Threaders!

I am getting sick of mental health awareness days, weeks, months - it's all about depression, anxiety, PTSD etc etc, but what if you've got the lot?! And what if you've actually got a brain injury that causes it and you can never get over, can never kick that away like you can for a 'normal' person with these mental health difficulties?! Sorry if this post has offended anyone... I'm always thinking it myself, it is so unknown as we are so different and there's no form you can fill out to prove you have depression for example! Now my friends brother had an accident over the holidays and all I can do is sit back and offer help and support, but I'm fearing for him when (fingers crossed) he wakes because a head injury totally flips your life around, and the family are so naive about it presuming when he wakes all will be the same. Hmmmm I'm sorry, I hope you all had a good holiday period xxxx

22 Replies

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  • Hi, so sorry you're feeling like this.

    I know it's galling isn't it, I can let myself brood at times about these kind of issues, but you know, life's too short.

    You've been dealt a bum hand, as we all have and it's not easy to accept and move on. Please try to let it go and move on, look for any positive you can and try to build on it.

    Have you had any kind of counselling, I didn't think I needed it but I agreed to give it a try last year and found it useful.

    I used to look at people getting on with their lives totally oblivious to the problems I, and people like me, had. That used to anger me, but you know, what does it really matter, if I need to I tell people but mostly I just get on with things, because most people cannot comprehend just how hard each day can be.

    This I'm lucky enough to be able to embrace the future, I've ditched the antidepressants again, but if I need them again I'll be back to the GP.

    Please take care and I hope your friends brother fares well.

    Love Janet x

  • Hi Janet,

    That's great news you've managed to ditch the medication for now! :-)

    I've had years of counselling, CBT and various psych therapies (BI was acquired 17 years ago) I fully agree, with the right person it is tremendous help! That is probably one big factor of the build up I'm starting to feel, I've not seen my therapist since before Christmas I realise..

    thank you for your message and reply, I apologise again for the blip in thoughts, I try to ignore and crack on best I can usually! But yes I have a lot building up I realise...

    Katy xx

  • Hi Katy,

    I'm under no illusion that my present feeling of wellbeing will dissipate, before my illness I suffered bouts of depression for many years, which is why I am happy to pick up and ditch the medication as necessary, it works for me.

    Your posting has not caused unsettlement we just want you to know we understand and are here for you. Post whenever and whatever you need to, we know how much it helps.

    Love Janet X

  • I'm sorry you're so upset by this 19K..... but depression is a bit of a sore point for me. My dad took his own life at 59 owing to deep depression, which plagued him and put him in hospital for long periods.

    But people frequently commented that he looked 'Fine' and just needed to pull himself together so, just as in ABI/TBI, depression is still underestimated and often ridiculed as an illness despite, for many, being a devastating and utterly isolating lifelong condition. I

    I've also had a lifetime of treatment for mental illness, and witnessed first-hand the cynicism and lack of awareness, so it's not something I'd normally bring attention to.

    Sincere wishes that your friend's brother will show positive signs and be back with his loved ones before too long ; such a horrible time for any family.

    Cat x

  • Hi Cat,

    It is yes, I do really feel for them and I'm so anxious to hear good news at the moment! I just hope I can be of some sort if help...

    I wasn't by any means trying to push it aside, I know from personal experience and close family members too, how horrible it is and how awareness needs to be raised; it was merely how much awareness is pleaded for mental illnesses etc but there isn't yet anything for those with our hidden disabilities. I am so sorry to cause some unsettlement with the matter...

    Katy xx

  • Don't apologise Katy ; I like to think we can speak feely here when something irks us ! I totally agree that BI issues are marginalised and, just like mental illness, are still often stigmatised.

    In the past I've been guilty of ignorance myself. Because I always demanded good behaviour in my own children, I often found myself losing patience when seeing a child throwing a tantrum in the street or supermarket. Only after learning of autism did I realise how ignorant I might well have been.

    But ignorance can so easily be remedied....................by educational programmes featuring a whole range of 'invisible' or misunderstood conditions. As a society we have every type of media necessary for enlightenment.........................yet it's mostly monopolised by the same old crap.

    We've had occasional documentaries about brain injury, but it's almost a case of 'been there - done that, now back to the cooking programmes'.

    Any neglected minority can send me into a rant Katie, especially where health issues are concerned .............so it's my turn to say sorry for rambling on (again !).

