Profound difficulty concentrating = brain injury

Renaissance

New Here
I have a very frequent and quite persistent mental paralysis. Doing everyday things like cleaning the house seem impossible. The things I cannot do, without having to exert extreme and usually not possible to have willpower, are cleaning, filling out paperwork, and most other tasks that require concentration. I find that everything I do is very taxing. It is taxing to get dressed in the morning. It is taxing to check the mail, in the mailboxes outside of my apartment, it is taxing to make a phone call, it is taxing to pay a Bill online. It is taxing to have to talk to people.

What I feel like is that my brain has been broken, and that as a result, I am much more sensitive to the willpower and mental energy that it takes to do any task. It is like I used to think that putting on a pair of pants or checking the mail take zero willpower, but now I realize that there is a whole lot of effort in all of that.

Life happens to me faster than I can deal with it. I feel helpless because I cannot manage my life and it is crumbling. The sense that I have had for a very long time is that I have a very severe traumatic stress brain injury. That’s what my symptoms add up to, in my mind.

can anyone add to this ? Do you have a persistent feeling where doing what used to be low effort tasks is now extremely taxing, such that you have to have willpower to do them, and that you have to recover after doing them? Do you feel like you are going in slow motion, while life plays at normal speed?
 

Friday

Moderator
Brain injuries can certainly cause the problems you’re talking about… but so can PTSD. And depression. And several other conditions/disorders.

Do you have a multiple diagnosis you’re trying to sort out what is coming from where… or is PTSD new enough for you that what’s totally normal for PTSD seems like it must be from something else?
 

joeylittle

Administrator
can anyone add to this ? Do you have a persistent feeling where doing what used to be low effort tasks is now extremely taxing, such that you have to have willpower to do them, and that you have to recover after doing them? Do you feel like you are going in slow motion, while life plays at normal speed?
Yes, this definitely describes how I experience depression.

Depression was what drove me into psychiatric treatment in the first place. That diagnosis (MDD with history of dysthymia) was what I was being treated for, prior to the onset of my own PTSD symptoms. And still - again, this is just in my own experience - I would describe these feelings as being part of "my" depression, rather than the more situationally-based depression that I experience when the PTSD is acting up.

I know at bottom it's all depression, and I'll never really know the relationship between these two diagnoses (PTSD and MDD). But - I can definitely say that I experience them as two different symptom groupings, and this slow-motion feeling - the exhaustion, inability to access motivation, anhedonia - belong to how I experience major depressive episodes. The depression I get with PTSD is more...temporal, I guess.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
I have a history of complex trauma and have had 3 bad head injuries. I find even doing the most simple tasks exhausting. Paperwork, bills, phone calls, summoning the courage to go out and shop. Talking to people and focussing on speaking and forming sentences. It's bloody hard work! 🙄😒
 

Renaissance

New Here
Brain injuries can certainly cause the problems you’re talking about… but so can PTSD. And depression. And several other conditions/disorders.

Do you have a multiple diagnosis you’re trying to sort out what is coming from where… or is PTSD new enough for you that what’s totally normal for PTSD seems like it must be from something else?
@Friday, PTSD is what I consider my brain injury. As I understand it, an overload of stress hormones causes a physical injury to the brain. The point I am getting to is that I think I have a very severe brain injury. My hyperarousal symptoms are so intense, my other symptoms are so pervasive and long lasting, and I feel so impaired, that to me this adds up to me being severely damaged. I also have extremely bizarre things happen to me during depersonalization and derealization. For over 2 years, I haven’t been able to work, and I haven’t been able to clean my house or manage my daily life. As soon as I say that, however, I’ve had a period of feeling much better in the past 9 days. I’m hoping that it lasts.

I have a history of complex trauma and have had 3 bad head injuries. I find even doing the most simple tasks exhausting. Paperwork, bills, phone calls, summoning the courage to go out and shop. Talking to people and focussing on speaking and forming sentences. It's bloody hard work! 🙄
@Survivor3, this matches my experience very closely. For you, are you so impaired that you cannot manage your life?

Yes, this definitely describes how I experience depression.

Depression was what drove me into psychiatric treatment in the first place. That diagnosis (MDD with history of dysthymia) was what I was being treated for, prior to the onset of my own PTSD symptoms. And still - again, this is just in my own experience - I would describe these feelings as being part of "my" depression, rather than the more situationally-based depression that I experience when the PTSD is acting up.

I know at bottom it's all depression, and I'll never really know the relationship between these two diagnoses (PTSD and MDD). But - I can definitely say that I experience them as two different symptom groupings, and this slow-motion feeling - the exhaustion, inability to access motivation, anhedonia - belong to how I experience major depressive episodes. The depression I get with PTSD is more...temporal, I guess.
@joeylittle, I understand what you are saying. I do think that my experiences are something different. PTSD causes me great despair, at times. The impairment that I suffer from happens independent of my mood. It is also extreme in nature, and I can feel how my brain is broken.
 

Renaissance

New Here
so yes, executive dysfuncton and hyperarousal are the symptoms of ptsd which is distinct from a tbi.

but there can be over lap! tbi can cause impaired logical decision making, planning, explosive rage, and things as well.

did you have an actual head injury or are you comparing ptsd to a tbi?
As I understand it, PTSD results from a brain injury. I have no head injury. To me, a physical injury is a physical injury. If stress causes it or if getting hit in the head causes it, your brain is physically injured. The treatments for these injuries will be different, depending on the case, but one is not necessarily more severe than the other. You can be profoundly impaired with PTSD, and in some cases, you can be more impaired than someone with a different kind of brain injury.

