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?
 
@Renaissance I have no education in brain science at all, yet, I doubt that PTSD has yet been identified as being a degenerative brain disease.

I’d certainly agree that there are often overlapping symptoms yet, any physical damage resulting directly from PTSD, would likely be reported as ‘unremarkable’ within a brain scan. The brain does have some degree of ongoing flexibility. Brain tissue damage would be something else, IMO.

You’ve mentioned that your daily activities now demand much more willpower and effort than they had previously. My physical BTI in 2018, since then, has also demanded much more conscious mental effort when moving about, walking and balancing myself. My motor functions are slightly slower, my muscles less coordinated and weaker. This increase in conscious effort causes rapid fatigue, added stress and even nausea and trembling if, I don’t take adequate breaks. Nor do these symptoms change based on my mood. If only depression were the case, I’d suspect a greater inconsistency.

If you have recently noticed a slowing of your gait, this is a good reason to see a neurologist.
 

brat17

MyPTSD Pro
There are different kinds of brain injuries, such as stroke. Another is from a physical injury to the head. I had a head injury and was unconscious for a few minutes, and was very lucky to not have bleed. They refer to this as a mild TBI. It does not mean it does not have profound effects on functioning. Any traumatic brain injury can result in a post concussive sequal, which I have also. I can't say that the injury caused ptsd, but it certainly put me back in a place where I did not have the confidence and esteem that I had before. It effected my decision making skills. Then an assault brought on full blown ptsd. So while I dont think ptsd is a brain injury, I would guess that a lot of people who have ptsd may have suffered brain injuries or concussions in their past, either thru abuse or accidental. I do think to have both only creates more complexity and is harder to separate.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
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.
@Renaissance and @Friday Okay, after reading the thread....I feel the need to add my 2 cents worth. @Friday You are right that PTSD and TBI are two different things. A TBI is considered a TBI when there is: a) a seizure which is considered by neurologists today as a traumatic injury.....each seizure is considered 1 TBI because seizures insult the brain OR more traditionally a mild, moderate, or severe head injury.......external injuries are what people think of most commonly, but internal injuries like a stroke.... also cause insult to the brain, and similar damage, and can be more severe in some cases.

PTSD trauma can stem from a variety of abuses in childhood (physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, etc.) PTSD is a mental health disorder which has it's basis in fear....which activates cortisol.....and chronic trauma leads to a change in brain chemistry, and hyper activation of some brain structures and hypo activation of other structures.....which leads to all the functional issues people have......which can be quite similar to a TBI.....but there is good news for both......

I want to point out something that is essential......how do you improve a head injury or PTSD? Similarly....but not exactly the same because they are caused by two entirely different reasons....It's important to understand the concept of neuroplasticity....and that most traumatized brains (chemically or physically induced trauma) can be improved and the person can actively do things to rewire and create new neural networks if they are so motivated. In folks with TBI, where primary post concussive symptoms include memory, concentration/focus, problem-solving, emotional liability, balance, organization, reading comprehension, figure ground issues, mathematical difficulties, auditory and visual processing are impaired......we see these very same deficiencies in people who have PTSD.....in varying degrees depending upon how the trauma impacted the individual.

So, @Renaissance....in a way, you are right.....that your brain feels injured and you are feeling the unwanted side effects of it.....and you are right that you have similar symptoms to that of someone who just had an awful concussion.....but you have the power to work to rewire your inadequate brain which takes planned, daily effort in all the areas that you feel have been compromised. It takes teaching yourself to be organized and stay organized, it takes real motivation to believe things will get better, patience to let your brain heal, learning new things (which builds new neural pathways and builds confidence....something we are lacking because of the impact of PTSD), a must do....daily exercise.....at least a solid hr a day to change the chemistry in your brain and get your whole system in shape, then there's another must do.....going to a trauma therapist and facing the past.....standing up to PTSD fears and incorrect core beliefs which result from abuse (this is not a characteristic of TBI).....dealing with the fear that continues to make you function at an inadequate pace is essential to getting better, practicing daily things that make you happy.....feeling happiness/contentment (I did art and playing a musical instrument, and helped others less fortunate than myself-all new behaviors....all learning something new) is also a key factor for long term neurological change, and finally, investing time in a social support system and practicing boundaries with new people.....folks who are basically healthy. Now, I'll also make the plug that I think investing time in finding the spiritual path that is right for you is also highly important but that didn't come for me for at least a year later.....I initially worked on being functional, safe, and finding things that made me happy, But as I felt better, I decided to invest time in spiritual end of things.....and I think that was helpful in providing hope for the long haul.....for a better me......and helped too with a support system.

