Life After Brain injury

The right side of the brain controls the left side of the body and vice versa.

I sustained brain injury as a result of a car accident in 2002. As a result I suffered both temporary short term and long term memory loss. My left side of the brain which controls movement in my right- upper and lower limbs was permanently affected hence I use a wheelchair particularly when accessing outdoors. Thankfully I managed to start studying again in 2006 after recovering my speech and concentration, consequently I went to university for four years to study for a Masters degree in Town Planning. Though I good at Maths and sciences before the accident I hated now hated anything to do with numbers and formulas after the accident so I chose to do an Arts degree. It is noteworthy that a brain injury affects different people differently and for a detailed description of what happened to me I recommend people to visit my first ever blog.

Brain injury, whether it’s caused by trauma, disease or a medical condition, can have profound and long-lasting effects on a person’s cognitive, emotional and physical functioning. The brain is the control center of the body, and when it is damaged, it can affect a person’s ability to think, feel, and move. That said to me the brain is the most vital part of the human body.

The effects of brain injury can vary depending on the severity and location of the injury. Mild traumatic brain injury, also known as a concussion, can cause short-term effects such as headaches, dizziness, and confusion. However, moderate to severe brain injury can have more severe and long-lasting effects on a person’s life. Brain injury can also cause invisible disability, some examples include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), speech difficulties (no one can tell that I have on going speech problems which is why I write better than I talk), fatigue, headaches, migraines, cognitive impairments (it could be argued that I’m no longer as smart as I was before the accident despite having limited resources), light sensitivity, and memory problems.

Cognitive Effects:
One of the most common effects of brain injury is cognitive impairment. This can include difficulty with memory, attention, language, and executive functioning. Executive functioning refers to a person’s ability to plan, organize, and carry out tasks. Miraculously I was the Executive Secretary for my church ward from 2008 to 2011, with faith the impossible is possible also at that point my concentration had considerably improved. Brain injury can also affect a person’s ability to learn new information and retain it over time.

Emotional Effects:
Brain injury can also have a significant impact on a person’s emotional functioning. Depression, anxiety, and mood swings are common emotional effects of brain injury. Personally I used to be moody or emotionless due in part to constipation caused by the brain injury and spending a considerable amount of time on my own during weekdays when adults are working and kids are at school. Also the emotional changes can be caused by the physical changes in the brain or the psychological impact of the injury.

Physical Effects:
Brain injury can also cause a range of physical effects, including loss of coordination, weakness, and paralysis. These physical effects can make it difficult for a person to perform everyday tasks such as walking, dressing, and eating. In some cases, brain injury can also cause seizures- from end of 2002 to 2004 I experienced several seizures particularly whenever I got worried and seriously concerned or upset about something, which can be a lifelong condition. Myself I ain’t had any in 19 years.

Social Effects:
Brain injury can also have a significant impact on a person’s social life. I sustained my brain injury when I was a young dude transitioning from a teenager into adulthood, at that point in life many would will be enjoying their life to the fullest in particular making long or short term sexual relationships. Whereas I spent my teenage years alone and went to university hardly interacting with other students except for a handful of occasions hence I only made a few university friends. I enjoyed been alone and I still love my own company. As a result I also travelled across the world by myself in a wheelchair and had the best moments coupled with invaluable experiences. Changes in personality, behavior, and social skills can make it difficult for a person to maintain relationships and interact with others. Social isolation is a common problem for people with brain injury, which can lead to depression and other mental health issues. To avoid that if I’m not travelling I’m always out in town meeting new people making friends and acquaintances.

The treatment of brain injury depends on the severity and location of the injury. Mild brain injury may only require rest and time to heal, while more severe injuries may require surgery, medication, and rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is an important part of the treatment process and can include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and cognitive therapy. I was unconscious for 4weeks, couldn’t feel my legs for a further 2 months period and there after started all the therapy sessions. At first first I was in the Intensive Care Unit at Leeds General Infirmary then was transferred to Chapel Allerton Hospital for further rehabilitation. To improve cognitively I used to play chess against nurses.

Preventing brain injury is the best way to avoid the negative effects of brain injury. Wearing a helmet when participating in sports or riding a bike, wearing a seatbelt while driving, and avoiding alcohol and drugs can all help to prevent brain injury. Stroke, which is a leading cause of brain. However it’s hard to enforce safety measures when carrying out some activities such pole dancing which is one of the most dangerous profession or hobby, it can cause a brain Injury or worse. Recently I went to a Snoop Dogg Concert where I met a lady who told me that she looks after a lady who fell headlong pole dancing.

The lady I met before the Snoop Dogg Concert

Fear of rejection

◦ First off I say what I say not because I’m better than you but just sharing the love. Hoping that somehow, somewhere someone will benefit from what I share.

