“I Have a Traumatic Brain Injury”

-In this episode it followed people who had suffered traumatic brain injuries. These people mostly followed a Restitution narrative in one way and in other a Quest narrative. These people suffered injuries and accidents and did not have these illnesses one day and then had brain injuries the next. One of the subjects was trying to return to school after going through extensive rehabbing from his brain injury. He still had to walk with a cane and had slurred speech, but was able to make a concerted effort to go back to school. Another one of the subjects, who was in an auto accident lacked facial recognition and social abilities after his brain injury and was trying to relearn social behaviors and reunite with his friends from school.

-These people mainly followed the major six aspects of an illness narrative. They kind of told what their story was generally about, then orientated their stories by saying what caused their injuries, what deficits they suffered from, and how it was presenting itself, then the complicating action was not only the injury itself, but how they were at rejoining their past lives, they then evaluated their illnesses and how they applied coping tools, and then how its resulted in where they are now and the overall effect it has on their present situation. Mostly these were quest narratives because they had the goal of making their lives complete with their injuries, not actually being cured on their symptoms.

-Particularly for the boy who had issues recognizing faces and adhering to social norms, it seemed there was a bit a cultural stigma. He was seen as being rude or disagreeable by the people who knew him before his injury, particularly his family and friends from school. He was also worried how his illness affected others, whether or not they would be offended that he no longer recognized them. The stigma was not so much on the illnesses itself, because no one can help a traumatic brain injury, but it was more the people around them not understanding why they were behaving in a certain way and it not being immediately obvious what injury or deficits they suffered form.

-These subjects were able to accept their sick roles and take on the rights and responsibilities of their injuries. They did this mainly by adapting to their new roles in their past lives. I think these illness narratives were not only helpful to the person with the disability themselves to grapple with their new lives, but also helped them to relate to those around them. And it helped their family and friends better connect with the person experience and illness and how their lives will be from now on.


MTV. (Producer) (2010). “true life: I have a traumatic brain injury” [Television series episode]. In True Life. MTV. Retrieved from http://www.mtv.com/videos/true-life-i-have-a-traumatic-brain-injury/1638298/playlist.jhtml

3 thoughts on ““I Have a Traumatic Brain Injury”

  1. I chose to do a visual narrative for people with brain injuries. A visual narrative allows people to describe their illness by using pictures to express their feelings about the illness. Visual narratives allow the patient to be fully engaged in the illness, to explain the illness, and to also evaluate the circumstances of the illness.

    The visual narrative that I chose does not have the name of the patient but it shows the pictures that she took to describe what she was going through. It also does not list her personal aspects of life (ie. her culture, family, etc.). From the pictures, it looks like she has a daughter and thats all the personal information they give for her privacy purposes.

    Compared to the people on this True Life episode, I can only imagine how the patient felt. These are pretty deep heartfelt pictures. Under one of the pictures it says how she has a lot of trouble remembering things and even making a list of certain things won’t help her. Just like one of the subjects in the True Life episode, I’m sure people think of this person as rude or get frustrated with her as she forgets things. However, the subject also seems as though she has a lot of hope that she will get better in the future. The pictures say it all. Take a look…. http://brandeis.academia.edu/LauraLorenz/Papers/197374/Living_With_Traumatic_Brain_Injury_A_Narrative_Analysis_of_a_Survivors_Photographs_and_Interview


  2. I found a illness narrative on youtube about a women who suffered from a traumatic brain injury. She was in a terrible car accident and was in a coma for 7 months. She talked about her experience and said that for 2 years it was all a fog, and she just listened to what she was told to do. This video was inspiring because of how much she went through and how far she has come. This one was a little different than the true life patients because she talked about how she had such a support system and her family is what helped her get through everything. So she didn’t have to worry about how it affected the people around her and they weren’t getting frustrated with her because they new what was going on. She was also no in high school, so she was older so didn’t have to adapt to the school and social environment as well as pressures anyone goes through. It was also different because since she was out of rehabilitation, and already through the process of adapting to this illness she was able to shed light on it. She said that a important process to going through a traumatic brain injury is to learn everything you can about it and do all your research. Interesting enough she said that what helped her the most was hearing other peoples stories and their narratives. The factors that influenced her experience was family, rehabilitation, and stories of other people. She said without her mom she would have ended up in a nursing home and not in rehabilitation to get better. Due to her economic status she was able to get a wonderful rehabilitation program to continuously help her get better. As well as her family by her side that she trusted to make important decisions for her when she was unable to. He story was truly touching.


  3. Adriana Villar was 16 when she had her brain injury, and she is now 24. Since she woke up, she has been going to various therapy sessions. She has had to relearn how to do everything: talking, walking, taking a bath, getting dressed, everything you could imagine except probably sleeping. Her main stigma as an adult was her disability in the work arena. Due to her physical disabilities, it was hard for her to find a job that would accept her and accommodate for her specific needs. However, she was able to find a job, and she ties knots in an assembly line at a factory.

    Family and friends are crucial for brain injury patients. With symptoms like memory loss and physical and mental disabilities, the dependency on another becomes a growing and important treatment process for them and their brain that is starting to learn everything all over again. Patience is another key as well. The boy had issues recognizing faces, and to certain people it seemed inconsiderate. Adriana on the other hand was conscious of the things going on, but her physical body was not working in conjunction to her brain. It seems that both the boy and Adriana had that familiar and dependable family support that helped them get to a better point. There is one scene that shows Adriana telling her mother that she could only tie a couple of knots when she first started at the factory, but now she can tie two times as much than when she started. That in itself, is growth and progress for Adriana and her family.

    Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrpkUXaI4Ck

Leave a Reply