A brain injury in the family can disrupt almost every aspect of life, creating emotional turmoil that impacts on everything and everyone in some way or another.
When a person sustains a brain injury or similar type of brain disorder the focus is very much on regaining lost physical, cognitive and social functioning. But the emotional response to brain injury can be just as challenging.
Emotional recovery means feeling happy about your life and yourself again; while physical recovery can be relatively rapid, emotional recovery can take many years.
A sense of shock and loss is common after brain injury. The person with the injury may experience lost friendships, independence, abilities, career and opportunities. And family members and partners too can experience loss – where there are personality changes, some have said it is like losing a loved one but being unable to say goodbye.
Grief can have a serious impact upon a person’s recovery but there is no one single method for dealing with it; people mourn in their own personal way and eventually begin to heal.
Dr Elizabeth Kübler-Ross (1969) described a the 5 stages of grief which includes:
DENIAL (this isn’t happening to me!)
ANGER (why is this happening to me?)
BARGAINING (I promise I’ll be a better person if…)
DEPRESSION (I don’t care anymore)
ACCEPTANCE (I accept the situation as it is and will deal with it)