An ABI can be the result of trauma to the brain from external forces or toxins or anything that disrupts the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.

Brain injury effects are different from person to person. Effects can include:

  • Cognitive (memory problems, decreased attention/focus, impaired language skills, impaired problem solving skills and decision making skills etc.)
  • Physical (headaches, pain, paralysis, fatigue, sleep disorders, speech and motor skill impairments etc.)
  • Perceptual (change in hearing, vision, sense of taste, smell and touch, balance)
  • Behavioral and Emotional (irritability, impatience, reduced tolerance for stress, apathy, denial of disability, flattened or heightened emotional responses, change in sexual drive etc.)

Coping with an ABI is no easy task. Your life has changed. You do not have the same abilities as you did before the injury occurred. Perhaps you can no longer work or maybe you can no longer care for yourself. The possible effects of an ABI are almost endless but everyone with an ABI has something in common. Everybody with an ABI experiences loss…the loss of their former selves.

Change comes slowly. Be patient with yourself if you have an ABI. Be kind to yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

An ABI can leave you feeling useless and worthless. Your self-esteem and confidence may seemingly, completely disappear. Your life has changed and you have no idea how to cope. You may become depressed or even suicidal. You may be struggling with your identity. You may face new fears and worries. You may be more anxious that usual. Believe it or not, this is normal.

Coming to terms with an ABI, accepting it and accepting the “new you”, learning strategies to cope with the changes in your life and developing new skills may help alleviate some the mental health related symptoms that have come about as a result of the ABI. If you have an ABI, be sure to speak to your care providers about support for the ABI specifically and also for your mental health. Both are equally important.

Recovery from an ABI will be ongoing…make sure you have ongoing support.

For more information on ABIs, please check out the following links:

Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia (BIANS)

Brain Injury Association of Canada

The Perspectives Network

About Debi Noye

Debi is a writer, a mental health consumer, and a suicide attempt survivor. As part of her recovery, she has found freedom in embracing her creative side (painting and creating mail art as well as writing), which allows her to be open and honest about living with a mental illness. Debi is passionate about playing an active role in the mental health community, not only as a consumer but also as a friend, resource, and advocate for other consumers. She lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.