military is expired and get a regular job something similar to your last job. My bid ended I was free and missed my team, my family military bonding, military life, no more formation and time line. Uniforms gone and I can finally see what I looked like with a beard. At the time of injury 19 turned 20. I was 20 turned 21 when deployment 2 ended gonna turn 23. I'm home I didn't spend any of that money while in action. IGot a bonus too. Ok I haven't had to experience the freedom yet. The freedom to not having being told what to do because they said so. I couldn't relate to normal civilian conversation because nobody knew what either of where talking about. I found a veteran bar and to share stories with the dinosaurs. I finally contacted some battle buddys to hang out with and without warning we started drinking uncontrollably. 1 beer 4 beers 45 bears and running an open tab they cut us off later my tab $1k oh well never worried about. My boys got hotel rooms and I stayed with them. None of us wanted to leave each other. Next day we all got women then parties all night and all day long. They were in love with us we as a group dropped over 10k in weekend like nothing and didn't care. The ladies introduced us to something I've never tried before. I tried drugs for the first time offer to my boys they tried it too. Drugs Hookers and Blow! Rocking and rolling every night. Sht felt so good like feeling that same feeling you literally dodged a bullet from a firefight and sht I'm invisible I didn't die in combat, but I also felt it's gonna end soon. My family finally got a hold of me after weeks of fun and celebration my relationship with family grew more distant. They were disappointed. They wanted me to live with my brother because I was looking sick, I got to 240lbs smelt like crap and my breath reeks of alcohol. Then they told to get a house with all that money I got. I stopped drinking and drugs. Fortunately I took my parent's advice and got a house. VA loan baby got a house! Now I needed a job and clean up. I miss the feeling that made me feel good. I had weird random flashbacks. I replayed events in that hmvvee over and over then started getting crazy thoughts thinking I should have done this spoken up stopping the hmv and do 5 and 25s situational awareness. No I got complacent and only worrying about chow at the FOB or showers. I felt guilty for the first time. Because I remember that exploded aftermath trying to figure out where I am and what happened I awoke an found my buddies moaning then I failed. Gash on my knee and it felt like water. I didn't feel it. I'm dazed cutting the gunners belt and free him from the turret looked at the driver and he attended the Truck Commander. It felt like 1hrs have went by. Actually minutes and all of gotten medical evacuation by helicopter. KIA'S saddest sht and coulda shoulda would've. Despite my minor injuries I felt normal. At this time I've been a civilian for 2 months I received a call from a buddy he said our other buddy shot himself. That's unreal. I got contact by another buddy and our other buddy is in detention center we watched the news. Homeboy Robbed ATM Technicians at gun point stole the money then got caught. Our first sgt drank pain pills then down a bottle of wine. Then after 4 months buddy of mine jumped off Tillman Bridge by Hoover damn. Look it up 2012 War Veteran Jumped off bridge. Then after things started to get normal. I remember getting fired from 10th job and felt like a failure. I didn't understand what's wrong with everyone. I hooked up this addict on the street we got into a relationship and knocked her up. My family called first it's dad go get help your not well. I didn't notice on they way I act. I'm confused didn't know what's wrong. One day happy as he'll for week then so fking guilty and sad for two more weeks then finally after my brother and this woman I picked me from the bus stop said you get mental treatment. Let me recall the events I skipped wich lead to everyone to seeing myself slowly developed into a degenerate compulsive gambler also shooting up as much meth into my veins feeling my heart racing and blamed everything on everybody I feel fine and I do what I want. Nobody ain't doing sht I got my guns. 86 myself from the various buildings. Hit my woman lost my house. Got to go to jail. Hooked on dope trying to detox wanted to die I failed my country. From hero to zero. Out of jail now bank accounts at negative balance house payment are high the house really is pregnant oh ahhh got to love that rushing feeling No more support by family all tired if my bullst fking who gives a sht about feelings fk this world I got my gat gonna take money from hajj 7-11 what's up! Fu hajj I was so amped up. I took the money and dropped my cellphone. I was so hot swinging backward then stumble to the street. Police arrived in seconds standoff happen guns drawn, my gun aim barrel in my mouth. Lights Camera Action NEWS everywhere man blinded by lights everywhere still thinking do it wuss out. I had tunnel hearing tunnel vision saw this interrogater getting help from the side saw my mom standing from the parking lot and wonder how she got here. The police got my phone found VA stuff and called mom and dad. Check out the LV Strip Standoff. I was only a couple of months away from being a civilian man for a year 6 years at State, psych ward, VA changes, Got diagnose of stuff I didn't believe was real. Veterans Treatment Court, AA, NA, and GA. From 2013 to 2020. I now volunteer as a social worker at the VA hospital public speaking about why it's important to be humble. changes happened and I never expected to get blasted caught me slipping. VA programs are there for you fellow Veterans. We all followed that cold darkened paths we think was something you're in control of and yes we are in control just learn how you live without looking back move on start something new. My mom took me hiking in Colorado helps. Oh, your gonna get emotional outbursts go through it so you know it got triggered. Go to public speaking up. Tell the doctor what you REALLY are thinking and also take a buddy or family to your psych sessions so they REALLY tell doctors what's happening. Prison saved me. It put structure back into my life also humble my stubbornness dropped my pride and got the treatment. VA Doctors are HEROS let them do their jobs.
Suicide is REAL everyone! Civilian military family. To be honest, the day I drank with my buddy I didn't seem like anything was wrong. Normal. Kills himself 12hrs later. Read these suicide prevention cards. My buddy kept talking about his girlfriend and wasn't drinking like for fun but kept saying he stays numb. I don't know if your gonna do it you're gonna do it. JUST REMEMBER
SUICIDE IS PERMANENT SOLUTION TO A TEMPORARY PROBLEM. I hope this long as stories change someone's idea about doing outside chartered action and asking for help don't mean you're weak, they do a function check on you. Like PMCS on vehicles before using it on missions. Veterans Treatment Court is very good. If you fked up like me VTC is there being Veterans gives yourself an edge on treatment rehabilitation instead of Corrections and recidivism. Non Violence probation after a year incarnation.

National suicide prevention lifeline - 800-273-8255

Hang in there. I'm praying for you. Brain injuries are not easy. But just keep in mind, it isn't you, it's the injury. You sound like a beautiful person taking care of your son. Keep loving him, I know you do. Try and focus on the good things, I know sometimes that's hard. Find a support group.

I had a severe tbi when i was 13 y/o. And was comatose for 2 months. I am now 64 y/o and my employment record is spotty. I don't have any short-term recall, so when things happen i will have no memory of it later, when you have to write Progress Notes. I keep a short list of the clients eating, medication adm., or E.R. visits. But i am unable to recall any direct conversations that occurred, between the clients or with me. I am not sure how to maneuver my way around this. Do you have any suggesstions?

Good morning,

I have had numerous Brain operations and tomorrow I am having Cervical Spinal Surgery. A little nervous.

Thank you for your special articles. They feel like that they are just for me... maybe an easier to make a copy for my close friends and family. Thank you

Take care

Samantha

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