TBI – Survivors, Caregivers, Family, and Friends

Posts tagged ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’

SPEAK OUT! Guest Blogger . . . David A. Grant . . . . . . . . . . . . . You Gave Me the Life I Was Destined to Have

You Gave Me the Life I Was Destined to Have

by

David A. Grant

presented by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Boy Blogger thI’ve been thinking about you again and wondering how life has been treating you.

Last night, Sarah and I were at the high school. We went to watch fireworks.

Like we do most every year, we set up our blanket, then walked the oval track for a couple of laps. It’s a great place to people-watch.

The bleachers caught my eye as I looked up to one of the top rows – to where I was sitting when I saw you graduate.

David A. Grant - Brain Injury Survivor & Author

David A. Grant – Brain Injury Survivor & Author

You had no idea I was there at your graduation. How could you?

Except for the day we met shortly after the accident, we’ve not seen each other.

One of our own kids graduated the same day that you did. It was just another of those “chance meetings” that have too often come to pass.

I never expected to hear your name on the loudspeaker that graduation day.

Nor did I know how deeply my PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) ran as I fell into my seat, unable to even stand for the rest of the ceremony.

A while back, I wrote that if I had the chance, I might just thank you for changing the very course of my life.

Today, I would most likely not thank you.

fireworks-animatedBut I need to be very clear, I am not angry, nor do I hold any resentment. To hold bitterness in my heart is to allow myself to be run over again and again – every day that I breathe.

Life is just too short.

Sometimes things just happen.

Sometimes newly-licensed teenage drivers run over cyclists. We both know that better than most.

It’s a safe bet to say that you did not plan your day by saying, “By today’s end, I’ll have T-boned a local cyclist.”onbicycle

It’s weird and hard to put into words – even for a guy like me, but I am living the life I was destined to live.

You just played a small, rather impactful part.

Kind of like a long line of falling dominoes, you knocked over the first domino when you struck me that cold November day back in 2010.

And from there, that line of dominoes has continued to fall. It’s circled the globe a few times … and, one-by-one, the dominoes fall.Dominoes

While I can’t thank you for hitting me that fated day, I can now see that it was unavoidable. It was destined to happen.

Over the years, I have come to realize that I have lost my life. I spend a lot of time living for others.

A few years ago, I was able to find you on Facebook. You were in college then.

Lest we forget, you were only sixteen when we first met.

You looked like a typical college kid – happy, clean cut, smiling … ready to embrace your future and all the promise that it holds.

I looked for you again today. Not in a creepy kind of way – more so, just to see how you are.

After a few minutes, I gave up. You were nowhere to be found.

I suppose that’s best.

You most likely don’t wonder about “that guy” that you hit while you were still a kid, but occasionally he thinks about you.

I have no need to forgive you as I never condemned you. Funny how that works.

If Fate saw our paths cross again, I would most likely not let you know who I was. No greater good would be served by it.

But here, in the faux anonymity that comes with today’s world, I wish you well … and I wish you happiness.

Peace.

About David A. Grant

David A. Grant 2 101115

David A. Grant – Brain Injury Survivor & Author

David A. Grant is a freelance writer, keynote speaker and traumatic brain injury survivor based out of southern New Hampshire. He is the author of “Metamorphosis, Surviving Brain Injury,” a book that chronicles in exquisite detail the first year-and-a-half of his new life as a brain injury survivor. His newest title, “Slices of Life after Traumatic Brain Injury,” was released in 2015.

David is also a contributing author to “Chicken Soup for the Soul, Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries.” As a survivor of a cycling accident in 2010, he shares his experience and hope though advocacy work including a public speaking as well as his weekly brain injury blog.

David is a regular contributing writer to Brainline.org, a PBS sponsored website. He is also a BIANH board member as well as a columnist in HEADWAY, the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire’s periodic newsletter.

David is the founder of TBI Hope and Inspiration, a Facebook community with over 15,000 members including survivors, family members, caregivers as well as members of the medical and professional community as well as the publisher of “TBI Hope and Inspiration Magazine.”

 

Thank you, David A. Grant.

Disclaimer:
Any views and opinions of the Guest Blogger are purely his/her own.

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

(Photos compliments of David A. Grant.)

 

As I say after each post: Please leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Commentanim0014-1_e0-1 below this post.

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On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” Panel: Living and Coping with PTSD

On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road”

Panel: Lisa Dryer and Julie Kintz

Living and Coping with PTSD

presented

by

Donna O’Donnell Figurski

images-1

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition that many people experience who are involved in traumatic events, such as physical or sexual assaults, traffic accidents, or any life-threatening traumas. PTSD is also often experienced by those who may witness a traumatic event. For Folks living with brain injury are often affected with PTSD.  PTSD is also common among troops returning from war with what was once called battle-fatigue or shell-shock.

 

Julie Kintz Survivor Panel 070515

Julie Kintz – Survivor

Dryer, Lisa Survivor

Lisa Dryer – Survivor

My panel, Lisa Dryer and Julie Kintz, both who live and cope with PTSD, joined me to discuss this topic. We hope to shed some light on what PTSD is and how survivors can cope with it. They each offer suggestions that work for them.

