Traumatic Brain Injury Basics

Michael Paul Mason, Brain Injury Case Manager
TBI Basics


Doctors say that traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a catastrophic condition, like burns, amputations, and spinal cord injuries. But TBI is different. It upsets life on multiple levels: physical, psychological, social, and even spiritual. TBI affects the roots of who we are — our ability to think, to communicate, and to connect with other people. For approximately 85 percent of people with TBI, those problems eventually resolve, but the remaining 15 percent have lasting difficulties. If you’re dealing with lingering symptoms of a TBI, or if you’re caring for a loved one, it can help to understand more about the wide range of challenges that TBI can pose.

A tap on the head, and anything can go wrong. Anything usually does go wrong. Light taps — mild TBI — can result in daily headaches, agitated moods, or periods of sleeplessness. Stronger jolts may cause you to forget your name, or make you think you’re someone different. When you tell someone you’re sad, you may unintentionally yell. A TBI can introduce a frustrating amount of confusion and uncertainty into your life

TBI by the Numbers

TBI has a way of affecting everything and everyone in your life. It can make family life tough, and it can seriously impede your ability to work. It can affect the relationships you have and make it harder to make new friends. In the United States, TBI is a quiet crisis. As many as 5.3 million Americans are living with a permanent disability resulting from a brain injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 2.8 million Americans report a traumatic brain injury each year. Fifty-six thousand people die from it. Over a two hundred eighty-two thousand people are hospitalized. Some of them go home only to discover they no longer have a sense of smell or taste, or that their sleeping habits have changed, or that they can’t seem to do their job anymore. 

If you look at the numbers a little differently, they’re even more upsetting. So many Americans become disabled from a brain injury that each decade they could fill a city the size of Detroit. Seven of these cities are filled already. A third of their citizens are under fourteen years of age. Currently, there are at least 125,000 people with a brain injury so severe that it requires extended hospital care — a service difficult to find and even harder to access. Fortunately, the majority of people who experience TBI will be able to return to a productive life once they receive appropriate treatment

A Closer Look at the Brain

Even though the numbers are large, it’s important to remember that TBI is a human injury. It has a way of showing us that life is fragile and precious. Because the brain is a complicated network of cells, each injury is as distinctive as the person it affects. Our skulls are only a quarter inch thick, although male skulls are a little thicker, which is lucky considering the fact that men tend to get TBI more often than women. The skull is both protective and restricting; it is the brain’s best defense but also its greatest risk in times of trauma.

Surrounding the brain is an almost rubbery, clear layer of tissue called the dura mater. It helps protect the brain from moving around too much. Beneath the dura mater is another layer called the arachnoid layer, which looks and feels like wet cotton candy. The dura mater, the arachnoid layer, and another layer — the pia mater — all form what is known as the meninges, which keeps the brain floating inside the skull. If these layers get infected, ripped, or torn, it can cause serious damage to the brain

Types of TBI

Every brain injury is different, but there are two basic types: open head injuries and closed head injuries. Open head TBIs are a frightening mess. Whether the injury comes from a bullet, a baseball bat, or a high-speed collision, the result is always chaotic and distressing. The scalp bleeds a lot when it is cut, and when the skull is cracked or penetrated, pieces of it can get lodged in the brain. Because the brain is such a complicated tangle of tissue, it’s extremely tricky to remove objects lodged inside a brain. That’s why we put brain surgery right up there with rocket science in our everyday language.

In a closed head injury, nothing penetrates your skull, but a closed head injury can be just as complicated and vicious as an open head injury, sometimes more so. During a closed head injury, the brain may slam against one portion of the skull, then bounce against the opposite side of the wall. Doctors call that a “coup-contracoup” injury, where two injuries occur from a single blow. One of the most common types of closed head injury is a concussion — a strong blow from an external force. If a person’s head is whipped around, a small tearing effect called shearing occurs throughout the brain, resulting in a diffuse axonal injury. Axons are the hairlike extensions of nerve cells that transmit messages, so in a diffuse axonal injury, the messages either get mixed up, or they don’t come through at all

Treating and Living With TBI

An injured brain also has a tendency to swell, so if there is no room in the skull to expand, the swollen brain may start pushing against the eye sockets. The optic nerve eventually gets pinched, and eyesight is affected. A surgeon might drill holes into a skull to test cranial pressure. If the swelling is too extreme, the only option is to create an escape hatch by sawing away a portion of the skull.

