Brain Injury: A Reflection on the Years Post Injury by a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Survivor

Since I’m dedicating every weekly blog post the month of March to Brain Injury (to recognize Brain Injury Awareness Month), I thought it only appropriate to write an essay reflecting on the years post Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

I experienced a severe TBI and coma following an accident in September 2016. Through the years of writing this blog, I have written several posts on TBI (and hearing loss, since that seems to be a major complication I am experiencing from my TBI). I have created a page where you can find links and explanations (visit that page by clicking here).

I have grown and changed a lot since I was first injured in 2016 and I look forward to spending this essay reflecting on just how much.

Brain Injury Month, of course, makes me reflect on who I was before my TBI and now who I am after and the progress I’ve made (or have still to make) along the way.

Note: Please visit the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) website to learn more about brain injury and brain injury awareness month.

In visiting biausa.org I saw plenty of statistics that informed me that I’m not alone as someone with a Traumatic Brain Injury (sometimes I need to be reminded of that fact). According to BIAA, “One of every 60 people in the U.S. lives with a TBI- related disability. The annual impact of TBI in the U.S. is significant with at least 2.8 million people sustain[ing] a TBI…” – BIAA

I will say that after experiencing a trauma it’s hard to think of yourself as not alone. Surviving a trauma is a lonely thing. Even though I am surrounded by a very supportive family who also had to withstand this trauma, going through things like my extreme hearing loss and distortion is isolating. I try to recognize and be appreciative of sacrifices my family has made but at my very core, I am different. So different that it’s challenging remembering who I was and how I used to be. I thought I would spend the rest of this essay comparing those changes as a way for me to remember and mark time.

Pre-TBI Laura

Character/Personality traits: Shy, reserved, anxious (prone to panic attacks). Kind of nerdy 🤓 and not at all athletic.

Habits: Bite fingernails, addicted to iPad, addicted to TV, procrastinate.

Likes: Music, movies, books, podcasts and anything pop culture.

Dislikes: Noise and large crowds, speaking in front of larger groups. Chaos (keeps a pretty neat and orderly house and car).

Hobbies: Creative Writing (but bad at finishing anything)

Immediately Post-TBI Laura

(Within 6 months of the injury.)

Character/Personality traits: Yet To Be Determined (TBD). Since I was still actively healing from physical injuries as well as brain injury, my personality really hadn’t shown through yet.

Habits: Immediately following the coma I didn’t bite my fingernails. However, the bad habit came back after roughly two months.

Likes: Books (I read a lot in 2017), movies and TV (adjusting to having to rely on closed captions). Miss music and podcasts and feel a little less in tune with pop culture.

Dislikes: Noises and large crowds (however, not because of shyness, now because of hearing loss, distortion, and sensitivity). Hates to be misunderstood. Chaos (keeps things pretty neat and orderly).

Hobbies: Playing board games and the like with my family. Not actively creative writing, however, had an idea I want to turn into a young adult novel series.

Post-TBI/Current Laura

(6 months post accident to now.)

Character/Personality traits: Not shy or reserved. Have been called a “cut-up” and funny. No longer anxious and don’t have panic attacks. Still kind of nerdy 🤓 and not at all athletic.

Habits: After hard work, I stopped biting nails and am actively working on limiting online hours. I also don’t procrastinate as much because if I put something off I could forget to do it (memory issues from the TBI).

Likes: Reading, watching TV, movies, and game shows. Still miss music and podcasts.

Dislikes: Noises and large crowds (however, not because of shyness, now because of hearing loss, distortion, and sensitivity). Hates to be misunderstood. Chaos (keeps things pretty neat and orderly).

Hobbies: Creative writing, painting, drawing, graphic design, baking, and blogging.

Summary and In Conclusion

It’s clear when reviewing these lists that even though the TBI changed me that there are still plenty of commonalities between the Lauras (pre-, immediately post-, and post-TBI). While I’m not the shy, reserved and anxious nerd I once was, I’m not rushing to try and book any standup shows (despite the enthusiastic encouragement of some in my Brain Injury Support Group). While I’m still recovering and still trying to figure out who I am with my TBI, I’m happy to keep trudging along and documenting it on this blog. And hopefully someday in the future, I will have completed my brain injury memoir.

Memoir Writing Update

No new word count update as of yet. However, I have decided to participate in the April Camp NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). My goal for camp (which I will talk about in more detail next week) is to finish writing my memoir and do a first-round edit of it.

#CreativityForDays?

Am I still doing this blog feature? Yes and no. I think I will just add it as an update on my weekly blog post. I was so sporadically posting weekly updates it feels silly to limp along that way.

Here’s my update for this week: I drew portraits of my dog Selby (@selbysweetie on Instagram).


11 thoughts on “Brain Injury: A Reflection on the Years Post Injury by a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Survivor

    1. I’m so glad you found me too! I am happy a fellow brain injury survivor found me! I will check out your blog too. Writing has always been a release but now I rely on it to both remind me who I was and who I am now.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you for sharing your story! That statistic you shared at the beginning is mind blowing – I had no idea so many people experience TBIs.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I totally relate! It’s kinda like when you’re thinking about or buy a specific car, and all of a sudden every other car you see is that specific car

        Liked by 1 person

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