Traumatic Brain Injury... (before ptsd)

in life •  last year

After waking up from a two week coma and losing 3 family members in a tragic car accident, They told me I had a Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI.  No my short term memory isn't as bad as his in the movie.  It's different for everyone.  I know this is cheezy but it is WAY too commonly said that "if you've seen one brain injury.... you've seen one brain injury"  Everyone is affected differently and no two brain injuries are exactly alike.  There are many different parts of the brain that can be affected and each one of those parts reacts differently.  It's a puzzle even to the professionals too often.  

I woke up and besides the most horrific headache I'd ever had,  the world was new, wonderful, beautiful and "crisp"  It was like looking through the eyes of a 5 year old and I was curious about everything.  Even though I knew I'd been here for many years... it still seemed new crisp and beautiful.  I won't bore you with the details of waking up because even though I remember it was beautiful and new and wonderful... I don't really remember many details.  

What I do remember is that my internist told my parents to get me back into school ASAP.  We soon found out that my Neurologist got mad because the hospital didn't consult him before sending me home.  According to him I should've been in hte hospital for a few more months and not back in school.  This is how we found out.  I went back to school and remembered the people but virtually nothing else.  I got to my advanced literature class and was soo happy to be there.  (remember that it was like being a 5 or 6 year old at that time, with a higher intellect of course) I offered to read something  aloud to the class.  I looked in the book and realized.  I couldn't read anymore!  I started crying and they sent me home.  When my mother called the Neurologist that's when we found out.  within the next short while I also learned that my photographic memory was gone.  For a few months when I would close my eyes for more than let's say 10 seconds.  I would fall asleep again.  I do remember the day I got home from the hospital but I don't quite want to tell you about that yet because it's mostly verbal and mental abuse from the minute I got home.  

From that point it took me about 3 years to get more self aware and see things through someone my own ages eyes.  I started calling days when I knew my brain was malfunctioning to a significant level  "Bad Brain days" or "misfiring".  Eventually after getting to read again and learning I had trouble remembering and recalling things.  Then learning how to ways to learn to store those memories, because my photographic memory was gone.  I had hope again and goals again.  

When you have a TBI your doctors will say you are either "high functioning" or "low functioning".  Don't get mislead by this because I did because none of the professionals explained it to me.  Basically what high functioning means is that people cannot tell by talking to you or looking at you that you have a Traumatic Brain Injury.  It has nothing to do with your intelligence.   Low functioning means the opposite.  Some have problems with gait, speech, walking... I won't list them all because there are way too many to list in short blog post.    All I can tell you is that after waking up and being diagnosed is that I thought they were wrong for 3 years.  Then my self awareness started to kick in and I realized they were right.  I wasn't the same person I was once before.  I don't even remember most of my life before that time, even this many years later.  You have to get used to your new normal.  My new normal at that time was a high functioning traumatic brain injury survivor.  

Because your brain controls absolutely everything in your body and everything about you.  I had to relearn me and that was my new normal.  Everyone around me held me to previous standards including in just casual conversation.  This lead me to do that to myself which in a lot of ways makes it all harder to live with because I'm not the same.  I don't think the same.  I don't talk the same.  I don't act the same and frankly I don't remember much about who I was before that.  So starting over is more difficult when people treat you and expect you to be the same.  I'm just now learning this 20 ish years later.  Thank you for reading.  If you want to join me in my goal to raise awareness for invisible disabilities please resteem and comment.  Let's open up a dialogue and feel free to ask me questions if you would like to do so.  I appreciate you reading this me and your support.  



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This is very brave and good of you to share your experiences. I believe talking about such things WILL help someone out there who is feeling alone and frightened. It is also self healing.

Great work, I am proud we met :)

Thank you

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I'm happy we met as well. thank you. It can be draining but it's worth it. I'm also hoping to help past, current or future support system people. If close to 50% of the people in the US have a disability... everyone knows someone with one. :)

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I forgot to mention that it is helping me by writing this. There's been a study done that shows writing about it helps. I started writing about it on here before I heard of that study. Kind of cool :)

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True! I am actually putting together a course on another platform "Healing with Writing" :)

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Awesome. I'd like to hear more about it. I've met a lot of people on steemit and read a lot of blogs. Are you the one who does public speaking about your experiences?

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Yes, that is me :)

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I would love to ask you more about that some time out of everyones ear or eyes... like in chat or fb maybe. It's difficult to have private conversations on here and the chat has not worked for me for over a week now.

