With the increased interaction with family and friends, holidays can be a difficult time for persons with a brain injury.
Brain injury is difficult for the person to explain and difficult for others to understand.
Life following a brain injury may look and feel different.
Individuals may have a new normal, difficult for both the person and for those around them to understand and accept.
Living with a brain injury presents a wide range of challenges, but one of the most difficult things for many is the lack of understanding from their family and friends.
Persons with a brain injury often face comments from well-meaning family members, friends and strangers that only add to the frustration of living with a complex and often invisible condition.
During gatherings, struggling with comments such as you look fine, your just not trying hard enough, you should be recovered by now, it’s time you get over it, are hurtful and depict a lack of understanding of the problems and difficulties associated with all forms of brain injury.
Some individuals may struggle with the ability to express themselves, comprehend fast-paced conversations, deal with noise, bright light or other distractions.
Sensory overload, concentration and memory impairments, and physical symptoms may limit someone suffering from a brain injury with the ability to interact with family and friends.
Notice I use the term a person with a brain injury and not a brain injured person, because it is the individual who is important, and it is the individual that needs to be respected.
Brain injury may cause an individual to become easily fatigued, may cause debilitating headaches, dizziness or can have emotional and behavior consequences.
Mood swings, disinhibition, frustration, and depression are common difficulties encountered during the fast pace of a holiday get together.
A person with a brain injury must be accommodated and allowed the time to recharge.
Their difficulties need to be acknowledged. They do not need to be told what to do or how to do it.
Brain injury survivors need to be accepted. They may need hope, care, and support. But most important, they need our love, compassion, and respect.
Allow a person with a brain injury the time they need and provide them with the dignity they are entitled to so they too can be part of the holiday.
Remember, a brain injury may be invisible. Do not shame or shun a person with a brain injury and contribute to their feelings of isolation and alienation.