TBI changes your life and that of everyone close to you – family, friends, and caregivers. Each of you is struggling to make sense of what has happened, what the future will bring, and how to make things better. The best way to get through the recovery process is to work as a team.
The person who had a TBI (let’s just say the “survivor”) may not understand what has happened, or how it has changed their life. It is hard to explain why they are frustrated, baffled, or angry, but inside they are asking, “Why is everything so hard?” and even worse, “Why doesn’t anyone understand?”
Meanwhile, their loved ones are also frustrated, baffled, or angry. They don’t want to say it because it may seem selfish, but inside they are asking, “What can I do? Everything I say is wrong! I just want to help. I love him/her so much.”
My advice? Don’t hold it all inside. The first step is to communicate.
For the survivor that means
- Show the love–even if no one understands how you feel, they are there for you
- Don’t beat yourself up – you’re fighting for your life. Take one day at a time
- Accept help from the people you trust or love – save your energy for healing
For loved ones it means
- Show the love–even if seems obvious, survivors need to be reminded they are not alone
- Don’t beat yourself up – there is no rule book, and you’re putting everything into this
- Ask for and accept help – you don’t have to carry it all on your shoulders
- Remember: You can only be there for your loved one if you take care of yourself.