Feeling stigmatised can begin with life changes affecting self-esteem or anxiety levels.
Many people worry about what others will think, yet when we stop to think about it, our perspective, knowledge and understanding should be the impetus for self-confidence.
Any change brings the need and opportunity to update how we understand our thoughts and feelings. An injury to the brain of a loved one can provide the stimulation that leads people to reassess many aspects of their lives.
Individuals have unique ways of addressing change, and while some people face their fears straight on, others are less certain about their beliefs and views.
When a brain injury brings physical and behavioural changes, the family often has much to learn about caring for them. They do their best to understand how to provide emotional, physical and personal support.
Updating so many complex areas of understanding is a process. New thinking and ideas often result from experience rather than contextual learning. It takes time; we can only take on so much, and often when a loved one is first injured or comes home, the learning and adjustment level is overwhelming and steep.
Individuals often go through a learning cycle where their understanding revolutionises on a perpetual basis. What can start out as insecurity or fear can become emblazoned with knowledge-based confidence and strong self-esteem that is boosted by the need and desire to protect their loved one.
Understanding that any change, even a minor one, can make us feel nervous at first, it is worth looking forward and thinking about how every moment teaches you more. Eventually, each family member becomes an expert in all aspects of brain injury care and knows it is ultimately up to them to deflect stigma and put it where it belongs – in the archives of the past!
It is the people who stigmatise who have the problem.