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Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Concussion Syndrome For traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post concussion syndrome (PCS).

Doing much better, thanks to meditation, yoga, Aricept, & lil doggieswalking ...

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Unread 11-04-2012, 09:32 AM   #21
Klaus
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I was lucky enough to be able to attend an 8 week MBSR course put on by my workplace during my recovery. I found it immensely helpful, both in making my life better despite my symptoms, and in helping to recover from those symptoms. As most of us will have noticed stress is particularly bad for us and I found my stress levels greatly reduced as a result of this programme.

It also helped me to enjoy simpler things in life which didn't require so much stimulation to enjoy. I would definitely recommend it and I consider learning about it to have been a significant benefit of my injury, since without the injury I probably would have dismissed it as new age nonsense that I didn't need, and not bothered with it.

In terms of how it differs from apathy, I would say that far from not caring about anything, it involves the practice of really paying attention to the present moment and finding enjoyment in things that are all around us but we often don't notice - really looking at the changing colour of leaves in autumn, really listening to the sound of birdsong or really focussing on the sensation of peaceful breathing.

Part of the rationale is that in our constant worries about the past or future we overactivate our stress/fight or flight response, flooding our bodies (including the brain) with stress hormones, which is bad for us. By focussing awareness fully on the minutiae of the present moment we give our brains and bodies a break from such worries whilst at the same time making sure we enjoy and appreciate the present moment to its fullest extent. This feels very different to me from the sort of depressed apathy that I have experienced at other times, which basically involved becoming dead to the world and not enjoying or caring about anything.

As you get more comfortable with this focus on the present moment (and in my experience it is something akin to a skill which improves with practice) the course introduces new ideas such as focussing on the experience of emotions, including worries. This involves not distracting yourself from them or pushing them away, but rather holding them close and examining them in the sense of how it feels to be experiencing that emotion in the moment.

This has the suprising effect of allowing you to master and rationalise the worry, rather than simply experiencing it in an unreflective and uncontrolled way. The practice seems to greatly reduce the worry overall. It is kind of hard to explain without all the time and practice of actually being on the course but I hope that gives some idea of how it's very different from apathy.

In terms of its 'spiritual' dimension the core ideas and the term 'mindfulness' is drawn from Buddhism (and you can get books about mindfulness written by Buddhists), however Kabat-Zinn and the people associated with him have very deliberately removed it from this context, and no other aspects of Buddhism are involved. Indeed, Buddhists can hardly claim a monopoly on the idea of being mindful of experiences in the present moment, and Kabat-Zinn is at pains to stress the contribution of western thinkers to his idea of mindfulness. The man most quoted in his book “Wherever you go, there you are” is Henry Thoreau.

There was certainly no requirement during my 8 week course (which is a standardised programme) for belief in reincarnation, an afterlife, a higher power or any other supernatural or religious belief otherwise involved in Buddhism. In fact, I didn’t hear anything which was not perfectly within the boundaries of modern scientific belief.

I guess if someone is very religious then they might object to the clear Buddhist influence on this programme as making it somehow heretical or something, and that’s fair enough. But as someone who is definitely not a Buddhist I found nothing objectionable in it. Once again I couldn’t recommend it enough for people with PCS (and I would guess it would be very helpful for people with more severe TBIs as well).
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mTBI March 2011, spent around a year recovering.

Since recovery I have achieved a Master's degree with distinction in Neurological Occupational Therapy
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Unread 11-07-2012, 08:42 PM   #22
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Default Recently in the news re: mindfulness meditation, insight meditation

New this week:

Attn Ontario-Canadians: NeuroNova Centre for mindfulness-based chronic pain management courses are now enrolling for upcoming Winter classes.

The beginner level class is offered three times during a calendar year.

