Stories of Self Loating after Brain Injury
The following are stories of real life survivors of brain injury. Clicking on the titles will take you to their actual story.
Went back to family doctor a few times, expressing my concerns for being depressed. It was more that I cried a lot. I felt so so overwhelmed. I knew I knew what I needed to do. And I knew I knew how to do it. Somehow I didn’t know how to get it done. The phone would ring while I was trying to figure out what to do that was very upsetting to me and so then I would cry. I didn’t really understand why I would cry because I wasn’t really depressed, I was more scared.”
Insight is changed by brain damage yet not always in the kind of ways one would expect. I once heard a neuropsychologist say that the tragedy of a mild brain injury was that the survivor had such a clear memory of what they were able to do before, that knowing what was lost was a cause of depression.
Dealing with the grief for what is lost and finding a way to see the hope is perhaps the biggest challenge for any brain
There’s times where she can be happy and then there’s times where, “Why me?”
Can you talk to me about what it is that’s going on when you say that you’re having these suicide thoughts? : “When they first started happening, just kind of thoughts. And then, I’d say hey Doc I’m kind of feeling this – the need to be dead, kind of. He agreed we should up the dose – that would take care of it. Well, then contemplation started. Looking online, toasters and just the classics things (ways to commit suicide) reaching out. Then it got to the point where it was getting close to execution. I bought¦ checking out calibers of guns. I wanted to go quickly and painlessly. Of course at this point my wife had left and of course I wasn’t the picture poster child to come back.”I did go to the hospital. That was the last time I went to the hospital, talking about that. They put in for evaluation for 72 hours and gave me more drugs.In the hospital, though, they were under quarantine. Ironically, here I’m in the psychiatric ward. They were in this quarantine. They brought me gunning magazines because all the other magazines were contaminated with whatever was going on.
So, tell me about all the things that are in that book that you don’t want anybody to hear.: “Just talked about my suicidal tendencies. Like I say, I wrote a little.”
“You see all of the web sites that we have made for folks, we’re integrated, so that resources stream right from the sites. It’s our own technology. It consists of prevention. We do a program and it’s called Hidden Epidemic. I was lucky enough to meet a man named Bill Brown and he’s a film producer and he did a film about a kid that had a brain injury. When he was doing the film, he interviewed this kid three times and the kid kept trying to kill himself during the production of this movie. During that time, Bill realized that his life was a living hell because he had a brain injury and he never recognized it until he met this kid. Again, Power of Peer Support and his son committed suicide, and he realized that his son had a brain injury. Just everything clicked when he met this kid and he went on to shoot the Hidden Epidemic. “
What do you think it is about brain injury that makes the suicide risk so great?: “Well, you wake up one day and you’re not who you were. You don’t click with anyone anymore. Even when your relationships are good, your family falls apart because you’re somebody different. Your friends no longer like hanging out with you because you don’t like to do the same things, whatever reasons. I only kept a half a dozen friends. I had hundreds of friends that I thought were friends. I got a handful of them that are left. I got all new friends, better, true friends but just to feel like you’re going crazy, and you’re not going crazy.”
She can see two people talking and she’ll think they’re, they’re talking about her, where me it doesn’t bother me, is the biggest issue. She, self-esteem is a big issue with her.
Her husband explains her self esteem issues; “She feels incompetent or that people are going to think less of her because in her words, they’re going to think I’m stupid, is what she tells me; they’re going to think I’m stupid, and I’m like no they’re not, but that really weighs on her, you know?”
Gina explains that since her accident she has lower self esteem; “Absolutely, yeah. I don’t, I don’t think I’m good enough for a lot of things. I don’t volunteer for, I used to be involved in the schools, the Boy Scouts, this Elizabeth ministry which is with women that have had kids with, that are gravely ill, kids that have lost children or kids or women that have had miscarriages because I’ve had three miscarriages. I completely quit that because I can’t take on anyone’s problems. I don’t feel like I’m saying the right thing. I don’t feel like I’m helping anymore and I don’t volunteer for anything, just nothing.”
Let’s talk about the highs and lows emotionally over the last eight years. What’s the lowest that you’ve been emotionally?: “Well I’ve never thought I’m not going to be here, as far as I would take my own life, but I have wondered why in the heck am I even here, because so many things go wrong against me all at the same time, and you’re like why is it that I survived only to experience all this bad stuff all the time? So that’s the low point.” Has that low point been there periodically or was it just in the first six months?: “No I, it’s periodically. I mean, but the thing about now, nowadays periodically might be from the low point of, you know, being taken advantage of as opposed to your own difficulties internally. After having experienced all the internal difficulties of dealing with your own disability and body and everything and mind, you realize that you might have to always deal with that.”
Do you feel the same emotional connection to her that you did? You described a cognitive level, how much you appreciate her, but do you think you feel the same emotional attachment to her, like you did before? Has it changed?: “I think it’s enhanced. Waking up in the hospital and seeing her seeing her there and saying to myself oh good, and then passing back out. It’s having somebody like that is, what would I do without her? I mean I’ve gone through some painful headaches that were very suicidal. And we do have guns, we do have a license, and I was looking at her sleeping and looking at the gun next to her, and I had to ask her to hide the guns. I was in so much pain and, and it just, you know.”