The neurosurgeon is in charge of protecting the brain through medical procedures, but the survivor has to manage life with the effects of the TBI. Everyone reacts differently, depending in part on the severity of the injury, the quality of their care, and the strength of the social network around them. Many survivors feel pulled in different directions, feeling at times that the injury has made them less than what they were, and at other times that they can integrate TBI into their lives in a positive way. People with TBI are forced to confront a whole series of personal questions: How does my injury really affect me? Can I regain the things I’ve lost? What am I other than my brain? How can I make the most of my life?

Looking Ahead

Our understanding of TBI is changing in front of our eyes. As organizations such as the Brain Trauma Foundation continue to define the best practices in treating brain injury, medical care is slowly improving — at least for those patients able to gain access to early trauma care. The war in Iraq has already changed the way we treat TBI in America. Military surgeons who learned life-saving techniques like early cranioplasty are able to employ similar protocols in American trauma centers 

In the years to come, we may increasingly see brain trauma as a chronic but manageable condition similar to diabetes or cardio-pulmonary disease. That perspective might also help in reducing the negative stereotypes of TBI. For now, though, TBI survivors and those who care for them continue to face serious challenges in finding help and finding acceptance.

TBI is a much more manageable injury today than it has been in the past, but it remains a major health problem. As people with TBI continue to live longer and face the challenges of aging with TBI, it will be our duty to provide better education and long-term programs and services. We all have brains; let’s continue to use them — injured or not — to support TBI prevention, research, and treatment.

Posted on BrainLine February 13, 2018. Reviewed March 27, 2019.

About the Author

Michael Paul Mason is the founding editor of This Land, a monthly magazine based in Tulsa. Mason's first book, Head Cases: Stories of Brain Injury and Its Aftermath, is an exploration into the harsh realities endured by people with brain injury. Mason's first book, Head Cases: Stories of Brain Injury and Its Aftermath, is an exploration into the harsh realities endured by brain injury survivors. While currently a brain injury projects manager at the Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute at Brookhaven Hospital, Mason continues to advocate on behalf of Americans with brain injury and is involved with several national legislative initiatives. Learn more about Michael Paul Mason >

Comments (317)

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.

thank you for sharing your story. It makes me feel less lonely. Family can be cruel, I jest, mine won't even let me have a conversation about what my life's been like, the confusion, the pains, and the struggles. I gotta look into a support group.

My granddaughter received a TBI when she was 4, she was riding on four-wheeler with her mother's boyfriend he had her seated in front of him without a helmet. He was going so fast he lost control and hit a power pole letting my baby get the worst her head slammed into the pole. She was rushed to hospital. they promptly put a neck brace and did what they possible could. The did an MRI said her brain was swelling so they tried to have her airlifted but to much fog so an ambulance with a trauma nurse came to take her they had to completely immobilize her for the trip. we followed. A screw was placed in her brain to monitor the swelling my daughter were so afraid we would lose he. The doctor said her head hit that pole with such force that it caused her braid to move back and forth in her skull several times. Then we waited a day seemed like a year I keep praying The doctor came that evening that her brain kept swelling and they were going to have to take out a portion of her right frontal lobe. My daughter was devastated she made me promise mom don't leave me I can't do this without you I told her I wasn't going anywhere. we went to another hospital for the surgery and waited it seemed forever but she came out Ok Thank God. She has changed her attitude wasn't the sweet little girl as much as she was and had some problems remembering a few things. She automatically got disability due to her TBI and she had small seizure activity in her brain each year they checked her. then she turned 18, they revaluated her without our input which I think was wrong because w2ho could better tell them. I'm not one trying to use the system but they gave it to her til she was 18 and now saying she's better. well she;s not we were going to fight it but she spontaneously decided no she was going to Georgia with her boyfriend . She is an angry person she does and says thinks without caring who she hurts, she steals and lies she will do anything to keep a boyfriend she doesn't think about consequences till it's to late' then she wants help. she gets her self in messes she goes with sleaze bags who won't work she is trying to work but she is stressing out she is going to go off on someone and it's not going to be pretty. I think it's the BTI it's self and she still has her seizure active. I read where it get worse when your older is that true She is 22 now and she sure has changed for the good

