I often think about my accident and how it still affects me in my relationships and in my daily life. I just met someone else who miraculously survived a horrendous accident. We are both recovered, as far as anyone can see on the outside. What will never completely recover is the damage that was done on the inside.
We look and act completely normal to people we meet, so no one can tell by looking at us that there is anything wrong or out of the ordinary.
What people don’t see are the deep, ugly bruises that will never go away. I’m talking about brain injuries…how our brains process and deliver information and how it affects what we see, hear, remember, and what comes out of our mouths. Some information just doesn’t ‘stick’ and we are put down and looked at as bad or stupid because we may have said or heard something, then later totally forgot. Sometimes we might hear it completely different from how it was meant.
One day, someone who hasn’t known me very long, got very upset and told me that I just ‘heard what I wanted to hear’ and accused me of being a liar. I’ve lost friends, too, because even if you try and explain to them that you never meant any harm, or that you really didn’t ‘hear’ them, they can’t comprehend it any other way.
People with brain injuries can get their ‘wires crossed’ and get confused, but we don’t always realize that’s what happened. Others might just think we’re crazy or just stupid! We remember things, sometimes in the wrong order or in a different way from how it really happened. I get the most frustrated when I can’t remember simple words when I’m talking, or the thoughts just can’t seem to come out of my mouth the right way!
OK, so maybe it’s not always due to my brain injury…maybe it’s age…or ADD/ADHD, or ? I’ll admit to that, but seriously…Traumatic Brain Injury Dysfunction is a real thing. Read up on it if you, or anyone you know, has been in an accident that affected the brain. The best way to deal with people like us? Just be aware and help us out by writing things down that you want us to remember, or trying not to get frustrated when we say things more than once, or forget. We already feel stupid when we realize what happened. My friend, Debbie, used to say ‘T.B.D.B.A.’! when she would forget something…it meant ‘Traumatic Brain Dysfunction by Association!” Humor…always the best medicine!