Cognitive symptoms

It’s apt that my 1800th blog is about traumatic brain injury and The CP Diary was borne out of me discovering at the age of 46 that I had Cerebral Palsy, brought about through a brain injury at birth.

TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) is not tangible; you can’t touch it and in some cases, it’s not always obvious to the person next to you; but it’s there and it’s real. Unfortunately, it’s taken me many years to understand my own difficulties.

When different parts of the brain are affected, physiological and physical symptoms will always differ from person to person and this is what makes Cerebral Palsy so difficult to research.

Unfortunately though, brain damage isn’t just something you’re born with. Brain damage can occur through medical negligence in other circumstances and through a sports injury and concussion that can last anywhere from months to years, depending on the type of injury sustained.

It’s not something other people will understand or at least try to understand. Not knowing for the main part of my adult life meant I would struggle to understand the correlation and how what I have to deal with gets played out in my everyday life. I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface on that one.

As we age our cognitive abilities will decline and this will be even more so with someone with CP.  My Neurologist once told me that the older we are, the more obvious the impairment will become when healthy brain cells begin to die and I believe that to be true.

For those of us who deal with brain injury, below are some invisible indicators:

  • Problems with confusion;
  • Problems with organisation;
  • Poor performance at school and at work;
  • Attention problems;
  • Difficulty with multi-tasking and solving problems;
  • Difficulty with reading and hand-writing;
  • Problems with concentration;
  • Problems in identifying objects;
  • Difficulty in completing tasks once started and in sequence;
  • Problems with planning;
  • Memory impairment;
  • Difficulty with making decisions.
  • Difficulty with dealing with energy levels.

Unfortunately, anyone who is born with brain damage or sustains a brain injury may struggle with some or all of the above indicators. On a daily basis, I struggle with all of the indicators above, but through necessity on my upbringing, I have learned how to make decisions and solve problems.

Although I have found an acceptance on my cognitive difficulties, others simply struggle to understand and bring their own acceptance on how to deal with what I deal with.


8 Apr, 2015

6 thoughts on “Cognitive symptoms

  1. TBI’s are something that have been in the news more often, as so many soldiers have been suffering from them due to IED’s.

    Once I started hearing about the symptoms it made me wonder if I had actually been suffering from that, since I had almost been brained when I was 4. The most treatment I remember getting for it was a CAT scan and not much after that. It would go a long way in explaining the issues I had as a child, which I never fully understood, nor were they addressed by my parents!

    The worst part with this type of injury is that it isn’t visible, which means people have a hard time believing it. Most of my life I have felt really stupid because of the difficulties I had when I knew I was fairly smart in spite of them. It was one of many issues that wasn’t dealt with in my childhood so it isn’t surprising things only got worse as time went on.

    People definitely aren’t very understanding if you have issues they can’t see, like visible scars or walking with a limp. I’ve been encountering more of it lately, where someone isn’t willing to accept that I’m not behaving certain ways on purpose, but due to memory issues! This only proves to me how judgmental people are of other people’s issues while not bothering to address their own!

    I just find it so insulting to my intelligence when being treated like an idiot when I know I’m not. I’m sure you have dealt with this attitude at times where people have treated you like you’re mentally retarded when it isn’t the case.

    I only wish that people could be more sympathetic and compassionate with others who they see as “different” when in reality we’re just the same as them, “Human.”

    1. I think sometimes we have to just let go. You’re absolutely right though, anything to do with this type of injury isn’t always visible, so people have a hard time accepting it; but perhaps it’s not that they have a hard time accepting it, they have a hard time accepting themselves.

      When we fail to understand anyone else’s problem, we fail to understand ourselves. That much I believe is true. When we belittle others, we belittle ourselves.

      It’s taken me years to understand what I deal with and the same amount of years to let go of things, but even with what I continue to deal with, I know what I am and know what I’m not. Life is about being caring, compassionate and sympathetic, the thinks you talk about Randy.

      I can live with myself, but in the world today, knowing what we hear, how many people can say that. Keep up the good fight Randy. You’re a good guy. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  2. Firstly, well done on 1800 blogs. That is some achievement.

    I think you and Randy are absolutely right. As brain injury often isn’t apparent and ‘visible,’ people do tend to be inappropriately judgemental and critical.

    While you are only just coming to terms with how it affects you on a day to day basis, it will take generations for people to learn to empathise and to begin to understand what dealing with brain injury means.

    1. Awww thank you. Yes I too feel many people are critical and judgmental.

      I personally don’t believe though that we have to really understand what something means. Yes of course it helps to know what a person deals with, but a person’s qualities I believe are far more important. We need to have and be empathetic, have compassion and be happy to at least listen.

      Unfortunately it’s got a lot to do with the way the world works, functions and communicates. People seem to be more self-absorbed; people don’t always care enough to listen or help and that’s the problem.

      Whether it’s a brain injury or something else we deal with, a caring nature is always key.

  3. I believe people might think I only struggle physically, because my physical disability is visible. They might notice I struggle cognitively in some ways, but they might mistake it as being mentally slow, which I find annoying.

    The cognitive problems I feel I struggle more with is attention problems, concentration, making decisions, reading and dealing with the energy level. Sometimes I have to read something twice in order to process what it’s saying.

    It makes sense why I struggled in school.

    1. Thanks Maria. Reading your response would be like reading my own. Thanks for being so honest. Apart from a slight difference in our physical disability, I do struggle with what you struggle with. I too sometimes have to read something twice to comprehend the story and go back to it.

      I also tend to skip words, find words difficult to pronunciate, so I then have to go back and try and say the words again. I find it both demoralising and frustrating that I just can’t do it.

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