As a Traumatic Brain Injury attorney in Atlanta, Georgia, I am very familiar with the devastating consequences that result from a TBI. The brain injury survivor’s family is affected drastically as well as the patient. Major changes are required in almost every area of life.
Brain Injury is probably the least understood of all the major illnesses. Because our brain determines our personality and our behaviors, a brain injury survivor may seem like an entirely different person after the accident.
Brain injury may not be readily obvious to outside observers, and the brain injury survivor may be thought to have mental illness or to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Traumatic Brain Injury survivors usually experience rapidly changing moods and behaviors that they cannot control. Anger, frustration, extreme depression, rage, fear, unexplained outbursts, withdrawal, and impulsivity are all common. And they can change from one end of the spectrum to the other in an instant with no apparent cause.
Family members are often scared and overwhelmed by the changes in their loved one and the changed family dynamics. The other partner in the marriage may have to make drastic changes to their role within the family, becoming the primary source of income as well as full-time caregiver to the patient. They may feel as if they now have another child rather than a partner. They may feel alone and fearful about the uncertainty of the future, as well as fearful about financial matters, such as huge medical bills.
The brain injury survivor may feel frustration and helplessness for numerous reasons, perhaps because they cannot do all the things they used to do, or because they may not be able to control their moods or actions. They may have lost the ability to drive or to work outside the home. And their doctors or therapists may not be able to give them the straightforward answers they need, such as “how do I control my emotions”? There are no simple solutions in cases like these.
This is where a TBI support group can be of immense benefit, both to the survivor and to the family members and friends affected by the injury. The group understands and can relate to the frustrations and grief that those outside the immediate situation cannot. The group, because they understand, can accept behaviors resulting from the brain injury that may be deemed socially unacceptable by the general population. They can be a source of social interaction and encouragement.
The brain injury survivor has certain needs that can realistically only be met by others who are dealing with the same circumstances. Some of the things that a support group can help you with as a survivor of traumatic brain injury are:
- Acceptance – they understand and accept you the way you are now. This may not always be possible with those people you knew before your accident.
- Encouragement – They will encourage you to reach your goals and give you hope for the future. As you see others in your same situation accomplishing things that you thought would no longer be possible, it gives you renewed hope and something to strive for.
- Coping Skills and Information Sharing – You may be facing situations or tasks that you used to handle with ease that now seem insurmountable. Much can be learned as others share how they have coped with certain troublesome situations in a positive way. It’s almost a guarantee that someone in your group will have been faced with the same issue you are having and can tell you how they handled it.
- Friendship and Social Life – Opportunities for social interaction. Tom Houchins, who established the TBI support group for Newton/Rockdale Counties in Georgia, says that his group attends parties, dances, Bingo, and cookouts, to name a few. You can form new lifelong friendships with people who understand and support you.
- Frustrations - Sometimes you just need to vent. They can listen when you do and share how they have coped with frustrating situations.
- Purpose in Life – You may feel that your life has no purpose as you perhaps can no longer work or take charge of matters in your household. Through the group you can get involved and contribute to the community or help others within the group.
Caregivers may not be enthusiastic at the thought of participating in a support group, because they may already feel overextended. They are already dealing with hugely increased responsibilities, and the thought of one more item on the to-do list may not be met with eagerness. However, the support group can also be beneficial to them as they connect with other caregivers who are experiencing the same challenges.
For the person who can’t drive and doesn’t have anyone to take them, the group can most likely make arrangements to ensure that they always have a way to get to the meetings.
I have seen in my personal injury practice in Atlanta how life-changing traumatic brain injury is for both survivor and family. It’s hard for others to understand unless they have been through it. To try and deal with it alone can be lonely, overwhelming, despairing, and frightening. If you find a good support group in your area, you will no longer be alone. One of the most valuable things is to have other people in your life who “get it”. They truly understand your issues. Everyone needs support after something as devastating as a brain injury.
If you live in the state of Georgia, click here to see a listing of available TBI/Traumatic Brain Injury Support Groups throughout the state, listed by county. You may contact the Brain Injury Association of Georgia if you have additional questions.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury as the result of someone else’s negligence, call us for help. We will talk to you and review your case for free. The Tyrone Law Firm specializes in representing those who have suffered a devastating injury, such as traumatic brain injury resulting from the negligence of another. We will present your case to the jury in terms of the human story – the total impact on you and your family, and the story of what your family has lost as a direct result of the injury. It is this presentation of the client’s story to the jury that compels them to bring back a verdict for significant money damages on your behalf.
Nelson Tyrone handles Brain Injury, Spine Injury and RSD/CRPS cases throughout the United States. He recently obtained the largest medical malpractice verdict in the history of Gwinnett County in a birth injury TBI case. He involves only the top medical, rehabilitation and life-care plan experts in the field. His results on behalf of clients include several of the largest settlements and verdicts on record.
You can reach us at 404-377-0017 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If we can’t help you, we will do our best to put you into the hands of lawyers who can.