It appears that a physician referral is required, costs covered and/or reimbursed by OHIS.
See weblink for full details: http://www.neuronovacentre.com/cours...r-chronic-pain

Free online podcasts, guided mindfulness meditations from
UCLA Health System/ School of Medicine/ Mindfuness Awareness Research Center: http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22

Last edited by Theta Z; 11-08-2012 at 11:28 AM. Reason: (Science Daily weblink is down.)
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Unread 11-08-2012, 09:24 AM   #23
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Default Science Daily article re: meditation and older adults.

This Science Daily article from August speaks of the effect of meditation for older, potentially more isolated adults, and loneliness.

While the article specifically speaks of 'older adults', seniors ... the socially-isolating effects for many (of any age) dealing with the aftermath of tbi-pcs, I know can be sometimes great, resulting in an experience of 'loneliness' for many of us, irrespective of age.

Here's the link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0814213630.htm
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Unread 11-08-2012, 10:25 AM   #24
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Default Routine ... getting there perhaps! lol. ;)

Quote:
Originally Posted by sospan View Post
Theta, Glad you are back on the road to recovery and are happy.

Reading between the lines of your post, you seem to have a well sorted routine with daily and weekly activities, with points during the day to nap - I guess the ordered plan has helped as well ?
An update since my last post(s) on this subject.

The biannual changes in daylight savings time have lifelong always thrown me off and been disconcerting to me.

This year I chose to move my clocks back a few days in advance of the "Fall back an hour", to perhaps give me a personal chance to adapt/adjust in advance of the Big Change.

I've been aware that, in my own sleep disorder, I've been awakening earlier & earlier these Fall mornings.
Thus instead of awakening from enough/not enough sleep around 5am, I was awakening around 4am.

As I mindfully have been preparing for upcoming January 2013 10-day intensive meditation training (of which andi spoke) --- it 'dawned on me' this week of the time change that in fact I will be needing to awaken ~4am each morning of the intensive training coming up in just 2 months for me.

How good it is that my bio-clock is already adapting & adjusting in advance for that!
I've also been using the early morning time for practicing meditation.

Thus in conclusion ... I am aware that a routine perhaps seems to be naturally evolving for me. Yay! That makes me happy, yes.

Best regards to each and all,
Theta
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Unread 11-08-2012, 11:26 AM   #25
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Good for you ThetaZ. Article about loneliness is a great one. I personally know senior citizens suffering from loneliness in spite of people being around them. I can imagine how will it be if no one around.

Meditation almost eliminated by loneliness right now. I have been doing atleast twice everyday. Also I see my improvement in my dull headaches. Not that bad. Whenever I get fatigued, more dizzy, stressed, increasing headaches - I sit down and meditate. Sure helps. No doubt and better than taking Ibuprofen or any other pain killers.

They also mentioned Tai Chi which my Neurologist also wants me to try because of dizzy/weak knees feeling. I thought he was joking.

I have taken few classes before head injury and you have to do moves with bending your knees slightly and smooth movements. Now I think that may help me too.

Cheers!
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Unread 11-08-2012, 12:07 PM   #26
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pcslife,

Thank you for your own update here as well.

It's great to hear that your twice daily meditation practice, plus as-needed throughout your days, is bringing for you relief in both the pcs loneliness and headaches. Kudos.

Same for me with the ibuprofen, which I've been taking Rx 800 mg 3 x daily for painful hip/piriformis fasciitis, and back pain ... simply the 'growing pains' of perhaps good consequence of recent physical activity.

(Hmm, like sweeping the walks of pine needles each morning? Like lugging a gigantic potted tropical plant into the sunlight several mornings a week? Lol.
Well, no one else is going to do it for me, so I just 'do it', sometimes w/o thinking of the consequences.)
Nonetheless it's good to be functioning again and not feeling so despondent and uncaring about the walks and the plants.

Much as I do love my rx ibuprofen, it has for me the negative side effect of, well, plainly: constipation ... which is also a negative side effect for me with any antidepressant.

Thus like you I am glad to not be needing to take the ibuprofen as regularly as I might otherwise.

