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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



Immediately following my brain injury I struggled with my coordination. As someone who was pretty good at painting and drawing, I found this distressing as I was robbed of my skills. Whilst I didn’t engage in artwork all the time, it was still good to know I could do it if I wanted to. Some people are good at singing, or sports, but I was always lacking at both. So it was comforting to know I had my creative streak as my “talent”. I believe everyone has a talent, whether they have discovered it yet or not.

I worried I had lost my “talent” forever.

The word talent is in quotation marks, as it’s the only word I could think of. But actually it’s for observers to judge if the level of ability can be classed as a talent. Forgive me, I’m not being arrogant, it’s just my lack of vocabulary.

Feeling I could no longer be artistic was like saying goodbye to just another part of me. Particularly since creative activities are recommended for many kinds of rehabilitation, I took it as a slap in the face. Any time it was suggested to me, it served as a reminder for what I couldn’t do anymore. My coordination coupled with my double vision, meant I struggled with accuracy.  Whilst I understood that as my brain relearned how to work better I would improve, frustration and impatience would take over me.

But when I took the pressure off myself, things started to happen….

Life moved on, and I stopped focusing on what I found more difficult due to my brain injury. (I know it feels like I’m always talking about what is tough. Just trust that I only do that for this blog. I promise I don’t bang on about it all the time really.) Since I don’t go to work anymore, and my friends do, I have had to find ways to spend my time (when I’m not napping.)

I didn’t really recognise how I was becoming more creative, until recently. Even when I first started writing this blog, and people asked if I wrote before, I didn’t really think about it. Really it wasn’t until my neighbour told me she thought I should be a creative designer that I started to see it. She had watched as I redesigned our back garden, and completely changed it. And recently had been impressed with what I have been doing to the front of the house recently.

Why have I got the creative bug?

I’m not going to bore you with all the little projects I have been embarking on. I just want to say this – I feel less inhibited with self doubt, and just have a go. It’s not that I necessarily believe in my skills, but I believe in the ideas. That’s what has changed. I have more ideas now. Previously I needed something to copy, but now I can rely on my own inspiration.

An article in Psychology today called Creativity and the Healing Brain, attempts to give a reason why this happens for some people.  It could be to do which the change in the brain structure, or a change in confidence. Maybe we become more creative because it’s part of learning to adapt after a brain injury.  But either way, I am enjoying the feeling (where it’s real or not.)

By the way if you haven’t already seen some of the Pinterest pins I hide in these pages, have a look. They are just another example of may creativity. You can see them by going to pin the article and it will show it will the other images, or go to the Pinterest Brain Injury Group Board I set up.

Have you become more creative since your brain injury? Or do you miss your artistic flair?


8 replies on “Can a brain injury make you more creative?”

I have never been particularly artistic but since my brain injury I have found myself looking for creative outlets. At first I couldn’t even write steadily but as my brain healed and my single vision returned I have been cake decorating, knitting, making essential oil products, taking cooking and crafting classes, etc, etc, almost manically. The new me is happy to create. It’s one positive I received from my injury ?

By the way, I love your blogs and Pinterest pages ?

Maxine you sound like a you have found a new passion! I think that’s fantastic! I’m sure you still have challenges but it’s nice to be able to focus on the positive things too.

I hope you continue to enjoy my blog. Sometimes I write things that aren’t as useful as other articles I have written, but if it raises one smile it’s worth it.

I “suffered” my TBI in 2002. Now I look at it as more of an experience. Yes, the TBI took away my job, and I then realized that I lost my career, then my marriage, and much time with my daughter. I lost a lot.

With these losses, childhood memories filled my head. Memories that were emotionally so painful that I felt paralyzed with my thoughts going around and around with no end in sight. These thoughts plagued me for decades before my TBI but after my injury, I felt that I could not move forward. Then in 2012, I connected with a great psychologist who treated me with EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), and within a couple months, I never felt more free. I realize now that I had PTSD related to a number of emotional setbacks as a child.

I must have expended a lot of brain power to repress those painful memories for decades. Once I experienced my TBI, I was no longer able to repress those memories. Luckily, I was able to find help and put those memories into a healthier context. The memories are still there, but they do not hold that power that they held for so long on me.

Since my EMDR, I have recovered quite a bit. My TBI resulted in my inability to read books. Yes, I remember trying to read, and then after putting the book down, I even forgot I had started reading a book until I would run across it a couple of days later randomly. Now, I sometimes read 2-3 books a week. Right now I am reading Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” and this epic novel will take a little longer.

I am contemplating going back to work, and I realize that I will have to volunteer at first. Because I realize that I am now twice disabled: first by my TBI, and now by a resume that shows no meaningful work for some 15 years. Plus, at least in the US, I feel further “disability” by my age. Who will hire me at age 67 at this point?? Even with 7 years of college and a master’s in public health.

I’m sorry you have suffered so much. But you seem to fit the saying about how we have to hit rock bottom to be able to work our way back up. I’m pleased that the treatment has changed your life for the better. I wish you all the best for the future, volunteering, work, reading and anything else you turn your hand to.

Yes I would say I’ve found a new creative streak in me. Before the brain tumour surgery, I enjoyed interior design and was creative in staging events. Now my creative streak has taken me into the garden, growing plants, vegetables and fruit and colourful flowers from ‘tiny plug’ plants and seeds, it has given me such a soothing and satisfying hobby. I’ve shaped trees, moved bushes and replanted the whole garden. Everything seems to have responded well to some TLC, I never thought I’d become a gardener, I believe it is helping to mend my brain, my co-ordination and balance is getting better and my anxiety is less when I am outside. My current project is creating a sensory bed, with plants that smell, make a noise in the wind, full of colours and textures and mixed in some mint for taste. There’s lot of satisfaction seeing how a small seed can grow and develop and bring colour and shape.

I also have started writing poems, I am not sure where this has come from, sometimes in the middle of the night when the worries and panic attacks come, I can calm myself by writing a poem, thinking of words that rhyme. I recently wrote one and showed my neuro psychologist, who asked for a copy, ( I think it was because I mentioned him looking like George Clooney).

We can look so much at what is dysfunctional or lost now with our brain injury. So it’s great to look what we can do, even if no one else sees your creative side, give that idea a go and see where it leads you, and while you’re having an explore, your brain will be learning, relaxing and enjoying itself.

Thanks Michele, it’s good to be encouraged, to look at our creative side. Love your blogs.!

Jo reading about your garden is so inspiring. There’s something so special about nurturing and encouraging plants. I think it’s so important we take some time to reconnect with nature.

I was very creative before my accident, won awards, got published, got a scholarship to a college, I longed to go too. When my accident happened, I thought I had abused my gift, so it abandon me. Even though I wrote a short story when I got home from the hospital, and since then I have one published book, which I’m working on a science fiction series now, and I have started writing poetry, which I have a poetry book published. I’m either napping or writing, so my brain injury actually helped my creative ability.

Congratulations on being published, and I hope the series is too. I’m sure the writing takes up a lot of brain power but it is worth it ?

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