I am a 23 year old with a Traumatic Brain Injury. I struggle a lot with my health but I’m always trying to better myself and reach my goals. Ask me anything!
I suffered a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury from getting hit by a car when I was 15 years old. What surprises most people is that I actually did not hit my head and my brain injury was caused by severe whiplash. The brain is not stationary in the skull and brain damage can be caused when the brain is rattled around in the cerebrospinal fluid, bouncing against the skull. (Think Shaken Baby Syndrome, but for adults.) I had a white matter shearing injury.
Sadly, because many health providers are severely undereducated when it comes to dealing with TBI, many brain injuries are undiagnosed for extended periods of time. It is not uncommon at all for people to go for years without a diagnosis. In my case, it took two years for a doctor to even suggest that brain injury could be the cause of all that I was struggling with. As soon as I saw a neurologist who specialized in brain injury, she knew right away that that is what I was dealing with and sent me for testing to confirm her suspicions. I had full testing work ups with a speech/language pathologist, an auditory specialist, a behavioral optemologist, and a memory specialist, all of which showed significant deficits indicative of a traumatic brain injury.
Although it is true that many people who receive a mild TBI make a full recovery and suffer from no lasting effects from their injury, there is a small percentage who suffer from long lasting effects, lasting from months to years. That group of people, which includes myself, are dealing with Post Concussive Syndrome. All brain injuries are different but due to mine, I deal with memory issues, difficulty concentrating and learning new things, making decisions, chronic fatigue, headaches, auditory processing issues, difficulty sleeping, visual changes, light and noise sensitivity, irritability, anxiety, and depression, to name some of the effects.
One relatively unknown complication that I have due to my brain injury is called Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome. For those with PTVS, the brain and the eyes no long communicate properly, which can cause terrible headaches. I have problems regarding eye convergence, eye tracking, eye focusing (near and far), and peripheral vision. Some of the treatment available for these issues include wearing special glasses (bifocals, prisms, etc) and attending weekly vision therapy which involves many types of eye exercises. I have also received a treatment called Syntonic light therapy.
Over the past 8 years, I have dealt with so much ignorance from health care providers, family members, and strangers alike. Even if living with a brain injury on its own wasn’t challenging enough, dealing in society that doesn’t understand is sometimes even harder.
I’d love to dispel the many misconceptions regarding brain injury, give a glimpse into my daily life, and educate those who may not know about brain injury. It took me a couple hours to write this up, so, please, ask me anything!
Edit: I am surprised and happy that so many people want to ask me questions. I will answer as many questions as I can, even if it takes me a few days to get through them all.
Edit: 5:32PM EST, I need to take a break. I’ll be back in a bit.
Edit: 6:52PM EST, I’ll be continuing to answer questions on and off, as much as my brain and my baby allow me to. I’m not used to interacting with so many people. My head hurts and providing the thorough answers that I want to give is absolutely exhausting.
Edit: 11:20PM EST, I’m calling it quits for tonight and I’ll continuing answering questions tomorrow. I’ve enjoyed answering your questions and reading your stories.