scattered brain
Scattered Brain

#specialneedskids #traumaticbraininjury #frontallobedamage

It is true how you take things for granted. Then when it is damaged or lost for good it is so missed. I never realized just how much my brain did for me. Your brain is who you are, it regulates everything in your body. It gets damaged you are never the same. After that fateful car accident in 1988 my scattered brain took a long time to function properly.

The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that controls cognitive skills of the body. These cognitive skills include the emotions, memory, problem solving skills, judgment, language and sexual behavior.

As explained in my last writing for my testimony I broke the windshield with the front of my head. This was diagnosed as left frontal lobe brain injury. I am considered mildly brain injured, but for me it is severe. For my kids even worse. For my marriages devastating.

My scattered brain symptoms

Cognitive skills, I had to relearn everything. In the hospital I had occupational, physical, and speech therapy. Learn now to function in every day life. Remember to do hygiene, what to do when to do things each day. How to talk, I would call my closest family members by their full names. I had to relearn the loving familiar names of mom, dad, sister, brother etc. Cognitive? Remembering what I learned in school was lost forever. My car accident happened maybe weeks after I graduated high school. Trying to learn things new took a long time to stick. College, ya never successful for me. High college loans with no college degree.

Emotions, ya, emotions. My control over my emotions was out the window for many years. Especially my first marriage. Being a baby Christian I did not know how to seek God in any of this. I found out long after I divorced my first husband he also has brain damage. Us together with young children was not a good mix. I would worry all the time, I was volatile in that I would through things at him. He could not hold a job so trying to pay bills and feed our babies was always a stress. My kids ended up in the middle of our fights many times. I left him several times just to go back because I was scared of being a single mother.

When I did finally leave him I had to move back home. That is the only way I felt like I could stay out of the relationship. I am now living with my mom, step dad and three babies diagnosed with special needs. I think a lot of my fear of being a single mother was my problem solving skills were out the window. It is hard for me to think on the fly, and having three kids all under the age of 5 a lot of spontaneous things happen all at the same time.

Some how I was able to stay employed, the structure and coworkers made it so I could function. At home though, cleaning, caring for my kids, planning, emotions, it all overwhelmed me. I felt so lost, my kids never had a stable mom, but I was the only one that was determined to be there for them. I finally found our own home for us in another state living near my real dad.

It was during those couple years that I finally got my oldest and my daughter diagnosed with aspergers syndrome. My oldest son was very violent and I did not know how to help him. I am sure he was just as lost and confused as I was. My daughter, well a girl diagnosed with aspergers is a whole different set of symptoms. She was more passive aggressive just like I was when I was young. If she got overwhelmed she would just sit frozen. She still does this as an adult to some degree.

When my daughter was sexually abused by some neighborhood boys is when I really lost it. I had enough in me that I prosecuted the boys. But I no longer felt safe. I did not feel like I could protect my children there anymore. I needed to escape, and I felt I needed a man to help me raise my kids and keep them safe. I met someone in an online Traumatic Brain Injury chat room. Of course he had a brain injury too….but the way he talked I felt like he was the answer.

My scattered brain results

This relationship took me across the country to the west coast. I grew up in the Midwest, my three adult kids were born in the Midwest. I had never seen the ocean in my life. But, in the hopes finding some security and safety of a man went west. Even though my impulse control was out the window in making this choice, it was out of love for my children I did it. We are now two hours from the ocean. We have been here for 18 long hard years. God was behind it all and I will discuss that in my next post on my testimony.

Outside sources
A Brain Injury and Frontal Lobe Damage
Frontal Lobes
Brain InjurySupport Group Links
Brain Injury Association of America

traumatic event changed my life

#traumaticbraininjury #copingwithmemoryloss #alcoholism #alateen

Last time I was writing my testimony I was living with my mom and step-dad again. The experience of the traumatic event changed my life trying out all night with my friend was the start of a change in me. I was ashamed and embarrassed by what happened. I could never tell mom the truth. I am the one who chose to go to the guy’s house. So, I took the punishment she gave me. I was 16 and she grounded me until I was 18.

Only things I could do while grounded was go to school and do Alateen things. I am not sure if I explained exactly what Alateen is. Teen Corner A place just for teens affected by someone else’s alcoholism.