I too received a very serious TBI head injury when I was 16 years old, after being hit head on by an 8 tired farm tractor. I have had constant difficulties controlling my impulsiveness, and short term memory for 19 years, I started smoking sativa marijuana oil a few months ago, after trying dozens of pills over the last 19 years. I have found it really helpful.

I have heard hbd oil helps glad to hear my boy is in the hospitial for one right now

I suffered from a TBI 20 years ago, I suffered a closed head concussion. I was in a comma for several weeks and stayed in the hospital in rehab for 8 months. I have huge gaps in memory and have learned to deal with it. Lately I have been having very serious issues with short term memory, issues I haven’t had since right after my accident. Friends and family just shrug and say everybody forgets things and it’s no big deal. My problem is after all this time, I am really struggling with simple things, it has even impacted my job and has resulted in disciplinary action for the first time in my life. I am afraid at the age of 45 that I am having Alzheimer’s or something. Has anyone seen an issue like this reaccuring after this period of time? I am very worried and confused.

Omg yes! When I first fell ill, a lot of my symptoms were more neurological/cognitive/mental than physical which threw the drs off and I went a year before being tested and at that point it was Stage 3, NeuroLyme in my CBF and had shown signs of chronic encephalopathy so it was a little too late. But after treating it, I did regain cognitive ability and haven’t shown signs of decline at yearly eval w/Ind. Univers NP center since 2013 (15?) ;)
I’ve been so afraid every year bc after original testing they’ve said being diagnosed with MCI for more than 2 years is just a ticking time bomb. So far, (beginning of 2018) I had genuinely assumed I’d stay the same bc I’m human and want to believe I’m immortal or at least I’d get another decade or two: not unlike a lot of people. But since February I’ve started having those symptoms from when I was sick and like then, they’re only getting worse and I am so embarrassed at what I did to even tell (Let’s just say I forgot the day and missed a court ordered appearance! Omg, yes, it was that bad.
But there are little things that even my dr said to make note of if they start up, so I’m too embarrassed to tell anyone the real reason I’ve gotten into some major issues lately yet I’m so stressed all the time trying to play me and make fake excuses as to why I did or didn’t do what I HAD TO.
Oh I was a middle school teacher for 11 years before falling ill and had been accepted to law school that winter , so just saying I was a good, honest, hard working single mom who had my son in high school and carried that “guilt of disappointing” everyone so chose to work in the profession I remember dreaming I wish my parents did when I was little. By the time he was in preschool , I had 2 degrees. working on masters,publishing my writing, bartending on weekends for health insurance and of course being a law abiding citizen. (So you know I really enjoyed working and never thought I’d be forced to “retire” at the age of 33.) but I’ve been ok and optimistic and probably a little but ignorant as to the truth. But I’m too scared and feel like learning what I already know will take away hope.

Yes, I have had serious issues with my TBI. That are affecting me daily. Loss of family, loss of a 32 year job, mobility, severe depression, huge mood swings, feeling worthless,
hard time thinking, unable to perform daily functions, having an extremely hard time typing this not when I use to type a 78 wpm, loss of friends who just do not want to deal with a person like me. Can no longer do tasks that I use to always do..
Condesending relatives that ask if I am on disability or welfare

I have had the loss of “friends” along with the rude comments. It bothers them to be around me and watch me struggle trying to find my words. People can be cruel and thoughtless. I am better off to keep away from that negativity!

