Full Recovery after “No Hope” Concussion
Friday, July 1, 2016 7 Comments
There’s ALWAYS Hope
The Ghost in My Brain: How a Concussion Stole My Life
and How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Helped Me Get It Back
© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Don’t Miss this Post!
If you (or those you love) are struggling with the results of a physical or blast-related TBI, acquired brain injury, stroke, problems with balance, life-long attentional challenges, learning disorders, sensory defensiveness, MS . . .
If you have been to numerous doctors and failed to respond completely to what you have been told is every available therapy or intervention . . .
If you have ever wondered if you will ever find a way to function with the ease that the rest of the world seems to be able to take for granted . . .
Take the time to read this short post and listen to the video embedded.
Trust me on this – just read and listen.
When Life Changes Overnight
“You know outside we look pretty much the same,
and if we’re not taxing our brains,
we can even interact in a pretty normal way.
But inside, in so many hundreds of small ways,
we have just been completely changed.”
~ Clark Elliott, author of The Ghost in My Brain
One fateful day in 1999, on his way to teach a class at DePaul University, Ph.D. Clark Elliott’s car was rear-ended while he was waiting for the stoplight to turn green.
It seemed like such a minor injury at the time — but there was nothing minor about his resulting concussion.
Suddenly, everything was different.
Once a cutting-edge professor with a teaching/research career in artificial intelligence, he rapidly found himself struggling to get through the most basic of activities, almost every single day for the next eight years.
The world no longer made sense in many ways. At times he couldn’t walk across a room, get out of a chair, unlock his office door, or even name his five children. In addition to his problems with cognition, he had balance problems and debilitating headaches that would stop only when he applied a bag of ice while sitting in a bathtub of cold water.
He learned that he had to be extremely careful with resource allocation:
- How much of what kind of mental tasks he could attempt to do each day;
- How long he could sustain energy on cognitive struggles, and for how many times; and
- How much simple walking and standing before he could no longer expect his brain to sustain communication with his body well enough for him to remain upright.
Feeling like an alien in his own skin, he sought treatment after treatment from doctor after doctor. One specialist after another told him that they weren’t even sure exactly what was wrong with him – his brain scans didn’t look that bad.
They all seemed to have come to the same conclusion: there was nothing more to be done but to learn to live with it. Things might improve a bit more over time, he was told, but he could never expect to recover fully from this kind of damage. Nobody ever has.
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Fast Forward EIGHT Years
As time went by, the cognitive demands of his job as he parented five kids solo finally became more than his brain could manage. He was on the verge of losing everything when, after reading The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, M.D., he began researching information on neuroplastic change.
A quirk of fate brought him exactly what he needed. He became aware of two research-clinicians working on the cutting edge of brain plasticity in the Chicago area.
- One was Donalee Markus, a cognitive psychologist who had worked with NASA. Markus had developed a series of visual exercises designed to create new neural connections to replace damaged pathways.
- The other was Deborah Zelinsky, a cutting-edge optometrist using neurodevelopmental techniques: Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation. Zelinsky was a pioneer in the use of visual assessments to diagnose post-concussion/TBI trauma, treating patients with the use of a series of therapeutic eyeglasses.
He finally heard what he had been waiting to hear for the better part of a decade:
“I know what’s wrong with you . . .
and I know how to fix it.”
Within weeks, things began to turn around. Within one month, he regained about 70% of his functioning and was beginning to feel like himself again.
It turns out that science still lacks the scanning technology capable of detecting micro-lesions of the sort that many concussion and stroke victims sustain – deep within the brain, affecting a type of essential visual perception beyond that which most of us think of as “sight.”
With the aid of a series of prescription lenses and hours of practice with puzzles designed to strengthen specific visuospatial skills, his brain developed new pathways, giving him new ways to do old tasks. He is now fully recovered.
Explaining his experience
From the beginning, Elliott was fascinated by the impact of traumatic brain injury on his brain and in his life. Partially as a way to make sense of all the changes, he began a process of daily documentation.
He managed to take a total of 1200 pages of notes describing his experience – what he could and couldn’t do – even on days when he was unable to form words aloud or turn speech into meaning.
Those pages became the genesis of his newly published book, The Ghost In My Brain: How a Concussion Stole My Life and How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Helped Me Get It Back.
Implications for ADD/ADHD/EFD, TBI/ABI, Stroke, PTSD – and more
I think most of the citizens of Alphabet City would be as fascinated as I am by what Elliott has to say. Some of you may hear about a neuroplastic intervention that just might allow you to recover cognitive or motor skills or develop attentional functioning you’ve never had. I hope you will ALL take the time to listen to the video below. It just might change your life.
Don’t miss some of the longer comments on Elliott’s webpage
disclosing What Readers Say in response to his book –
you will understand struggles with cognitive deficits in a whole new way.
Scroll DOWN for links to more resources.
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Get it here while it’s still free for the taking.
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You might also be interested in some of the following articles
available right now – on this site and elsewhere.
For links in context: run your cursor over the article above and the dark grey links will turn dark red;
(subtle, so they don’t pull focus while you read, but you can find them to click when you’re ready for them)
— and check out the links to other Related Content in each of the articles themselves —
Related articles right here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com
(in case you missed them above or below)
- Brain-hacking – Moving Beyond the Brain you were Born With
- Turning on the light in “darkened” brains: The Miracle of Neuroplasticity
- Why you can’t and how you can – Part 1
- TYPES of Attentional Disorders
(more than you think – and YOU may be one of the “types”)
- Lessons from the TBI Community
- Executive Functioning Disorders – not just kid stuff
- Brain-Based Coaching Basics: watch videos, change your brain
Other supports for this article – on ADDandSoMuchMore.com
A Few LinkLists by Category (to articles here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com)
- The Optimal Functioning (Challenges) Series of articles
(about the Inventory & articles from each of the nine functional categories)
- Variations on ADD-ADHD
Related Articles ’round the net
- New Treatments For Concussions Based On Recent Brain Research
(with book excerpt)
- The Best New Concussion Book on the Shelves (excellent!)
- Fighting Through the Fog of Concussion (Discover)
- The Ghost in My Brain excerpt (pdf)
- Local Author Discusses ‘Ghost In My Brain’ (Chicago Tonight)
- The Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association
- The College of Optometrists in Vision Development
- The Brain that Changes Itself | Norman Doidge, MD
- A Concussion Stole My Life (YouTube interview)
- Visual Perceptual Skills: Real Life Applications
- Introduction to Vision & Brain Injury (Neuro-Optometric Rehab)
- The Ghost in my Brain (Visionhelp)
BY THE WAY: Since ADDandSoMuchMore.com is an Evergreen site, I revisit all my content periodically to update links — when you link back, like, follow or comment, you STAY on the page. When you do not, you run a high risk of getting replaced by a site with a more generous come-from.