Jodie Brown

 

Jodie Brown: “I am the wife of a survivor of Traumatic Brain Injury and I want to share my experience of supporting someone with mental illness and challenging behaviour which later increased and became more aggressive. I will talk about the challenges of this and how it affected me and my husband’s social relationships. My experiences throughout the early post-injury period and inpatient and community rehabilitation have given me a good understanding for how support for mental health and families could be improved. I didn’t have any professional support for a long time. I only received family neuropsychology support when my husband disengaged from his own therapy team. Whilst this was hugely beneficial, earlier support for me might have prevented a lot of later trauma and stress and prepared for the reality of living with someone with significant injuries and behaviour change. Having my own professional support from someone with knowledge about brain injury, who could also play a role in my husband’s support team could have helped them better understand what was going on at time, as someone with a brain injury’s behaviour and responses can be quite different after the therapists leave the room. Family support helped in working out what my limits were and setting some protective boundaries for myself. Guilt as a wife can muddy the recognition of what is acceptable behaviour. I did eventually leave, and I’m still engaging with support about this. From my experiences, I’ve learnt to release the responsibility for someone else’s behaviour, and identified my priorities as a mother for creating a safe and stable environment. I would like professionals and family members understand the importance of early intervention and support for family members.”