I sustained a TBI in 1999 from an auto accident on my way to work. I hit a light pole and immediately in a a coma while breaking several bones. My coma lasted 3 weeks on life support.

I just happened upon this site because I will be undergoing my 10th corrective surgery in a few days. I've also been forced to deal with many of the issues commented on and wanted anyone who reads this to understand that we are soldiers. ABs or non-disabled people can't empathize simply because it's not their reality. So stay strong, try not to take ignorance personal and remember that your pain is no excuse to take out on anyone.

Take it one day at a time. Medical professionals are supposed to work WITH you (not just prescribe medications!) so ask questions and do your homework!!!

Most of all be patient with yourself and remember the NOBODY on this planet is perfect!


I was diagnosed Glasgow three with 18 percent global loss, MVA at 136 mph, coma two weeks, what does the global loss represent? Thanks

My best friends daughter was in an auto accident 10 years ago and has TBI. Over the past 10 years she has never been pointed in the right direction when it comes to her daughter. Now her daughter is 23 and has no goals and she is worried about her future and if something should happen to her or her husband what will happen to her daughter. She has no concept of money and blows all of her disability money on junk. What can she do legally to sto this from happening so she will have something for her future. Guardianship? Power of attorney? Help!

My brother fell out of his chair (at least that was the story I got) and broke his neck. He had just been transferred to an extended care section of a hospital. He now has a cervical collar on, but he has lost his ability to speak. He makes no sense at all and doesn't even whisper, it is more like just moving his lips. No one, even his doctors, can tell me why. I just wonder what is going on.

I'm sorry to hear about your brother - that sounds very difficult at the moment. It's possible your brother has swelling or bleeding in an area of his brain that affects language. This is usually when someone has an injury to the left side of their brain (although they may have had an impact on the right, the brain has bounced against the left side of the skull). Hopefully his speech loss will be temporary and his speech will return as his brain recovers. Do ask the doctors to explain more for you.

I am the caregiver of someone with many TBIs throughout his life. We are beginning to wonder with his increased short term memory problems if he might have some CTE. He is in pain every single day with severe headaches and he has issues with walking stability and the feeling like he is dizzy. We can’t even go on a car ride without dizzy episodes. He is the same person but our lives have changed dramatically. He has problems processing but works hard to do well. I feel so bad that his life feels so hopeless to him. He is stuck in our home and is unable to work. Feeling hopeless for him. I don’t know what to do to make him feel important again?

When I was 8 years old, I was doing relay races verses the rest of my class mates. We were all racing from one end of the gym to the other. I was not able to stop soon enough and ran straight into the cement wall. I was not knocked out from the actual impact, right away. My teacher helped me to walk to the principles office to use the phone to call my parents to come and get me to take me into the E.R. On our way there I fell asleep. I'm now almost 50 and still am having a difficult time interacting with everyone. But anyhow, My best advice I can offer you is to not quit ,no matter what! and keep trying to get him to feel like he knows you got his back.

Set up a regular group of men, maybe just three, in the community or his friends to have a "playing cards" afternoon or "domino's" at a set time and let him have men's talk. Just set up a table with nibbles and coffee and relax in another room

I'm following a person that fell 25 ft and got a TBI plus multiple broken bones. They are now 9 days out from the fall and in ICU. Their eyes are open and they can do some physical therapy although they also do lots of yanking tubes out if they can, kicking pushing pulling and grabbing, wrestling with attendings etc... I was wondering if this is the brain trying to figure itself out since being basically bashed in from the fall? is this common when a person is becoming aware of their body? I would like to know what the physical movements constantly mean and is this to be expected? the left side is constantly in motion but the right side is not due to the left side of the head being landed in from the fall. I would appreciate anyone who has had personal experience with TBI or any advice from a caregiver that has experienced watching someone in early days after TBI. Is the patient frightened and the resulting thrashing and pulling and wrestling with attendings normal?

