While the effects and outcomes of an injury to the brain can be unbearably tough to live with, the changes accompanying life post-trauma also bring family confusion and heartbreak.
Losing Inner Direction
When we think of the outcomes of brain injury, we tend to think of things like aphasia, problems managing tasks, or problems with noise and bright lights.
And yet, there is a whole other deeper side of brain injury that is rarely spoken about.
Brain injury affects not only what we can do but how we can direct, control, or learn.
Brain injury can affect how we think to the extent that you can’t even ‘see’ what is wrong with the broken brain and, therefore keep pushing onward without any real ability to choose or focus on a particular direction.
How do you know where you need to go when it is so hard trying to figure out why you are lost?
It can feel as though you have lost your inner compass, and on top of this, the thinking voice in your head no longer follows the same directions it did before.
Often this inner thinking voice seems to have a mind all of its own, and it no longer feels as though it is driven by ‘us,’ by the complexities of who we are.
People around notice this and call it changed behaviour. Sometimes people have been led to believe that it is a change of personality – but the personality remains hidden beneath the array of executive and neurological impairments.
Everyone experiences brain injury differently; however, many people are plagued by the inability to make life feel the same inside as it was before.
Leaving aside the physical life changes that so often follow a brain injury, sometimes the internal ones cause a greater sense of loss and concern.
This is when those innate parts of us step in – tenacity that drives us on and helps us to keep picking ourselves up. Determination to learn how to do a certain task again or to learn strategies that help us with daily living.
Sometimes it is the inner qualities that people have that keep them moving forward, regardless of whether they are consciously aware of it.
It is tremendously difficult to use your energy wisely following a brain injury. Red herrings seem to pop up all over the place, and it can often feel as though you are on a wild goose chase or hiding for nothing.
These feelings don’t just happen occasionally; they are a constant and consistent companion.
Familiar thinking does come back. When it starts to return, we find that we are making decisions more like we used to. Decisions feel ‘whole’ again and as though we have used our relationship with ourselves to make our choices.
By understanding more about brain injury and managing rewiring and recovery, people can overcome feelings of being absent in their own lives.
There are no quick and easy fixes, but we can increase our sense of direction by making lifestyle changes and improving our general health!