When you have a bran injury it is very difficult to know if and when you will improve, or how much. With other injuries you can do physical training exercises to support your recovery. But that about a brain injury?
So many times I panicked about “what if this is it? What if I stay like this?”
There are no easy answers to those questions, but you have to be patient with yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day and nor was your brain. What can help is finding a way to measure your progress. In the same way we are shocked when we look at an old photo of ourselves at how much we have changed, it can be hard to recognise the small improvements.
Whilst your loved ones will be better at judging your progress and be reassuring you of it, it helps to feel you have tangible evidence.
That’s where brain training games can really help. Personally I’m a fan of Peak which I play daily on my iPhone. All smartphones or tablets will have available apps, many of which are free. I love Peak because it gives me a graph showing how I’ve improved (or not as the case maybe if I’m having one of those days) in each different area. I find it reassuring and actually I’ve found I’m better at some things than I thought.
But what if you don’t want to keep staring at screens?
Buying an inexpensive puzzle book is a great investment. You can have a go at different puzzles at your own pace. Again it’s something that you can revisit to see which ones you can give yourselves a pat on the back. Because you’ve completed quite a lot or finished. And you can keep pushing to do those pesky one which you find yourself wondering if the reason you can’t get it is because there’s a print error and it’s impossible. Actually it’s these ones that give me the most satisfaction when the penny finally drops.
Remember you’re not any less intelligent, your brain just has to work harder to get there.
It’s like the tunnel in the Alps being closed and you have to climb all over the mountains to get there. It takes a lot longer and it’s a lot more tiring. But be patient and keep trying. The brain behaves like a muscle and by practising and training you can give it the chance to relearn how to do it.
Try doing something you have never done before, and start training your brain in something new.
I don’t mean you have to go learn to play the violin. But try simple things like brushing your teeth with the opposite hand. It will feel really awkward at first and you’ll be tempted to switch back, but try to persevere. In time the brain will start to learn that this is something it needs to work on, and that hand will get better at it. So it’s something that you can see for yourself how you’re doing.