I work in the field of brain injury and most likely your patient is most likely in a confused agitated phase of recovery. Do a search online and you can discover the details. It is based on a score from one of many tests given to patients initially.
Try to limit all environmental noise, lights and distracting factors as much as possible. Talk slowly and with a calm and soothing voice and be concise and as concrete as possible. There are no predictables in brain injury. Hopefully this patient will move on from this step in brain injury recovery. Don't turn on the TV or bring in a lot of sensory noise. It can't be processed well.

I too was in a car wreck in 92', in a coma for two weeks at UCLA, many broken bones, I have been living with the moods, short-term memory but now I am shaking on left side of body, any help u can give would help, did a MRI, results a lot of brain scarring around the brain, could that be why, I can't go anywhere with this shaking, hard to even put make-up on. Thank you so much for any input. the Dr's think anxiety, I disagree.

Rocky supper normal. My boyfriend and I were in a motorcycle accident in August and he cut his coradid artery in his neck and got a tbi. He was in a coma for 18 days. When we woke up he didnt say much and couldn't remember his birthday or where he lived. And then as he started to be more aware of things he would start trying to rip ivs out
And when the nurses would go to try and stop them he would start punching them. He was in full restraints most of the time. Finally after a little over a month he started to come back into it and every day got better and better. 8 months later and almost like nothing happens. Hes juat upset he cant do MMA fighting do to his tbi!

Oh man me too accept I have a quarter missing of my skull on the right side also they told me I was attacking the nurses I am waiting for a titanium plate I was 18 now I'm 20 and question my life expansion and my left side coordination of my hand is weak

I was in a fatal car accident in 1996. I have a TBI from the wreck. I have been experiencing the feeling of being worthless and I have been lonely. No one understands and I am not sure how to cope with being alive. I have no friends and I am staying with my mother and her husband. I am depressed a lot and I think that I have lost all ambition to succeed or to do anything. I feel like I am lost. I don't know what to do. Thanks.

Hang tough. I have suffered from TBI since childhood. That started over 40 years ago. Best count I can give is a dozen major concussions. Hundreds of medium and minor ones. Sports, wrecks, falls, punches, artillery fire, hatch combings on a frigate at sea. I think I have all versions of a concussed mind possible. As long as you at least try, your family generally will not abandon you. I spent decades messed up and mine didn't abandon me. It took all the news recently about CTE for mine to finally accept my ways though.And for me to accept me. My symptoms aren't as bad as some but still ruined normal life for me. I accepted myself as abnormal and just live each day as best I can. Just knowing you have it and that there are now tools to help cope, has given you the means to overcome it. Its nothing to be ashamed of socially either. I'll tell people these days about it and that I'm a serious case of it so please talk a little slower. Once they understand I'm no pschyo they turn downright friendly after a dose of my southern charm

Hi Angela
I have a TBI and I understand how you feel. One of the hardest things I did afyer my accident was ro out one foot in front of the other to go to a brain injury meeting. There I found such wonderful people in the same situation and experience the same mood swings. May I suggest you try going to a brain injury group a few times and see if it helps. We love you Angela....don't give up!

hi, Angela I read your comment and I see that you are depressed.I AM 100% SURE that you are not worthless. I don't have a tbi but I sometimes feel the same way that my life is worthless and that times is passing bye without doing something i like in my life. you are not alone many people without tbi have the same feelings about themselves .but you know what life gets better even if didn't the past years so you can be happy if you know you will be happy in the future. Also don't be shy to ask help from people. I know you will get better

