You make such a good point (WOW!). Keeping busy with positive things AND things that show your accomplishments. I think the brain injury I have hit the 'poor pitiful me' 'button' in my brain... and it is SO hard to get and (most of all) stay out of that negative mindset. Truth is, none of us (brain injured or not) get enough 'gold stars' in life.
Some days getting out of bed is deserving of GOLD STAR treatment!
I found it was a combination of things. 1) Medication, 2) Counseling, 3) Exercise 4) knowing when it's OK to be depressed and letting myself go through it yet not letting it take over.
Oh and randomly kicking people. Just for no reason.
p.s. Totally kidding about kicking people. I only do that to small pet's that can't fight back.
You have made some wonderful points Phil. My father was also a life long member of the "miserable club". He took his own life three months before my accident. I do not (NOT) mean to demean or make this a light subject... It was awful, for myself and my children. He would never go for counseling... though his treatment of myself sent ME to treatment for a very long time. My mother drank. NOW I understand the big question of WHY. This was not something we were not prepared for--he had threatened suicide for years... we had talked about it, but in the final moments, he made his choices and it was so unfair to those of us left behind. With all that in mind, I must include the following:
Getting good psych help is REALLLLLLY HARD. Getting good psych help in the TBI world is even harder. I pay for my own insurance and my own therapy. I do not know how long that will last... will I be 'well' by then? Will my brain be fixed?
I am currently in a battle of my medications. After several years, I developed seizures -- and the drug they put me on has given me a constant struggle and battle with added (I did NOT NEED) depression+suicide thoughts/actions. I am NOT in control of these... Every day, until my doctor facilitates the new drug change, I take what I am now calling my death pills... Why? Because I am supposed to. Because they are supposed to help me not have seizures. It has been going on since JUNE. I go in again on WED for the final START of the change over to a different drug... and who knows what IT will bring...
The chemical JUNK and the fact that the brain works the way it does (or does NOT) + family participation is huge. I am struggling every day--and I KNOW I am not the only one out there. YES. The meds all come with the disclaimers... but who is there to notice and put the bits all together and then relay it to the doctors...??????? My husband has NOT. He did NOT read the insert until I forced it on him in a rage. Last weekend. He is NOT a stupid man--he is a member of MENSA and very very smart-just not real common sense.
This in my opinion is why THESE ONLINE GROUPS ARE SO IMPORTANT. So many of us ARE isolated and don't REMEMBER THE DETAILS. I just don't remember these details! I am lucky to remember the name of the drugs!
Most therapists do NOT deal with the medical sides either... just an afterthought.
The big thing here is TBI Depression is very different from Clinical Depression in the type of drugs that work. The symptoms may be similar but the root cause and thusly what needs to happen to correct it are VERY different from clinical depression. For most people with TBI Depression it will WORSEN when given the antidepressants used for clinical depression.
The very cool thing is that the right antidepressant drugs can actually help the brain remap in healthier, less depressed pathways. Counseling can also do that. However, in my personal experience and also my observations of watching others, I think a combination of medication and counseling work best for TBI survivors.
A side note to Barb:
Another survivor on this site just underwent a test where they had him in the hospital for a couple of days and took him off all seizure meds while having him hooked up to all sorts of machines so they could see what was happening in the brain as he had seizures. He came away with some good information and his docs are working with him on the results and adjusting his meds. When you get to the TBI people in Seattle be sure to ask about this.
Are you aware of the Major Depression study taking place through both UW and Emory in Atlanta?
The Harborview Phd. in charge is Robert Fraser, Phd. and Professor in the neurological Vocational Services Unit . He can be reached at (206) 744-9131 if you have interst in exploring participation in the study.They need additional people to participate, so enrollment is available.