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5 Things People Don't Realize I'm Doing Because of My Traumatic Brain Injury

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Brain injuries come with a lot of symptoms that impact survivors 24/7.  There are some obvious and not-so-obvious things survivors may do as a result of those symptoms.  The people in my life are used to the obvious; taking Tylenol, struggling with word recall, going to bed at 9 p.m. — but these are the five things people often don’t realize I’m doing because of my brain injury:

1) Lowering the brightness on my phone. The brightness is turned down to pretty much nothing. Even having brightness on low-medium hurts my eyes. I recently learned to turn up the brightness momentarily while putting photos on Instagram, otherwise my filters look too bright.

2) Wearing sunglasses. I wear my sunglasses at times when people don’t usually wear sunglasses. The first one is obvious — I have my sunglasses on indoors because my eyes are sensitive to light. The second is not so obvious — I wear my sunglasses to hide when I have been crying due to not feeling well. I play this off as a light sensitivity issue.

3) Interrupting by accident. I’m the Queen of interrupting, and I’m sorry. I interrupt because my brain doesn’t function fast enough to tell me to wait, or I misjudge when you are done talking.

4) Interrupting on purpose. Paying attention is hard for me. If you’re telling a long story, I may repeat what you said, ask a question or just say “wow” because it jolts/gives my brain a kick so I can continue focusing on your story. If I listen in silence, I won’t be able to fully pay attention.

5) Winking. I’m not winking at you, I just need to check if both of my eyes are working the way they are supposed to. Sometimes I get blurred vision in one eye and sometimes both — I need to check these things throughout the day.

Getty image by iiievgeniy.

Originally published: April 30, 2018
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