Tag Archives: traumatic brain injury

Physical Problems Can Change You

Those of you who have been reading my work for some time know that on February 27, 2015, I nearly died.  My fireplace’s flue had a problem & it caused carbon monoxide to enter my home.  It caused me to pass out, hitting my head on the logs beside the fireplace which gave me a concussion.  I easily could’ve died that day, but I didn’t.  I live with symptoms daily from the experience but my thinking has been especially odd to me.

 

My emotions & ways of thinking are different now than they were prior to my accident.  I have become much more self-centered in my thinking.  I firmly believe this is a side effect of the concussion, as many people I’ve seen who have experienced brain injuries become extremely selfish, some even narcissistic.  Thankfully I’m aware of it & do my best not to let it get out of hand.  I am also triggered VERY easily now.  Seeing a happy parent & child together saddens me, for example, because my relationship with my parents is so unhappy & downright toxic.  It’s very odd since I never thought that way before.  I also don’t lose my temper often, but when I do it is very ugly.  Even after 2 years, I’m still getting used to all of this.

 

I finally recently asked God about what is going on with me.  I’m hoping what He said will help some of you as well if you’ve experienced changes after a health scare.

 

Some health issues can change a person.  The chemical or physical changes caused by some illnesses or injuries can cause a person to respond differently than they once did.  Traumatic brain injuries & carbon monoxide are known for changing a person, but other illnesses & injuries can as well.  Many people experience depression after surgery, for example.  The changes you experience due to your physical problems may influence how your brain processes information.  In my case, my brain was already injured due to C-PTSD, & the concussion was just one more injury & one more trauma.  No wonder I’m triggered more easily now.

 

Becoming more selfish isn’t necessarily a bad thing either.  As long as it’s kept in check, it’s actually a good thing.  So many of us raised by narcissists learned early to put other people ahead of ourselves no matter what.  We need to become a bit more selfish & start taking care of us & without feeling guilty for it!

 

Everyone has a point where enough is enough.  When a person faces a serious health scare or near death experience, that may push the “enough is enough” point way up.  Something about coming close to death makes a person realize just how fleeting life is & how quickly it can end.  Often, that realization means patience for abusers vanishes & sometimes that filter that keeps you speaking nice things doesn’t always work.  You may not get mean, but you may become more blunt.  The realization also can make a person more determined to enjoy every possible moment of their life.

 

 

If you come from a narcissistic family, facing health problems means you have an additional complication to your health concerns.  Do you tell them?  If so, you know they won’t be there to help you if need be.. will they even care?  Can you deal with whatever cruelty they dish out to you on top of being sick?  Being faced with having to hide your problems or hear from your narcissistic parents about how much worse of *insert name here* has it than you are NOT nice prospects!  In fact, they hurt a great deal & they make you angry.

 

If you’re experiencing changes in your personality after illness or injury, talk to your doctors.  If nothing is physically wrong, then maybe you’re experiences are simply similar to mine.  Why not try to embrace the changes the best you can?  Maybe once you get to know the new you, you’ll think you’re pretty cool!  And maybe  too, the changes are for the best.  Losing patience for abusers is a good thing- you won’t be a doormat anymore!  Being more determined to enjoy life is a wonderful thing too.  You’ll  waste less time on fruitless things & spend more time on the things you enjoy & that are important to you.  I know it can be hard to find the good in health problems, but some things like I’ve mentioned in this article can be good.  They may be hard to get used to at first, but they really can be a good thing!

2 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Being Sensitive

I’ve come to realize that sometimes, I’m oversensitive.  Mostly, I’m pretty thick skinned.  Growing up with a narcissistic mother basically turned me into what I think of as an insult Navy seal.  lol  But there are some times when any little thing can make me cry or very angry.  It was bothering me, being this way, so I did some praying & thinking about why this happens.  I believe what I learned may help you too.

 

Hormones can affect your mood.  I’m currently in my mid 40’s, & my hormones go all over the place on a regular basis.  Part of the joys of mid life… lol  Fluctuating hormones aren’t just limited to mid life, though.  Particularly in women, they happen all the time, & can affect your mood & sensitivity.  If you feel your moods or sensitivity are just too much, it might be time to see your doctor.  It’s very possible they could be in need of some help.

