Innovative trials and a high-level discussion forum have put social referrals high on the primary care agenda.
hen Tom went to his GP in Melbourne’s west earlier this year, his doctor asked him about his ongoing health issues.
But although Tom had suffered an acquired brain injury as a child, leaving him with an intellectual disability, this time there was another reason he had sought help.
It was his long-term social isolation Tom agreed with the lineworker to visit the local community centre – to which Tom had never been – together. Tom was introduced to a group of people who had similar experiences to his own. There were 12 there that morning,,
Our decision making in all areas of life comes from unconscious aspects of our minds. If there’s something you are overly anxious or numb about, there may be an underlying emotion that you’ve repressed or are unconscious about. If you’re constantly unhappy
Consider bird music as another depression stimulate. Listening to birdsong is a wonderful way to reconnect with nature and shift your focus away from the clutter and chaos
Jeff Shaw was 38 years of age. Dad to 7 year old Blake. Skilled and successful plasterer.
Jeff had a stroke which blew up his cerebellum: a small region in the lower brain that plays an important role in fine motor skills
Jeff did not like how people with disabilities were treated by the medical profession nor the community at large and so created The Give a Care Foundation
Leadership Plus and United Brains are running a project to develop and promote self-advocacy groups for people with acquired brain injury.
Self-advocacy is a very effective model of support READ MORE HERE
Neuroscientist Shane O’Mara believes that plenty of regular walking unlocks the cognitive powers of the brain like nothing else. He explains why you should exchange your gym kit for a pair of comfy shoes and get strolling…
by Elise Morgan
Sleeping after a traumatic brain injury can be problematic. The American Academy of Neurology found as many as 40-65% of people with mild traumatic brain injury struggled with insomnia. Lack of sleep negatively impacts our cognition, mood, and energy levels; unsurprisingly, this can also adversely affect rehabilitation.
Why is Sleep Important?
Sleep plays a major role in physical healing. During active sleep, our brain stem secretes hormones that relax our muscles to prevent twitching. This can play a role in helping muscles to heal. What’s more, during slumber, various hormones and chemicals within our bodies are produced to enhance our immune system responses, repair tissue damage and generally restore our brains and bodies.
Our brain waves also change when we sleep – beginning with a deep slow wave that is accompanied by lowered heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature as well as relaxation of the muscles. This deep slow wave is then followed by REM sleep that involves faster and more active neocortical EEG waves, similar to those observed during waking. We cycle through these stages four or five times, a process that has been shown to improve brain plasticity – the ability to adapt to input.
Tips for getting better sleep this year
Whether you’re suffering from insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness or other sleep disturbances, the good news is that there are steps you can take to improve your sleep. Changes to your routine and environment often make a big difference.
During the day, get at least 20 minutes exercise. People who exercise have less difficulty sleeping as well as less day time sleepiness, including those with TBI. Working out in the morning can improve these benefits.
Wake up and get out of bed at the same time each day. It doesn’t matter if this is 6am or 10am, simply having a fixed wake up time will help to anchor your circadian rhythms and aid in sleeping better at night. Coupling this with 15 – 30 minutes of sunlight when you wake will reinforce your internal body clock and enhance wakefulness throughout the day. If you have dark winters that make it difficult to see the sun, consider using a light box.
Cut napping time to no more than 20 minutes a day. Daytime napping can make it more difficult to sleep at night and disrupt our natural sleep/wake cycles.
At night, try adding a relaxing practice to your bedtime routine. Mindful meditations, bedtime yoga stretches or simply having a mug of warm milk with these white night cookies while you read before bed can help. Certain foods contain natural compounds like tryptophan and melatonin that work to calm your body and help you sleep, while meditative practices have been shown to trigger a relaxation response in our bodies that make it easier to fall and stay asleep.
Keep your bedroom as calm and relaxing to avoid associating it with stress and restless nights. Don’t work or pay bills in your bedroom, keep the TV and electronics out, and minimize noise, extreme temperatures and light.
Sleeping is paramount to our health, and imperative for our healing processes. Making sure you get enough shut-eye can aid rehabilitation and overall wellbeing. A few changes are well worth the effort.