All these feelings are very I to have lived with TBI for 12 years..a left temporal lobe injury... from a few different blows to the head.
It isn't easy...but life is only what we make it...I live with constant nerve type burning of hot and cold in my head, and the same in my entire body, Some days I can barely crawl out of bed, but after I get up and start moving I set my mind to plow forward through it all...the hardest part is feeling like a different person while others see you as the same as you always been...we feel our injury at every moment thinking people can see or recognize it...and the worst part... trying to get others to understand....knowing that they won't completely ever truly know..I sometimes just cry, or even just laugh for no apparent reasons, and I always feels as if I'm living things in life that I've already a very scary feeling..its hard to make others understand when we don't quite understand it matter what, injury or not your special, every single day I wake up I thank God for another day no matter the struggles...because this injury has taught me Every day is not make each one count...they are more special then just anyone can realize...God bless...just be you and find reasons to keep you happy...the simplest things are most value of all...I've had to learn simplicity in life is most valuable... you're never alone we are never alone.

I am sorry for your pain. Can I ask you something? Maybe it will help me try to understand what my husband feels since his TBI 3 years ago? Sometimes it is really hard for me. When I look at him, he is the man I have known for over 30 years, but sometimes his actions show me he is not the man I know. You say the hardest part is feeling like a different person while others see you as the person you used to be. If you know you feel like a different person would it be possible to tell your friend that you are not the same person you used to be? If you do something that is so out of character from what you would have ever done before your injury, would you know that you just did something that you wouldn't have done before your injury? In other words, would you know that your actions aren’t the old you?

It is so complicated with brain issues. My husband does things that he denies knowing he did. I wish he would just admit it. I don’t know if he is lying or doesn’t remember. I am very stressed

I was hit as a pedestrian by a pickup in 1975 when treatment was poor. My wife of 11 years was understanding. fatigue kept me from working for 2 years I was good at production but poor at office work. I could not read,do math or tell time but my 6 yr. old helped me. I developed seizures, have face blindness,have difficulty with music. I have retired from 2 good jobs.With some difficulties life is good. it is a battle, don't give up.

My husband suffered a TBI in November of 2015. This injury has affected our whole family. Those of us who do no physically have the injury do no fully understand how the person feels but we see and difference in them and know we have lost our loved one but we still love the person that remains and always will. The person with the injury does not know how we feel because we keep that to ourselves. Once we see our loved one gone we hurt so deep and with so much pain that sometimes we would be better off with the injury. Remember, you are not worthless, you are still valued by your loved ones. We may not understand how you really feel but we still love and value the injured as a human being and love them with all our heart and soul. Wish you all the best and you are not lost or alone in this. Someone who knows.

I had a fatal car accident in 2015 and still experience anxiety, depression, mood swings and more. I know how you feel and it sucks because alot of people don't understand us. They think we can just get better or that the accident didn't cause us to be how we are now. I hope things look up for the better for you!

i have tbi and no friends

Hey join my club my friend. Had blunt force high speed facial treatment mpact resulting in severe metabolic issues, dental jaw surgeries and noticeable bulging double vision eyes. I’m not the same person and all friends gone. My cat is my buddy. I found trying too much to hide my changes and trying to “man up” are bad for me. Avoiding crowds , noise or any conflict goes long way towards keeping the bad symptoms at bay

Don’t feel nobody understands your plight. Many of us do. No need to explain yourself. I enjoy animals better than people now just because they don’t ask me anything but give unconditional love no strings just love

I hope can find a peaceful place that has what you need.

I dont have a TBI and I have 1 friend that is my dog. So you can have a friend too — get a pet. :)

Isaac, I understand your sadness....despair. I thought I had so many friends, until I needed a friend, and learned I had not even one. It has been impossible to accept but there is no option. I spoke openly and honestly with someone pretending to understand and promising privacy with my thoughts and pain but upon the end of the conversation my front door was forced open and I was physically assaulted by police who took me against my will to an ice cold psych ward and left alone for hours until. My legal husband and "caregiver" who that morning had handed me my refilled pain meds turned and walked away. I knew what he was saying but due to that "private" conversation I was locked away temporarily until given back to the "caregiver". That "understanding" conversationalist has secured my "care" to someone else and turned her back on any responsibility. We do not have friends Isaac, I do know where you are, locked inside your broken head that was once such a comfortable place. Just hell now with no hope or help from it, no escape even allowed. Friends pass the responsibility to anyone and I cannot blame them. We would not wish this on anyone would we Isaac?

