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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



Everyone makes mistakes, especially when they are tired or stressed. But when you are living with a brain injury those moments can become more common.

Take a recent friendly game of Monopoly I played with James and his parents. I have always liked Monopoly, but I don’t get uptight about winning  or not. I’ve never got a strategy and just go with the flow. But I was actually doing fairly well during this particular game, without making too much of an effort. (Leicester Square was proving to be quite a cash cow for me.)

We had set up on the dinning table as it’s more comfortable than playing it on the floor. But it did mean that when your character piece was on the opposite side of the board it was a little difficult to reach. So we would help each other out and move one another pieces when the player couldn’t reach. Just as well that in Monopoly the pieces are distinctively different. Other board games often have the same shaped piece but in different colours. I think that is harder to remember which piece represents which player and leads to mistakes.

We each had specific reasons for which piece we chose:

James – The race car (He’s a man in his prime and his car is pretty important to him.)

James’ Dad – The iron ( He does like the top hat but this time he went for the iron as it’s easy to pick up.)

James’ Mum – The boot (It tickles her sense of humour to be “the old boot”.)

Me – The Dog (I’m animal crazy so it just had to be…. Plus it tickles my sense of humour to be “the b****”.)

All very clear. If I gave most people a test at the end of this article to test if they remembered who had which piece, the success rate would be pretty good.

Obvious mistakes and happen to the best of us when we're not on form. But for a brain injury survivor these mistakes aren't always obvious, but they are very frustrating....

Cue the brain injury induced mistakes….

To begin with everything was going fine. We were making our way around the board and buying the London streets we fell on.  But my first mistakes came when I wasn’t able to concentrate enough to recognise when I should charge a fee for someone landing on my street. But everyone was very fair and honourable players, making sure they paid up anyway.

But before long it got worse than that. When I was trying to be helpful and move someone’s piece when it was tough for them to reach, I seemed to just move any piece. I never questioned why I was drawn to a particular piece and would just go for it. This even happened when I was trying to move my own. So many times I had to put them back where they started before the correct one could be move the required number of spaces.

My brain injury was probably making my brain conserve energy and work on autopilot. (Except my autopilot is very faulty.) Even when I knew I kept doing this and recognised I should tried to concentrate more, it was too late. There was no correcting the error happening due to my brain injury. So I had to stop moving any pieces and let others do it for me.

Why your brain can overlook obvious mistakes.

Naomi Karten wrote an interesting article called Miss Something Obvious? Your Brain Might Be Working. In it she explains how the brain uses it’s own short cuts at times. Sometimes this means we find the answer easily and reduce the amount of effort needed. But other times we miss things because we cut too many corners.

My Monopoly example luckily means no harm was done.  And actually board games are great for training when you have a brain injury, as Alison explains in The Ultimate Guide to board games for brain training. But there could be other things I’m doing everyday without realising. The only reason that I knew what I’d done during that game was because everyone else witnessed it and was able to correct it. So I would advise that when you are undertaking important tasks and decisions, make sure you have someone you trust with you to help point out the obvious mistakes if they happen.

Following your brain injury do you miss obvious mistakes? What tips to you have to cope better?


8 replies on “Missing the obvious mistakes after brain injury”

Thanks John, but I already know my injury is classed as severe. There isn’t much in the way of therapy as I have been discharged from everything as they feel this is as good as can be expected.

Not everyone is heartless, just sometimes people can struggle to choose the right words that very convey the message with the compassion that they intended it to.

I did years of cognitive rehabilitation and most of it was learning coping mechanisms to deal with my issues. I screw up things when playing games a lot but most of the time it’s when my brain is fatigued at which point there’s really nothing I can do but know I am going to probably forget something or make a mistake if I keep going. I’m usually harder on myself then anyone else is with me. Luckily everyone around me knows this by now and I can sometimes even laugh at myself afterwards. I will mess up names, forget what I was doing, not know when people are talking to me etc. But Never stop doing anything if your having fun

Thanks Carl, yes fatigue definitely is the biggest culprit for me. I know everyone struggles when they are tired, but brain injury fatigue is another level.
But as I was with such understanding and patient people this time no harm was done.

Interesting topic Michelle, I know I am a perfectionist, I like to get things right, since my brain injury this has been really highlighted. Now I get so much wrong, it’s a constant frustration of ‘ why I have done that now? How did that happen again?
My recovery has come so far, that I look ok, I can function in a way but I am nothing like I was. I can’t multifunction tasks, I can’t speak sometimes, my words are jumbled and slurred. Everything is measured with a ‘battery life’ will it leave me fatigued so I can’t function at all?
I hate that I can’t live a fast paced life anymore, I hate how everything is managed by strategies so I can cope and get the best outcome.
Oh how I would like to be precise in what I do, but does this make me less of a person ? No I think, although I am disappointed that I am no longer that confident, free person to just get on, I still have a get up and have another go attitude, a determination to try again. With or without a brain injury maybe we should stop comparing ourselves, and just be glad of how far we’ve come. Mistakes will always happen, it our reaction to them that’s important. It’s something that I am trying not to bother me as much, and some days I just laugh at it, that’s my poorly brain, again.

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