Is it normal to be in denial?: Hi just wanting to... - Headway

7,641 members10,123 posts

Is it normal to be in denial?


Hi just wanting to reach out to others who are in a similar situation to my own. I had the rare occasion of going out for a night with my husband and tripped down some stairs. Mixture of fatigue and alcohol played a part in the accident. I was unconscious 10 mins and had GCS 13 in the ED. Had a CT scan which presented a subarachnoid haemorrhage broken nose I had stitches and 2 nights in hospital. 3 weeks post I developed the most awful headache followed by vertigo which lasted 24 days. All I wanted to do was get back to work and be normal again. Started work in a different position (I am an RN) and tried to do a gradual return but fell in a heap. I just don't feel right. I can't prioritise and my mind becomes blank when the tasks start to build up. I started getting anxious and feeling dread. I get mentally fatigued very quickly. I am now 3 months post injury and I still have the awful headaches and foggy heavy feeling in my head. I also feel as though I am rocking on a boat. I know everyones injury is unique but do symptoms improve? I am so scared this is my normal. I don't think I can work in my role as an RN if I continue to feel like this. I start off well but as more responsibility piles on I become jumbled and forgetful. I also have denial which is slowly becoming reality. I was so motivated and positive. Despite all these feelings I pushed my way back to work and presented that I was fine until I was utterly exhausted. Is this all normal? I used to be a very busy woman with 4 young children to look after. Do symptoms improve? I have been discharged from OT and speech therapy appointments. Still involved with Physio for the vertigo. Just wondering if any others have followed a similar path of thinking they are ok when they aren't?

13 Replies

I was in denial for many many months, but this is the new me.

Symptoms come and go but I find what stays is the chronic fatigue, balance, vision problems, inability to multitask like I did before and more.

These are all typical problems following brain injury no matter what causes it.

I still improve, I am the best I’ve ever been now, but it is 6 years and I’ve tried different medications for the migraine like pressure headaches I get, these are now controlled quite well.

But everyone’s recovery is unique, it depends on just where your brain has been injured, how active and mentally as well as physically you were before, also how much effort you will put in to be the best you can be. Age plays a part too.

So you see you need to stay proactive with your recovery and push for any help you can get along the way.

Tai Chi can help balance and the meditation is good too.

I have acupuncture, reflexology and a good massage once a month. These help me.

My rehab consultant told me recently that Indian Head Massage can bebenificial.

Hope this helps a little.

Janet x

Brigita in reply to Kirk5w7

thank you Janet - it is difficult to go from an incredibly busy mum with children at school, work and all the extra activities kids do to sitting in bed when I have the chance. I have to be kind to myself and stop the expectations. I might go and get a massage today - you have inspired me :}

Kirk5w7 in reply to Brigita

You will be fine Brigita, you have the determined nation, just baby steps at first, it will come., give it chance.

In my case i likened it to someone switching off the computer,thats what happened my brain nearly switched off forever, then when it rebooted, luckilly, some of my he files were scrambled, some even totally corrupt.

So my thoughts were in some instances i have a brain like a baby and it has to relearn like a baby. We dont expect a baby to be anle to do everything. My rehab consultant tild me the only way is practice, practice, practice and that is how a child learns. So i am still in mproving, i can walk, indeed today i am tackling a walking marathon with theBaron, but id dearly like to run again, maybe we’ll see.

But the walking, feeding and caring for myself, technoloy! All had to be relearnt, i could still swim, knit, crochet lots of things. My writing was appalling, i couldnt hold a pen or use a telephone. But i can now!!

So be kind to yourself it will come and those children will keep your feet on the ground.

Janet x

Yes denial is part of the whole journey post SAH. The journey is long and arduous and never ending. I would suggest from my experience is that you just do nothing except rest for the first year. The brain has a mind of its own and you can't rush it. Symptoms come and go and some will remain with you for longer than you can imagine. If you are near a Headway group then visit because meeting a fellow BI person is quite good. Take all the help you can get and don't expect life to be the same as before. Try to maintain a positive attitude no matter how bad things may seem. Just be kind to yourself and rest and hopefully in time you may get into a 'new' kind of existence. Blessings to you.

