If you are a traumatic brain injury (TBI) patient and are rehabilitating from post-concussion syndrome (PCS). Unfortunately, you have probably experienced neuro-fatigue.
What is Neuro-Fatigue?
What is neuro-fatigue you ask? Neuro-fatigue is one of the most debilitating effects of acquired brain injury. It is a feeling of mental exhaustion that you cannot understand until you experience.
As TBI patients, the best way to describe our energy levels is that our batteries don’t charge as fully as they did before. The charge also doesn’t last nearly as long as it did prior to brain injury.
The problem with dealing with neuro-fatigue is that it can affect us not just physically but also mentally.
Part of rehabilitating from TBI is learning your limits and the warning signs that you are getting close to reaching your limits. Sometimes, if we are lucky, we can feel it coming on. O
To describe neuro-fatigue to someone who has never experienced it, it is like your brain is a fog. You are not just not thinking clearly, your thoughts are confused. You can’t comprehend the thoughts in your own mind and trying to interact with others when we are in this state is next to impossible. Neuro-fatigue means that you have pushed yourself physically and mentally farther than your bruised brain can handle.
Once we have reached this state, our emotions run high. It also makes it very hard to control our emotions since we can’t think clearly.
Maybe some TBI & PCS patients manage to never experience neuro -fatigue. I’m so determined to push myself to get better and beat this TBI, that I tend to push too hard. This often causes me to experience neuro-fatigue all too often.
Whether it be physically I just overdo it and that brings it on. Often when I get on a roll with writing, I focus and write for too long and which brings on neuro-fatigue.
The worst of all for me is crowded places and large groups of people. My brain is not yet ready to process so much all at once. It gets super foggy. I get anxious because I can’t follow the conversations around me. I also often feel like when I talk I’m not making sense.
5 Tips to Avoid Neuro-Fatigue
Obviously, I’m not a doctor, so this is not medical advice. These are just tactics that I have learned to help me avoid neuro-fatigue, and deal with it if I push myself too far.
- Take frequent breaks throughout the day. Especially during physical activity and mental activity that requires a lot of concentration.
- Try to learn what your warning signs are. What signs does your body give you that neuro-fatigue is creeping up on you? Knowing your limits and warning signs
allowsyou to stop before neuro-fatigue overcomes you.
- Plan your day and activities according to when you normally feel like you are at your best. If you know you will be tired in the afternoon, plan activities that require going out of the house or a lot of concentration for in the morning.
- When you are going to be in a crowded place or large group, plan on doing it for short periods at a time. You may need to take breaks and might not be able to stay out as long as you might like.
- Also, wear earplugs when you are in large groups. Musician type ear plugs that help filter out background noise can make a huge difference in your tolerance level. This is especially usefu for large groups and crowded situations.
The earplugs I use are totally worth it! I think you will find it makes a big difference in your comfort level in loud, crowded areas.
If you are going though TBI & PCS please know that you are not alone in experiencing neuro-fatigue. Hopefully, these tips will help you. If you are going through TBI rehabilitation and have any other tips or suggestions to help fight neuro-fatigue, comment below!