Best Therapy: Enter Life as Fully As Possible
Entering life as fully as possible is the best therapy possible for healing our brain. This website offers tips and approaches quite different from what you may have heard from your doctors. This is because the medical world focuses on acute care, demanding rapid results, and it does not understand long term healing and living with a chronic brain injury.
If you wish to love life and simultaneously maximize the healing of your brain this approach may help you as much as it has me.
A powerful way to maximize healing of chronic healith challenges like TBI is to remove any and all clutter preventing our bodies from functioning at their best. Go created us wonderfully, and this includes amazing engineering and functionality – but what we eat, wear, how we move, and how we sit and sleep deeply impacts our body and brain functionality.
These articles may be helpful...
What we eat can heal our brain (or harm it).
Floor Living Aids Brain Function and Healing
Understanding Brain Injury
These articles will help caregivers, family, and friends better understand brain injury and what your loved one is going through (if you have the brain injury and wish family and friends understood you better, send them the links!).
Family and Friends’ Guide to Brain Injury
TBI Anger and Over Stimulation of the Senses
Connect with Others
Sharing the journey with others who understand is critical. If you are on Facebook, search for TBI groups. There are some excellent ones (and some less than, but you'll weed them out quickly).
If you prefer email (I find it far less “noisy” and brain draining), I'd love for you to join one of the email support groups I moderate. These links will bring you there:
Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado (BIAC) Email Support Group: for both caregivers and survivors.
BIAC Caregiver Support Group: for caregivers only
Grieve Your Loss
We have lost a lot. Grieving our loss is a critical way of freeing us to move forward, whatever that looks like for us now.
As Fast As I Can, As Slow As I Must!
To enter life as fully as possible we need to learn balance. Push too hard and we need a lot of recovery time, go too slow and we languish, miss out on life and don't make new connections because we aren't pushing our boundaries.
Focus on What You Love and Can Do
In the accute phase of healing, doctors focus on what is hard for us to do. This often means a lot of recovery time. As we enter the chronic phase (to varying degrees, likely for the rest of our lives), we need to shift to focusing on what we love to do and on what we can do.
What are you passionate about? What do you love to do? Write? Draw? Run? Play? Sing? Dance? Whatever it is, what part of it can you do, right now, with the capacity you have? You never know what you'll discover and/or heal tomorrow because of what you do today.
The idea is simple. When we love something, we want to do it and find ways to do it. When we do things in a way we can, we discover new avenues to do more in ways we couldn't have if we frustratingly focused on what our incapacities are.
I've found I do more, spend less brain energy, recover faster, and celebrate the joy of life more by focusing on what I love and am passionate about.
Rather than bashing into a brick wall over and over trying to do what you can't (for now), do what you love instead and eventually you'll discover the wall crumbled.
Create a sanctuary – a room where you can focus on what you love without distraction. This may mean soundproofing, simplifying clutter, changing out fluorescent lights to incandescent full spectrum ones, and more.
Set up your indoor activities so you can do them in your sanctuary.
When the world overwhelms you with barrages of sight, sound, smells, tastes, and touch, escape to your sanctuary to recover.
When your TBI anger flares, go to your sanctuary to avoid saying things you'll regret later, and start recovering. This post on TBI anger, and this one on adrenaline halflife may be helpful.
I have days where I can't get out of my “hobbit hole” at all. Other days, I'm in and out, spending five minutes with my wife and kids, and an hour or two recovering. Because my hobbit hole is so stimulation free, even while recovering I can create (write, draw, etc). As I write this, I'm actually a week in to recovering from an adrenaline crash.
When I do need to go out into the world, I don my armor. Ear plugs and noise canceling headphones are my main armor. Others find sunglasses (even glacier glasses, which block the sides) helpful.
This Crazy Approach Works!
Focusing on entering life as fully as possible while going “as fast as I can, as slow as I must” helps our brain heal. Through discovering and living this approach, I have been amazed and blessed by how effective it is. Despite my many challenges (I test 3rd percentile in short term memory, easy derailing of thought and focus), and constant neurological vertigo, I spend wonderful time with my wife and daughters, write, pray, engage in theology, and I even have learned how to (by going barefoot) run and bike mountain trails and back roads. True, I can't attend or serve at Mass or join my family when they go elsewhere (the overstimulation of the laundry scents, flashing, barrage of noise, and other over stimulation mean I have to shut down and escape after thirty seconds, and then need a week or so to recover), but the quality of life we experience as a family is dramatically higher because of this approach. I pray you find it does the same for you!
May God startle you with joy!