I don’t understand after my brain injury

Having a brain injury when it isn’t obvious to the world has it’s good points and its bad points. I’m glad people don’t pigeon hole me because of my brain injury, but there are times I need them to adapt for me. There are times I don’t understand what they are telling me.

Sometimes I don’t follow the information properly.

Recently a friendly Doctor was trying to update me about some meetings I was invited to regarding  my Dad. I was keen to listen as I wanted to make sure I had the facts. She had a slight African accent, but spoke very clearly. But I still found I was getting things mixed up. Perhaps I was not remembering parts and stitching it back together in the wrong order. Patiently she corrected me a few times, but I was surprised I kept getting confused. I had always been a very good listener previously.

I don't understand because my head stitches the words back in the wrong order after my brain injury

Knowing I have a short attention span, I had prepared myself to concentrate during this conversation. But clearly that wasn’t enough. I was motivated to try really hard, but perhaps I was too tired. An emotive issue such as the health of a loved one can drain energy levels.

If I don’t understand, I really should explain about my brain injury.

Had I told her I was getting confused and why, I’m sure she would have changed her approach some how. But I worry people will think I shouldn’t be his “appropriate person” due to my limitations.

But that probably says more about me than it does them. No one has ever questioned my ability, and so it’s just my insecurities holding me back.

Perhaps it was too noisy where we were, or I might have just needed her to slow down. She was really very polite and kind, so I was stupid to not explain.

Why I don't understand after my brain injury

Trying to get over my own bias.

I realise I need to stop assuming what people might think. A Doctor of all people would have been likely to be very understanding. The words “brain injury” are very powerful. It is a very serious thing, but it doesn’t define an individual, so I need to change my mind set.

It’s not fair of me to expect the world to be able to help me when I don’t tell them what’s wrong. That is a habit of a lifetime, nothing to do with my brain injury. If I was struggling to get projects done on time, I would rarely ask for help. Instead I would almost burn myself out trying to take on the world. Seeing as I’m not Wonder Woman, all I was doing was chasing my tail.

Somehow I need to break this cycle and just say when I don’t understand. Maybe it’s my pride that stops me, or I’m always trying to prove myself. Either way, I need to accept it is my responsibility to say something. That probably makes me sound pig headed, but I’m just an infallible human. I will get there, I just need a prod every now and again.


This was a positive experience of how Doctors can be, and I wish I had utilised it better. As I have had had so good ones before, which you can read about in Brain injury patient alert, what do you expect?

Other articles you might like:

How do you feel about telling strangers about your brain injury? Do you worry you’ll be judged? Or do you find it really helps when people understand?

I'm not unintelligent, but following my brain injury I don't follow details well. They get lost in the maze of my brain...
Why my brain injury can make it difficult for me to follow details and understand these days.


4 Replies to “I don’t understand after my brain injury”

  1. I am practicing this right now! For people who know me and doctors etc . ” stop, I didn’t hear anything of what you just said, can you please tell me the facts or important bits again” usually followed by “so what do I need to Do?” Which makes people repeat the most important sentence in all those words.

    1. Thanks Sue, so simple but gets the point across. Why didn’t I think of that? I’m definitely going to try that, thanks so much.

  2. I had another brain injury around valentines day, I injured other parts of my body as well as my brain. I reached out for help, I over shared my medical conditions. Instead of help, I get set up for a crime. I know I didn’t do this crime, but no one seems to listen. My supporting evidence ‘disappeared’ ..how sad is that that an extended family, with cops in their line would do such things to a person with disabilities..
    My lawyer tells me I must plead out (twist my arm, and force me is what it all amounts to…its always about people wanting money, and property, other have…I am so stress out and out of the loop, I prepaid the lawyer, yet get the feeling he is working against me, instead of with me… I tell him I have many brain injuries, yet he thinks I have mental disorders….well maybe now after all this stress, I do.. but I was handling things ok until this person ‘offered to “help Me” ‘

    1. Sally how sad, you must feel betrayed and I can understand why you are suspicious of others now. It’s awful the way some people will take advantage of someone else’s misfortune. Not everyone is against you and I hope you get the right support. I know this is a lot to go through, but you’ll be stronger when you reach the other side. Good luck.

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