Suffering a traumatic brain injury can upend your life in various ways. Depending on the scope of your TBI, you may have to quit your job and you may need help with daily tasks.
Changes to your personal relationships may follow a TBI, particularly if those close to you have transitioned into a caregiver role. Anticipating to these changes and knowing some strategies for coping may help you to confront challenges with confidence.
Prior to your injury, you and those close to you probably had specific roles and responsibilities that felt comfortable and natural. Your TBI may impact those factors and leave everyone scrambling to find a new normal. According to the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center, showing empathy and understanding toward each other can build unity and strengthen your relationship.
Recognize that your family members have taken on new responsibilities that may require them to learn new skills. You may also need to take on new responsibilities, particularly focusing on your treatment and recovery. Practicing flexibility and doing your best to realize that everyone is going through changes together can minimize angst and frustration.
Communication is paramount to your adjustment to a TBI. It may feel unnatural and even a bit disheartening at first to have to accept someone’s help. However, it is important for you to communicate your needs and expectations, as well as the way you feel. Maintaining open lines of communication can facilitate your emotional and psychological healing which is equally as important as your physical recovery.
Likewise, encourage your family members to communicate their thoughts and feelings with you. Request their honesty in discussing your diagnosis. Communicating regularly can help everyone feel heard, valued and motivated to continue contributing to the relationship.