Marilyn Spivack: Be Patient but Hopeful After a Brain Injury

It's very easy to become discouraged, to become depressed at the speed of recovery after brain injury, whether it's mild, moderate, or severe. You cannot see this injury, and the more mild, so to speak, which is not mild-- In other words, if you're not left with a physical disability and you look terrific, people are very apt to say, "What's wrong with you?" "Get a life. Move on." People who know you well--your family, your close friends, your employer, your coworkers--may know that you are not quite the person you were prior to that event. They all have to be educated and informed, and, most of all, the individual needs to be informed that this is a slow recovery and to seek help. You can't do this alone. But it's not a broken bone that will heal in a matter of weeks. It's a bruised brain that takes a long time to heal. And the more severe, the longer the time.

It is easy for people with TBI and their families to become discouraged or depressed at what seems like a very slow rate of recovery. But a bruised brain needs time to heal.

Marilyn Spivack

Marilyn Price Spivack is the neurotrauma outreach coordinator at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston. She is the co-founder and past president of the National Head Injury Foundation, now known as the Brain Injury Association of America. Her daughter sustained a severe TBI in 1975.

Posted on BrainLine August 28, 2012.

Produced by Krystal Klingenberg, Justin Rhodes, and Jared Schaubert, BrainLine.