When someone you love suffers a traumatic brain injury, it can be difficult to understand what they need from you during their recovery and after. To help you understand your role in their life, both practically and emotionally, here are a few things you should know:
TBIs Can Cause People to Feel Constant Anxiety and Even Fear
There’s really no other way to phrase it: Traumatic brain injuries are terrifying. One accident changed their life forever and caused them extreme pain, and as a result, many traumatic brain injury survivors live in fear of suffering another accident. Some have problems performing daily activities due to crippling anxiety while others manifest horrifying scenarios inside their heads. Because of these fears, TBI survivors may need therapy and strong emotional support from the people in their lives.
Paying Attention to Conversations Is More Difficult Than It Was Before
If you ever feel that a TBI survivor is ignoring what you’re saying or purposefully not engaging in conversation, remember that their brain is no longer the same. What appears to be a lack of attention might actually be the person’s struggle to understand, remember or communicate. Be patient and give them the time they need to comprehend what you’re saying.
The Pain Doesn’t Really Go Away
When a TBI occurs, the damage can last indefinitely, even if the injuries are invisible to the naked eye. Most traumatic brain injury survivors deal with chronic pain from their accidents in the form of terrible migraines, chest pains, neck aches or more. Even if a TBI survivor appears to be fine, keep in mind that they’re dealing with more discomfort than you probably realize.
Surviving and Living With a TBI Is Fatiguing
The pain, difficulty thinking, and physical struggles that accompany a traumatic brain injury often leave survivors feeling drained. Even when you’re frustrated and feel like the survivor isn’t helping you care for them, don’t mistake their fatigue for laziness. Try to remember that TBI survivors need more sleep than a normal person and that every day takes a heavy toll on their physical and mental energy levels.
If you are caring for someone with a TBI and need additional support, turn to TryMunity’s online community. The nonprofit organization can give you and your loved one access to a network of survivors and supporters, as well as important resources and words of encouragement.