You are involved in a workplace accident, suffering a traumatic brain injury. Almost right away, the symptoms become clear -- you can hardly remember the accident itself. Everything is a blur. You watch the video footage from the security camera and feel like you are watching someone else. You can't believe it happened to you.
Even as you heal, these jarring changes may not end. Below are six ways that the TBI can massively change your life:
1. The memory issues may not get better.
Many people who have suffered brain injuries struggle with memory problems for the rest of their lives, resorting to things like constant note-taking to make up for it. This is one of the most common symptoms you could face.
2. People won't understand.
People who have not suffered a TBI often do not understand what it is like. Many times, survivors find themselves accused of being lazy when they are really fatigued and simply need longer to recharge. Others have been accused of being "deadbeats" and felt constantly judged.
3. The risk of sudden symptoms may always exist.
One person who suffered a TBI noted that she had to have a seizure dog after her injury. She had developed epilepsy and, though she felt much the same otherwise, there was always the risk that a seizure could strike.
4. Emotions are hard to control.
Even if you were not an emotional person before, you could be one after the injury. You may have emotional outbursts, suddenly growing very angry without much reason. This can make it hard for those around you, who need to be patient and understand that the rollercoaster ride is out of your control.
5. Common tasks now require effort.
Before injury, many people take simple activities such as reading, walking and talking for granted. After an injury, these same activities can require a great deal of effort. Common, everyday tasks can become nearly impossible. This is true even with rehab and after years of healing.
6. You may need to find your own way.
Coping systems are different on a case-by-case basis. For instance, some people function best if they have a very strict schedule and a routine. It helps them know what to expect and get through each day. You may need to find your own way to put life back together again.
Remember, traumatic brain injuries are not the same for everyone. As you recover, you may face these challenges or entirely different ones. The key is to understand that it may be a struggle and life may not ever be the same again. When it's not, it is also wise to look into your options for compensation, which may help with the cost of in-home care, rehabilitation, medication and much more.