Also, yes, the tai chi can be excellent for balance and will indeed strengthen your leg muscles, addressing that 'weak knees' feeling.

Sounds like you've got one of the few good, knowledgeable, compassionate-listener neurologists who can think for himself outside the box of strictly allopathic medicine approach.
For this also I am very pleased for you, pcslife.
Great!

Thank you again for your encouragement and supportiveness on here.

Best regards,
Theta

Last edited by Theta Z; 11-08-2012 at 03:10 PM.
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Unread 11-12-2012, 08:57 PM   #27
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Hi, glad you are checking in here with your recent update. It's great to hear about how people are doing several years out from their "incident". I am now 2yrs 8mo from the time of my accident and feeling so much better (but I say that every few months as more things continue to heal). I've recently started yoga, which is helping and need to get back to light swimming, which was also helpful. Meditation, mindfulness, being aware of one's thoughts-no matter if they come in pictures, words or internal sounds is always a good thing, spiritual or not. A great book to read if one can is "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle. It is not based on a religious belief (it can actually enhance your personal religion if you choose), but only on the practice of being in the now. It has been helpful for me to attempt to stay in the present moment rather than go off into anxiety or fear or remembering trauma, etc. Most of that is already over and done with or hasn't happened yet (so how can worrying help either my past or future).
Anyway, glad to hear you are back to doing some activities. It's helpful to know you can still relapse years later. Today I am feeling "off" again, time is passing faster (must mean I am spacing out a little) and I feel really tired.
Just goes to show that we have good days and bad, even years later. I am happy to be able to do some things that just weren't possible for a long time.

Keep on keepin' on!
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Unread 11-13-2012, 10:13 AM   #28
Theta Z
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eponagirl wrote: "Just goes to show that we have good days and bad, even years later. I am happy to be able to do some things that just weren't possible for a long time. Keep on keepin' on!"

and: "I really hope the importance of resting gets out. It seems really simple, but in our society it can be really hard to do, so it actually takes some work to stop doing so much."
__________________________________________________ _

Glad to see you here again, eponagirl.
I am always happy to read good news updates of you, Gal.

It's good to know that you are managing well with your work as massage therapist, and your farm, chickens, horses, et al.

And it's great to hear from you & your sharing of what you have learned in your experience over time & healing; how you've learned to pace your activities in order to remain as well as possible ... to "Keep on keepin on!"

Best regards,
Theta

Last edited by Theta Z; 11-13-2012 at 11:20 AM.
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Unread 11-13-2012, 10:40 PM   #29
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aw, shucks! Thanks for the words of encouragement! I am managing ok with my work as a massage therapist. I have cut back A Lot and am having trouble with the confidence to do more. I basically have to start over and everything feels different. Anyway, I do the best I can and like everyone here try to push forward despite this blasted injury!

What do you think happened that you had a good year, then a sliding back? That is my concern about feeling ok while I limit activity, then afraid of sliding back doing more...
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Unread 11-13-2012, 10:51 PM   #30
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Dear eponagirl,

Promise to reply tomorrow to your inquiry, Gal!
Seems I'm heading into the Land of Nod by now tonight. Yay!

oxo,
Theta
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50s Babyboomer; 2008 high-impact rear-ended/totalled-MVC, closed-head injury->pcs ... "Still dealing with it."
1993, Fell on black ice; first closed-head injury; life-altering. // 2014 Now dealing with Peripheral Neuropathy, tremors, shakiness, vestibular disorder, akithesia, anhedonia, yada yada, likely thanks to rx meds // 2014: uprooted to the cold wet gray NW coast, trying to find a way back home ... where it's blue sky and warm!
.

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Each and every day I am better and better. I affirm and give thanks that it is so. // 2014-This was still true for me last year, I truly felt this a year ago. Unfortunately it holds no meaning for me now. Odd, it was the Theta mantra for years. Change change change.
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