 

Going through something very upsetting can make you feel more sensitive than usual.  You just don’t have it in you to let things roll off your back as you normally might. After losing one of our cats then having a big fight with my parents at the beginning of May, I’m still much more sensitive than normal.  Although I’m feeling some better as far as grieving my loss, I’m still very hurt & angry at my parents’ awful disregard for my feelings.  Both events happening so close together was too much for me to deal with at the same time.  I had to try to grieve my loss first, then cope with what my parents did.  I’m still trying to process my hurt & anger, so yes, I’m very sensitive to everyone & everything right now.

 

Seasonal Affective Disorder can make it harder to cope during certain times of year.  As I’ve mentioned previously, I have the reverse SAD where I get depressed in the summertime (most people feel that way in winter).  I have a harder time coping in the summer than winter, & get my feelings hurt easier in summer.

 

Other mental health problems can make you more sensitive than usual.  Anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc. might make you more sensitive because your brain isn’t working quite as well as it should be.

 

Head or brain injuries can create problems in this area.  Have you ever had a concussion or any type of brain injury?  If so, that may cause you to think & feel differently than you did pre-injury.  Some people are fortunate & can be symptom free after a traumatic brain injury or mild TBI like a concussion.  Others have a mild injury yet live with a plethora of nasty & debilitating symptoms.  TBI’s are very unique- everyone seems to react differently, & severity of the injury isn’t always going to determine the symptoms you’ll have.  My concussion was mild enough the hospital missed it after a CAT scan, yet I live with a ton of problems from it.  One of those problems is I get hurt or angry much faster than I once did.  It’s harder for me to let things slide now than it was pre-TBI.  If you’ve had a TBI too, this could be happening with you as well.

 

Missing out on time with God can create problems in many areas.  As a Christian, spending time with God is vital to your relationship with Him as well as your mental health.  If you feel as if you’re overreacting to things or generally being oversensitive, it might be a sign you need to spend more time with your Heavenly Father.  Spending time with God helps you to keep focused, maintain your peace & joy & also the ability to not care so much about what other people think.  God’s opinion of you matters more than people’s after all!

Leave a comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Brain Injuries & Narcissism

Certain problems with the brain can cause narcissistic behaviors or exacerbate ones that already exist.

 

Dementia & Alzheimer’s disease exacerbate the symptoms.  If a narcissist develops either disease, even if they have changed for the better prior to their diagnosis, chances are very good that their narcissistic behavior will return with a vengeance.  If you think about it, it makes sense this would happen.  As the brain health deteriorates, the person will become more frustrated with being able to accomplish & articulate less & less.  They have unmet needs which will make them focus more on how to get those needs met & how to tell others they need the needs met.  An already self-centered person will become even more so.  Plus, as they deteriorate, this is a huge narcissistic injury.  As they lose their looks & talents, it makes them angry like any narcissistic injury does, & they lash out.

 

Brain injuries, such as concussions or other traumatic brain injuries, also can create or exacerbate narcissistic behaviors too.

 

Until the past couple of years, little was known about traumatic brain injuries or TBIs.  Thankfully, more is known now, & many people are starting realize the severity of TBIs & its list of awful symptoms.  Some symptoms may include:

 

  • short term memory loss
  • comprehension problems
  • reduced attention span
  • confusion
  • personality changes (such as once being optimistic, but becoming pessimistic after the TBI)
  • vision changes
  • headaches
  • sleep troubles
  • dizziness &/or  vertigo
  • irritability
  • angry outbursts
  • nausea
  • sensory changes (sensitivity to light or sound for example)
  • if the TBI happens to a child, he or she may stop maturing emotionally beyond the age the TBI occurred.

 

Having had a TBI myself, I have a lot of these symptoms.  In fact, I feel like a very different person than I was before the accident.  My personality has changed so much.  And, yes, I am much more selfish than I was previously.  I believe it also caused me to develop Dependent Personality Disorder.  Once I was very independent, now I depend a lot on my husband.  I also don’t enjoy as much alone time as I once did.  I get lonely sometimes, which is something I never did before.

 

I thank God though because He has taught me so much about narcissism!  If He hadn’t done so, I believe my behavior would have taken a narcissistic turn.

