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September 29, 2009 / Mark Kerrigan

Head Injured Does NOT Mean Idiot

Many times, people who acquire brain injury are treated as if there’s something wrong with them. For example, if someone speaks a little slower than what a person is accustomed to, often they are written off as being below average or stupid. For some time after my brain trauma, I was unable to care for myself, and I grew accustomed to having everything done for me by my family and team of caregivers. During the months after my coma, I didn’t think about anyone but myself, which, as I’m sure you’ll agree, is a very child-like trait to have. Part of maturing is learning to put others’ needs before our own, but the traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor usually is so focused on what she needs to do to get better that she neglects caring for anyone else, not to mention caring for someone else’s feelings.

The TBI survivor may revert to very childlike behavior patterns — even years after the injury. Some of the issues I still struggle with are delaying my gratification and impulse control. Sometimes I say things and then think, “What the hell was I thinking?” And you probably don’t want to leave me in the room alone with an unopened bag of OREOs!



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