Angela’s June 2014 Letter

Dear Friends,

As we wrap up the year with ten months of weekly Friends of Brain Injury (FBI) meetings, I feel a little melancholy. I have mentioned each month how meaningful it is to facilitate the weekly meetings in which the heart, the body, and the mind get renewed. The month of June at FBI focused on “Memory.” As we grow older, our memory ages too. After a brain injury, long-term memory is not lost but it is the working memory and the short-term memory that are mostly affected. We learned that repetition is crucial in remembering things in the short-term and keeping your memory sharp long-term.

As an adjunct faculty member at Chapman University, I am challenged each semester with learning thirty students’ names. Each Tuesday night, the challenge is heightened with learning 10-15 new names of first timers coming to our weekly meeting. To combat this, I have employed a memory strategy that we practiced at FBI. The strategy is to look at the person and repeat their name while trying to make an association with their name. For example, Art the “artist.”

Hannah Andrusky, a survivor of a concussion, spoke about how difficult it is to remember things you want to tell your doctor during an appointment. She has employed notes, a journal, a visual schedule and lists. All these memory tools aid in the recovery of memory. Hannah shared with the group how her injury did not change her a little but it changed her tremendously. She has written a beautiful book called Living the Invisible Disability: Coping with Post-Concussion Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury and Depression (Click here to purchase on Amazon). Hannah participated in the last group meeting and offered hope to survivors. The injury of depression, confusion, and memory loss cannot be seen and is often misunderstood.

In closing, remember to take care of yourself. This means loving yourself, listening to your body, giving yourself a break when you are not at your best, saying no and meaning it, and accepting the new normal.

 Sincerely,

Angela Mandas, MA CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist

FBI Group Facilitator

 

          

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