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Life With a Traumatic Brain Injury

Stashed in: Empathy, Brain, Awesome, Compassion, Factoids, TBI, TBI, Concussions

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Don't say "It's just a concussion". This is what that concussion can lead to.

Geez, concussion is like the gateway affliction that can lead to many maladies.

I want each and every one of you to understand that invisible illness are very real. Chances are you will run into someone with a TBI on your next trip to the store (5.3 million Americans are living today with a TBI-related disability). Next time the person in front of you at the grocery store is having a hard time counting out their money, or they are walking a little too slowly in front of you, or they can't remember what they were saying to you mid-sentence, or they are staring blankly at the shelves with their cart in the middle of the aisle, please, have some grace. We can't help it. It is who we are now. Every day the journey gets easier, but there's a very real chance that it will never go away completely. Every single day someone takes their life because they can't cope with the chronic struggles of a TBI. I do not want to be one of those people.

Please! Don't ever say to someone "It's just a concussion. You'll be fine." That is not what we want to hear, and it's simply not the truth. Instead, ask them if they need anything. Offer to bring them a meal (I couldn't figure out how to use my microwave, let alone my oven, for a few days after my accident) or run some errands for them (I had no idea how to use the ATM at the bank).

Offer them your ear and/or shoulder (I thought Bill Clinton was our president). Show them that you care (it's a very dark and lonely place). While you can never understand what it's like to live with a TBI, you can show compassion and empathy. Instead of asking "How are you feeling?" ask "What can I do for you?"