How can you help ease the irritability and frustration? How can I keep it from impacting my relationships with others? It’s been 18 years and I still have a hard time.
There are lots of reasons for irritability and frustration. Finding the things that contribute to your irritability and frustration is essential for coping with it and overcoming it. It could be fatigue, pain (often headaches), anxiety, feeling overwhelmed. Is it other people's actions that cause you to get irritable and frustrated? Are you frustrated with yourself and your situation? Make sure to be well-rested. Give yourself plenty of time to get tasks done. Do not overcommit. If you are bothered by others' actions, try to put yourself in their shoes to understand their actions. Avoid mind-reading and assuming you know why people act the way they do. Try not to personalize things. Try to do things you like or enjoy when irritated and frustrated. Be patient with yourself. Celebrate any and all progress/accomplishments since your injury. Journal or talk to friends. You have to confront your emotions otherwise it will leak out into your behavior with family and friends. Instead of taking it out on family and friends, talk with them or with a therapist. Don't indulge in drugs and alcohol, as these practices could exacerbate irritability and make it harder to stop yourself from saying or doing mean things.
This content is made possible by a partnership between Indiana University and WETA/BrainLine.
The contents of this expert answer were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research the Indiana Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems 90DP0036 and 90DRTB0002. NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this expert answer do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.
Dr. Dawn Neumann is an Associate Professor at Indiana University School of Medicine in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Research Director at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana.