Many brain injury survivors including myself deal with symptoms caused from their brain injury.
A few of these symptoms are paralysis of one side, vision troubles such as double vision, short and long term memory loss, fatigue, headaches and others depending on the brain injury.
While these symptoms are challenging to live with they do become the “new normal” for a brain injury survivor. For myself it is something I have learned to manage by living a healthy and somewhat active lifestyle.
Despite living a healthy and active lifestyle, there are still occasional moments when my symptoms act up more than usual which in the past could make me concerned or even anxious.
The concern or anxiety was due to thinking I was possibly having another bleed in my brain.
My brain injury was an acquired brain injury or ABI and wasn’t from a hit to the head like those who had a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
So what do I do if my brain injury symptoms seem worse or are firing up more than usual?
⁃ breathing exercises, I breathe in for 4 seconds, hold it in 4 seconds, exhale 4 seconds, hold it in for 4 seconds and repeat.
⁃ Go for a short walk
⁃ Remind myself that I’ve felt these symptoms act up before so this is normal or my “new normal”
⁃ Lay down and relax
⁃ Drink water
If you have symptoms from your brain injury, try these tips out so you don’t become too overwhelmed or worried when they act up.
I do have to mention, if you think something is wrong and that’s why your symptoms are acting worse than usual you should tell a friend or family member and maybe go see a doctor.
I can’t tell you how many times I was rushed to the emergency room absolutely certain that I was having another stroke only to find out that there was nothing wrong with me, and what I had just experienced was likely an anxiety attack. Meditation or at least practicing some deep breathing gives you the chance to assess yourself in a way so you can determine “is what I am feeling real, or is my fear and anxiety of having another stroke manifesting these feelings”? If you can pause long enough to have that discussion with yourself and feel okay, then you probably just walked yourself out of a panic attack. In my case, my panic attacks plagued me for years after my stroke. Every time I got a sinus headache, I thought I was going to die. Every time I lifted weights at the gym and got an upper back tension headache, I thought I was going to die. With each headache came a vivid flashback of the moment a group of my friends came in to visit me in the hospital in 1995 when I was waiting to have surgery to remove an AVM. As soon as I saw them walk in, I got happy and excited and POP!! that was all it took. The kind gesture of paying me a hospital visit by a group of my worried friends excited me enough to cause my AVM to heamhorrage, I only managed to start a smile and say “hey….” before my right arm went numb, I felt shaky, my head really really hurt, I threw up, the nurses rushed in, friends were ushered out, I shit the bed, I couldn’t see anymore, then I couldn’t breathe and my heart rate jumped to over 200bpm. That shit will haunt me for the rest of my life, and no amount of therapy has ever made remembering those moments any less gut wrenching nor has it lessened my body’s visceral reaction it has to those events any time I think of them. I feel very happy to have stumbled across this site, because I truly believe that nobody on this fucking earth will ever understand me unless they have lived through something like I did. Only stroke survivors know what other stroke survivors went through, its the one topic not even my best friend “my wife” can really understand.