TBI: Don’t put down my new best friend…YOU!

By John Hatten, TBI Coach & Counselor, Survivor of TBI

Let’s talk about “negative self-talk”: this is something we need to avoid. Negativity does feed on itself and can grow inside you to become one of your biggest barriers. It certainly continues to be a major hurdle for me: sometimes I still find that I’m “putting myself down” when I make a mistake or forget something. Let’s attack this from a few sides:

First of all, factually. Yes, we have problems forming new memories: the link between our immediate and short-term memory is damaged so that it’s hard to get things into our short-term memory.

Fact 2: another common memory problem with us involves our knowledge of our “pre-TBI” life: I know I thought that I could just recall anything before my TBI. I started to view this differently when my mom said to me “But John, you never had a good memory!”: thanks a lot, mom. But seriously, the more I thought about it, the more I recalled forgetting things before my TBI. My memory never was like a computer: I could remember some things well (math and science facts were, and are, a strength of mine) and other things not so well (names and recalling images, like a vacation). So let’s give ourselves a break: sure our attention isn’t perfect, but it never was.

I also had serious depression after my injury that went on for several years. But, as I think about it, while I didn’t have clinical depression before my injury, I had ‘blue’ spots, like everyone else. I just didn’t have a TBI that added to my “blues”.

I guess what I’m saying here is that we need to cut ourselves some slack and be a bit easier on ourselves. One thing you’re going to keep hearing from me in this blog is that it does get better forever: we will continue to improve, both in our thinking and in our feelings, for the rest of our lives. The trick, and the purpose behind this blog, is to find out how to make it get better faster.


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