Is depression after TBI inevitable?UPDATE - Headway


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Is depression after TBI inevitable?UPDATE


Following my post a month ago re my son's depression following his severe brain injury in November 2013, I thought I'd report some progress... He had definitely lost his mojo - and his sense of humour and motivation - when I last posted and it was sad that he just couldn't see the progress he was making.

He went on holiday with his friends and coped really well - also had to cope with managing his Type 1 diabetes and four injections, plus blood tests, each day. But coming home to 'real life' was hard and despite the great time he had on holiday, he sunk a little more low.

In the last few weeks things have begun to change... his lovely smile and comic sense of humour have returned and now he's beginning to fight back. He has avoided, for months, all of the things that make him feel sad - his lack of coordination, balance, rythym. Now, he has started running in the local park each day and the results are already clear to see. When he returned home yesterday after running I think I even saw a little smile... He said " I know it won't happen immediately... But I have a little hope now ". In the summer we had practised hopping and jumping by playing hopscotch in the garden and now he has started 'standing jumps' which require a fair bit of power. He has started writing small exercise programmes for others (he was a Personal Trainer before his accident) and he practices on me! (I need it after nearly two years of no exercise).

The Citalopram has probably kicked in now (although it has been slow) but, alongside this, I think he is beginning to acknowledge his accident and realise how far he has progressed.

I'm so proud of him (we all are and we tell him) and, although he still has some major obstacles to overcome, I have a little twinge of excitement in my tummy at the thought of the future and what he will make if it.

13 Replies

Fantastic, it's so hard watching someone you love with depression. He's on the up now, there may be a few faltering steps on the way, but I'm sure he will be fine, with y behind him to point him in the right direction. Good luck.

My son has just started his 2nd year at uni, no brain injury, but fighting the depression he faced in his first year. He went back with such positivity, and it's just disappeared again, I am travelling down to see him tomorrow and see what we can do, don't you just feel like shaking them!!

Take care Janet xxx

Love and hugs to your son too x

Elkay_1954 in reply to Kirk5w7

Thanks Janet. I do hope your son is okay. My eldest son has gone back to university to retrain as an Occupational Therapist and despite his age (36) still is coming to terms with the overwhelming 'hit the ground running' requirement. All new things can be really scary can't they.. For all of us.... We need confidence and that doesn't come overnight sadly.


Thanks for sharing a positive story. It's a long slow road this recovery but it sounds like your son is turning a corner. Wishing him all the best

Elkay_1954 in reply to thepiercy

Thank Skipper! X

This is fantastic news and it's still early stages with it only being 3 years after his accident. I'm 10 and half years into my recovery and I still struggle nowadays but I understand that it's the after effect of my brain injury.

Keep it up I say xxx

God bless SSRIs ! A little tweak of our serotonin is often all it takes to lift that black cloud.

I'm so pleased for both of you Elkay, and I hope your son's physical and mental health will go from strength to strength.

I'm sure that with his new-found motivation, and your love & support, the future will be so much more welcoming. Cat xx

citalopram the answer to everything!?!?

the truth is your son has come to terms with his situation, think about it he was a pt then bang his bi..........then gradually with your help and encouragement hes doing things........the running gives him the freedom and to think.

just a thought, but maybe he could combine his pt knowledge and bi experiences to help others at a headways group ?

that is really good news congratulations to him. fom an abi survivor

Hi Steve. He's just started working with a physio who may have some opportunities for him to help her in her other group classes. That would be a great next step forward. Yes, he has a lot to give. X

Lovely news :-)

Oh that's excellent news. I'm so happy for both of you.

Acceptance of our TBI is the herded the thing to overcome, and it looks like that is slowly happening!

Well done! May the progress continue!


Yes, still got a long way to go but I think he's getting back on track. His 'normal' personality wants 'everything NOW' so I'll probably be tearing my hair out over something quite the opposite in a few weeks time! X

Great news. Glad to read he accepts the challenge! He sounds like a fighter and not one to give up easily. Long may it continue.

"his lack of coordination, balance, rhythm"

On a good day, he can run.

On a bad day, he can walk with rhythm (with compromised balance and coordination - walk at night on pavements if conscious of what others might think of someone tripping, knocking into things, holding onto walls, falling over) and remember how it feels to run.

On a fuzzy day (when balance and coordination are far out of reach) he can imagine and remember the sensations of doing the run, meditate on the normal route, see himself running down the first stretch, turning the corner, smelling the fabric conditioner at no. 32 - you know the lady that uses too much, seeing the cat at no. 34 sitting in the driveway talking to the cat in the opposite no. 18., feeling the coolness of running under the big tree and its rustling leaves in the wind, running on the park grass, feeling the softness of the soil and grass under foot, noticing the bounce in the step, the lightness of stride, on the home stretch, doing a bit of a sprint, feeling all muscles working together, hands racing up by the sides to bring the body forward, the sound of the breath working hard, the warmth and sweat, the final turn into the home gate, the sudden coming to a stop, feeling the blood racing around the body, the giddy feeling of euphoria, the kicking in of the sweat regulation as the body enters hot cold cool down mode, finally sitting on the doorstep and having a long pint of water. Feeling the cold hard stone under your bum as the water trickles down the oesophagus filling every cell with gorgeous hydration, the lungs coming back to regular deep breathing, notice how far the diaphragm moves up and down even in a relaxed state, after exercise. Most of all say, well done me. Run done for another day. Result.

Recovery is rarely improvement on a daily basis. Knowing this keeps motivation going and helps to manage disappointment and frustration by replacing it with a skilled meditation and focused mind. Keep the continuity going despite energy output. Manage the mind daily. Focus on the goal.

Daily repetition of the same task renews brain connections.

Thanks for the update Elkay - please pass best wishes to your son. I'm thinking of him.


Wow.... Even I want to go running after reading your post! X

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