Headway
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The right things to say to someone with a brain injury

Hi everyone,

Following the success of our '10 things not to say to someone with a brain injury' article last year, we'd like to turn it around and find out more about the times people have got it right!

Can you tell us what others have said to you or the person you care for that really made you think they 'get it'? Something big or small that showed understanding of brain injury and its effects?

Thank you for your help!

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Typically I tell people about the injury when there's some reason like I'm about to go on a paddle (I'm a canoeist) away from immediate safety and all too often they say "how did you get that?" which is ok but a bit impolite as an opener and not really relevant when the correct question should be "how does that affect you?". I congratulate anyone who gets that right question.

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When a Dr scared me and said as you get older your injury maybe more noticeable its scared me and the Dr was explaining to my friend (not to me) that we are always in recovery mode and my friend kissed my head where my injury is as said you may not love your injury but I do because it needs love and I've had lots of people say because of all my achievements they would have never guessed I had a brain injury and that makes me feel proud to shock people as it gives them a different perspective on what you can achieve with a brain injury

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Even though I am not able to understand how your brain injury affects you, I still value our relationship and will be here for you. I'm so sorry this has happened to you.

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Ooh good question, the only folks I’ve not had to explain that yes I look fine, but yes I had a serious injury though in the scale of things a very good recovery. Have been the medical specialists, be that Headway staff, to Nero Physio’s or even researchers.

Put simply the questions where correct, and I didn’t need to explain the answers.

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I had a surprisingly good recovery after my serious TBI incident, as someone has already mentioned a Dr said 'as you get older your injury may be more noticeable ' things I misquote or words I exchange with others get the wrong end of the stick, do not understand and list probably goes on! Yes, I am older now but still, others say would not believe it after I tell of my incident but what I was told not what I remember, not sure I want to. I feel for those who have had major physical injuries with their brain injury

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'How can I help?' or 'Is there anything you need?'

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Actually in the early days, when I was attempting to go to work and would end up staggering back to train station, and probably looked off my head! I do remember that a few times young men/women came up to check I was ok? And did I need help?

Was always youngster ie 20’s since I guess they are fearless! ie older would notice but shy away.

Now you’d need to know what your looking at, I do a passable impression of a human most of the time. So as far as public are concerned I’m normal!

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I liked " Shall we meet for lunch?" which made me feel almost normal, followed by "Would you like a lift?" which showed understanding on my friends part without making a major issue of my current problems.

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