Posted on April 25, 2012 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 25 of 32 in the series Quinn

TBI Fatigue and Mood Issues: Quinn Part Twenty-Five

In our last part, we discussed the changed dynamic from lover to caregiver that causes so much friction in marriages after severe brain injury.  Quinn’s wife continued to search for explanations of TBI fatigue and mood issues and how they go together:

You’re saying there’s something about the change in, in the nature of interaction that you think might be part of it?

Yeah.  He gets defensive and offended at times, if he thinks I’m trying to boss him around or tell him what to do.  Where, other times, I can say the exact same thing and he understands that I’m just trying to get information or trying to help him, whereas the other times, you know, he, he gets upset with it.

Is pain or TBI fatigue and mood issues a potential variable factor in that?

Absolutely.  He, he definitely gets fatigued anytime he has to do any significant amount of physical exertion, or mental exertion.  He gets very fatigued; and the fatigue may play a factor; but when he’s in pain, and he doesn’t feel well, he definitely tends to act out much more and much earlier in a conversation.

What types of outbursts of anger occur does his TBI fatigue and mood issues cause?

Well, starting in the hospital, when his head was hurting, he would yell at anybody that came in to, you know, be quiet; keep the lights off.  He needed quiet and dark the whole time.  He yelled at me one time, when I tried to open the shade to get a little bit of natural light into the room.  And then once we came home, it was lots of different things.  Anger was a definite issue, at the beginning; especially before he was on any medication.  And he, the only time I really remember, well there were a few times that he had a physical outburst, as far as in throwing things around.  He was never a violent person, before.  He would never throw things around, and as much as anybody gets an urge to do so, he was always able to control those urges, previous to the accident.  Now, if he has the urge, he threw a chair around the room, and he threw a phone that he ended up breaking. At one point, threw pillows onto a glass table and tipped over the glass table, which luckily didn’t break; but he later realized that that was not a good idea.


Brain injury is thought about too much as simply a cognitive or frontal lobe challenge, yet the two most common denominators across all levels of TBI severity are headache pain and TBI fatigue and mood issues.  I have written extensively on the issue of over-attending fatigue on http://subtlebraininjury and a full read of these pages is recommended, starting with: and specifically


I asked Quinn about his perceptions of his TBI fatigue and mood issues:

You are on some medications.  What challenges do you think you’d have with TBI fatigue and mood issues? 


When I dropped the Pristique for that one week, tears were just falling.  I probably in my memories or in my emotional breaks that I’ve taken here today, I probably would’ve had to extend this interview a couple of hours… just because of, you know, Nathan Horton who got hurt on the ice, and seeing him for some reason made me cry – made me, you know, at 4:00 in the morning I still couldn’t sleep. I got up and I went to the computer and I started writing a paper.


Next in Part Twenty Six – Disinhibition Issues Linger after Severe Brain Injury

By Attorney Gordon Johnson




About the Author

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