 

If a person grows up seeing narcissistic behavior from one or both parents, that is the norm.  It’s all they know.  They see narcissists getting whatever they want.  If that person gets a TBI, chances are they will become more self-centered.  If that self-centered thinking is quite severe, it seems like going into narcissism is a natural course of events.  After all, they see a narcissist getting anything she wants- what she does works.  If it works for the narcissist, it should work for the TBI victim as well.  It’s only logical.

 

If you or someone you know has a brain injury or disease, cognitive behavioral therapy (talk therapy) may be a very good idea.  A professional can help you work through what you’re feeling & develop healthy ways to cope.  And remember, sometimes it takes going through a few counselors before you find one you’re comfortable with.

 

If you are dealing with someone like this, you’re in a very challenging position.  I understand totally- my father has Alzheimer’s.  There are no easy answers for you.  What works for one person may not work for another.  You will need to draw nearer to God than ever.  Listen to His promptings.  Your gut feelings are His promptings trying to lead you the right way.  Pick your battles wisely.  Some things simply are NOT worth a fight.  Don’t forget to protect yourself, too.  Yes, this person is sick & can only control their actions to a degree or maybe not at all, but you still need to protect yourself from physical or mental danger.  If you’re a caregiver, there are options out there to get help.  Your local Department of Aging or churches can help.  There are plenty of support groups available also for those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s & dementia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Caregiving, Mental Health, Narcissism

Coping With The Changes That Come With C-PTSD, PTSD & Other Brain Injuries

I was reading something this morning by someone with PTSD.  She was discussing the limitations she has gotten as a result of the awful disorder.  I found one thing especially interesting about what she said.  She said rather than getting depressed about these changes, she has chosen to celebrate them, to look at them as a gift.

While this sounds good in theory, I was thinking about it.  I’ve had C-PTSD since 2012 (well, that’s when all the symptoms started- I had many of them all my life), then in February, 2015, I got carbon monoxide poisoning & passed out from it resulting in a concussion which has caused still more damage to my  brain.  There is a lot I can’t do like I once did.  I can’t read books without getting a headache & anxiety.  I can’t write easily- it takes much longer to write anything, even a short email, let alone a book.  My short term memory is awful, & learning new things is extremely difficult.  Loud noises are a problem too, including music, which means I can no longer drive around with my radio blaring- one of my favorite activities. I now have mild dyslexia & chemical sensitivities. I also get tired very quickly & my personality is quite different.

I’m not really feeling like these things are a gift.  I’m going to go out on a limb here & guess that others with PTSD, C-PTSD or other problems with similar symptoms like mild traumatic brain injuries don’t feel it either.

While I’m not saying you should wallow in misery for what you have lost, I think it is a good idea to be realistic.  In my experience, I have learned to grieve, then accept the changes.  It’s painful losing so much of yourself, how can you not grieve that?!  Grieving also clears the way for acceptance, in time, as it is the final stage of grief.

Allow yourself to feel sad that you have new limitations.  You have lost a part of what makes you, you.  You are allowed to feel sad for that!  Angry too!  In time, you will feel less & less sad & angry.  Then you will be more ready to accept these limitations & get to know the new you.

As you’re getting to know the new you, remember to treat yourself gently.  There may be times you feel strong & brave- push yourself as best you can during those times.  Other times, you feel weakened for various reasons, & need to relax.  Just do what you can do & don’t worry about the rest!  I know, easier said than done, but try it anyway.  Pushing too hard does you no justice.  It can make you sick.  When I have pushed myself too hard, there have been times I’ve needed to rest in bed for a day or two to recover.

Also, I am still trying to look at getting to know the new me as something enjoyable.  Like,  getting to know a new friend.  That perspective helps some too.

Dear Reader, be gentle with yourself.  If you have C-PTSD, PTSD or a TBI, you obviously have been through some bad, bad things!  Although you are obviously stronger than what tried to hurt or even kill you, you aren’t quite as strong as you once were.  It’s ok!  It’s normal, considering the circumstances.  Just remember that you aren’t quite as able to handle things like you once could, & adapt to that.  And, don’t forget- with God, all things are possible.  And, He loves you & wants you healed.  Don’t forget to pray for healing too!

Leave a comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism