Witnessing a brain injury survivor who is improving-
I have been speaking with a brain injury survivor each week over the past month to talk about his challenges, his goals and how to overcome his mental struggles. I don’t want to make it seem easy because it’s not and like many his biggest struggle is the mental battle such as anxiety and depression.
Mental health in my opinion, is the most overlooked area of recovery for a brain injury survivor and if you want to read more about my thoughts on this go here.
What is anxiety and depression?
Anxiety is a feeling of fear, dread, and uneasiness. It might cause you to sweat, feel restless and tense, and have a rapid heartbeat. It can be a normal reaction to stress.
Depression is a serious medical illness. It’s more than just a feeling of being sad or “blue” for a few days. If you are one of the more than 19 million teens and adults in the United States who have depression, the feelings do not go away. They persist and interfere with your everyday life.
The goal of this brain injury survivor is to see his 3 year old daughter more often and to become a better role model and more involved with her life. She lives with her mother.
I asked him to be more specific about his goal and what that would look like?
He told me he would like to see her more often and maybe take her to the park and have a picnic because she would love it so much.
I told him to close his eyes and said this may sound like a hippie idea but envision making lunch and packing the food for the picnic before picking her up. What was he making and how did it make him feel knowing he was going to take her out on a picnic?
I told him to see himself placing the sandwiches in the bags and packing them into the lunch bag. I asked him what it felt like grabbing the food and walking out the door and to his car to go and pick his daughter up and take her on a picnic?
I asked him to visualize how happy his daughter was to see him and know she was going on a picnic?
How big was she smiling and how tight was her hug when he picked her to go on the picnic?
Anxiety and depression
This brain injury survivor has met with a doctor about his anxiety and depression and is on medication.
Aside from medication, he hasn’t done much to manage his anxiety so after we first began talking I asked him to start meditating every morning, fist thing before getting out of bed. I suggested he set a timer on his phone and meditate for just 3 minutes. I told him to add a minute everyday if he thinks he is ready.
After 3 weeks he said he can tell a difference and has less anxious thoughts. He has been meditating consistently now for up to 13 minutes in the morning and sometimes does it again in the afternoon.
He has also began exercising regularly.
There is much more I could share about how this brain injury survivor is improving his life but I will leave it here because this shows if you develop empowering habits such as visioning, meditation and exercise you can become happier and achieve more goals.
This brain injury survivor would like to eventually get off his meds and is strengthening his ability to manage anxiety and depression before doing it.
If you would like to join the BrainTalk, brain injury survivor Facebook group go here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/533388850607894