Posted on November 7, 2012 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 21 of 28 in the series Lori

Frontal Lobe Challenges After Severe Brain Injury: Lori Part Twenty One

In each interview, we try to cover a series of questions about typical frontal lobe challenges that face survivors after brain injury.  A number of frontal lobe challenges had already come up in the interview, such as disinhibition and decision making. At this point, I turned to some other classic symptoms.

Do you have issues with absentmindedness as a frontal lobe challenge?


Tell me about that.

People that are my age, other women that are my age, say that this happens to them, just because they’re my age.  But, I’ll be at home and sometimes I walk into another room and I’m like, “What am I doing in this room?”  I mean, I know that I walked there, but I don’t remember why I walked there.  Or if I don’t make a list to go to the grocery store, I don’t remember all of that.

Do you have difficulties in the grocery store with your frontal lobe challenges?


You don’t have problems where you wind up either not buying what you went to get, or buy too much of one thing?

No, I have really good compensatory strategies.  I make a list.  I know my grocery store very well, and when I make my list, I make my list according to the aisles in my grocery store.  So as long as I have my list, I get all my things.

What about indecisiveness as a frontal lobe challenge? 

Give me an example.

Oh, the grocery store can be an example.  I mean, you can’t make a decision, and you wind up buying everything because you couldn’t choose between Crest and Colgate. 


Even your wedding would have been an area where you might have had serious problems because you couldn’t make all those decisions because of your frontal lobe challenges. 

It’s hard for me because it’s been so long, that everything that happens to me seems normal, is regular.  At least three times a week have like a, do kind of a closet dance, where I’m picking out what I want to wear 1,000 times.  Does this match, this kind of thing.

I guess everything that’s real important, anything that has to do with my health, or my business, or my life, or my pets, or my husband, if I can’t come with a good answer then, I’ll write it down, so I don’t have a trouble, problem with that, I guess.

Do you think you’re making mistakes with judgment?


Anybody’s telling you that you are?


How difficult is it for you to plan anything?

Not very.

You are well motivated. That is obvious from what you’re doing, and, and the things that you’ve done. 

I have, um, periods of time; sometimes strong periods of time in a day; sometimes a day in a month, where I don’t want to do anything.  Where I feel overloaded, completely overloaded, and I don’t want to do anything.  And then I think that because I had such good therapy and that I am a therapist, and that I recognize those moments, and I recognize those times.

And sometimes it’s really hard, but I’m able to pull myself out of it.  But I, even recently, the other day, I was, I had to tell myself 100 times, “Just do it.”  because I had so much to do, I was so overloaded, and I didn’t want to do anything.  I just wanted to sit down and watch TV.  I had to kick myself in the butt a lot to just do something.


Next in Part Twenty Two – Becoming Someone New After Severe Traumatic Brain Injury


About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447