Some acts are obviously courageous: a person runs into a burning building and saves a life, or a bystander dives into a lake to save a drowning person. These are dramatic examples of courage and bravery, when people make spur of the moment decisions and put their own lives at risk in order to save others
There is, however, another, harder to see type of courage, and to appreciate it you’ve got to pay attention because this isn’t dramatic and doesn’t get lot of press. I am talking about the “we have no choice, wake up in the morning and do your work” kind of courage: the kind exhibited by TBI survivors who get up every morning, and slog through their confusion, frustration and anger to fight the daily brain injury battle with no fanfare and no immediate reward.
Think about that. People like you, TBI survivors, live a brave and courageous life simply by facing the battle, head-on, each day; the difficulty and commitment of which is something few people understand.Your courageous-ness needs to be acknowledged, and that is what I am going to do right now.
The Courage of the TBI Survivor
A courageous person doesn’t usually consider themselves courageous or special. Rather, they act out of a feeling of obligation, or need, and because of this, true courage is often marked by humility. While it is normal and healthy for people to feel pride in themselves or feel good about what they have done, it is a characteristic of courageous people to just do their job because that is what they do, and to not consider themselves especially courageous. They are just trying to live their lives the best way they can and do what they think is right.
In the case of you, the TBI survivor, each one of you exhibits great courage as you attempt to rebuild your life. While it would be nice if others could see that or were able to understand what you go through, it’s much more important that you understand that you are fighting an honorable, courageous battle, and that the rewards you get are a product of being in that battle, and they are priceless. You should also know that other people will probably never understand it.
The TBI survivor’s rewards for being courageous are: 1) be able to live your life in a manner you find fulfilling, and 2) the knowledge and the feeling you get from knowing you have accomplished something great, even though others may not see it.
There have been very few times in my life when I have been acknowledged for what I have done; not because people don’t care, but simply because others just don’t understand. One time, I was speaking with a girl I had just met in college and the conversation shifted to the fact that I had been in a coma for a month. She stopped, looked at me and said, “You must be the strongest person in the school.”
I can remember being completely floored and not knowing what to say. I sheepishly shrugged my shoulders and walked off. That was so nice of her to say, and so completely unexpected.
How I reacted was an example of how we can be affected by our self-image. I couldn’t accept a compliment from her because, in my own mind, I was a long way from what I had been before my TBI, and not worthy of such a compliment.
That is a huge issue. Many of us can feel so unworthy and downtrodden, it is not only hard to let compliments in, we blame ourselves for too much and apologize too often.
When people pay you compliments; try to really listen to what they are saying. Don’t deflect them or refuse to believe them. Try to understand the magnitude of what you are doing. So many of us think we don’t deserve it because we aren’t what we used to be before our Brain Injury, and that we are not worthy of praise.
But you are.
You all are courageous and you are worthy
It’s hard to measure or see, on a daily basis, the results of your courageous-ness. Progress can be agonizingly slow. Add to that the fact that you aren’t performing up to our old standards, and it makes accepting any type of praise difficult. No matter how well you are doing things, it never seems good enough.
However, each day you grow. You learn. You become.
The courageous-ness you exhibit is not for a one-time event. It is on display every day, starting when you wake up and drag yourself out of bed to fight an invisible and silent opponent. In many ways life becomes a grind, one that’ll chew you up and spit you out if you let it; but you battle. You fight for your dignity and your life, and by being engaged in that fight you gain so much.
That’s a hard thing to explain to someone, but you know.Your courage is not rewarded, and is, in fact, many times overlooked, mostly for the following reason: people are unable to recognize it. Most of you heroes toil in obscurity for what you think is important; simply because that is how you need to live your lives.
There is dignity and honor in the way you live your life, and you should be proud of every thing you have accomplished.
It is an honorable battle and an honorable life.
Believe in the battle and believe in yourself.
Linda W Arms gives a very good overview of ‘learning to live with ABI’
I can successfully manage one thing at a time. It is because I have a brain injury that I can no longer multi-task in the ways I did before my injury. C
These days I can recognise several things that need to be taken care of, like a birthday coming up, having someone over for dinner, taking care of a personal business matter and a lot of other small matters. The problem is that I can’t work with a multiple of these things at the same time without difficulty and feeling CONTINUE READING HEREContinue reading
Social Learning, A Brain Injury Rehab Construct
When I applied to the ABI (Acquired Brain Injury) Network for health services, I was immediately referred to day programs. Say what? CLICK HERE TO READ MORE