Posts Tagged ‘resources’

5 Online Resources for TBI Survivors

TBI

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are often terrifying, disorienting, and disruptive for their victims. After a TBI, the whole world can feel new, and not in a good way. Everyday tasks can become confusing. Reading, exercising, and even eating can leave you puzzled and irritable. If you’ve recently had a TBI, there’s a good change you feel like you could use a helping hand.

 

So where is a TBI survivor to look for guidance? Plenty of people in your life are probably already offering unsolicited advice, and much of that advice is probably second-hand information they gleaned from pamphlet at the doctor’s office. These people mean well, of course, but when you’re suffering from a TBI, you need to hear from someone who’s been there. Luckily, many TBI survivors and medical professionals provide good resources for the TBI-stricken person.

Faces of TBI

Faces of TBI is an online resource aiming to bring information and inspiration to people with TBIs. Its founder, Amy Zellmer, has written several good blogs about TBIs (and many other topics) for Huffington Post over the years. She knows what she’s talking about, being a survivor herself. On Faces of TBI’s site, Zellmer offers blogs, a podcast, a book, and other resources for people living with TBIs and everyone interested in learning more.

Social Media

Sometimes, all you need to chat or just listen to someone who’s going through the same thing as you. Social media offers many spots where people with TBIs can log in and trade stories, write posts, and stay in contact with sympathetic voices. Facebook, Tumblr, and many online messageboards all have support communities. Seek them out in order to communicate with people in your situation. Sometimes just expressing your feelings is the best path to healing.

Brainline.org

Brainline offers blog, primers, and other media with advice about life, science, news, and other topics of interest to anyone with or who is interested in TBIs. Their site also offers high quality accessibility features such as easily resizable text, text-only versions, and a Spanish language version. They also have a free newsletter and a variety of social media outreach programs. Bookmark Brainline if you’re looking for high-quality content relevant to anyone whose life is affected by a TBI.   

The Brain Injury Association of America

The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is a long-running group that offers information and advocacy for people with TBIs. Their site offers advice to people to help them find work, advocate for themselves politically, and connect with other people in similar situations.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Looking to dig into science and medical research? Here you go. This extensive resource is part of the National Institute of Health, and it offers loads of hard scientific information and analysis about TBIs (as well as other medical conditions). Keep in mind that the information on this site might require medical training, or at least a good deal of patience and effort. But if you’re looking for reliable research into TBIs, this is a solid place to find it.

Resources Available to Help Brain Injury Victims and Their Caregivers Cope with Recovery Challenges

Families who have a loved one with a brain injury are often overwhelmed, devastated and struggling with loss, and need support to make it through one of life’s most difficult situations. It is important to have access to the resources and support available to you.

According to the Alabama Head Injury Foundation (AHIF), more than 10,000 individuals sustain a traumatic brain injury each year. The question is, where can these individuals and those caring for them turn for assistance? What resources are available? Who can answer their questions? What services are provided to aid victims through the recovery process?

The AHIF has resource coordinators you can contact to get assistance with home modification, securing disability payments, securing medical equipment, support meetings, respite care for caregivers and other important services. The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAUSA) has a number of resources for family members and caregivers to help them understand more about what lies ahead, as well as how to manage stress and cope with long-term issues. Other resources include Share the Care™ and BrainLine.org.

It is devastating to have a loved one who is suffering from a traumatic brain injury. The future may hold months or years of recovery and treatment, and it is often a very slow process. People who have suffered a mild traumatic brain injury can have many difficulties, including memory loss, deep fatigue, emotional ups and downs, headaches and ongoing trouble in every aspect of life.
Potential long-term consequences of a traumatic brain injury can include personality changes, anxiety, depression, angry outbursts and other emotional problems. The physical repercussions often include ringing in the ears, nausea, difficulty sleeping, dizziness, blurred vision and sensitivity to light and sound, among others.

More serious cases of brain injury often require surgery to release the pressure on the brain. Families are thrown into fear and despair, facing an uncertain future and doing their best to stay hopeful and positive. Do not hesitate to reach out and get the help you need to make it through these difficult times.

Common Struggles Facing Brain Injury Victims and Caregivers

Brain injury victims generally have a long road to recovery. The prognosis for the injured person could be unclear, and family members don’t know if their loved one will recover memory, or be able to once again be fully functioning. If you have a loved one who has suffered a brain injury, many difficult challenges can arise on a daily basis. Common struggles include:

  • A TBI victim may be unable to think or function as he or she did prior to the injury. Physical and cognitive difficulties are common, and abilities can be greatly compromised. For less serious brain injuries, recovery takes a long period of rest as the body rebuilds. It may be difficult to have patience, but it is important to recognize that the process will take time.
  • There may be assumption that an individual has recovered due to outward physical appearance. While a victim of TBI could appear to be normal, it doesn’t mean the brain is functioning at its normal level or ever will be. Adjusting to new situations can be difficult.
  • While those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury may need to relearn how to talk, walk and perform other tasks that we take for granted, there is no need to treat a survivor as a child. Always communicate with respect and kindness and assume your loved one can understand you.
  • There is a tendency to fall into negativity, depression or despair. Try to be positive. Recovering from a brain injury may be a long process. Be patient with your recovery or with your loved one. Offer your unconditional support and maintain hope for what the future may hold.

Loved ones and caregivers can also face a multitude of struggles. Some of the most common are:

  • Exhaustion resulting in physical and mental burnout
  • Personal blame and feelings of guilt
  • Lack of financial resources or support
  • Feelings of despair or helplessness

Coping with a Brain Injury

Recovering from a brain injury or supporting a loved one who is recovering from a brain injury includes getting help and support. You don’t need to go through this alone. Whether you are a brain injury survivor, the loved one of a survivor or a loyal caregiver, many helpful resources are available. Working with others who have dealt with similar issues can help you face the challenges ahead, and give you the strength you need to move forward.

Sources:
Mayo Clinic, Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms