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Brain injury blog by survivor

Brain injury blog by survivor



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Brain injury blog by survivor

Brain injury blog by survivor



Added injustice following a brain injury & how to address it

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Life is rarely fair. I guess it has to be that way so we can learn from mistakes and misfortune, enabling us to grow as individuals. But surely having to live with a brain injury is enough? That’s a pretty big negative event which karma has dealt, so surely then you must be even for previous sins and due some positive karma? Or that’s what I used to think, and then I realised it doesn’t work like that. I know this now following the complete lack of understanding a particular individual has shown me. The injustice I feel is unbearable.

How relationships can quickly dissolve.

I’ve spoken openly before about how a brain injury survivors behaviour can be affected. And I accept that can be confusing and difficult for others to deal with. In fact, I even agree that they didn’t sign up for the affects of a brain injury in their friend so may choose to walk away.  Having helped my Dad through his battle with Alzheimer’s, I recognise the compelling urge to run away. Particularly when it’s someone you care about, it’s heartbreaking to see them going through it. You just want to remember them at their best. But that isn’t the injustice I’m referring too.

This is much worse….

In high stress situations it’s common that some things might be said or done in haste. But usually when things have calmed down, and apologises have been offered things can settle again.  But I continue to be flabbergasted how this individual can continue to behave as the victim.

On one particular day I’m sure I said some regrettable things. I meant them, but could have phrased them better. This happened only 3 months after my accident when really I should have been in some sort of rehab. My Mum had suddenly died just days after I came out of hospital, and my Dad was struggling a lot with his health. So I was tactless, but I didn’t falsely accuse this individual of anything. However I accept I was harsh and have tried to apologise countless times since.

Actually it’s probably fair to say that even without my brain injury, that amount of stress would make anyone tactless. So I would have offered some understanding and forgiveness to a person in that situation. But no, this individual thinks they are the one who is suffering the great injustice. They are this poor victim who thinks it is fair to continue to stab me in the back. Just walking away isn’t enough. They have to behave like I’m the devil himself, even though we have only seen each other once since this turning point. That’s injustice!

The new turmoil created by the injustice of it all.

So now I am left with weight of this horrible, and unnecessary situation. The key now is to not let it change me into a bitter and twisted person like them. I have moments when I can rationalise their behaviour and offer some forgiveness. But I’m half Irish, so the Irish woman in me refuses to just roll over so easily. She’s a fighter and is still wanting to level things up.

So the moral to my story? If you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen. But don’t then make out you were forced out. Own your decisions and don’t blame other people for them. If you can’t accept the life a brain injury survivor is having to lead, just walk away and let them get on with it. There’s no need to keep twisting the knife. You can’t beat them. Because we are survivors, and that makes us stronger than all the small minded “victims” out there. Go pick a battle you have a chance in!

2019 Update:

This particular individual and I have thankfully managed to move on from this painful episode. Yes it went on for an extended period of time, but we managed to heal the rift. As I know many of you are probably going through something that feels similar I’m going to disclose what I think made the difference for us – A change of perspective.

Sometimes we need to talk it out with someone else who isn’t biased either way (so your best mate who always fights your corner no matter what, might not be the best candidate this time.) They need to challenge your thinking and try to see it from the other parties point of view. This can be difficult to hear when you are still struggling with all the emotions the situation has brought up for you and you will probably have some resistance to begin with as well. But that’s OK, that’s normal. However in time you will find that the intensity of your negative feelings will decrease, giving you relief from the pain. Congratulations, you have released your pain and can heal yourself from here.

Hopefully the other person will have done something similar for themselves so they can move on from that stress too, but that is their choice and you can not influence that. But if they do, you will find that you will better be able to communicate and relate to each other, paving the way for new bridges to be built.

Good luck peeps, this is an important part of your healing.

A brain injury can affect your judgement & reactions to things. But it's the injustice of when people don't even try to understand which hurts the most...
A brain injury can affect your judgement and reactions to things. But it's the injustice of when people don't even try to understand which hurts the most...

Are you battling with the feeling of injustice?  What advice would you have for other brain injury survivors?


