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“Life After Head Injury: Who Am I?”

Here is an excerpt from the booklet “Life After Head Injury : Who Am I?” by Dana Deboskey, Connie Calub, John Burton and Karen Moir.


At first, when you were in the hospital, you may have said things to people that you either do not remember or that you can hardly believe the words came from your mouth.  You did not become a mean and ugly person overnight.  Instead, when your brain was damaged, your filtering system was affected.  This means that the areas that keep you from saying things that you would normally think but never say out loud are dysfunctional.

It would be very easy for you to say, “Well, this is the way I am and I can’t help it.”  But this would be a copout.  In order to fit back into society, you must identify and attempt to change the head injury characteristics that set you apart from others.  Your desire to say the first thing that comes into your mind can be controlled.  You are the only person who can do this – it is your job.  If you feel you need assistance, ask a family member or close friend to help you.

Examples of Verbal Outbursts:

  1. You find yourself using words that you only said under your breath before.
  2. You blow up at your wife if she tries to tell you to slow down and take it easy.
  3. You tell your therapist that you want to change to someone else because you think he might get you better faster.
  4. When a prospective employer calls to say that he has decided to hire someone else you say, “I didn’t want to work at your stupid business anyway.  You couldn’t pay me enough.”
  5. When Aunt Mary comes over for dinner you mention that her diet must not be going too well since she still looks as fat as the last time she came for dinner.

Solution for Verbal Outbursts:

  1. Never say anything immediately.  Stop.  Listen to what you intend to say.  Make sure it is necessary and appropriate.
  2. Avoid kidding around with anybody but a close friend until you have your verbalisations under control.
  3. If you think you are not saying inappropriate things, check this perception out with someone you trust.  Ask him to be honest with you.
  4. Stay away from people you do not care for.  You are more likely now to let them know how you feel.
  5. Remember in regards to what you say to people, honesty is not always the best policy.  Silence might keep you out of trouble.

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