Dealing with Loss (TBI)

Grieving Losses Due to a TBI

A person with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) faces many challenges and losses. Grieving is the process of facing the pain and sorrow of the losses, releasing them and moving on to embrace life. Grieving is the process of both releasing the loss and receiving the comfort and encouragement to move forward.

Comfort comes as we receive love from God, family and friends. “We are mutually strengthened and encouraged and comforted by each others’ faith….” Romans 1:12

With every TBI there is some degree of loss. Each injury is different, but they all have one thing in common: loss. Whatever the loss may be, recognizing the stages of grieving will help you process the loss.
Your loved one could experience losses in:

  • Physical Strength
  • Emotional Connections
  • Cognitive Abilities
  • Reasoning and Memory

Never grieve these losses alone…..

  • Find someone who will listen
  • Find someone who understands
  • Find someone who cares

Grieving should not be done alone, everyone needs someone who knows how to listen. There are nine stages of grieving that take you down into a valley. The goal is to keep moving through the valley of grieving until you are on the other side. Having someone walk with you through this process will keep you from getting stuck along the way.

Stages of Grieving

  1. Shock- This stage should last just a few days or weeks.

The Characteristics of Shock:

  • Numbness
  • No feeling
  • No Emotion
  • Lack of Energy
  • Denial
  • Withdrawal
  • Isolation

People who are in shock do not exhibit feelings of grief and mourning over loss. If you are in shock you will feel numb like your living in a fog. Life will be meaningless and empty. You may even act as though the loss never occurred. This is a form of denial, denying the reality of what has happened to you or your family member.
Symptoms of Denial:

  • Do you minimize what has happened?
  • Do you recognize the feelings of grief but minimize those feelings and try to hide them?
  • Do you try to convince yourself, “Everything is fine,” “Nothing has really changed in my life!”

Keys to Recovery

  • Share your feelings with a family member or a friend.
  • Talk about how the loss or changes are affecting you.
  1. Anger

Anger is a legitimate response to your loss. This stage can also last for several years if misunderstood or not ministered through. If you stay in this stage for a long period of time your anger begins to be projected towards others.
Types of anger:

  • Directed towards others; blames others
  • Directed toward self; guilt for what you feel you did or did not do, or should or should not have done. Excessive guilt actually blocks the grieving process.
  • Anger at God- How could He let it happen?
  1. Sadness

Sadness is a natural and healthy emotional response to loss, but it is an emotion most people try to avoid. Therefore they take on physical symptoms such as stomachaches, headaches or loss of energy. Unfortunately, many grieving individuals get stuck and unconsciously adapt the “sick person” role in an effort to get their emotional need for comfort met.

When you face what you have lost, great sadness is felt. A time of sadness is part of the grieving process that must be embraced to move to the next stage. God has promised in Psalm 30:5 that sadness will end soon and joy will come in the morning.

  1. Face the Loss

The next stage is facing the loss, “This really did happen. I really have lost something or someone that was very precious to me.” This is a major key in the grieving process.

Keys to Recovery

Make a list of losses due to your injury….

  • Personality
  • Clear Thinking
  • Friends
  • Mobility
  • Job

Facing the reality of what has been lost is hard as you notice on the grieving chart you are almost at the bottom and that is how it feels, you feel like you are hitting bottom. You finally realize that everything has changed and everything will be different.

Stages of Grief

  1. Forgiveness

Forgiving others is the next stage of grieving. This is the turning point, when you pass through this stage you will begin to go up hill from this point on. Who do you forgive?

–        Forgive the one you are blaming for the loss

–        Forgive yourself if you still blame yourself

–        Forgive God if you are blaming Him

Forgiveness is a major part of grieving because you can’t fully grieve what you have lost until you have forgiven the one or ones you are blaming for this loss.

Types of anger:

  • Directed towards others, blame others
  •  Anger at God- How could He let it happen?
  • Directed toward self; guilt for what you feel you did or did not do, or should or should not have done. Excessive guilt actually blocks the grieving process.
  1. Release

Once you have forgiven, then you can begin releasing what or who you have lost. To release means you let them go, you are no longer trying to hold on to them and control the outcome.

  1. Facing Reality of the Loss

Many people get confused when they face the loss again, they may feel some of the same emotions as before such as sadness, or anger. But if forgiveness has been accomplished you will pass through this stage very quickly.
Every time you face the loss you must make the choice to grieve and release it again. When you do not have the opportunity to grieve losses, they will begin to pile up, one on top of the other. Instead of processing each loss as it comes, piling them up will cause depression, hopelessness and despair and may even lead to mental and physical problems. In this state even small losses will seem monumental. This is why it is vitally important to deal with and grieve each loss as it occurs.

  • Don’t let things pile up
  • Deco pressurize- talk things out daily
  • If you feel sad, talk about it

When you do no have the opportunity to grieve losses, they will begin to pile up, one on top of the other.

  1. Final Release

At some point in time it is important that a final release takes place. When this happens you will actually feel as if a heavy weight has been removed. This bring you to a place of accepting that life will be different. You will feel lighter, more at peace, and begin to have an increased hope and expectation of what God is going to do in the future.

  1. Acceptance

Full acceptance will come in time. The reality is that life is different. As you have gone through the grieving process you have gained strength to be able to accept your new life with the changes. Acceptance brings a lasting peace to your heart and mind.

Keys to Recovery:

  • In time…and in every situation, when we put our faith in God, He will work all things together for good.
  • Make a list of things and people you are thankful for.
  • If you practice having a thankful heart each day, with God’s help you can overcome the difficulties of each day.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

2 thoughts on “Dealing with Loss (TBI)

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