Strategies for improving brain injury outcomes
*What you need
*Increasing your factual understanding
It is always best to address all the practical things you can first, such as increasing your understanding as much as possible, detoxing your body and environment, taking supplements, and eating for nutrition. Follow the menus and process from the beginning of this site. You may gain information and insights that are important to you.
These suggestions are made on the premise that you are struggling with cognitive outcomes, which are impeding your progress. Sometimes this can cause the same things to go around and around in your head. It can be challenging to break free of these cycles or to know what to do to make things better.
Understanding more about you
For these reasons it is important to know what is happening and why because this can be the start point for regaining control, being able to choose what we are thinking about, and to feel calmer and in a more familiar place.
*Your brain understand facts – it does not ‘understand’ your emotions and psychological needs – your brain is not a counsellor
*Your brain is unable to interpret positive and negative concepts – it is important to consider the language you use in your thinking
*Your emotions are both brain and ego fed – the ego is the ‘logical’ concept of self that the brain holds to be able to carry out logical algorithms to work out context. It is not ‘who you are’
*You are trying to help your brain move forwards so that you can too. Focus on this aim
*You are the ‘controller’ – your brain is a logical tool that you use. Think of it as a data processor that ‘you’ use, rather than it being who you are
*Quantum science has proven ‘universal consciousness’ – it is no longer a Freudian theory that there is a ‘higher self’ – we can use these levels of thinking in practical ways
*To move forwards your brain needs facts, not your opinions. It needs ‘gaps’ in ‘hard’ data to be filled so that they form a logical sequence
*All the time there are gaps in logical knowledge is all the time your brain will continue to feed this back to you through the language of emotions
These strategies may sound difficult, and even impossible when your brain is confused by all the ‘infill’ added by attitudes. It is better to use considered thought. When you have a brain injury, the need to take back control is really important if you are ever to help your brain feel like the ‘familiar you’ again.
If we think in terms of the brain as a tool that the mind uses, we can start to think of the brain as the thing that is broken rather than thinking it is ‘us.’
Many people consider the day their brain injury happened, as the day the old self died, and the new self was born. In many ways, this helps people come to terms with the changes that occur on not only a practical level but also a personal one. People don’t ‘feel’ the same and many notice that they don’t behave in the same ways either. They recognise that they no longer manage their thinking in the same ways, notice that they cannot always interject that thinking the way they could before, and can feel overwhelmed with the brain going off at tangents and not serving their needs.
The changes are different for everyone. Those with a more severe injury, for example, might be oblivious that anything that is coming ‘out’ is any different to before.
The thing is that what we do, think and feel, during the recovery process will form new experiential memories, and we are creating a new sense of self – so it is incredibly important that you make as many thoughts positive as possible. We are building our integrity, and if we are ever to get those familiar feelings of self back, we must learn to master the ‘thinking voice again.
If we think of the old self as something that remains within us always, then we are building ourselves back up based on the platform that we had before. We must create new beliefs about ourselves that build on our previous innate beliefs. You can read more about this concept of ‘Belief Systems.‘
Many people can struggle all the more because they don’t understand that post-injury thought can slow the process of recovery the self.
Tools to help you and your brain
Taking the time to explore our emotions allows us to address and accept their reality. If you think you need help, speak to your doctor, counsellor, or other specialists – get support if you need it.
*Use a separate journal to outpour your emotions and to tell yourself your whole story from your perspective to satiate self needs
*Let it all out by whatever means suit you best, but try to be mindful of taking out emotions on others, and of the difficulties, you are living with if your emotional control has been affected
*Use colouring tools to ‘draw’ out your emotions
Use alternative therapies meditation and mindfulness to calm your emotions; Reiki healing can help us release negative emotions.
The first thing we need to consider is whether or not we still have the ability to ask ourselves questions. Many people find this impossible; others find that their skills haven’t changed, but their emotions are blocking them from thinking clearly. This exercise can be transposed to anything that is bothering you and will help your brain to think in detail again.
A brain injury can leave us feeling as though we are looking through a pin-hole rather than having a full field of ‘vision. This exercise will help your perspective to increase its’ range.
You are doing this activity to satisfy your brain – this is not a psychological exercise. If you think you need help, speak to your doctor, counsellor, or other specialists – get support if you need it
Consider the range of questions we can ask ourselves, starting with the words: who, when, what, where, how, why. ‘Why’ always comes last because often we negate needing to answer this once the brain understands all the facts.
Many people get stuck with many missed emotions about the changes a brain injury brings. Very often, people ruminate for years over the events and struggle with acceptance, which can impinge their ability to move on.
For this reason, we will use the event impetus as an example, but the same set of tools can be used about anything that you are struggling to understand.
The event – one of four things happened when you sustained your injury – either; it was an accident, a medical condition, someone else was at fault, you were at fault. If this is an ‘I’ story be gentle with yourself, but also understand and know that nothing has ever happened to you that you don’t already know.
You need to break things down and establish a factual narrative that focuses on actualities that can be seen from any perspective and do not contain your own opinions or feelings. Here is how to do that:
*Write a list of the narrative facts – bullet points help with being succinct
*If you find the ‘story’ starting to creep in – return to your journal and purge this there
*Once you have written the basic narrative facts down you can begin to explore them and add detail
*Think about depth – for example, who was involved?
*When did this happen? Do you need to go into more depth? For example, did it happen more than once?
*What happened? List the facts in a list. Resist adding any personal story. For example, Joe Blogs was drunk. Joe Bloggs drove the car. Joe Bloggs lost control
*Where did this happen? Was it more than once, or in more than one place?
*How did it happen? This may be an expansion of previous facts
What this exercise helps us to realise and understand is that we cannot change facts. We may be aware of this anyway, but sometimes we fail to acknowledge this fully, and so we keep adding the question ‘why’ to our thoughts, which in turn creates the seemingly ‘unbreakable’ vicious circle.
When we are failing to let our brain understand the facts, it is hard to get to the point of acknowledgement, and the brain needs this before ‘we’ can reach acceptance. When the brain doesn’t understand the facts or the best or most of them we know, it struggles to help us reach a point of recognition because it keeps popping back up and returning to the event because a piece of data is missing. When information is missing, it is difficult to get to the point of acceptance.