Minimizing the Challenges of Going to a Restaurant After a Brain Injury

Adam Anicich talks about why going to a restaurant post-TBI is often far from relaxing and what to do to make the experience better.

Comments (7)

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I think these are good ideas but on the other side of the coin, exposure and recovery is necessary. Occasionally me and my girlfriend would go to a busy restaurant and stay as long as could. When I would feel "bad" I would go to the bathroom for a break. Go back and try it again. With multiple breaks at times I could make the whole dinner other times I could not. The days I couldn't, I would not get down on myself because it's part of recovery. I have the "no pain no gain" mentality in my recovery. I'm going on 2 years and can make it through dinners now. It came with a lot of work, time, tears and faith but I can do it. Don't get me wrong, it's not the same preTBI but It's getting better every time. I use this for every aspect of life. Go at your pace, you'll recover at your pace and be ok with your new normal as you improve.

I look at the menu online and pick what I want. Also sit facing the wall for fewer distractions. I try to ask people to choose restaurants that don't have loud music, or I wear ear plugs.
Lots of places have their menu on line. So I read it at home with plenty of time and quiet.
I look up the restaurants menu online before I go. That way, I know what I'm having before I get there. Same idea, just a little variety.
Restaurants are unbelievably difficult. Other ideas that have helped me are going at off hours, sitting with my back to the room to minimize the visual stimuli, wearing earplugs or noise canceling head phones-- you can usually hear people at you table but less of the background noise.

More tips:

  • go when the restaurant opens, or at off-peak times.
    It will be quieter and there will be less people which will help with over stimulation.
  • Pick restaurants that have carpet or good soft decor to help mitigate sound.
    Don't go to restaurants where the floor, walls, and ceiling are all cement & metal or all hard surfaces. The sound is horrific and taxes the brain quickly.
  • Take the time to find the quietest place to sit.
  • Sit facing the direction with the least visual stimuli.
  • You may also want to look at the menu online ahead of time so that you know what you want.
  • Sometimes I'll sit in the restaurant to eat my appetizer, and then take my entree to go.

I hope some of these help!!