With the excitement of the hit and run Wednesday night, I did not wish to overlook the important support group we had.
The topic for the night was Mood Swings. The Occupational Therapist started by sharing some sad news. A group member, in her second year post-injury, committed suicide.
It was ironic, the OT said, the subject for group was Mood Swings, this dear soul suffered from, according to her husband, he thought she was doing better. He came home from work and found her unconscious.
Lest anyone not take Brain Injury seriously or choose denial, the truth stands for itself. Any time I hear of suicide after trauma, it pierces my heart. I took a deep breath to help myself cope and let the words we were hearing sink in.
I pray for her family, for healing, that this will not begin a legacy of suicide in her family.
The Social Worker said she will be holding a special session on suicide soon, since we with TBI are so very susceptible.
We talked about what causes mood swings, how to try to self-regulate, which is difficult in the moment. Someone mentioned the gate keeper of the mind not being on duty anymore – something many were in agreement about.
Triggers mentioned were fatigue, hunger, over stimulation, irritability, overwhelm, depression, frustration, weather, hormones and anxiety. Often in these moments we can slip into words and behaviors we would not do or say before.
We shared strategies in hopes we can improve our awareness over time. As the person above said, it’s hard to do when your gatekeeper is away!
Self-monitoring is key as well as having others around us help stay in check. Like the OT says, living with Brain Injury is an ongoing process.
Sometimes there are signs we’re about to get irritated, angry, etc. Some people begin talking faster or louder, some shut down becoming very quiet, others begin to rage. It’s different for everyone.
We talked about medication being helpful, as well as exercise, nutritional supplements, alternative medicine, diet, self-care and taking breaks.