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Serious Injury Leads To Serious Problems With Friends — Counseling Corner

Every Thursday we highlight a problem from a listener. We give our advice and ask other listeners to offer advice. Welcome to the Counseling Corner.

Dear Brain & Steele,

I’m in need of some advice! I’ve recently experienced a brain injury. I’ve experienced a great loss with this injury, along with losing my independence, there is the loss of my many friends whom I figured would be my support on my way to recovery. My injury was sudden and I’m certain many of my friends don’t have a clue how to be there for me. Even though many of my friends work as health professionals, at times when I ask the one person that does come around they just inform me that they don’t know what to say!

I require a lot of care still, and it bothers me. However, what bothers me more is when I have hard days and I have no one to vent my frustrations to. There will be many more hard days in my future as I am fighting and working hard to gain back what I’ve lost in my own body.

I don’t feel comfortable enough to vent frustrations to one of my friends whom I haven’t seen in so long because she is still in shock about my condition. My other friend needs me so she can vent about work and home life. She can usually tell when it’s really bad for me and will listen then.

I thought about putting a post on Facebook about my feelings, to simply tell those who don’t know what to say to start with “Hi!” I don’t know if everyone thinks I already have enough people around me, or just feel I’m not the same anymore and that’s what keeps them away. Well the latter is true, I’m not the same. But I’m also lonely, and that’s the most difficult part of this condition! I didn’t ask for this, and I’m not going anywhere either.

What should I do to get through to people that I need their friendship to help me get through this, and let them know that a comment on Facebook does not equal friendship?

Frustrated & Lonely

What Our Listeners Think

Matt suggested our letter writer seek out support groups where he or she can connect with other people in similar situations.

Bobbie added that our letter writer’s friends can also contact organizations that will help them be able to deal with this difficult situation better.

Kate has gone through a similar situation with a friend of hers and said our letter writer needs to be honest and upfront with his or her friends about what they can do to help because they won’t know what to do otherwise.

Kathryn recommended our letter writer start an online journal (like Steele’s) where he or she will be able to vent their frustrations. This might give his or her friends a call to action after reading about what’s going on.

Jennifer said our letter writer’s friends need to just sit and listen while he or she vents.

Brain says:  Take advantage of support groups.  Talk to people who are going, or who have gone through the same thing.  And make sure and communicate with your friends your needs.  Tell them exactly how you feel.  I bet they’ll be surpriised, and want to help.

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