21 replies on “Added injustice following a brain injury & how to address it”

I’m sorry that you have this in your life, and I’m sure that it plays on your mind. No matter how hard you try to forgive and forget it’s still there on your mind not leaving you alone.
My feelings of injustice are different. My employer, who at the beginning said all the right things, you’ll still have your job once things get better. Even though I kept in touch and kept them updated on how my rehab was going, decided once I was ready to transition back to work, that I was a liability and they no longer had a position for me. I now work in a different field, for a lot less pay. I feel bitter towards them, but by working the job I now have is my way of proving them wrong.

That must have felt like a kick in the teeth. I hope your new employer and colleagues appreciate you better.

Thanks Michelle, my new employers appear not to judge, so I’m happy and settled there now. One more thing if I may, I’m in the process of changing my mindset from brain injury victim to brain injury surviver. The latter is more positive

Glad to hear your new employers are understanding David. And I completely agree with you about the difference in a victim and a survivor. I have realised that for many reasons (most which are not relevant for this blog) I am a survivor. I might be overly emotional at times, but when I start to grit my teeth you know I’ll make it to the other side.

This questionnaire is not meant to be a formal “test” to see if you have a head injury. If you have multiple “YES” answers, bring this questionnaire to your doctor. Additional tests (medical and neuropsychological) maybe ordered.


Yes No Do you have more headaches since the injury or accident?
Yes No Do you have pain in the temples or forehead?
Yes No Do you have pain in the back of the head (sometimes the pain will start at the back of the head and extend to the front of the head)?
Yes No Do you have episodes of very sharp pain (like being stabbed) in the head which lasts from several seconds to several minutes?

Yes No Does your memory seem worse following the accident or injury?
Yes No Do you seem to forget what people have told you 15 to 30 minutes ago?
Yes No Do family members or friends say that you have asked the same question over and over?
Yes No Do you have difficulty remembering what you have just read?

Yes No Do you have difficulty coming up with the right word (you know the word that you want to say but can’t seem to “spit it out”)?

Yes No Do you get tired more easily (mentally and/or physically)?
Yes No Does the fatigue get worse the more you think or in very emotional situations?

Yes No Are you more easily irritated or angered (seems to come on quickly)?
Yes No Since the injury, do you cry or become depressed more easily?

Yes No Do you keep waking up throughout the night and early morning?
Yes No Do you wake up early in the morning (4 or 5 a.m.) and can’t get back to sleep?

Yes No Do you find yourself easily overwhelmed in noisy or crowded places (feeling overwhelmed in a busy store or around noisy children)?

Yes No Do you find yourself making poor or impulsive decisions (saying things “without thinking” that may hurt others feelings; increase in impulse buying?)

Yes No Do you have difficulty concentrating (can’t seem to stay focused on what you are doing)?

Yes No Are you easily distracted (someone interrupts you while you are doing a task and you lose your place)?

Yes No Do you have difficulty getting organized or completing a task (leave out a step in a recipe or started multiple projects but don’t complete them)?
__________ Total Number of Yes Answers

If you have 5 or more Yes answers,
discuss the results of this questionnaire with your doctor.

Thanks Russell, that could be very useful for those who as yet haven’t be diagnosed and consulted a doctor.

sorry, I have tbi and whiplash and my concentration changes with the wind, I misunderstood that this was a tst

Survivor’s with a brain injury are very special people, but we often times need to remind ourselves of how special we are, write it down, keep a journal, love yourself again. Quit being around people that are negative to our recovery, or our life, we don’t need it. We got enough of that with our memories.

In fact I think most people would benefit from following your advice Julie. Thanks for this ?