    Take care m'dear. Cat xx

  • I have a real mix of issues, PTSD (from trauma) depression, psychosis, anxiety, also a TBI and an unknown brain condition that's affecting my cerebellum.

    I know what you mean about the depression and anxiety that comes from the TBI that doesn't go away. I can do therapies and I have techniques to help me with the symptoms from my mental health issues.

    But the anxiety stemming from my BI is just impossible to deal with. I get full blown sensory overload and get panic attacks.

    And not only that, but the self-esteem issues and depression that stems from having a TBI.

    The same happens with mental health issues though- people think they can make all sorts of assumptions about mental health and how it affects people.

    I think that the stigma of living with a MH problem can be just as bad as the problem itself.

  • I find it a lot harder to stay on an even keel post stroke. Available my had major episodes of various mental health issues both before and after it's undoubtedly harder now.

    I guess the positive spin you could put on this particular point is that once mental health issues themselves get a greater standing then maybe the causes behind (much of which is physical illness) will follow suit! X

  • Hi, it's ok to vent here. I too am sorry that you're feeling this way.

    It's been ten years since my brain haemorrhage and life has been one long roller coaster ride since. I was taking antidepressants for seven years but slowly weaned myself off them about 18 months ago because I was gradually became quite hostile and suicidal. Besides, I never did tolerate drugs well at all. Prescription or not. Just a whiff of weed at parties and I would be off my tree!

    It's a daily challenge for me to maintain my mental equilibrium medication free. This, I do with looking after myself and getting plenty of exercise/fresh air through walking with my wonderful pet dog, whom really has become my therapy dog by default. I am realistic enough to know that if I do happen to feel that there is no point in living anymore, then I will to go back on antidepressants until the storm passes.

    I hope your brother's friend receives all the love and support that he needs on his journey post injury. xx

  • A friend told me a friend of her grandson had suffered a head injury recently because of an RTA. She wanted my advice for his parents as I had a severe head injury from being hit by a car in 1996. That is what got me thinking about my own situation, isolated, depressed, full of self-doubt etc... It really helps me to read what people have said on here although I would find it hard to discuss or explain! Thank you to all :)

  • I can totally relate... xx

  • Btw, I believe there is worse stigma around having any kind of mental health issues, than having a brain injury.

    People often blame the person with a mental health issue/ psychiatric illness for their condition. Or that they are seen as violent or dangerous, such as with people with schizophrenia.

    Brain injuries are as a result of something out of our control- accident, stroke etc and nobody will blame us for that.

    Whereas people still think that those with depression should 'cheer up' etc or it's some kind of personality flaw.

    And I can tell you that people within the mental health system, are treated horribly. Psychiatric hospitals are awful, I've seen a lot of abuse and mistreatment of patients simply because the system treats those with mental health issues as second-class citizens.

    Whereas I've been treated a lot nicer within the neurology system and haven't felt any kind of stigma.

  • I'd not thought of it from that point of view, I agree mental health can so easily be over looked yet there's not much denying when you've got a BI. I do apologise for causing any offence, it was merely a post about how little there is regards BI awareness in comparison.

  • No that's fine. I can see both sides.

    I think also brain injuries are more rare? I mean, I think something like 1 in 4 people will have some kind of mental health issue.

    I think it needs to start in the hospitals, tbh. It's alarming to see people who've had obvious head trauma and just because nothing shows up on the MRI they are sent home.

    And how many just slip through the net. I've read that a huge proportion of those in prisons or homeless have TBIs. That's really scary.

    It should have equal publicity as mental health. So I completely understand your frustration!

  • Yes it is scary, even in the neurology department I was getting treated by certain nurses with a 'what is she doing here' disdain!

    Though I've just read a comment regards an accident 50 odd years ago and they've only just been diagnosed recently... how many people with mental health issues because of an undiagnosed BI rather than due to their surroundings/environment/genetics?

    I suppose it's constantly going to raise questions... but then we can't all know everything can we?!

  • I would imagine quite a few, or they could have mix of both, like me.

    For example, you could have someone with issues stemming from childhood trauma- which causes many issues with regulation, impulse control, anger etc. With an additional frontal lobe damage. And it just 'lifts the lid' on underlying issues and makes them a million times worse.

