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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



It’s a bit sad that this needs to be explained, but the brain is wonderfully complex, so it’s understandable that Joe public can be confused. When suddenly you can’t find your words, add up properly or any other of the endless affects of brain injury, one might think you are stupid. So here I’m going to try to explain why this doesn’t mean you have lost intelligence as a result of your brain injury.

Stop talking about IQ results, please!!!

I hate the way people band around these numbers, and I’m convinced the majority of people don’t know how they are calculated. For a start, most people go through their life without ever having one of these tests administered by a professional. Those stupid little quizzes that pop up on Facebook and other social media don’t count!

Testing intelligence is a very difficult and lengthy process, and then you are only being pitted against “the average person” for your age. 68% of people will fit into “average”. That is a massive group, so forgive me if I don’t personally feel “IQ” is very exciting. I have had mine tested following my brain injury, and I too am of average intelligence. Big deal!

Bell graph showing how intelligence across the population stands

Speed isn’t everything.

So it might take us a little longer to get there, but that doesn’t mean we are stupid. My results showed my processing speed is much slower than would be expected based on how I perform in other areas. Therefore before my accident I might have come out as above average. But the point is, I can still get there! Even if these tests show a brain injured person as below average, that could be just their processing speed pulling their overall score down. Remember your teacher always saying you get credit for showing your workings? Well that’s because that shows you are able to deduce the answer, not just reel if off parrot fashion.

Slow processing speed, doesn’t make us stupid.

As pathways have been damaged in the brain, finding the right answer takes longer. It’s in there, but it is more tiring trying to find it. Imagine the pathways are a relay team. They are all fast over short distances, so by working together the distance can be completed faster. But someone like me as the majority of their team out of action due to injury. So for me to complete the race it’s going to take more time, and believe me, I’ll be cream crackered at the end! So is that a fair race? Of course not, so these tests don’t always give an accurate picture.

The moral of my story….

Don’t discount the opinion of someone who has a brain injury just because sometimes they struggle. We still have a lot to give, but it’s like that saying…..”good things come to those who wait.”

Do you feel people undervalue your intelligence following a brain injury? What would you like others to know?


13 replies on “Brain injury does not = lack of intelligence”

After my brain injury, it did take a lot for me to sit and concentrate. (hopefully, I would not fall asleep.) It’s okay if it is not to someone else’s standards, you are you, so you have a brain injury. Difference is what makes the world beautiful. It does not mean a thing, only if you let it define who you are. People who have brain injuries are much smarter then people give them credit for.

Julie as always you are absolutely right! People shouldn’t judge one another, because it’s not possible to have the full picture.

For me, I’m my own worst critic. And I’ve projected that onto other people. They always told me I was doing well, that I was getting better as time went on. Problem was I thought they were just being nice and that they really thought badly of me. I figured they were just being nice to not hurt my feelings.

The truth is that I’m not the same as I was prior to the stroke (cerebral bleed at age 34). Because I can’t do the same things I used to, I felt like I’d lost all purpose in my life. After several years, I’d improved, but the key for me emotionally and mentally was realizing that my life’s purpose wasn’t gone. It had CHANGED. That’s a huge realization and has helped me when I get down because of what I can’t do (work.) I still have purpose, even when I can’t see what it is.

I feel the same way. I have sort of accepted that by role in this world has changed, but I’m also not completely comfortable with it. My old expectations of myself keep sneaking back in, telling me I’m not doing enough. But I do know that isn’t the case, and I just have to keep trying to focus on my positives.

You Go Girl!
I had been tested pre-injury and was above average – but I agree that IQ testing is a flawed way of calculating intelligence. I also think that many of us Survivors (especially of moderately- severe TBI) had above average IQ … That’s why we’re misdiagnosed, incorrectly diagnosed and over
ON a funny note: once after sitting a couple hours at a lunch in a brewhouse, my husband (who had tried a few brew samples), remarked to the waitress how well I was doing now because I’m brain injured. The waitress, who had been serving and interacting with us all this time, turned and said to me – very slowly and loudly in my face – ” h a v e a n I c e d a y ” … then she stopped talking to me and started to my husband about me — as if I couldn’t hear or understand.
Honestly I actually found it funny (might not have felt that way a few years earlier).

Wow, some people are so ignorant! Still, she was trying to be nice in her own way I guess…..

They are pretty complicated and I think try to cover insight, but I’m not sure how successfully. Thank you though, I appreciate it.

Thanks Tuula. I think that sentence goes for everybody, no matter what your situation.

Yes, I’m slower and can’t do maths in my head or always know WHICH sum I must do – I was very good at maths before. I get confused with money and the change in shops, sometimes people help me but other days I do it OK. I don’t believe in IQ scores: when I was a teenager i bought a book with lots of tests in it and by the end I’d learned how to do the tests and scored 144+. And IG tests don’t reflect our day-to-day lives such as form-filling, knowing how much food to cook, not buying EVERYTHING on the shopping list when I think I’ve checked again & again that I have etc. Sometimes I can talk really well but at other times I really struggle to and when people reply speaking too fast I can’t understand – nor directions because I can’t remember, need them written down now. Am I more stupid? Yes, in some ways and it makes me really sad as does how exhausting things that were easy to do before are now. And when I fail even though I’ve tried so hard & so many times it makes me feel a complete useless person and I lose even more confidence, it would be so nice if people said ‘well done Jen’ not only when I do my art (thanks to them for this encouragement) but when I succeed at the things I once took for granted I could do and most people I know don’t understand how many ‘invisible’ skills I’ve lost, it hurts when they get angry with me because I haven’t done what they’ve told me to, I wish they’d ask me to try explain why I haven’t, or better still: not NEED to explain, and I wish people would do what they promise to do = often their JOB to do, do it right and the FIRST time, not make mE have to chase them up again & again. Thank you for writing about these things.

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