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register with Discord chat. That is where we are all hanging out

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do you use your steemit names on there?

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follow,upvote and comment @punitchoudharyand I'll do the same for you.

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follow,upvote and comment @punitchoudharyand I'll do the same for you.

that sounds so hard. especially interacting with other people and feeling this weight of expectation that you can't fulfill. what is it like not remembering your life? what exists there?

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It was and still is hard even though it happened over 2 decades ago. I'm still trying to learn to both deal with and get past a lot of it. Honestly it's really strange waking up and not remember most of your life. I hear family members tell stories and they're usually pretty funny stuff about when we were kids. I laugh because it's funny but then I have to ask if I was there. They of course most of the time tell me I was then ask " don't you remember that". The truth is it scares me because they could totally lie to me about being there and I wouldn't know the difference. I still have a deep desire to hear about things from when I was younger because I feel like part of me is missing... not just my memories but that's a big part of it. Every thing you do in life and every memory you form affects you, you behavior, your well being, everything! It makes you who you are. I have no idea about half of my life. I do have a few memories but I could tell you about all of them in an hour probably. I'm not really sure what exists there... empty space mostly and I've been trying to live my life ... an reinvent myself. There's just some things there that are there and I don't know where they came from or why I act that way. It's unusual and it's confusing. It's a puzzle with half of the pieces missing I guess.

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you should write a book about it. it could even be fiction. but in the nonfiction realm, just about the experience of this. I would read it! <3 much love to you. What is your life like now? You just live in the moment more than other people perhaps. That could be a really cool way to spin it to your unconscious that wanders into to much wondering about what you were like.

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follow,upvote and comment @punitchoudharyand I'll do the same for you.

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I would love to do that. That's been on my bucket list for years now lol I've sat down a few times and just typed and typed. I've lost those workings because of computers breaking and some other things. I've never really written anything and don't know where or how to start really. Thank you

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My life now was living in the moment more than other people for years. Then the PTSD hit and it changed my world. I refer that as "the day everything stopped being possible" because it proved to me i was wrong.

follow,upvote and comment @punitchoudharyand I'll do the same for you.

Thanks for sharing your story

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thank you for reading it :)

Thank you for your testimony, I also suffered a TBI about five years ago and am relearning my new self. I also am a High functioning TBI surviver and find myself reclusive and more introverted due to the way others remember the pre-injures me. Their expectations and judgements are overwhelming at times , however I am turning to sites like this as an outlet for personal expression. I feel the need to bring awareness to this topic in hopes of educating others and increasing understanding to the masses. I would like to also see more support groups for families of TBI suffers and those that live with chronic pain like myself.

I have chosen to take personal responsibility for my own wellness and healing, putting health and family first instead of monetary earnings. I am a husband and father and still feel the need to provide for my family, however my goals have changed. Simplicity and living in the moment have taken president . I am taking my new mental shortcomings and rerouting my thinking abilities to increase a new healthy way of living. For those suffering from TBI and feel lost and discouraged , there is hope in simplicity of life. Like a small child enjoying the fresh new world , you can rediscover you new normal and reinvent yourself. Remove the toxic elements that clutter your life and consume in glutney the wholeness of living. May all find themselves in the present blessings set before them and reflect their new light.

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It's hard and it seems to get more difficult (for me anyway) the older you get. I never really had a support system other than a Neuropsychologist that specialized in TBI about a decade later. I've learned that a good, positive understanding support system can make the best difference in the world. I really hope you have that. I know that no two brain injuries are alike. I understand that and have seen that as evidence in my decades of recovery and living with it. I'm here if you need to talk, as a friend and as someone who understands how hard it can be cognitively and emotionally. Keep up that AWESOME attitude and mentality you have. That helps a lot. I've taken a break because I've been telling my story to try to help raise awareness for invisible disabilities. It's been very draining but it's worth it if it can help others with invisible disabilities . I'm completely alone as I moved away to try to FINALLY start over. I'm finally getting some help with my PTSD but my self confidence has been broken. I'm trying really hard not to give up and keep fighting. I just have to do some things to get my life back on track and will hopefully start posting again soon. Keep up the good work and that great attitude. I'm here if you need a friend.

An incredible story, thanks for sharing. I work with people with ptsd, you may want to follow my stories. I've only just joined, but will be posting cases of ptsd and recovery. Take care :)