Brain injury and memory problems are nothing new. It is, however, new to the person who suffered such an injury, and it's new to family members and friends.
I have changed some of the wording used in the account below written by anonymous just to make it easier to read. The story is true. At the bottom of this article are additional resources.
Anonymous writes, "After the staples were removed and my head wound healed, one of the doctors told me to spend a lot of time working on my memory.
He didn’t tell me how I was supposed to do that, and I believe he did not really understand brain injury.
Days, weeks, months and, even, years don’t mean much to me. I’m trying to get through each day and I can only do that one at a time. What was done yesterday is a memory for some people, but not for me. Last week? You must be kidding!
I say things that I think are true but they could have just been made up in my injured brain. I cannot remember birthdays. I cannot drive. Imagine me out in traffic with no clue where I was headed. That’s not to say I didn’t try. One day it began raining hard while I was driving. I could see the windshield wipers but, for the life of me, I did not remember how to make them work. I stopped and asked someone to turn them on for me.
I don’t remember birthdays. Like I said, days don’t mean much to me. It breaks my heart when my child or husband has a birthday, and I didn’t remember it. I feel like people in my life should distance themselves from me because I cannot be the wife and mother I should be. I don’t want to live like this."
Stories like this one are far too common in today’s world. Even though brain injuries are the leading cause of death and disability in the world, treatment is not always available. Yes, the visible wounds can be treated and healed. Too little is known about those invisible injuries inside the head.
There is no x-ray or MRI that shows a lost memory, even if the patient actually received such diagnostic tests. Memory loss causes far more problems than forgetting birthdays. The brain processes information much like a computer. An injured brain processes information much like a ten-year old computer loaded with viruses, Trojan horses, adware, malware, an unclean registry and a dialup connection running at the old 300 baud speed.
In other words, an injured brain processes information more slowly. More slowly in today’s fast-paced world is not acceptable. If your brain tries to access your memory about multiplication tables and you no longer have access to that memory, you don’t get an answer.
People living with brain injury speak to strangers every day of their lives. No, that person may not really be a stranger. It’s just that the injured brain cannot put a name to the face or recall a memory about a past experience with that person.
These are just a few reasons that every person living with brain injury should have memory compensation strategies. A photo album of names and faces is a good start. A photo album of vacations and special days (birthday parties) is almost a necessity.
Beth did not remember she was married or that she had children, and one of those children was 18 years old. Courtney Larson asked husband Jerry to show her their marriage license. Long term memory problems like these do tend to improve over time. Short term memory very probably will never function like it did once upon a time.
The best compensation strategy for memory problems is a Planner. I’m talking about a loose leaf binder that has multiple sections: a daily calendar, a monthly calendar, medical information, driving directions and a how-to-do section, just to mention a few.
Brain Injury Survivor’s Guide explains how to create a planner and contains sample pages. Full-sized examples are available at no cost to you to download on this site. You can download them by clicking this link: Planner Pages.
Anonymous also showed signs of guilt and depression. Again, that is normal after brain injury. Brain Injury Survivor’s Guide examines the Cycle of Response: mental fatigue, confusion, frustration, guilt and depression. More strategies are listed for identifying where a person is in the Cycle and how to back away from depression.
Persons suffering from brain injury need more resources and need to know how to find those resources. Brain Injury Online is a website that attempts to fulfill that need with dozens of resources listed by state and more being added all the time.
If brain injury has thrust itself into your life, do not despair. Begin immediately to learn all you can about living with this unwanted and unexpected event.
Additional Brain Injury Information
Using Memory Building Photo Albums explains how photo albums can help improve memory and provides examples of how to create them.
Daily Journal explains how daily writing in a journal will boost memory processes as well as serving as a memory backup.
Brain Injury Quizzes have been designed to help both memory and cognitive functioning.
Please be sure to check out our sitemap to easily find more helpful information.
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