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This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Christine Greehy 1 year, 2 months ago.

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  • Rachelle Sawyer
    Participant

    Anxiety, Coping Skills & Concentration


    My 20 year old daughter suffered a TBI with a subsural hematoma and a basal skull fracture in 2013. Since then she has had anxiety isn’t able to cope with stressful situations, depression and concentration issues which we have treated with modern day meds and she seems to still have little relief. Can you suggest anything to help with her cope with these issues. Thank you.

  • Replies
  • Dixya Bhatarai
    Keymaster

    I am sure you have been told this but I just want to reassure you that recovery for TBI varies based on the individual and nature of the brain injury.

    In your daughter’s case, I am not sure what caused her TBI but it is not uncommon for people to have problems with attention, concentration, speech and language, learning and memory, reasoning, planning and problem-solving post TBI.

    Also, are you aware of why or what triggers her anxiety? I am glad to hear that medicine is helping her somewhat but have you considered visiting a counselor who focuses on TBI patients? A lot of times neuro-psychologist will evaluate a TBI patient and recommended suggested therapies to help with their cognitive problems.

    They typically use two different approaches – remediation which focuses on improving skills that have been lost or impaired and compensation which helps TBI patients learn to use different ways to achieve a goal. Since she is so young and her inability to function like before may have caused additional stress and depression, so I highly suggest that you bring this up with her physician.

    In the meanwhile, you can help reduce her anxiety by encouraging her to take deep breaths and maintaining a positive attitude around her.

  • Christine Greehy
    Participant

    In 1996, I had 2 subdural hematomas and a bleed to the occipital region (back of brain). Dr said TBI should have killed me or left me a “vegetable.”
    I had severe migraines, short and long term memory loss tho the short was far worse, TIA’s or “mini strokes” and eventually the TIA’s included my right eye bulging almost out of the eye socket. I looked like a monster when that would happen. I found out later that the bulging eye was caused from ICP (increased intercranial pressure). And for the first time in my life, frequent anxiety attacks.

    The first neurologist I went to told me my symptoms were psychosomatic and I was just depressed. It was “all in my head.” He degraded me so bad I left in tears and refused to go back to dr until my eye looked like it was going to pop out.
    The next neurologist said sarcastically “Well, he was kind of right – it IS all in your head… but not for the reason he said.” And continued with telling me how severe the damage was to the brain. The only reason I mention the first dr is so that if you run into his kind, you just move on without taking it personally.

    For me, there were no triggers I was able to pinpoint. There was no rhyme or reason to when they would strike. It was explained that much of it has to do with the brain trying to heal, the constant flux of intercranial pressure and the chemistry in the brain is forever changed.
    Due to the nature of my TBI, I HAD to “beat it” or “he won.” I couldn’t let him “win” or I might as well rolled over and died.
    My “problem solving skills” were severely impacted. So I started out with kids card games like memory, worked up to solitaire and eventually was able to play spider and st helens. It SOUNDS so easy, but it wasn’t. I had to rewire my brain with no help from the medical community. I used to have 98% reading comprehension, but when I decided to go back to college and be what I always wanted (paramedic) I had to study 4-6 hrs a DAY for simple classes like first aid/cpr and medical terminology. But the more classes I took, the more my brain started making new pathways. But it’s important not to do too much too soon. I tried taking the college basic math and biology courses. It was too soon and greatly discouraged me. My brain wasn’t ready yet. I withdrew from classes and went with easier ones the next semester.

    It took about 18-24 months for the ICP to stabilize. It took another 12-18 mo for the anxiety attacks to diminish. But the entire key to all of it was retraining the brain with all the fight I had in me. I also had to work very hard at speech. My word recall was almost non existent. My tongue didn’t want to form words that I KNEW how to say.

    Because of the increased/changing ICP and damaged areas, the chemistry of the brain is dramatically altered. Mood swings are a guarantee. Depression is almost inevitable as the brain tries to find balance again. But the more “retraining” that is done, along with good nutrition (animal fats from HEALTHY animals, B vitamins, amino acids (eggs are a great source), and any other brain food you can think of, with hard core retraining – this could turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to her. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me! Healing was difficult, but it changed me for the better. Without that something to fight for, I would have never had the “motivation” to go back to school to be what I always wanted. I used the single parent with 3 kids as my excuse until the TBI. But was able to overcome all obstacles just to not “let him win” by stealing my brain function.

    I hope your daughter is willing to put forth the effort bc it can be done. The neuroplasticity of the brain is simply amazing! The more she works at it, the faster it will stabilize and heal. Proper nutrition and “brain supplements” will accelerate the healing tremendously! For me, the side effects I still have are mostly bc I have slacked on the learning since I blew out my back. But still, no one would ever know how severe the damage was. I haven’t had an anxiety attack in over 15 yrs! I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. It showed me who I was.
    Best of luck to you both.

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