No, we would not wish it on anyone, even our worst enemies. Hugs xx

Hi Sadie and to Everyone Else reading this post. My heart goes out to each and every One of You. I do not personally suffer from a TBI but I have been a Caregiver for an amazing guy who suffered one about sixteen years ago. He was in a very bad wreck. Coma for four months and rehabilitation for another eight months in the hospital. I want to tell you that I am So Sorry for the overwhelming Pain and heartache you are dealing with. My husband has Muscular Dystrophy and it's not easy. I know loss and the feeling of hopelessness myself. I lost my 26 yr old daughter a few yrs back in a car accident. Please Don't Give Up. There are online support groups. I realize it's not that easy to pull yourself out of a dark place. Just remember there are People Who Care. Bless You All.

Yes issac I have same problem the ones act they r just use your kindness as there own advantage

I was struck by a car when I was 19 while running across a highway on a trail in my local community. I had 24 broken bones, my main being my leg and shoulder. I have definitely dealt with the effects of a brain injury. My main problems now are short and long-term memory loss, I forget things easily, trouble with word finding, impulsive decision making, loss of friends due to the fact they've advanced so much more than I, I'd rather just be alone. It's been a hard road. If I can get through it, anyone facing the challenges of a brain injury can too. I just wanted to add this for anyone feeling like their life isn't good enough because of your brain injury, it is. There's a reason we are here.

Ashley, your words hit me hard... I was thrown from a car at 15 and my best friend died from head injuries. I have had so many physical issues I never attributed to it until now. As I get older and realize I would rather be by myself than try to communicate with anyone. I have had 3 other MAJOR head traumas since then and just feel hopeless. I don't know why the world won't let go of me. I try everything "they say" but always end up worse than before. I don't know what else to do, no one understands me, they think I'm impulsive, depressed, bipolar, this or that but mostly hard to get along with or understand. I have wanted to die for so long and should've with the efforts. I wish I could believe there was a good reason for me to be here but it only seems to be I destroy myself and the 3 people in my life, my parents and significant other that has chosen to love me regardless of the horrible things I put them through. I don't know if they would be better with me here or if I were dead. I am tired of hurting everyone. My children have chosen to keep me from their life from a young age after an incident that I now believe is part of my brain injury and not the things they said about me. My kids were never harmed physically but I know I hurt them mentally and now I am alone and feel there's nowhere for me to be or no good I could ever do. My physical pain limits so much. I really want to be happy and have a good life with my son, my dogs and my parents but nothing seems possible anymore. I think I have crossed over to the place of no return for those who I love with all my heart. I wish there was a way to look into my brain and figure out if it is the culprit and correct it but I've not found anything pointing to that. I am glad for you that you are choosing to be positive and pushing through. I am so tired of trying. If anyone can point me to an answer of at least how to heal and if it's even possible.

Dear Erin, your words have touched my heart. I also was in 3 serious car accidents but one of the most critical was a tree falling dead across the highway which I was driving on... perfectly synced with the front of my car and flipped my car 3 times forward and skid 1 & 1/2 football fields upside down. I also fractured my head from a seizure on cement after I had finished art I had done and was showing my mother outside. When she said my eyes rolled back and boom. I remember nothing. I also flatlined for over 6 minutes from the flu and was deprived oxygen to my brain. I was once an artist, a writer, hard worker, class clown senior superlative and much more. I am now a shell. I'm not living. I exsist.. no one relates to my battle every day. My memory is gone. I forget everything. No taste. No smell. Find me on fb. For you are not alone and I would hate to hear you think this world would be better without you... it's because of you that I stopped and took 2 hrs just to type this all out (it's hard to process sentences ). You were worth that... and so much more.

