Regression, Peaks, and Plateaus
It has a very different ‘toughness’ about it than ‘normal’ life has when the unexpected comes along.
There are vast differences between life and experienced living pre and post brain injury. Pre-injury, people have all their faculties about them, which help to incorporate how well they deal with life changes or trauma, and often have an awful lot to do with personality type, and social and cultural ‘conditioning.’
Post brain injury life can be vastly different. The ‘conditioning’ of our upbringing can be completely wiped out – much as though a wet cloth has wiped out our personal ‘blackboard.’ Many people have to start all over again.
One important thing to note is that the ‘same’ things don’t happen post brain injury as they do to people who have never experienced brain trauma. People often assume that ‘we all do that,’ and non-injured people jump to these conclusions because they notice similar outcomes rather than causes. These views must include the understanding that what we ‘see,’ isn’t always what we think we see. Sometimes we need to take on board that we don’t see the whole picture.
As people walk through the recovery and rewiring process, they often notice that periods of doing well suddenly seem to ‘end’ with no apparent cause or reason. This experience is about reaching a transitional peak.
Then, as time goes on, it can seem there are no further improvements, but at the same time, nothing seems to be deteriorating either – this is called reaching a ‘plateau.’
Neither of these states is ever permanent – they are transitional and a natural part of the explainable journey.
The other thing that can happen is experiencing the ‘fall’ or a regression. This feeling of going backwards is also explainable.
All of these are common consequences of life post brain injury. Often we can’t make sense of why they happen, and we question these ‘way markers’ simply because we don’t understand them.
If we think about it, life is always pinpricked by ‘waymarkers.’ Before a brain injury, we don’t notice this so much – we take things in our stride – but post-injury we are attuned to notice everything.
It isn’t always that the patterns of life itself have changed – it is that sometimes the way we perceive it has.
There is also the authentic reality that no matter what comes, people remain focused on their recovery. People fight on and bounce back and find that the only way forward is to deal with whatever is showing up. What they may not attribute to the changes experienced are things like stress or nutritional changes – both of which can quite rapidly alter how well people are doing.
All stops, starts and flatlining are usual and to be expected.