If brain damage didn’t kill your loved one, but changed it forever, you’re in one of life’s toughest paradoxes. Your loved one has not physically disappeared, and yet they are not the same anymore. They have changed. And it’s not just because of the physical disability that often accompanies brain damage, but also because of personality changes.
How can you explain that your loved one has become a stranger? That they are not who they once were? The way they are is still changing. Perhaps the former social butterfly is now apathetic and closed off. Some of us still recognize him and some don’t.
Your husband, father, brother was once very respectful and highly educated. But due to brain damage, he isn’t anymore. His brain has “turned off” the switch to social norms. He no longer has certain social filters. There is no self-control and anyone who doesn’t know they’ve been hurt will just think they’re rude.
Your loved one may be unaware of their brain damage
People with brain damage are often less aware of the consequences than their relatives. Brain damage is sometimes like that. It looks like a defense mechanism protecting them from the full weight of what happened to them.
The fact is that this mechanism exists. It is a pathological condition of people who have suffered brain damage and have neurological (cognitive) problems, but are not aware of the difficulties they cause. This clinical phenomenon is called “anosognosia”. Anosognosia refers to those who have no perception of their functional neurological disorders.
In other words, they are somewhat incapable of fully understanding the consequences of their injuries, be they cognitive, physical or behavioral. Often they are not aware of their problems when it comes to, for example, attention or explosive reactions.
There are cases where people with brain damage can no longer walk, but blame others for not letting them do things themselves. They may have a hard time acknowledging what happened to them and how it affects them.
Families mourn when a loved one remains but is greatly changed
All this creates feelings of powerlessness and frustration in the family. The only thing worse than not being the same is that he doesn’t even realize he’s not the same anymore. The change is difficult for those around him.
Imagine that someone in your family or circle of friends is still alive, but is no longer the person you knew. His way of being and going through life has changed. This is one of the most difficult things the family of a patient with brain damage has to deal with.
The dynamics of the family will change. The puzzle breaks, the pieces fly away. Now is the time to adjust our perspective and bring order to this sudden chaos. Disturbing feelings can arise, such as envy, despair, insecurity… guilt. You will feel many things. After all, it is a loss.
That’s why it’s so important to emphasize that brain damage will change the lives of everyone involved. It is essential that you share your mixed feelings so that you can help your loved one cope better with the experience. Reposition the pieces of your life with them and give it new meaning. It is an exercise in courage and admirable wisdom.
Finally, we would like to express our full support to families affected by brain damage.