TBI Words, Phrases, and Misunderstandings

To a person with a normal functioning brain, they may not understand the daily struggle of what it means to live with such a life-changing injury such as a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Daily we have to navigate a world built for people not like us. We have compiled a list of misunderstood words, phrases, and ideas below to help people better understand ways in which they can support people with a TBI moving forward.

1a. Self Advocate – Is a person with enough strength and balance of the mind to figure things out and then to properly take action.

1b. Self Care - Is a person concern with their safety, period!

2a. Survivor - Is a person who escapes or breaks free from a dangerous experience or illness or sorrow.

2b.Surviving - A person who is daily, moment by moment actively creating so life will continue. This is an ACTION WORD, not a statement of completion as the word Survivor does... Surviving means you volunteer to actively keep alive!

3. Thrive – Thrive is a word used to describe people who are taking life by the horns and living like there is no tomorrow. Living with TBI doesn’t mean we will thrive in the traditional sense of the word and we shouldn’t be made to think we have to. Live life on your terms and in a way that makes you feel good. That’s what matters – and all that matters in the end.

4. New Norm - No! The New NORM is a death sentence to who I am. I will be the same human I was before but now I have TBI. I will not be a TBI victim nor will I sell my soul to the TBI establishment!

5a. Statements of ignorance (not malice) by healthy people: “You can do this.” “Get over it.” “Change doctors.” “Yeah, I forget things also.” “It is your Attitude.” “I don’t see anything wrong with you.” The person with TBI needs to listen to healthy people’s one-liners and hear their sincerity rather than the ignorant words they don’t understand may hurt us.

5b. Statements: you are smiling or laughing and someone states, ”You must be healthy now,” because you show a glimpse of happiness.

6a. Objective means = I have TBI

6b. Subjective means = I have TBI and I will smile and laugh along the way.

7. PDST is not TBI! PDST is one of the results of having TBI, and so is sleeplessness, anxiety, loneliness, and on and on we can go. Solving any of the symptoms of TBI does not make TBI go away.