That one decision by my mom led me to focus on me, to focus on friends who cared about me not just using me. My life became everything Alateen. While Alateen believes in a higher power, that higher power is what each person chooses it to be. I being a Christian could now recognize God in my life and discover Him in my own way.

I was not yet reading the Bible though so I really did not learn about God fully, I knew He was not what anyone else was saying He was. But what Alateen did do for me was provide loving caring friends and adult leaders who showered me with love. The love I yearned for from others. I stopped seeking out boys. Mom did not give me time to do any of that. I did not have a desire to do that anyways.

the traumatic event changed my life

Every year Alateen has a convention of three states of Alateen groups coming together to celebrate life and healing. To meet other teens and adult sponsors. We would gather in the middle state at a hotel. This weekend convention was crazy. Alateen meetings around the clock, filled with kids talking and supporting each other in healing. A weekend full of tears, hugs, and love. We would have a dance and a formal dinner. The closing meeting was everyone gathered together. It would be 500 or more kids crying and saying goodbye for another year.

This song always brings tears to my eyes. Three Alateen conventions, singing this song all 500 kids and sponsor adults. We hold hands and sing as loud as possible to each other, crying and hugging. Knowing we had to leave the safety of our friendships to go back to our sick families where alcoholism was involved.

the traumatic event changed my life

It was Alateen that showed me I was more than what I felt I was. I was 18, really no friends at school. But Alateen friends where my world. I graduated from High School and had a plan. I was going to work in the field that my Alateen sponsor worked in. She used to work in the Mental Health field. Helping others hurting as I used to hurt. I felt good, I felt strong. Then that fateful drive with my friend Eden. The drive home from an Alateen meeting.

I do not remember much about that day. I did not have my license yet because of my epilepsy but Eden had hers. She would drive me everywhere, she was my best friend. The road to take me home we had to drive a 2 lane country road. On the other end of this road was a 4 lane highway. For some reason, I did not put on my seatbelt even though Eden told me to. She had to make a left turn to go towards the town I lived in. What she failed to see because we were busy talking was an oncoming pick up truck. This truck hit us just as she was making the left turn. It ended up on top of me and if I did wear my seat belt I would be dead today. (no, I do not recommend going without your seatbelt, more people die from not wearing them.)

While Eden walked away from the car accident with a twisted ankle, I was rushed to the hospital with a traumatic brain injury. I hit and cracked the windshield with my head before I slid below the dashboard. I was in a coma for 24 hours and the hospital for 2 weeks or so. I do not remember. I think I have been told that I had to be restrained during this time because I just wanted to go home. I also called Eden several times a day I guess because she was the last person I saw before having my head scrambled.

the traumatic event changed my life

Remember I said my mom and I thought I had high functioning autism? Well she and I think the car accident scrambled my brain so much that now it is not the autism I deal with but brain injury. No doctor would say that happened, but I no longer deal with the symptoms of autism. As an adult, my counselor even said I show no signs of autism. But what I deal with now is just as hard as autism I think.

To begin with, in the early days I had to learn everything over again. Who I was, who my family was. I guess I did know them because I called everyone by their full names. Even my parents. I do not remember any of this. First thing I remember is going with nurses and therapists on a riverboat ride. I had a crush on a fellow patient who was just as lost as I was. My seeking love from boys was back. The accident sent my maturity back to 16 years old.

On top of all that I was too old for Alateen! The only way I could be involved in that was to be an adult sponsor. I was really lost, then to add fuel to the fire my friend Eden sent me a “Dear John” letter. Telling me she never wanted to see or talk to me again. I was devastated, I wanted back what I lost but could not get it back. (I am fighting back tears as I write this).

the traumatic event changed my life

I am going to stop the story here. The next in this series will be how I got through my healing from my TBI (traumatic brain injury). Where my decisions took me. But I can promise you this, if my TBI did not happen I would not be where I am today. I would not be writing to you. God uses my TBI and everything to show that He is real and there is hope for anyone out there. He will use your life experiences to bring about His glory and you will gain so much. Maybe not in material things, but in your inner self. Just hold on to the hope that He will see you through.

Outside Sources

Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

101 Tips for Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injury

Who Are Al-Anon Members?