As children, in our teenage years, many of us keep journals. We document our feelings and our thoughts. Diaries can serve as a reflection of the era in which we lived, a testament to the fact that we were alive, and we were here.
Journals As a Means of Shaping Personality
In our formative years, when most of us take up journals, it can be an exercise in developing what will become our adult personalities. As teenagers, we experience the world differently. Taking the time to write down one’s thoughts, during these years where our perspectives and views are being shaped, can help put the world into perspective.
How Journals Can Help in Life After Injury
Beginning life after injury is, in many ways, a lot like going through this process of self-discovery. Even if the injured is an adult, adapting to their new reality — the “new normal” — can feel a lot like being back at square one. You will have to relearn the limits of your body and mind, discover ways to cope, and sort out your emotions.
Writing down your thoughts on life after injury can have many advantages.
- It can help progress seem more concrete. You might not realize how slowly, for example, your vocabulary and eloquence are improving. But any step forward, however small, is still a step. And being able to look back at writings from months ago can help you see your improvement more clearly.
- Documenting what works, and what doesn’t. If you and your family are trying new ways to do things, such as chores, writing down your thoughts on how you’re adjusting can help you pinpoint what works for you and your loved ones.
- An outlet for feelings. Victims of injuries may experience new, strong emotions as they try to cope and adjust. So can their families — it can sometimes be frustrating to adjust to a “new normal”. Having a safe place, such as a journal, to air these frustrations can help keep peace. It can also be helpful to look back at these feelings, and analyze what you can do as a family to minimize negative emotions and stay positive.
Giving The Injured a Voice
Journals can be a great way for the injured and their families to feel like they have a “voice” — that they don’t have to bottle up their thoughts and emotions. It can be part of the healing process, helping everyone involved get a better insight on how the tragic event has affected them.
Writing, whether on a notebook or on an online blog, can be an emotional and practical aid, and help those who are living life after injury adjust.
Victims of injury, as well as their families, might sometimes feel lost and lonely. Your social life might suffer. You might not know where to start looking for information.
Luckily, the internet can prove to be a great tool. Not only in providing with information, but, also, in connecting you to those who can help you.
The Internet As An Information Source
In the case of physical injuries, it might be difficult to visit attorneys, care facilities, and file the paperwork needed to get your life back together. The internet, with it’s wealth of information right at your fingertips, can make this process much easier.
- Research professionals — You might need legal and medical help in order to get through your injury. But how do you find the right physician or attorney to help you? The internet can offer an opportunity to research and review. There are many websites that allow, for example, past clients of personal injury attorneys to discuss their experiences working with a particular law professional. There are also websites where you can find information on care facilities and hospitals, and even schedule phone or in-person appointments with the ones you are interested in knowing more about.
- Find similar stories — Likewise, the internet can also provide you with access to stories similar to yours. This can not only serve as a comforting read — a reminder that you’re not alone in this — but, it can also provide cautionary tales. What missteps did others make in dealing with their injuries? This information could prove invaluable.
Well-informed people are rarely easy to take advantage of. Utilizing the internet as a tool, you can inform and educate yourself about what to expect, and what to avoid.
Connecting With The World
Severe injuries can affect your social life. Hobbies you once enjoyed with friends — such as working out and playing sports — are now a thing of the past. Changes in behavior resulting from head injuries can alienate your from friends and loved ones. If your injuries keep you at home for too long, you might find yourself with little opportunity to socialize with others.
In recent years, however, the internet has grown as a social tool. Now more than ever, people meet and befriend each other — and even fall in love! — online. As a social tool, the internet can offer:
- An outlet for your thoughts — There are many websites that offer “blogging” tools. These can be used as a sort of online journal, where you can document your journey living with injury. For the more adventurous, websites like YouTube can offer a more personal experience, allowing you to record your thoughts in the form of video. Recording your thoughts and feelings can be a powerful tool in rehabilitation, since you can then look back on these achieves to see how you have improved and recovered.
- Finding support — Many smaller communities exist online, dedicated to bringing together people with a common struggle or goal. Here, you can find encouragement and support, and join people who are going through the same as you and your family.
Finding Information And Support For Life After An Injury
The internet has become a powerful tool for everyday life. It can provide a means for research and source of information, and it can also provide a comforting source of support — improving the quality of life after injury.
Technology has helped society evolve, enabling us to work and stay connected more efficiently — social networks are, nowadays, one of the best ways to keep in touch with loved ones who are far away. Computers and smartphones have become tools that we use in our work and personal lives.
The question is, then, how can technology be used to help someone who has suffered a brain injury? Learning — or even relearning — how to work with computers can help the injured get a more firm grasp on certain skills, such as:
- Planning and organizing
- Increasing concentration
- Hand-eye coordination
There are, however, a few things to consider when deciding if technology should be a part of your loved one’s rehabilitation.
Is the patient ready to use a computer?
Learning new skills can, for someone who is living with brain injury, turn into an ordeal full of frustration. Before deciding if technology is something you would like to add to your loved one’s rehabilitation just yet, consider — Has their impulse control improved, at least slightly, so that they will not lash out in frustration? Have their physical injuries healed, so that they can comfortably use the equipment?
It might sound like a great idea to expose the injured person to technology, but, remember — unfamiliar territory can be frustrating for the injured.
Like any rehabilitation program, the computer must meet the injured’s needs
Most likely, you will want the injured person to work with rehabilitation software — which will provide stimulating, fun exercises. This is why you need to carefully select the equipment that will fit your loved one’s needs. Some things to think about:
- Will the person need additional adaptive equipment, such as a screen reader or enlarger?
- How easily can it be customized to accommodate the injured’s needs?
- In cases where the injured is an adult, what are the options for software geared towards their age group?
- Is the software you intend to use compatible with the computer model?
Beware of using children’s learning software
The injured might need help remembering and relearning skills that he or she first learned as a child — an instance where, obviously, a lot of the software you will find will be targeted towards teaching these skills to young children. Most of us learn basic arithmetic at a young age, so it is no wonder that a lot of learning software for it uses colorful cartoons and quirky mascots!
Many injured individuals cope with feeling that they have lost their status as an independent, responsible adult who is able to take care of themselves. In these instances, software that is very clearly designed for children could do more harm than good, and set off unwanted emotional responses.
When dealing with injured adults, simple software that is devoid of distracting and childish themes is usually more successful.
In conclusion — When used correctly, technology can be a great aid in rehabilitation. But, as with any program, care must be taken so that it meets the specific needs of the injured. With the right software, and the right amount of attention and care, technology can be an important and beneficial part of life after injury.