What I’m getting at is that PTSD results from a brain injury. Within PTSD cases, the injury can be more or less severe. In my case, my symptoms and my profound impairment lead me to believe that i am far down on the severe end of the spectrum.
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
I strongly disagree, I understand lots of members here might agree, but I'm not one of them.

I don't think PTSD or any other mental illness is a brain injury, and there's been zero conclusive scientific proof that it is. Which is why brain scans aren't used as a diagnostic tool in mental illnesses.

And your brain doesn't need to be damaged for your mental health to be seriously impacting your life. It's a serious impact, that's valid. You don't need to compare to people who have physical brain injuries to explain your suffering or functioning level.

If you do choose to consider your PTSD to be a severe brain injury, be grateful, you manage to navigate a website and type coherently. Good news. You don't meet the medical definition of profound brain injuries.

But they're imo very very different things with different measures of severity. So I am not minimising your PTSD, just adding some reality here.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
@joeylittle, I understand what you are saying. I do think that my experiences are something different. PTSD causes me great despair, at times. The impairment that I suffer from happens independent of my mood. It is also extreme in nature, and I can feel how my brain is broken.
Not sure you did understand what I was saying. I'm not talking about the impact of a depressed mood. I'm talking about the impact of/experience of capital-d-Depression, which is - to borrow your term - 'extreme' in nature.

And your brain doesn't need to be damaged for your mental health to be seriously impacting your life. It's a serious impact, that's valid. You don't need to compare to people who have physical brain injuries to explain your suffering or functioning level.

If you do choose to consider your PTSD to be a severe brain injury, be grateful, you manage to navigate a website and type coherently. Good news. You don't meet the medical definition of profound brain injuries.

But they're imo very very different things with different measures of severity. So I am not minimising your PTSD, just adding some reality here.
Well said.

What I’m getting at is that PTSD results from a brain injury.
Actually, if I'm following you correctly - PTSD doesn't result from a 'brain injury'. PTSD is a term used to define a collection of symptoms which occur as the result of a certain kind of traumatic experience. Changes within the brain relating to mass and activity have been noted by researchers studying this condition; but that in and of itself wouldn't be termed a 'brain injury'. Those are changes to the brain - big difference.

There are many individuals (many of them members, here) who conceptualize their PTSD as being an injury, instead of a disorder.

It's just important to remember that seeing it that way is not the same as it being categorically, clinically defined as such.

If you find it interesting - these are some other threads we've had over the last 10-15 years on the topic.

PTSD as a mental-psychological brain injury
Reaction v. Disorder
What do you think of traumatic psychiatric injury vs. mental illness?
How Do You Classify Your PTSD

Within PTSD cases, the injury can be more or less severe.
re: severity - AFAIK, there's no data yet on correlations between degrees of severity of symptoms, and changes observed in the brain. Trauma can be more or less severe, and clinically significant trauma may or may not result in PTSD. Even more relevant - the PTSD that occurs for individuals with identical trauma experiences may be manifest in each individual differently, with differences in what we'd call "severity"...and all this has to do with aspects of brain function that are not yet fully understood.

Whether or not you are able to manage your PTSD through a combination of cognitive therapy of some kind, a treatment modality of some kind, and medication....that's not a correlation of severity (of trauma) = severity (of symptoms).
 

internal

Sponsor
As I understand it, PTSD results from a brain injury.
so that's not correct. a physical injury to the brain is very distinct to ptsd and it causes distinct, often very specific, problems. ptsd is a more global issue that causes problems all over the place-which is consistent with what you are saying; you are struggling everywhere.

i view it as a psychological injury only because trauma is required for ptsd. if trauma is not present there is no ptsd. but it is a condition of thoughts, processing, information, and ultimetely mental health. there is no conclusive evedence that the physical structures of the brain are dameged.

there are changes in how the brain functions and how it works and things but that is present with every mental illness, not just ptsd.

i do think that there is a bit of reductiveness in claiming that there is no overlap between ptsd or even most mental health and tbi because there obviously is. the overlap is in the presentation. trouble with cognetion, trouble with executive functioning, la la la.

but the difference is that tbi effects things in different ways and causes skills loss in different ways. for different reasons. and has different treatment methods. check out this article! it's pretty interesting.
 

Renaissance

New Here
I don't think PTSD or any other mental illness is a brain injury, and there's been zero conclusive scientific proof that it is. Which is why brain scans aren't used as a diagnostic tool in mental illnesses.
If your brain has a permanently altered chemistry, altered physical structures, or otherwise long-term altered functioning, to me this is an injury. It is an injury to your brain chemistry, physical structures, etc. We’re playing semantics here, however. I would say that there is a good bit of research to support some or all of the above.

In re profound brain injury, you have to read in context. I’m not sure what the definition of a profound brain injury is. I was referencing my PTSD severity relative to other cases of PTSD. I was not saying I meet the criteria for any condition other than PTSD. I’m having extreme difficulty concentrating and have to cut this short. Thanks for the discussion. It has been interesting and I will come back to this I’m sure.
 
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