Brain injuries are difficult for an outsider to understand. Often times a person will appear healthy from a physical perspective despite suffering brain trauma. While we all want to help the person in our life whose been injured, it is important to understand there are some things that should not be said to someone with a brain injury.
In order to determine what is appropriate, consideration must be given to what some of the symptoms of brain injury are. Those with brain injuries can be forgetful, reliant on others, irritable, or lack motivation or ability to consistently perform certain tasks.
Keeping these limitations and restrictions in mind, the following are examples of what you shouldn’t say to a person with a brain injury:
• “You don’t look hurt to me”
• “You’re lucky to be alive”
• “Don’t you remember when…”
• “Let me take care of that”
• “Try to be positive”
• “Don’t be so negative”
While you think you may be helping or supporting your loved one, the above comments can trigger further feelings of uselessness or sadness. It is also noteworthy that those with brain injuries suffer from a higher rate of suicide from those in the general population. Accordingly, commenting on how lucky someone may be to be alive might not be helpful, as the person with the injury may not share your view.
By keeping in mind the limitations and challenges faced by a person with a brain injury you, can support their recovery while being sensitive to potential issues before they arise.
About the Authors
The son of a grocery store clerk, Kevin grew up outside of Perth, Ontario. He credits his humble beginnings with the development of his underdog mentality, an approach he has carried into his legal career.
He attended McMaster University for two years before being granted early admission to Osgoode Hall Law School. After being called to the bar in 2008, Kevin began practising law in Hamilton before joining a leading Toronto litigation firm, representing Canada’s largest insurance companies on personal injury actions. “I didn’t find it fulfilling,” Kevin recalls. “I was helping companies save money, when what I wanted to do was help the people going up against these major corporations.” Since joining Oatley Vigmond, Kevin has used his insurance-industry experience to protect his clients and recover the compensation they deserved. He’d been at Oatley Vigmond for two months when he settled a matter for a client at a mediation. “You felt the burden of the litigation, and her injuries, lifting off her. I wanted to help even more people experience the relief of having their uncertainty lifted.’”