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Getting Through the Holidays After TBI by Charles Watson


Posted on January 2, 2021

As much as you want to attend a party or celebrate Christmas dinner with your extended family, your brain injury can be a hindrance. Suffering from TBI, all you want to do is lock yourself in your room and disappear from the face of the earth, right? 

Well, there’s a bright side to everything. Even celebrating holidays after TBI and enjoying them. But first, let’s get ourselves educated about the possible risks and threats of damaged senses.

Senses include smell, taste, sight, hearing, and touch. These senses are controlled by the larger part of the brain; the cerebrum. The cerebrum is divided into two halves that consist of frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes. These lobes make the most of our brain and perform all the vital functions, from memory, speech, control to decision-making, etc. 

A concussion or any kind of accident that involves a blow to the head is sure enough to cause injury to the cerebrum. The more severe the injury, the more problematic living everyday life becomes. Band of nerves like corpus callosum and arcuate fasciculus, which are responsible for connecting the brain together, get damaged. Contusions after a concussion can rupture some of the nerves, making the brain weaker and unsynchronized.

Since the brain becomes weak, it has difficulty in processing and understanding information. Even the slightest noise or light can act as stimuli. Can you imagine having headaches and feeling frustrated with the chirping of birds and even humming? If a sound this low can cause stress and anxiety, then what can loud music and family gatherings do?

This sensitivity to noise and light is medically known as hypersensitivity or sensory overload. A great example to explain this feeling is a crowded place. So let’s say you’re out in the local market and get stuck in a busy street. It’s packed with people who are bargaining, shouting, and pushing each other to get through. The first signs appear as labored breathing, which is soon followed by dizziness, panic, headache, and an aggressive outburst. In most cases, people might become unconscious and end up acquiring another head injury. Aside from sensory overload, cognitive impairment also becomes a fundamental reason for the brain shutting down.

Even if the brain registers and accepts the alarming situation, the motor ability of the brain fails to coordinate quickly enough to save you from danger. In case of such emergencies, it’s recommended that you, evidently, bring someone along for support. Other than that, do not leave your house without sound-canceling earbuds, tinted sunglasses, a water bottle to stay hydrated, and a crane(just in case). 

Even though it’s hard to be around anything that makes sound and unnecessary lights, giving up is not the solution. Talk and confide in people who will listen to you. Believe you. Don’t let a brain injury stop you from having fun; if there are any signs, consult a psychologist who is familiar with brain injury and share how your feelings on a regular basis.