Day 1 of the 31 Day TBI Challenge for CHANGE for Veterans
A traumatic brain injury is a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury. The injury is caused by falls, motor vehicle crashes, assaults, and other incidents. A blast is the number one reason for traumatic brain injury (TBI) for active duty military personnel in war zones. TBI is commonly referred to as the “signature wound” of today’s wars. This injury is also known as an “invisible wound”.
Any TBI whether labeled “mild, moderate or severe” by diagnostic methods, can temporarily or permanently impair a person’s cognitive skills, emotional well-being and physical abilities.
Some of the deficits after a TBI might include memory and concentration difficulties. Planning, reasoning, judgment could all be affected. Emotional responses might include depression, anxiety, impulsivity, aggression and thoughts of suicide.
Physical challenges might include fatigue, balance, headaches, motor skill changes, sensory losses, seizures and endocrine dysfunction. TBI often leads to circulatory, respiratory, digestive, and neurological diseases including epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Diagnosing a traumatic brain injury can be difficult even in the best of conditions. But, when diagnosing a brain injury in “theater” (warzones) it can become even more difficult. Tomorrow we will discuss diagnostic methods used for TBI and why many traumatic brain injuries go undiagnosed with civilians as well as with our troops.
Today, I want you to read the list of physical and emotional deficits that so many with a TBI are challenged with in their daily lives. Read the word “fatigue” but try to understand that this is not just being exhausted. Fatigue when it comes to those with TBI, is a state of being that your mind and body begin to shut down. A survivor can almost feel the process of this happening within their body. Think of a Jolly Snowman in your front yard all decked out in top hat, coal buttons, stick arms and a carrot nose. It is a very sunny day and the rays of the sun slowly but consistently begin to take the snowman and gradually reduce it to a pile of individual objects that no longer look anything like the original snowman. That reminds me of the process of going from having a good TBI day to being so fatigued that only pieces of the person that started out in the morning are there to be recognized as the day progresses. Sometimes it could take an hour for this path to fatigue; sometimes it might take 8 hours or a few days. But, most people with TBI experience times of extreme emotional and physical fatigue.
When you read the list of words such as agitated, depression, reasoning, planning, memory problems think about how they would affect a person in their daily lives. How do these challenges for a TBI survivor “LOOK” in their lives? When they are at work, or the grocery store, or relating to their spouse, or their children? HOW WOULD THEY AFFECT YOU IN YOUR LIFE?
The BEST way to learn what it means to have a traumatic brain injury is to become involved in the life of someone who has one. TBI affects every survivor differently. As unique as every one of our brains is, is how unique every TBI can be. One may have anger problems; one may not be able to show any emotion.
Though the symptoms and outcomes can be quite scary, many with mild, moderate and severe TBI can still lead lives filled with passion and purpose. They are contributing members of society, working alongside others, great parents and spouses, loyal friends and happy, grateful people!
With open arms,
Pam Hays Founder/President
The Arms Forces
Below are the details of the 31 Day TBI Challenge for CHANGE for Veterans
So, what is our challenge and how can you be part of the CHANGE in partnership with The Arms Forces nonprofit organization?
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. So our challenge to you is:
1.) Please learn something new about TBI every day. We will be posting information on The Arms Forces Facebook Page daily, so you will be able to become more informed in an easy manner. http://www.facebook.com/TheArmsForces or you can visit our website and read the posts on our NEWS page www.thearmsforces.org/news
2.) Help facilitate CHANGE by partnering with The Arms Forces by assisting us in continuing our efforts for invisibly wounded veterans by collecting your CHANGE daily and at the end of March donating the money to The Arms Forces. (contact information below) Create a jar and label it “The Arms Forces CHANGE for TBI” and put it out where you and everyone will see it. When someone asks you what it is all about, share with them a bit about what you have learned about TBI. Share stories of the people you will learn about through our posts on Facebook and how their lives have been forever changed by their injuries.
3.) If collecting change every day is not your thing, then be a part of the CHANGE by making a donation to The Arms Forces through our website www.thearmsforces.org or by mailing a check. (contact information below)
Our veterans with traumatic brain injury many times are living lonely and unfulfilled lives. When the doctors are done, when the rehabilitation is finished, when the counseling isn’t working anymore, they are trying to reintegrate into life with abilities that have been altered by the physical wounds of TBI. That is where The Arms Forces comes in and reaches out with open arms and assists them with navigating their life. Without passion and purpose, life can seem less meaningful.
My own journey after a severe TBI led me down a very broken road. But, I found a way to go from extreme adversity to JOYFUL RENEWAL. YOU can be a part of helping us create that joyful renewal for our veterans!!
Thank you for being a part of the force of CHANGE known as The Arms Forces!
I appreciate each and every one of you!!
With open arms,
The Arms Forces
PO Box 981
Maumee, OH 43537