Thank you Ashley. I, too, suffered a major head injury some years ago in a car accident. I have no one left in my life. My life is filled with constant effort with no seeming reward. No one knows what happened to me, because no one has wanted to listen. I am given no support, but I am expected to support everyone else. Life is very hard every day, most times torture. I have the same problems as the ones that you listed and am exhausted from the effort that it takes every day just to get through the day. Even though I can't figure out why God kept me here, it is His decision when he takes me out. Thank you for your words. They are the first to me since I was injured 32 years ago. It feels like I am wandering around in a dream with no connections. Thank you for yours.

Hi, Ashley! I hope you are doing well today. I would LOVE to listen to you story and offer as much support as I can. I suffered a TBI years ago as the result of a car accident. God kept you here so you can teach and inform others about TBI. You are a blessing and I will pray for you! Have you considered attending a TBI Support Group? Is there anything like that where you live? I facilitated a Traumatic Brain Injury Support Group a while ago for about a year and a half. I started by attending the group and one thing lead to another and I was asked to facilitate. I was very scared, but everyone in the group was so understanding and supportive because they have been through similar experiences. I have an on-line Brain Injury Support Group of Duluth on Facebook if you use Facebook, and everyone is welcome! Let me know if you are interested and I will help you out any way I can. God bless you and please stay safe and strong and know that you are not alone!

My son who was 15 1/2 at the time was hit by a van while on the rode is head hitting the windshield causing TBI and broken up hip and leg, we spent 2 months at savannah, Ga. he then was sent home, he had to learn to talk and eat again, although we had to feed him through a stomach tube for awhile, he has been in and out of rehab for the past years but still can not walk, there also was no big settlement so we could not get him the best of care, medicaid does not allow for much therapy, now he is 26 its a shame that he can not still walk because we do not have money or good insurance, my son has missed alot of things in his life and my heart breaks for him! it is just not fair!

I was in a car wreck in 2000 and had a TBI. I have had many problems on a daily basis due to this injury. Headaches, vision, confusion, and memory loss are a few of the areas I deal with every single day.

I hit my head about 8-9 months playing football and couldn’t even remember what year it was or what I did two minutes before. This was at school. I sat at the nurses for hours and it was intense. They gave me bad advice by saying I would be alright and that I just needed some rest and to be inactive for a while. A little after a month later, I was playing basketball in school and someone ran into me by accident. They must’ve knocked me out because I fell over. I’ve asked people, they all say “it was the loudest thing in the gym" when I hit the back of my head off the gym floor and ever since that I’ve been feeling the same way. I’m 14 now and I was just wondering if anyone else was going through what I am. And I was right, at least I know it's not only me. What I always feel is like I’m trapped inside my head, blurred vision and terrible headaches are a small part of what I’m feeling right now and will probably always feel.

My injury occurred in August 2015. How long after an injury am I still considered to represent someone with a TBI?

For the rest of your life.

When I was three years old I got hit in the head with a golf club by my brother. It was a complete accdient. I wasn't paying attention and ran out in front of him while he was in mid swing. I don't remember anything! I had to learn how to walk and talk all over again. The doctors said I was make progress & then I'd fall back down again. Which has already happened. I'm perfectly fine now, other than suffering from short term memory loss.

I think I may have had a TBI. For years I have had the headaches, from mild, moderate, to prostrating and meds have not helped. I have had occasional blurred vision from them, dizziness, numbness, tingling in extremities, ringing in my ears, emotional swings of irritability, anger, out bursts, depression, a general sense of malaise, short term memory loss, fatigue, and brain fog. I have been tested for almost everything except TBI. I recently found medical record that shows I had a fall from a stand while working on a jet and taken by ambulance while in the military. The record only shows injury to the soft tissue of my lower right lumbar area of my back. I had a follow up with bed rest.  Since finding this record and researching TBI I am wondering if I have it even though this fall occured 34 years ago. All the above systems have been there with me for a long time but cannot remember when they started. I have learned to push through but am finding it more difficult as I age .