Category Archives: Brain injury

Depression or Anger?

I  have been reading various comments from several different Strokes, Brain Injuries and Aphasia  online Support Groups and realized the commonality is Depression.   A person  will outwardly seem to be in a state of self-isolation, and may have unusual sleeping or eating habits.  After reading journals and speaking with experts I have finally realized depression can be a result of ANGER.  Most people hold their anger in, and after reading and speaking to people in depression their anger can cause the depression.  Stroke survivors, Aphasiacs, Brain injury survivors live in a world of the unknown –

  • fear of another stroke or TIA
  • the ups and downs of rehabilitation
  • frustration
  • coping skills
  • Why me?
  • Disappointment in family or friends – not understanding “you should feel better by now”, “just get over it”, “the rolling eyes when you are using your coping skill” and my all time favorite “stop babying yourself”.

How to deal with anger;  Allow  yourself to feel the anger and think about the best approach to deal with these people – do not get emotional – the anxiety could make you ill.  Write a letter expressing your anger – but do not send it.  Counseling, meditation, and medications can be helpful.   If you begin to feel like hurting yourself such as falling down stairs talk to someone. These are natural feelings for people with depression/anger.

Think of these people/comments as nuisances. You had the courage and perseverance to work through your trauma.  You are the hero, they are just ignorant.

 

 

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Filed under Aphasia, Brain injury, Encouragement, Human spirit, inspirational, perseverance, Stroke

Aphasia can be caused by a Stroke, TIA, and Brain Injuries. According to researchers over 2 million people in the United States suffer from this disorder and over 100,000 people a day are stricken by this disorder. 

Please take a moment of silence and pray for people have 

Aphasia

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June 14, 2015 · 7:48 pm

Last week I visited the Northeast Rehabilitation  Hospital at Pease International  Tradeport in  Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  It is a beautiful facility  with a welcoming and compassionate speech pathology staff. I was invited  to speak to their Stroke and Brain Injury Support Group.  They were a wonderful group of people who listened intently and offered a wealth of information.. The question/answer and discussion segment was enlightening, their stories and accomplishments were outstanding.  We shared our difficulties concerning aphasia, coping skills,  the feeling of isolation, and the awkward feeling of being “different.”  We discussed how the stroke/brain injuries  gave us a  new life which we should enjoy to the fullest.  We decided to discard the ‘old baggage’ and eliminate people from our  life who make us uncomfortable.    I was asked what I missed the most after my stroke; my response was an emotional moment – teaching.  As the group was leaving a lovely woman approached me in tears. She also was a teacher who desperately needed to teach again.  We brainstormed and arrived at some possibilities for her to return to the world of education. She hugged me as we both  cried for our loss of teaching abilities and  new ideas to be part of the education system again including writing lesson plans and up dating curriculum. We both departed with a sense of hope and thoughts of beginning her new life.  Support groups  can change lives – join one to listen and share. You will definitely feel better.

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May 19, 2015 · 6:56 pm

Silent and Listen

Silent and listen are  key elements within a  conversation.  This is especially true for people with aphasia.  Background noise distracts and can cause confusion for the person with aphasia.  Both parties need to listen in able to comprehend what is being said and to understand each other.  There will be moments when the person with aphasia needs more time to comprehend or respond to your comments – silence on your part is extremely helpful for the person with aphasia. It allows them to collect their thoughts and respond. Ironically there is a commonality to Silent and Listen in all conversations

 SILENT and LISTEN share the same letters. 

 

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Filed under Aphasia, Brain injury, conversations, Encouragement

Stroke and Brain Injury Aphasia

Aphasia is the result of a stroke or brain injury. The Brain Injury of Massachusetts offers some wonderful ideas and coping skills.

Aphasia is a complex condition. It affects each person differently and may be hardly noticeable or very severe. A person with Aphasia may find that their communication difficulties can change from day-to-day or even hour to hour. They are likely to be worse when tired, unwell or under pressure.

People with Aphasia have described the experience as being:

“locked inside my own head”

“everything been washed from my brain”

Having Aphasia is often isolating and extremely frustrating. It usually results in loss of work for people under retirement age, with loss of status, social contact and financial security. Roles within the family may change, and friendships and close relationships come under great strain.

Will it improve? Each individual will have a different set of problems and will achieve a different level of recovery. It is impossible to predict how much language the person will regain.

