Providing care for a person who has sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can be very rewarding but equally problematic; an emotional roller coaster.  This ongoing blog will give the reader a good insight into the daily challenges that can occur.

A TBI is brain damage that results from a blow or jolt to the head either from a fall, accident, assault, sporting injury or being struck over the head.

A TBI can be very serious and can lead to long term problems with behaviour, cognitive ability, communication, sensation and emotions. Many of those affected have physical challenges and may have lost some or all of their mobility, and are often no longer able to maintain their independence.

This sudden abrupt shift in a person’s life can be very difficult to accept and many of those who are affected will suffer with anxiety and depression on top of the physical, psychological, behavioural  and cognitive problems they will endure.

J

This blog is written to share my experience of working with an individual with a TBI, and his family from a care providers perspective.

Dealing with Anger…

I have been caring for J for over a year now and have found it to be very rewarding at times but equally very challenging. One person with a brain injury will handle their own situation very different to another person as the impact is different in both the way they sustain and experience their injury.

J often reaches a point of frustration and despair and displays extreme anger where he lashes out, throws whatever is to hand and can say very nasty and hurtful things. Then, as sudden as the anger began,  he will be pleasant and act as if nothing has happened. The change in his mood is like flicking a switch. This, from my perspective is difficult to cope with as I struggle to suddenly forget the outburst and will be still emotionally shaken. I sometimes  feel resentful that he has shown this anger towards me when all I am doing is trying to help him, but then I feel guilty for feeling this way, knowing it is not his fault.

I often feel I am the target for J to release his pent up anger as it usually occurs when I am pushing him to achieve his goals. The only way to manage the situation is to remove myself from his immediate proximity. I constantly have to remind myself that  J has a brain injury and as a result of this has trouble processing and expressing emotions in a safe environment with someone whom he trusts.

My nurse training has taught me to be empathic and to contain any angry response although this can be extremely hard at times when you have someone shouting and being abusive in your face. Understanding the behaviour of J helps me to manage the psychological effects of his behaviour. Anyone reading this who has been unlucky enough to have sustained a brain injury or is looking after someone with a brain injury, will struggle to cope at times with the many changes that may result, such as behavioural issues, cognitive and motor skills impairments, memory problems and loss of  identity.

As a care provider, my ultimate goal is to assist that person in overcoming the difficulties and struggles that they have to endure on a daily basis. The feeling of  pride is indescribable, when I see J making the slightest bit of progress and that is what makes it all worthwhile. My advice is; know you are making a difference, and to believe in change.