words Alexa Wang
No one ever wants to think about being seriously hurt. Ideally, every person will live a long and healthy life. They will not have to deal with things like pain or reduced mobility.
You also want your mental acuity to stay sharp for your whole life. You don’t want to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia. Regrettably, none of us get to choose these things.
Traumatic brain injuries can be particularly devastating. If you survive them, then your entire lifestyle is going to change dramatically.
Let’s talk about six ways that your life will differ after a traumatic brain injury.
You Might Have to Relearn Speech
1.7 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury every year. That’s a lot, and while it’s not something that you ever want to have happen to you, you never have any choice in the matter. These injuries can occur:
- During car accidents
- From a slip-and-fall
- From something falling on you
- During a fight with someone
When they happen, there is never any knowing what changes will occur, because you don’t know what part of the brain sustained the damage. You will need to undergo extensive testing to figure that out.
It might be that the brain part that suffered the damage was speech-connected. If that happens, then it may take you months or even years to communicate effectively through speech.
You might never get back to where you were before, but still having some speech is better than none.
You Might Have to Learn Sign Language
It could be that you can’t talk following a traumatic brain injury, and you’re not ever able to relearn speech. If so, then sign language could be possible. You can learn it if:
- You’re patient and dedicated
- You’re still able to use your arms, hands, and fingers effectively
- You’re determined to make your thoughts and feelings known
It’s not easy for someone to learn sign language as an adult who never knew it before, and also someone with brain damage on top of that. It’s going to be a tough challenge for you.
If you can do it, though, that’s another way for you to communicate with your loved ones and friends. If it takes years to learn, then so be it. At least once you know it, you can convey what’s going on in your head.
You Might Need to Modify Your Living Space
Traumatic brain injuries can sometimes tie directly to your movements. You might not have harmed the rest of your body in any way that medical science can determine, but that doesn’t mean you can walk, run, or even gesture like you once could.
You might need a walker or wheelchair to get around. If that happens, you’ll probably need to modify your home in various ways to help you cope with your condition. You may need to install a wheelchair ramp or a lift to help you get from the first to the second floor.
You may have to install a shower seat so you can sit there without losing your balance. If all of that isn’t enough, you might also need to hire a home helper who can assist you for part of the time.
You Might Be Depressed
There is definitely a link between depression and traumatic brain injuries. Even if you were a very happy person before, a severe brain injury could change your mental makeup. Your life outlook might not be what it once was.
You may have to go into therapy to talk about the feelings you’re having. You’ll have to find a way through the dark times till you can at least function again and get through your daily life in a meaningful and fulfilling way.
Medication might be a part of that. It’s going to depend on the nature of your injury and what your therapist or counselor says.
You Might Not Be Able to Continue in Your Profession
Some people put a lot of stock in their work. They think that their profession makes them who they are, and they feel bereft without it.
That can backfire with traumatic brain injuries. Let’s say that you were a trial lawyer, and you can’t argue cases anymore because of brain damage. If so, then you may feel worthless or uncertain of what you should do with yourself.
You’re going to need to discover some other way to support yourself. Maybe you can still do something involving the law, or you might look into a different career path altogether.
Everyone’s situation is going to be a little different, but if you can’t continue with your job as you once could, you need to find new behavior patterns and new reasons to live.
Your Relationships Might Change
After a traumatic brain injury, it is easy to see how your very personality could change. Your relationship with your significant other might never be the same again. The same might be true of other relationships.
Perhaps you can’t relate to your kids like you used to or your best friend. It’s not your fault, but that’s the way it is.
These realizations will probably frustrate both you and them. In a sense, you are no longer the same person. Hopefully, the new you will be able to find common ground with the people you want to keep in your life. If you can’t, then it will doubtless break both your heart and theirs.
A brain injury might change your life forever in just an instant. It’s hard not to think about how unfair it is.
The reality is, though, that there’s no point in thinking that there’s some malevolent deity who has cursed you. The universe isn’t malicious. It’s just indifferent, and that’s something that many accident victims need to understand.
A bad dice roll is what led you to your current state. The bravest thing you can do is soldier on as best you can, not just for yourself, but for all those who love you.