I am a TBI surviver multiple times and I have C-PTSD..... For my TBIs, I've been on a regimen of social, emotional, medical, spiritual, and physical focus and improvement each time (twice I lost the ability to read, I had communication and language issues, had vertigo/balance issues, organizational issues, depression, and other side effects and had visible neurological damage on the scans). I have always felt better and gotten back to being quite functional after each TBI and I count myself lucky-but I tried every day. When diagnosed with C-PTSD I applied the concept of fixing a broken brain like I had dealt with TBIs in the past to my C-PTSD....intervention-which included dealing with the abuse issues, dealing with the fear that jacks up my cortisol...so that didn't keep happening, learning grounding methods and meditation-working in the present, and also included exercise, health/food choices/diet and feeling good about my body, hobbies that made me feel good about me, social and spiritual aspects of living, and working on independence.....being able to rely on me....and not being needy and feeling doomed to a life with a bad brain and bad social contacts who want to fix me.....I used to feel this way.....I don't anymore......while I had no choice but to go no contact with my family-there is a huge amount of peace with this after all the grieving for losing my family that wasn't really there...........I have found a satisfactory life......with others who care about me and who I choose to spend my time with. I hope this is a piece of hope.....you have a diagnosis....now how can you make a plan that you can stick to, to get in a better place?
 
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Friday

Moderator
@Renaissance and @Friday Okay, after reading the thread....I feel the need to add my 2 cents worth. @Friday You are right that…
Did you mean to tag me? All I asked is if they had multiple dx’s & they were trying to figure out which symptom came from where… or if PTSD was new enough to them that they were still learning what’s normal for PTSD.
 
In regards to motor dysfunctions specifically and their link to PTSD and TBI— I’ve been living with both for most of my life.

Since late 2017, when walking, I’ve always felt as if, I’m pulling my feet out of thick slippery mud with every step. I experience a very brief hesitation in my gait. To me, it feels like something is holding onto my feet. If you’ve ever walked through thick, ankle deep mud while hiking, this bears a close resemblance to my cerebellar TBI disfunction. When my foot touches the ground again, I can’t be exactly certain of where my foot will land — I usually misjudge this by a nano second or an inch or two. Then there’s the challenge of maintaining my balance throughout this activity.

Perhaps, there might be some loss of normal motor function due to PTSD yet, I’d suspect that this type of motor disfunction would likely be dependent on the person’s emotional state — for example, their lack of mobility during their dissociative freeze state or their vocalization difficulties during an anxiety provoking pubic speaking event.

I’d suspect that, PTSD related motor dysfunctions would likely be temperary and based on the individual’s reaction to a specific stressful situation, either internal or external. Remove the emotionally stressful situation (via trauma therapy etc) and their trauma-related motor dysfunctions are likewise removed. On the other hand, physical brain injuries, unlike PTSD, are independent of such stress factors. The motor dysfunctions of a TBI are much more consistent and less effected by ones mood.

My emotional traumas and ongoing life stressors have had nothing to do with my two very physical ‘tissue damaging’ TBI. I can only say that, my TBI have added additional stress to my life. Lack of oxygen likely caused my infantile TBI while, the growth of my brain tumor and cyst caused my second TBI in 2018. There, the normal flow of my CSF was blocked, caused my brain’s ventricles to enlarge — this pressure induced my coma. Fortunately this was successfully resected though, I still have another of concern.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
I’d suspect that, PTSD related motor dysfunctions would likely be temperary and based on the individual’s reaction to a specific stressful situation, either internal or external. Remove the emotionally stressful situation (via trauma therapy etc) and their trauma-related motor dysfunctions are likewise removed. On the other hand, physical brain injuries, unlike PTSD, are independent of such stress factors. The motor dysfunctions of a TBI are much more consistent and less effected by ones mood.
Thanks, @spinningmytires - that's a very helpful distinction.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
In regards to motor dysfunctions specifically and their link to PTSD and TBI— I’ve been living with both for most of my life.