 

Several Facebook friends contributed comments and their thoughts about their experiences with PTSD. I want to thank Beth, Melissa, Sherrie, Firefighter JD (John Doe anonymous), Katey, Tara, JD2 (John Doe 2 anonymous), Jen, Alan, and Judi for their courage in sharing some very personal stories.

See you “On the Air!”

On The Air: Brain Injury Radio “Another Fork in the Road” Living and Coping with PTSD

 

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

As I say after each post: Please leave a comment by clicking the blue words “Leave a Commentanim0014-1_e0-1 below this post.

Feel free to follow my blog. Click on “Follow” on the upper right sidebar.

If you like my blog, share it intact with your friends. It’s easy! Click the “Share” buttons below.

If you don’t like my blog, “Share” it intact with your enemies. I don’t care!

Feel free to “Like” my post.

 

SPEAK OUT! NewsBit . . . . . . . . Changing a Negative Feeling About a Memory

Changing a Negative Feeling About a Memory

newsboy-thThis is exciting, but complicated, basic research. Here I simplify the main experiments. Neuroscientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have identified a neuronal circuit in mice that associates a positive or negative feeling with a memory. In a tour de force of molecular studies of the brain, the researchers conducted experiments that provide considerable hope for future therapy in humans with syndromes like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), anxiety, and depression. The scientists were able to turn a memory associated with a negative feeling into a memory that has a more positive feeling and vice versa.

(How relevant are studies done in mice? The mouse is an accepted animal model for humans. You might not expect it, but mice and humans are very similar genetically. The DNA sequences of the mouse and human chromosomes are known. Many mouse genes have sequences similar to human genes. They both code for proteins that have similar structures and do the same things. Because mouse and human genes are so similar, much of the underlying biology of mice and humans is also similar. Still there are differences. So until something has been shown to be true in humans, a scientist’s conclusions must be conservative. Most of the time, however, much is learned about humans from the mouse. It has become a convenient initial model for humans.)

The researchers at MIT engineered a virus that infects the mouse brain. They specifically infected either the hippocampus, the part of the brain that contains neurons that store contextual information about a memory (for example, the place), or the amygdala, the part of the brain that contains neurons that put a positive or negative emotional tag onto the memory. The engineered virus is essentially a dead-end. It doesn’t reproduce or harm the cell, but it does have an ability to cause infected neurons to make a light-sensitive protein – but only when the neuron is actively making a new memory. In this way, the researchers were able to make neurons involved in making a new memory sensitive to light. By implanting an optical fiber in the part of the brain that contained the light-sensitive neurons (i.e., in the hippocampus or in the amygdala), the scientists could use light to turn on these memory-making neurons at will. The general technique of using a light-sensitive protein to activate a cell is called “optogenetics.” When the light-sensitive neurons are activated by the researcher, the mice recall that memory with its associated positive or negative feeling. To make a memory with a positive feeling, male mice were allowed to mix with female mice. To make a memory having an associated negative feeling, mice were put into a special cage and given a mild electrical shock. For both kinds of memories, the neurons involved could be turned on by light.

The researchers then took the mice and put them into a cage with two compartments. When a mouse with a negative memory explored a particular compartment, the researchers turned on its bad-memory neurons by shining a laser into the optical fiber to activate those neurons. The mice “remembered” the bad feeling and avoided that compartment. When the experiment was done with the mice having a good memory, the mice preferred that compartment. These results were seen only when neurons of the hippocampus were activated. No change in mouse behavior was seen when amygdala neurons were activated. Whereas the amygdala is needed to add the positive or negative feeling to a memory, the researchers concluded that a memory with its associated feeling is stored in the hippocampus.

The researchers then asked if they could change a negative memory into a positive memory and vice versa. They took the male mice with the negative memory and mixed them with females to make a positive memory. When they used light to activate the bad-memory neurons, the positive feeling from mixing them with females dominated. Unexpectedly, those mice did not suddenly avoid the females when the researchers activated the bad-memory neurons. When the mice were put back into the cage with two compartments, they went randomly into both compartments, even when the researchers activated the bad-memory neurons with light. The bad memory was no longer causing them to avoid one of the compartments. The negative tag had been supplanted by the positive feeling. What happened to the first (negative) tag? Was it removed? Was it changed? This question is being investigated. When the experiment was reversed, the scientists found that the positive feeling became more negative.

This new research gives a molecular explanation for why emotion associated with a memory can be changed – the basis of current therapy. Dr. Susumu Tonegawa, who directed the research, believes that the amygdala has two kinds of neurons: neurons that can tag a memory with a positive feeling and other neurons that can tag a memory with a negative feeling. He wants to identify those two populations of cells and understand how they work at the molecular level. Such information will be valuable for the development of new therapies and drugs. (Full story)

(Clip Art compliments of Bing.)

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No memory of the day that changed my life

My name is Michelle Munt and this is my story about surviving a brain injury and what I continue to learn about it. This is for other survivors and their loved ones, but also to raise awareness of what can happen to those in an accident. This invisible injury too often goes undiagnosed and it can be difficult to find information about it. I will talk about things that have helped me as I continue to recover and invite others to see if it works for them too.

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