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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



Lost confidence after a brain injury & how I got it back

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After my brain injury, and I became aware enough to be able to recognise my struggles, I lost confidence in myself. I sunk into depression and would cry everyday. My mental health had taken such a battering I couldn’t understand why my partner James would want me. So I kept telling him I could go move in with my Dad, seeing as he would benefit from some support due to his age. But James kept telling me that’s the last thing he wanted.

I was missing being me.

No matter what nice things he said or did, it made little impact on my self worth. All I could see was a liability, and I thought he deserved better. Terrible thoughts and ideas would go through my mind as I tried to find a way to take back control of my life. I was a mess. I had been depressed before, but this was different. How could there ever be a light at the end of this dark tunnel?

I’d never fully appreciated before that I was in my own way confident previously. As I could be shy at times, and you could hardly call me an extrovert, I thought that was a lack of confidence. Wrong.

After pulling myself apart for everything, I started to use mindfulness to try to see myself in a different light. Alright, so I might not be the same as I was any more, but that didn’t mean I was a bad person or had nothing to offer. I’d always been a good listener, even if I didn’t have all the answers, people were still opening up to me despite my flaws. That takes trust, and in time I realised these people must see something in me that I wasn’t acknowledging.

My brain injury affected my mental health. I lost confidence in myself through my frustrations with my struggles. But I did find a way to change things....

Maybe I had something to say? Starting a conversation can help people talk about how they are feeling.

And so my blog was born, my lost confidence restored. If you’re still with me and reading this, thank you. Sometimes I worry when I suddenly see less people are reading and sharing my posts. I think “Oh no, do they just want me to shut up? Am I not adding any value anymore? Should I stop?”

I don’t think I will ever be able to stop that little self doubting voice from saying her 2 pennies worth, but that’s just part of what makes me human. I have the gift of empathy, so I’m always trying to see it from the other person’s point of view. But that can be more like a sentence when you are forever trying to second guess and always assuming the worst. However I have learned how to tell that little inner critic to put a sock in it when she pipes up. Believe me when I tell you that she’s a rebel and doesn’t take kindly to being told what to do, but there is a way to make her give in.

I know this is a skill that many people would benefit from, and so that is why I now coach other brain injury survivors and caregivers on now they can get to this point too. Although this experience has been harder than I can ever put into words, I’m thankful that it has lead me to a point where I can do more to help others enjoy their lives more. 

Have you lost confidence? What do you do to give yourself that little boost when you need it?


15 replies on “Lost confidence after a brain injury & how I got it back”

Love it! I am the same. I waiver between liking the new me, and feeling inferior, but I am going to start mindfulness training. Perhaps it will help me as well.

Hi Michelle – I am following your blog as my 45 year old son lives with me and he has a brain injury after a very nasty skateboarder vs car accident 3 years ago. I have shared this to facebook and tagged my son in. Anything and everything can be a help. He suffered from depression before his accident and of course having a brain injury hasnt helped. His main problems are he is constantly tired and sleeps 14 plus hours a day.

I have that same confidence issue. I used to be cocky confident…..Now, I worry that I am not reading a situation right, that I may appear strange, or overstay my welcome. Heck, I even worry that I comment too much on your blogs, yet I love reading them. Please keep it up! Your words are valued by many!

Beautiful and relatable also. I describe myself a feeling of being trapped but lost – sounds odd to be confined but in a wide open forest all at the same time. I love how your words are spreading the wings of others who may not command words well following thier injuries – great work!

Thanks Paul and I completely understand what you mean by “trapped but lost”, it does make sense when you’ve been there.

I now struggle far more with confidence 15 years after my accident than I ever have before. I think I’ve done something good then later realise I’ve done something really stupid and this makes me lose confidence because I can’t always trust myself to know if what i’ve done is good and right and beat myself up big-time for being such an idiot. When these things repeat over & over again (of different kinds) it makes me question myself & my abilities even more so then get to a bad place in my head.

I sometimes get praise & encouragement for my art (for which I’m very grateful but have now lost joy in my art too) but I almost never get that for all the other thinks I try to do: people get angry with me, think I’m lazy, and I get told off for not doing them right, that I must try again and work harder at them = even when these tasks have been made impossible for me to achieve or I’m supposed to come up with creative ideas to sort them which puts my brain into mega overdrive so I can’t rest or sleep coz it’s trying to find solutions to these stupid things and I can’t stop it so I need people to STOP giving me these extra problems – I’m already really struggling even to prepare food & chew & swallow and wash myself and my clothes.

And trying to explain my memory problems (worse now since I had to move home) people say ‘write lists’ = derr: been doing that right from the start & it doesn’t help at all when I’ve got too many tasks that are too hard already plus lists get longer coz I can’t keep up with the unreasonable demands on me = makes me go into huge desopair & I cry loads & don’t know what to do with myself because of the TERRIBLE brain-burn & tickles that feel so awful but nothing (other than NO stress & PROPER sleep = can’t get) helps.

You’re expressing what many of us feel Michelle, thank you.
I was considering what I miss most post injury and it’s definitely confidence in myself. I’ve always been quite introverted, but in the couple of years pre injury I’d found a confident new life abroad where I was respected for my work & extremely happy.
Living in a French-speaking place, my confidence speaking the language has deteriorated markedly. I don’t feel able to trust my own judgement at times either; knowing the difference between dreams & reality can be a challenge & I can’t rely on my memory or spatial awareness any more.
I’m doing the best that I can though & that has to be enough!

As someone who is truly terrible at learning languages I still look up to you for continuing to push yourself to cope with living somewhere that doesn’t use your first language. Having said that, I do understand how you are questioning your abilities more now, particularly as it can feel like your brains “lie” to us at times after a brain injury.

You try and get a job if you reveal you have had a brain hemmorage and a shunt fitted, Industry sees you as a risk and the so called “normal” people will give you a hard time-even if you try and hide it in the workplace they see u are diffrent and want you out of there . At 58 with a brain injury it is highly unlikely youll get a job of anysorts anyway.

I’m sorry that you have faced this kind of discrimination. In the UK that is totally illegal and you have the court system on your side which would impose penalties on the employer and compensate you with what you would have earned. But clearly it’s draining and stressful for everybody to go through such a long and complicated process so for the majority of employers it acts as a deterrent for such awful behaviour. They must make “reasonable adjustments” for any disabled applicants/employees and can not use the disability itself as a reason why that person is not a fit for the team. I’m sure some still discount disabled people but are better at coming up with legitimate reasons why they took on someone else instead, but with that attitude I wouldn’t want to work for them anyway.

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