Having the confidence to use whatever language skills remain seems to be even more important than being able to find all the right words. With practice and support, even people with severe Aphasia can continue to express their needs, choices and unique personality.

When you are talking with a person with Aphasia:

  • Choose a quiet place with few distractions if possible e.g. (background noise and more than one person speaking at once can make it very hard to follow a conversation).
  • Gain and maintain eye contact before starting to speak. This will ensure that facial expressions and gestures will give a lot of clues about the message you are trying to get across, even if he/she finds the words hard to follow.
  • Allow plenty of time for him/her to absorb what you have said and to make his/her response.
  • Talk with a normal voice but at a slightly slower speed than usual.
  • Give only one piece of information at a time.
  • Use short sentences.
  • Check you have both understood. Don’t pretend you have understood when you haven’t!
  • Use familiar words and phrases.
  • Make it clear if you are changing the subject.
  • Have a pen and paper handy, as some people can read or write better than they can speak. Sometimes drawing the message or using other ‘props’ (pictures, photographs and real objects) can help.
  • It is easier to answer questions with a “Yes” or “No” answer (closed questions) than questions that need a fuller answer (open questions). For example, “Do you want a cup of tea?” rather than, “What would you like to drink?”
  • It is quite common for people with Aphasia to mix related words when they speak (such as ‘yes’ and ‘no’ or ‘he’ and ‘she’). Sometimes it can help to use gestures (thumbs up or down) or point to a symbol (tick, cross, smiley face, unhappy face) to check the meaning.
  • Avoid shouting, interrupting, patronising or ignoring the person with Aphasia. Many people with Aphasia have had the experience of being treated as “stupid”, “drunk” or “mad”, which makes living with a language impairment even harder to deal with.

Good new is that there are new websites that offer tools to cope with aphasia.  Hope, Humor and Hard work will improve our disorder.

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Filed under Aphasia, Brain injury, Encouragement, Human spirit, inspirational, perseverance, Uncategorized

Snow Storms – Reminder for stoke survivors

SNOW, SNOW, SNOW, SNOW!   FRUSTRATION, FRUSTRATION, FRUSTRATION!  CABIN FEVER,  FEELING ISOLATED AND ANXIOUS. Most people have these feelings especially stroke survivors and people with aphasia. Most aphasiacs  have trouble speaking on the phone when nervous  or upset which can make these feelings exasperated.

Stop, slow down and go back to the basics.   What to do to feel better?

1. Call your neighbor and invite them to your home for a cup of tea and help with anything you need done.  Trust me they will be glad to help and will feel better about themselves.  This is important especially for medications. Be sure you have enough for four or five days.

2. Be sure to wear your medical alert device.

3. Use the coping skills you learned in rehabilitation.

4. If you need some groceries ask your neighbor to pick them up for you or if you can use the computer order online for delivery I do this frequently – they will bring the food into your home – usually kitchen table..

5.  Do not attempt to shovel or walk on the snow and ice alone, ask the person driving to help you. Your walking device can be dangerous in the snow.

6.  Watch television, a DVD, knit mittens for your family, crochet a small chair throw, as a gift for your neighbor. My favorite is to work on word puzzles.

7.  Read a good book  “Finding My Voice with Aphasia”, ” The Unbroken” or a whatever genre you enjoy.

8. Most importantly stay safe but if you are not feeling well or unusual call 911

Remember safety first, take care of yourself and ask for help

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Filed under Aphasia, Ask for help, Brain injury, Caregiving, Good book for snow storm, Grocery delivery, Human spirit, inspirational, Medications, perseverance, signs of a stroke, Time is of the essence

This week I had the pleasure of meeting BJ Williams at the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts.  While preparing for my radio program in November I came across an article written by this organization – it was absolutely fascinating.  At times I thought  I was reading an  article on stroke survivors and people with aphasia.  The commonalities we share are amazing.  Especially the number of survivors with aphasia.  I was interviewed concerning my stroke, recovery and aphasia, where I explained my aphasia coping skill.  Mr. Williams is preparing a documentary  for March – Brain Injury month.  Your prayers and support for those who are recovering from a stroke, aphasia or brain injuries are needed.   Just think “But for the grace of God it could happen to you”

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January 25, 2015 · 9:01 pm