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Invisible Injury

When we close our eyes and think about injury we think about bandages and wounds. We think about broken bones and casts. When we dig deeper, we think about the mechanics of the injury. A slip, a trip, a fall. Maybe you’ve been impacted by someone who has been involved in a workplace injury and had to stay home, maybe you are the partner of someone who was involved in a motor vehicle injury. We find ourselves thinking about tangible, visible damages. A bruise, a fracture, a laceration, a scar, a cut, a burn. But what about invisible injuries? What about those that are not tangible, not touchable. Instead they are rather diverse, unique, and ever changing. If we try to conceptualize an injury that we cannot touch it can be challenging.

This is the world of brain injury. A brain injury is rather unique in the sense that not every person will experience the same symptoms, the same mechanism of injury. When I explain a brain injury to someone I frequently find myself using this example.

“If I had a twin sister and we both stood up quickly and hit our head on the counter in the exact same spot with the exact same intensity, we would have completely individual injuries.”

A brain injury, or more specifically a concussion can be characterized by both physical and cognitive changes. It can affect mood related centres, our balance, the way we walk, the way we talk. It can make us feel confused, like we are in a fog, we can have difficulty with both short term and long term memory. We may become more irritable and respond to situations with more emotion than we usually would. Have more trouble sleeping than usual and find it extremely difficult to be in busy environments.

The human brain is the most complex organism on the planet, filled with over 100 billion neurons. That’s why even the slightest bit of contact to the head or body could be debilitating. Approximately 18 to 37% of people with a concussion develop depression in the first year after their injury. The research shows that these numbers only increase with repetitive trauma.

While lots of resources are provided to injuries that we can physically see and touch, it is important to remember that this invisible injury is equally as important. Although symptoms may be synonymous with many other conditions such as PTSD and chronic pain, it is imperative to respect the severity of multiple head traumas. Concussion care and treatment is vast and at times provoking but we must remember the weight of this invisible injury and the effects it can have on our body.

Hello, and thank you for checking out my blog post! My name is Tori, I have been welcomed by Elora House to address brain injury with survivors of violence. It is my hope that the seeds I plant here can continue to help those who may not have the voice to talk about their invisible injuries. Concussion care and management is something I am extremely passionate about and I hope to use this drive to care for those who need it most.

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