Areas of Brain Injury Covered
From the Founder: Annie Ricketts
My personal experience is with traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI comes under the medical aggregation of Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).
I write about the things I understand from personal experience and will include knowledge gained through working with others along the way, or research I have undertaken.
Unique But Similar:-
What I have noticed since helping others is that the outcomes we all live with can be similar, whatever medical bracket we fall under, there are often commonalities in experiences. People recovering from strokes, anoxic brain injuries, brain infections, cerebral palsy, autism and tumours for example, or indeed those living with dementia and degenerative disease, have been able to find understanding in the articles I have published on the Global Brain Injury Awareness (GBIA) Facebook community page and previous websites.
Causes are one thing; outcomes are another.
Each experience of brain injury is unique, as the individual is unique. The cause and damage caused are also entirely individual. So how is it that the after-effects can be so similar?
These after-effects affect both our inner-thinking and external worlds. Trauma is similar to a boulder hitting the surface of a lake – it sends out waves and ripples. Think of the boulder as the initial insult, and the ripples or waves as being the aftermath.
If we think about it, before brain injury, we were aware that we had brains that mostly worked like everyone else’s. Leaving personality, and even personality disorders aside here, we generally understand that we are all driven by one thing – albeit mostly unconsciously. We are all driven by the survival mechanisms of the primal brain.
During the years when we are growing up, we learn communication skills, some quite complex and intricate, some social and cultural, and many that work unconsciously. This learning enables us to manage relationships and much more. Mostly, healthy brains are utilising the same mechanisms for this – hence the similarities and why researchers can ‘box’ or categorise so much about psychology and human nature.
Differences originate not only because of personality but mainly and namely because of individual belief systems. Within us, we have many different types of belief, layered like an onion, and it is in this that our core or innate beliefs and values exist and drive a huge amount of who we are.
I other words, we create our opinions from our beliefs and experiences. It is the mechanics which create many commonalities, and so outcomes from similar events create similar thoughts and problems.
Although we all see the world through a personal window, this is the stuff I understand. I understand what it is like to live with a brain that seemingly no longer supports you. I know what it is like to no longer know who you are. There are many things I understand because I have looked at them all under a microscope and I have been my own ‘lab-rat’ experimenting with how to help myself and how to rebuild my brain – and, most importantly, ‘me!’
I don’t write about what I haven’t experienced. I was never in a coma or vegetative state. I was never in ICU. I have never been the child of a parent with brain injury, or even a child with a brain injury. I have never been the family member on the outside.
When it comes to all the areas of brain injury that I haven’t experienced, I can find people and resources who have, and I can direct you to these, and support groups, where I know there are many great people only too willing to reach out and help others.
I understand that undertaking research can be problematic following a brain injury – one of the first hurdles is being able to process and understand the information you need so that you can ask questions. I try and pre-empt this problem by writing as prolifically as I can about as many of the issues people commonly face. Please, always feel free to contact me if you need any help with research or understanding.
I understand a lot about the cognitive, emotional, and behavioural effects of brain injury, but, I am fortunate in that I never experienced any visible outcomes such as paresis, long-term ataxia, tinnitus and epilepsy.
There are specialist sites that deal with these areas and, indeed, many people also consult the members of the support groups they are in as another valuable resource. Again, if you need help with finding trustworthy and responsible resources, I am more than happy to help. Feel free to contact me and to ask for guidance if you feel stuck or worried. Don’t be alone.