Survivors Need Support Groups
A couple of months ago, I attended my first Brain Injury Support Group. I was unsure what to expect, whether it would be filled with people who had sustained brain trauma from a stroke, aneurysm, fall or a moving vehicle accident. The demographic was fairly widely spread, but the majority of folks in attendance sustained brain injuries by either falling or in motor vehicle accidents.
But what amazed me most was that the attendees almost always had the same issues I have. And it really felt good for me to be able to share what I know about coping skills–which isn’t much–with some of the people who have only recently sustained brain trauma. For instance, I heard that someone found himself getting inexplicably irritable mid-afternoon. I suggested that he might be hungry and told him what I do when I feel myself “hitting the wall.” I eat homemade trail mix. Peanuts, dark chocolate M&Ms, dried cranberries, and sometimes raisins. The group all seemed to like that suggestion, and another TBI “veteran” said he uses something like Ensure to keep his brain from getting hungry.
Others talked of being depressed, and we provided information from our own lives about how we battle depression. Without getting into too much detail, the one thing which keep coming up as a solution was exercise. As little as 20 minutes of moderately vigorous exercise can elevate your mood from being despondent to feeling full of energy and ready to face the next challenge opportunity.
So what did I get from attending this TBI support group? I learned that most TBI survivors have similar stories, and what works for them, may work for me, too!