Since late 2017, when walking, I’ve always felt as if, I’m pulling my feet out of thick slippery mud with every step. I experience a very brief hesitation in my gait. To me, it feels like something is holding onto my feet. If you’ve ever walked through thick, ankle deep mud while hiking, this bears a close resemblance to my cerebellar TBI disfunction. When my foot touches the ground again, I can’t be exactly certain of where my foot will land — I usually misjudge this by a nano second or an inch or two. Then there’s the challenge of maintaining my balance throughout this activity.

Perhaps, there might be some loss of normal motor function due to PTSD yet, I’d suspect that this type of motor disfunction would likely be dependent on the person’s emotional state — for example, their lack of mobility during their dissociative freeze state or their vocalization difficulties during an anxiety provoking pubic speaking event.

I’d suspect that, PTSD related motor dysfunctions would likely be temperary and based on the individual’s reaction to a specific stressful situation, either internal or external. Remove the emotionally stressful situation (via trauma therapy etc) and their trauma-related motor dysfunctions are likewise removed. On the other hand, physical brain injuries, unlike PTSD, are independent of such stress factors. The motor dysfunctions of a TBI are much more consistent and less effected by ones mood.

My emotional traumas and ongoing life stressors have had nothing to do with my two very physical ‘tissue damaging’ TBI. I can only say that, my TBI have added additional stress to my life. Lack of oxygen likely caused my infantile TBI while, the growth of my brain tumor and cyst caused my second TBI in 2018. There, the normal flow of my CSF was blocked, caused my brain’s ventricles to enlarge — this pressure induced my coma. Fortunately this was successfully resected though, I still have another of concern.
That is the feeling I have with dissociation.....that pretty well describes the vestibular issues and walking. @spinningmytires ...I'd like to modify what you said about TBI and physical brain injuries, are independent of such stress factors.....nope. A brain insult which reads minor on the scan, can be relatively debilitating in some individuals.....and then adding high stress....can worsen issues like focus, balance, and emotional lability.
 
That is the feeling I have with dissociation.....that pretty well describes the vestibular issues and walking. @spinningmytires ...I'd like to modify what you said about TBI and physical brain injuries, are independent of such stress factors.....nope. A brain insult which reads minor on the scan, can be relatively debilitating in some individuals.....and then adding high stress....can worsen issues like focus, balance, and emotional lability.
@TruthSeeker Yes, exactly. You are describing your perceived ‘feeling’ during your dissociative state. And a perceived 'feeling' of motor/ balance dysfunction is different from that of an actual motor and balance disfunction caused by a physical TBI.

For example -- during a dissociation a person might ‘feel’ as though, they were floating. Yet, I think we can assume that they weren’t actually floating. They merely perceived or ‘felt’ themselves as if floating — just as, your ‘feeling’ of imbalance or loss of motor control during your dissociation might also have been your perceived 'feeling.' And of course, during a dissociative state our perceptions are blurred.

I only began to notice the very gradual onset of my balance or motor movement disfunction in 2017, due to my brain tumor's growth. On the other-hand, I’ve likely been dissociating for most of my life.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
@TruthSeeker Yes, exactly. You are describing your perceived ‘feeling’ during your dissociative state. And a perceived 'feeling' of motor/ balance dysfunction is different from that of an actual motor and balance disfunction caused by a physical TBI.

For example -- during a dissociation a person might ‘feel’ as though, they were floating. Yet, I think we can assume that they weren’t actually floating. They merely perceived or ‘felt’ themselves as if floating — just as, your ‘feeling’ of imbalance or loss of motor control during your dissociation might also have been your perceived 'feeling.' And of course, during a dissociative state our perceptions are blurred.

I only began to notice the very gradual onset of my balance or motor movement disfunction in 2017, due to my brain tumor's growth. On the other-hand, I’ve likely been dissociating for most of my life.
I have epilepsy, pre-TBI, with hypoglycemia (and that presents some similar symptoms, too) and when you start getting multiple neurological issues, with multiple medical issues, with mixed trauma or long-term trauma, it gets trickier for even the best therapists to diagnose and treat.....until they have seen you over a longer period of time and can be tricky to treat!
 
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