Brigita in reply to magdolna

Thank you - yes denial. I can't believe I went back to work after 2 months - I was motivated and thought I could do it but sadly fell in a heap. The bleed had resolved and I took that as Im all fixed up! How wrong I was. You would think as a Nurse I would have some insight! I live in OZ but I am sure there are groups I can connect with. Thank you for your response

The reality is that for me TBI is a very long term thing, it doesn't go away. I can live only with the help and support of family and friends. Life is simply too confusing and there are too many pressures in this life. It is important to manage and be happy with the way things are and not try to do too much as it is very depressing when you cannot do it all. There is life after TBI but it is a different life, a more Philosophical life. It could be that you can have much more purpose after TBI but everyone needs to understand things are not the same. In my opinion this "recovery" thing is a complete myth. Employers need to make adjustments. Instead of running around doing many tasks (being an RN must be very very difficult) there can be a new way of working like an SRN sitting down more, planning more, observing more and doing strategic thinking. TBI is not going to stop so it needs to be understood and incorporated into the work. A good employer like the NHS ought to understand but TBI is very poorly understood. The more you talk about it the better, in my opinion. Also I think you are really doing very important work getting people in the NHS to understand as the government needs to focus on TBI and really help people instead of talking about "recovery" which, in my experience is not going to happen and the talk of "recovery" is simply not helpful. Life will be different but it could have much more purpose now as long as everyone understands and makes adjustments. Best wishes for you.

Brigita in reply to Bright2018

Thank you for replying I guess it is time - oh time takes so long! I have to learn patience. I have got a gut feeling this may be a long process. How do our sports people cope with multiple concussions. It has really opened up my eyes. I agree with everything you are saying there needs to be more exposure, education and adjustments around TBI. I guess we will see how my journey goes but for now I have to rest rest rest and stop the denial. Best wishes for you too

I wish I could tell things will improve. If you allow yourself to accept help they may improve. I have been far to stubborn to accept help. Thinking I knew best which I have found out since my accident. I do not know best.

I still have Physio 20 odd years on.

My moods have not improved , unfortunately my husband is divorcing me as he cannot put up with my moods any more. I use to be a clinical cancer nurse specialist before the accident.

I’d be lost without this site to express my feelings. I really do not know how I will cope without my husband and daughter.

Sorry to moan but I am sat in the house by myself. Husband and daughter gone away for a few days.


Brigita in reply to Mufc

I am so sorry to hear that - no problems in moaning you have a lot going on. I know what you are saying about the thinking you know best. Maybe it is a nurse thing! I'm stubborn too. As Nurses and mums we aren't supposed to get sick or be impaired! My little catch phrase was 'I don't have time to be sick' To be honest I did not know that much about PCS until my accident. Did you return to nursing in any shape or form. I hope things get better for you x

Thanks for your reply. I am lucky working for the NHS I paid into there pension scheme so I have that and my disability allowance to survive on put if he takes my money I will not beable to employ staff to help with the things I cannot do. I am unable to physically and mentally work. Hense the reason I got such a good settlement from the accident. The law says when you get divorced your partner is entitled to a percentage of that. The law stinks I cannot work he can.



Brigita in reply to Mufc

I hope it works out surely your injury will take precedence over any sort of settlement in the future. Excellent that NHS have provided as well. Im in OZ and we have something similar. - thank goodness. I've lost all the penalty rates but working with a small top up will keep us afloat. 4 kids private schools and braces yikes. I did some shadowing toady in an outpatient department. Although I was dizzy (headache has gone for the mo) I really enjoyed the contact with the patients and watching how clinic runs. I realise how much I love nursing and I'm praying I will get well again. But for yourself I wish you luck and I hope that everything works out for you.

Mufc in reply to Brigita

Thank you. It is very helpful using this site but more so now I realise there are people with my mentality? Right or wrong😉. We are nurses👌

Thanks for your support. Him and my daughter have been away for 2 days back this evening. So am uncomfortable evening I am guessing as he will have to explaine my trust money he has spent. Due to my tbi my compensation money is kept in s trusy by my solicitor unfortunately he has access to that money via our cards which he has not given me back. My solicitor will deal with that but that is costing me money.

I will see how the week goes.

Enjoy your day. I will keep you informed. It helps me to unload.

Best wishes


You may also like...