    Or maybe someone who's a long term alcoholic, who falls, hits their head, doesn't register it, and then goes around with an untreated BI.

    It's very frightening when you think about it.

    I think maybe anyone presenting with mental health issues, should be asked if there's a history of head trauma.

  • Yes there is a lot about mental health and very little about brain injury, infact so little that I doubt anybody not suffering with the after effects of a brain injury even realise what brain injury is! I have spoken about brain injury and I remember so clearly being told that having my brain tumour removed did not mount to a brain injury!!!! Now that's proof that unless you are us or somebody who takes the time to understand what it's like to be us, you do not even remotely know that brain injury comes from lots of different sources not just an accident! I went through the windscreen of a car aged seventeen, my head smashed the windscreen, hit the bonnet and I was then thrown back into the car.....I was rushed by ambulance to hospital (I was the front seat passenger btw), they stitched my face, nose and head up, it was a late Sunday afternoon and they were discussing what they would order for their tea that night, then they sent me home...no scan, no being kept in for concussion or a bleed in the head etc etc.....I still infact, no joking...get tiny splinters of glass from my forehead...I'm forty-nine now!!! My friend three weeks later bumped her head on the car door as she got out and was kept in hospital for two nights! Looking back now I know that accident damaged me in more ways than one....my head hit that bonnet around 70 miles an hour...how on earth did I survive?! My moods changed, I struggled through life, raising children, running a house and working fulltime, being a brownie teacher after school, taking the girls to every activity going etc etc but I knew I wasn't well, I felt weird and down and out of it! It wasn't however until I was diagnosed with a brain tumour and started to read about the after effects that I realised I had been brain injured for years but as you say....just kept plodding on through it, compensating for how awful I felt, I used to sit in the shower to shampoo my hair to get ready for work, I visited the gp many times but was never diagnosed with either brain injury nor a brain tumour! It is very, very sad how little is actually done to raise awareness of brain injury and also how few people actually realise that depression, anxiety etc can all be because of a brain injury! I know I have always been an emotional person but now my emotions are even more sensitive, especially when it comes to invisible illness and the lack of awareness so I agree whole heartedly that it should be focussed on just as much as mental health or anything else they keep promoting! I keep trying to justify society's lack of understanding on invisible illness by saying to myself.....it's not their journey so they don't understand but it is about time they did! You take care Katy, I know exactly where you are coming from! xx

  • That's a really good point. I had an undiagnosed brain injury since the age of 10. And I had anxiety and suicidal depression as a result of not being able to cope with life, failing school, not being able to hold down a job. I was diagnosed as having psychiatric problems and put in psychiatric units. When most of the time I'd be having a total burnout from stress and being totally overwhelmed. Also social problems and people thinking I was weird, was very hard to deal with and knocked my confidence, which led to worse depression.

    As well as anxiety as a direct result of the brain injury- having brain overload and social anxiety.

    I bet a lot of people are going around with undiagnosed brain injuries and being misdiagnosed. As you said-mood swings, depression, anxiety, anger issues, paranoia can all be diagnosed as psychiatric conditions and not neurological.

    It is scary how little is known about BIs and how to diagnose them. Since most brain injuries (from trauma) don't show up on MRIs, we need new ways to diagnose and treat.

  • Thank you, you take care too peaches xx

  • Your very right though - however in time I'm sure things will change the way they have with mental health - rewind 10 years even NO ONE talked about mental health etc so hopefully although not the same these changes will pave a way forward for brain injuries .... x

  • What alarms me the most, is how so many doctors seem to say people who've had head injuries are 'fine' based off a clear MRI. Given that most brain injuries (from trauma) don't show up on brain scans- there need to be different ways of diagnosing!

    If someone has a head injury, then it should be a given they've had a brain injury, unless they show otherwise in a few months afterwards and are fine.

    It's so scary when you hear of people who were given the 'all clear' after head trauma, and they just wander off into the 'Twilight Zone' of a brain injury and don't know what is going on. Or end up losing their job and homeless because they've slipped through the cracks

    It's terrifying!

  • Thankfully my friends brother has started to open his eyes and make movements... though as I'm fully aware myself this is extremely early stages - by the sounds it is similar to me having many 'wakings' before I actually came round fully - but very aware I don't know much, if anything about the situation but what my friend has mentioned and obviously I am no doctor nor neurologist! xx

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