Hi been so long well so much Has gone on wait till I’m done writing this out .. Past 2 Years what’s not happened

Michelle, relationships with brain injury are a major challenge. The individual who hurt you sounds like they have a BIG problem with compassion and understanding, and perhaps is even jealous, believe it or not. Some people are amazingly self-centered and don’t want you to have a bigger problem than them. It’s sad, but true. I’ve experienced it all in my 31 years post. There is absolutely no reason for you to apologize to this person. How bad does it have to get for us to realize that if we could have done better, we would have, end of story. No room, no time for guilt. They don’t understand and they’ve probably done nothing to educate themselves. Is that our problem? A brain injury is not something we would wish on our worst enemy. You have suffered enough! If a relationship is part of the problem and not the solution, let it go. People in your life should be helping to reduce your considerable stress, not adding to it. In times of stress, we’re more vulnerable to the effects of our brain injury. We don’t have the coping mechanisms we used to. Try to find a way to get this person out of your mind, out of your system, don’t give them any more energy, you need it for your recovery. With brain injury that “holding on” becomes our enemy. We perseverate, replay it ad nauseum, and suffer for it. Let it go. Be kinder to yourself. We’re not perfect, we had a rotten injury, and we’re doing the very best we can with these circumstances. And remember, karma has no deadline. They will be shown a complete lack of understanding when they most need it, too. It’s a given.

Sandy you have absolutely nailed this individual! They’ve been jealous of me for many years and maybe I thought that they would finally see there’s nothing to be jealous of. But you are so right about them not wanting someone to have a bigger problem. It’s like I stole their identity as the victim. But I’m not a victim and I’m not in a competition.
I guess I always tried with them because I recognise that they are a very sad person and I wanted to help. But I have finally learned the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished.

Michelle, it’s so true when you’re kindhearted that you want to save the world. It’s a hard lesson when you realize that not everyone wants to be saved, they like living with their miserable ways. Some people are storm centers, they suck us into their dysfunctional personality and demand our attention. Break away and run as fast as you can! This person does not deserve to have you, a loving person, who’s coping so gracefully and courageously with a monumental problem, as a friend. Let them go on their way and take their selfish ways with them! You have a lofty goal, a truly selfless mission. They can never take that away from you, because they are so far from doing anything like that. Remember the many deserving survivors out there who need you, need your insights and experiences, and your gentle compassion. They are the ones to focus on. They love and appreciate you. I’ve learned by being hurt many times and wasting so much time and energy better spent elsewhere to stay far away from negative people who make you uncomfortable in any way. If it doesn’t flow, it has no-where to go, so let it go. Your time is too precious, your lessons hard won. You have so much goodness to give the right people. I for one am very proud of you for the work you’re doing and want to see more of it! Remember, appreciate yourself, for you are truly a gift.

Thank you so much Sandy. That is one of the nicest things I’ve heard in a while. I do enjoy writing my blog and the wonderful response I get from other survivors. So I guess it’s not truly selfless, but I like to contribute to our community.

It’s interesting that you use the term injustice for this situation, Michelle, one of the things that often happens to us when we sustain a TBI, especially a frontal lobe injury, is a sort of black or white, right or wrong thinking.

I sustained a TBI in 2013, and am still disabled from it. I remember having a conflict with a close friend about a year after the injury, and struggling to understand why I was being treated so unfairly. At the time, the most important thing to me was being heard and being right. Unfortunately, that was also the most important thing to the other person, and the friendship ended.

I’m sure the person you’re in conflict with behaved very badly, and hurt you very much. What do you want in the relationship in the future? If you want to have resolution and restoration, you’ll have to let go of the idea of injustice. It’s tough, but I’ve learned since then that it can be done.

I wish you well.

Thanks Reesa your words make so much sense. There have been countless times that with hindsight I have recognised my rigid thinking. So that’s probably why I have continued to try to make amends with this person. But I have now decided that I don’t want this person in my life anymore. They clearly think they are not guilty of anything but I am of everything. It seems that they are only prepared to listen when I belittle myself. Therefore I’m calling it quits as it has descended to a unhealthy level.

Thanks Helen. I always like frank people because you always know where you are with them ?

what gets me are the laws here in Sweden, they are made to protect the factories, I was hurt by a lamp that came loose from the press that I was working at. It swung down on the left side and hit me on the head and neck knocking me to the ground. My work will not take responsibility and i am having problems with the insurance company ( AFA ).

It’s a lot of extra stress for you Russell that you just don’t need. I’m sorry you’re being treated like this.

sorry, I have tbi and whiplash and my concentration changes with the wind, I misunderstood that this was a tst

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