Brain Aneurysm Support Community

Personality

I’m 5 yrs. Out! Yay!! But was wondering if anyone has experienced any changes in themselves? Oh i had a subnorachnoid brain aneurysm…anyway i feel like maybe my decision making skills are off sometimes and i might do stuff that me 'before ’
wouldn’t do. Does anyone else feel this way?

Hey Tessa,
“Does anyone else feel this way?” Ohh yea, BIGTIME.
I’ve had a few neurosurgeries now and each has had an impact. I feel the initial surgery had the most radical impact and just as I was coming to grips with it all I required another operation. And that knocked me even further. After the first operation I was determined not to let it rule my life and pushed against it, it was exhausting but eventually I got my life back on track. After the next surgery I tried the same theory and pushed myself to get back into life, problem was I pushed too hard, too soon.

My wife and my work colleagues noticed some changes (I didn’t agree) and I ignored them, to my own detriment. I used to be quite a logical/analytical person, think about a problem, work out a plan and then execute the plan in a logical manner. Now, it seems to all be too much, I seem to often over think things, making them harder than they need to be. To avoid this I seemed to go to the opposite extreme, not think too much, act then find I’d make errors that prior I would never have done, then berate myself for making silly mistakes. Trying to find that middle ground was very difficult. It was either one extreme or the other.

I’m now 6years out from my last major neurosurgeries and I’ve had to learn to (semi) accept that although I wished I could have my ‘old life’ back, the reality is things have changed. Some people understand this, but some people don’t. This is why I say ‘(semi) accept’ because sometimes I understand it myself, but sometimes I don’t, which leads to a big dose of frustration. Those changes are NOT easy to accept.

Merl from the Moderator Support Team

I agree i have a real hard time accepting. I ended with 7 surgeries. Been about 1 1/2 yes since my last one. Maybe more time will help.

That ‘acceptance’ thing can be REAL difficult for everybody, that is both the patient and those around us. For some patients, the people around us don’t see or don’t fully comprehend the impact ie ‘You look OK, so you must be OK…’ and they can often impose their own thoughts onto us (even if it’s unintended) as if we choose to be in this predicament.
It does take time to come to terms with this reality and sometimes I rebel against it and push myself too much, which is senseless when I know the consequences of doing so. But, idiot me, I still seem to do it or over do it, more to the point. I do not like this reality, no matter how real it is.

Merl from the Moderator Support Team

Me too. I don’t trust myself. When I make plane reservations, I send the plan to my husband to approve that I got the date and time and airport right. The worst mistake was scheduling a flight for 12:15 pm, and finding out the flight left at 12:15 am. No, that probably wasn’t the worst. I made reservations for a hotel in Brooklyn, NY, but I meant to do it in Brooklyn, Minnesota. Shopping online, I need to have rules. I order something, forget that I ordered it, and order it again. I have learned to slow down, double check, send it to my husband to triple check. Never had to do this before.

I know right. It aggravates me but also my family! When i leave in the car i tell my 6yr old where we r going so she can remind me. I burn more gas turning around then going to my destination…

Boy some of these responses sound like me. People seeing you but not seeing you ~ ‘you look fine! What do you mean you’re different?’ And having to be so careful with things that we do because we have to check and recheck and then have someone else check! I too used to be super analytical. I worked most of my career as a building engineer. I fixed things, I was responsible for the smooth running of a 580,000 sq ft building. It irks me that I wouldn’t feel confident to going back to such a job. If there were to be an emergency ~ a fire, a massive leak, a power outage ~ I’d have to go down to my office to look up what I was supposed to do, instead of just knowing what to do or being able to quickly think it through. So yes, there are ‘invisible’ changes. They are aggravating, exasperating, and real. It is difficult to adjust and learn ‘work-arounds’ to function and be content in the new world we are now part of. It isn’t easy every day, but many days are not so bad. I make jokes about my ‘brain damage’ because I have to laugh or I’ll be sad. And there are some people who love us that just don’t get it, and might never get it. I am trying to ignore their lack of understanding and still get on with my life. We can do it! We are different than before, but we still have the basic fabric of who we were before.

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Tessa, I’m right there with you! I used to be the quite one that sat with my back to the wall and listened, observed and weighed my words with extreme caution. I could close my eyes, put myself back into a situation and describe everything in picture perfect detail or go directly in a book or manuscript and get the phrase I needed. I once tutored statistics so math skills were pretty high. Now I don’t use money, I use the credit card, I talk way too much and think I am just rambling with nothing of importance. And though my verbal skills were fantastic, I have aphasia now. We all learn ways to get around those things, it can be frustrating and exhausting. But keep working on it, the brain continues to heal, sometimes little steps, sometimes a huge jump. Many here have suggested keeping a diary. You can look back and see your growth. It’s a really great tool.

This is VERY common. I once had a very arrogant, self indulgent woman make the ‘but you look fine’ comment. She was the type that no matter the situation you were in she had always been through worse. On that particular day my fuse was short, very short and I snapped back ‘Well, you look intelligent, but then looks can be deceiving…’
Let’s just say she was not impressed.

Merl from the Moderator Support Team

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Ha! I hope I can remember that response and use it, should the need arise!!
Thanks for the chuckle.
Rah