◦ Continuing from my blog about fear…We try to fulfil our lives with temporary fixes like a half hearted date or a flirt. Pointedly, the notion that worldly materials can fulfil our lives or make us lives rosy or better is consistent and quite wrong. That’s living in cloud cuckoo land or living a fantasy. Things like impulsive shopping – buying things that you don’t really need; hoading, going on endless dates with multiple partners. Wanting more and more telling yourself if I only get this and that or this one and that one I will be ok. When you fall into this trap you would have lost a control in you. Once you get that you might find yourself wanting more of that and before you know it’s an addiction. We all live on a grid and we have a pattern to follow it runs on imperative biological. mechanisms. Like food, sex and that ond if those bit’s becomes uncontrollable to the point of causing distraction, pose and reflect behind our damaged perceptions there is a great fear that pertains to a core belief, this is the key line in a code of our misery, if we crack the code and address it we can be free from the bondage of fear.

Fear of rejection by women

For instance behind the fact that I’m still single there is a fear of rejection to some extent, the fear that the people I’m attracted to would never love me because I’m disabled, the fear of being heartbroken, the fear of inadequacy, fear of taking risks and that. 5:

◦ She is not attracted to me, so what? Fair play, that’s her opinion and wish her the best in finding mr Fantastic. I will get my heart broken, so what? It can be put together- give it time to heal and move on. I sustained a brain injury, so what? Difference is what make this world. I’m not adequate- man’s disabled, so what? This kind of defective thinking is sad or worse. To address inadequacy I tried to climb the ladder, thinking that if I achieve x,y,z I will be ok but after achieving that I found myself still climbing the ladder. However ain’t nothing wrong with climbing rather than being stuck in the swamp and hopefully one day you will settle at the beach (the swamp symbolises despair, Climbing is building your carrier, and when you settle at the beach is when you finally relax and enjoy the fruits of your labour).

◦ I’m no stranger to taking risks and I know the importance of going an extra mile. I know that if you take deeper risks you get deeper rewards and that if you go an extra mile there is less traffic. However because of fear of rejection I don’t take deeper risks and I’m reluctant to go an extra mile to ask out who I want. To be continued…

Would you date or marry a disabled person?

When I was a teenager some of my wishes included- wining every argument, solve every mathematical problem, travel to wherever I want and date whoever I like. After I sustained a head injury, I still tend to win every argument, I now hate anything to do with numbers, I still can travel to wherever I want but can’t date whoever I want.

Back to the question, I often pose it to acquaintances and friends, particularly ladies. What I gathered is many answer it reticently and with careful consideration. They fear to reveal they truest opinions to try and not offend disabled people.

In my utopia or in a socially, politically & morally perfect society; I want to see more disabled people getting hitched to abled people so as to support each other. However this is the real world where many abled people avoid dating the disabled like plague, more so noticeable disabilities such as wheelchair users. One open minded European lady I met in London (Cansu) said to me “…because it can preclude a relationship” and she asked me if I want kids. “Yes of course, so that I can see part of me with no head injury and ideally I want to be espoused to someone non disabled like you” I answered with a cheeky smile.

Indeed, in an idealistic world, love is all about loving the person, just the way they are (Bruno Mars). Or all about kindness, intelligence, humor, and other aspects of personality. In the real world, intimacy is a requisite to maintain relationships, where ability is deemed a paramount factor. “Expectations to perform are high… Good intimacy fuels marriages” said she. Other key aspects for keeping a relationship afloat are, mutual interests and spending time together. There is a saying which says that, a family which eats together stays together. I’m afraid the same doesn’t apply to a husband and a wife. “Having one person in a wheelchair would cause significant friction” said the lady.

From her point of view equal footing is important in a relationship. A friend of mine once said to me “it’s easier for you to find a wife because you go to church”. I told him that, wether a lady is from church or not, they naturally share the same desires, wishes and fantasies. I metaphorically added that “I have more chance of getting hitched in the house of Judah than the house of Joseph”.

Finally someone who is not afraid to state his opinions.

“When I was 21, I dated for several years, someone who was slightly disabled. I adored her personality, and she was so much stronger because of her physical condition too. When entering the relationship, I believed that it wouldn’t be much of an issue, and it really wasn’t! For many months, being together was awesome”

“However… there was so much waiting. Most activities we did together moved at a necessarily slower pace. When I walked with her, I had to cut my speed in half, and we split walks into half-hour segments for rest. She had always wanted to ice skate, but we discovered together her ankle couldn’t take it. I wished we could explore the city by bike together, but alas, no biking, no running, no hiking, no climbing… As someone who moved quickly and valued efficiency, I wondered how much of my identity I had to compromise to be with the person for whom I cared so much.

It ended for a variety of reasons, but sometime in between I admitted to both myself and to her that I was struggling to stay patient with her physical condition. Call me cruel if you’d like, but it was true, and I’m not proud of it”.

“And what if it gets worse? Illnesses have a tendency to worsen, either through natural progression or increased strain from compensating. Where are you willing to draw the line? Bedridden? Paralysis? Vegetative state? Are you going to abandon them then? You’ve heard stories about how a serious illness can tear a family apart. Dating someone in a wheelchair means willingly entering a similar situation”.