VOICES The Truth About Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic Brain Injury happens when someone falls on their head and something in their brain zaps, causing an array of symptoms and disabilities.

Although falling on your head is not the only way of receiving this injury, a lot of times it can go unnoticed. When people find out they have it, they are hearing this from a doctor and then for most people, a connection to weird behavior becomes aware.

I have a friend who suffers from TBI. On the outside he looks normal, talking to him is the same and 90 percent of his behavior is as always rambunctious, loud and eccentric. After he fell out of a tree, landing on his neck, breaking it, then recovering from it has affected every day life. See for us, we saw this guy with a really crappy situation.

One of my biggest fears is breaking my neck, so to watch a close friend go through it was hard enough. Then finding out about his brain injury started making sense when his demeanor changed.

What people do not realize about this injury is that they are not brain dead. Conversations are still normal, regular work and home routines occur and they can take care of themselves. But there is something that we on the outside do not see. Their chemistry changes, ticks start popping up and things that they have never done before start happening, like crying in the middle of the afternoon while at work just because a word was misspelled or they get mad if a person says or does the wrong thing. Anger and aggression start to appear that has never been shown before.

This happens to people to more often than not. For my friend, he has been dealing with it for almost a year and has endured a roller coaster of events. Without too much detail of what goes on in his everyday routine, he has found ways to get the word out there that injuries like this or PTSD are real life altering affairs.

Watching my friend go through these experiences has opened my mind, along with other friends are around as well. It has shown us that even though he looks normal, something deep is happening inside his brain.

After he told us about his injury, we noticed we know nothing about what goes on and the best way to help and understand our friend from doing horrible things like commit suicide or punch some stranger for the hell of it, the most important thing we can do is educate each other.

Do not shy away from awkward conversations, listen to people and what they have to say. It may be a cliché, but there are more people who go through this than we know and any information can help.