How often do you struggle with making your own ideas and thoughts clear to yourself and others? Without realising it, people living with the effects and outcomes can struggle to say what they mean after a brain injury.
Do any of these seem familiar?
Do you ever find yourself in a conversation where you can’t let go of a thought?
Do you ever find yourself still wanting to say things when other people have changed the subject?
Are you confused when other people have finished discussing something?
Do you find it difficult to grasp a succinct idea of what you want to explain?
Do you feel unsure that you are talking about the same things as other people?
Here is what is happening!
All of these examples, including feeling stuck, are all part of the outcomes that can occur following an injury to the brain. Many people are unaware of the components of communication and action that are no longer working properly, and struggle to think and speak clearly.
You may feel lost or confused within a conversation and find yourself wondering what other people are talking about, or why they won’t give you time or listen to you.
The feelings associated with being ‘over-run’ by people who can still communicate, understand, and see clearly, can be sadness, frustration, and even anxiety. You wonder why people get impatient and frustrated with you when to you, everything other than how you are now being treated feels the same. You feel as though you are still being you!
Most people who have these issues don’t have the awareness it is happening. It can feel as though everyone else has it wrong – they are the aliens and it can even feel as though others are ganging up on you and not giving you a chance.
You feel as though you are trying very hard and what you want to say is extremely important and yet this goes unnoticed or people brush you off. It is impossible to get to the point because you can’t find it. You may be aware that you are constantly talking in an effort to try and find the point – it feels as though if you keep going you will find the end of the ball of string.
It is important to let people around you know that it takes you longer to understand incoming information as easily and to process your thoughts about it. It can help to have people explain the same thing from another perspective to add more information for you.
Ask people to let you know if you are repeating yourself. Sometimes it is really helpful to write down some outline information to go away and think about for a while. You may find that ideas develop incrementally.
Sometimes certain subjects provoke anxiety and trying to notice what these are can help you to step away or ask people to give you time to think. If you can anticipate the anxiety talking about some things brings, you can warn other people who are then able to offer reassurance or slow down for you.
Writing down some bullet points can help you with finding the end of that ball of string. A list can help you to focus your ideas and the points you want to raise. If you are unsure about understanding or retrieving deeper information that you feel is relevant or important to you, it is okay to ask for more time or even to try and write down which things you are unsure about.
There are resources to help you. This is a very common topic and sometimes not getting to the point makes it difficult to discuss what is happening with family and friends.
Support groups and neuro professionals will be able to discuss this with you and offer strategies and tools to use to help you rewire your brain and eventually improve the way you are able to retrieve information in a more succinct way.