We know a brain injury dramatically impacts both an individual and their family. Whether it’s for the short term or for a lifetime a brain injury changes our lives in both visible and invisible ways. Now, research is showing that the COVID-19 has significant neurological consequences for the majority of those recovering from the virus.
Because of this increased need for brain injury outreach, peer support, and family education, BEST created the BEST COVID-19 Impact Fund to provide assistance for individuals and brain injury support groups in Washington State.
UC San Diego Health neurointensivist Dr. Navaz Karanjia outlines three ways by which COVID can attack the nervous system:
A small study published in the New England Journal of Medicine documented neurological symptoms in a group of COVID-19 patients. Symptoms ranged from cognitive difficulties to confusion. All were identified as signs of encephalopathy, a trend that researchers in Wuhan had noticed in coronavirus patients in China in February 2020.
In April a study conducted in China found that strokes, altered consciousness, and other neurological issues were evident in approximately 36% of COVID-19 cases. These symptoms also appeared in patients without typical COVID symptoms such as fever, respretory issues, or headaches.
A study out of Spain that was published in July studied patients between 1 March and 20 April regardless of whether or not they manifested typical symptoms. The research team found that 73% of patients with COVID-19 had cerebral ischaemia; a condition in which there is insufficient blood flow to the brain to meet metabolic demand, leading to poor oxygen supply or cerebral hypoxia and thus leads to the death of brain tissue or cerebral infarction / ischemic stroke.
The need for emotional and educational support for individuals and families navigating brain injury after fighting the devastating and long-term affects of the COVID virus is critical. Without funding support groups cannot do the outreach, provide technical support, virtual meetings, and more. In Washington State BEST has been at the forefront of peer support, education, and advocacy for the brain injury community.
We know from many years of experience that support groups, in particular, allow people with brain injury and their families to meet others who are in similar situations, gain valuable emotional support from one another, form friendships, obtain information and resources, and hear speakers discuss a variety of brain injury topics.
Unfortunately, brain injury support groups were one of the first activities in early March to shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In-person support groups continue to be postponed and canceled throughout Washington at a time when they are needed most.
BUT YOU CAN HELP! Your contribution ensures that individuals and families have a connection with support groups and the BEST resources available as we all navigate COVID-19 and the social and economic impact of this pandemic.
Our goal is to provide virtual support groups, online video meetings, events, webinars, resources, and valuable facilitator training just like we have been doing since March. But the truth is we cannot keep doing this valuable work without your help.
Help us meet the need by contributing to the BEST COVID-19 Impact Fund. This fund was created by the Brain Energy Support Team to provide COVID-19 assistance for individuals and brain injury support groups in Washington State.
Funding is critical to the brain injury community and BEST support as we work to restart, reopen, and help our community to heal and rebuild.
After a brain injury, it’s common for us to expect more than we might be capable of at the moment. We are, after all, our hardest critics in the best of times, let alone when we’re struggling to establish our identity and figure out what we can do and what is more difficult after a brain injury.
Think of all the things we struggle with after a brain injury – regardless if it’s because of a concussion, stroke, an aneurysm that burst, TBI, or the neurological effects of COVID-19 – dementia, irritability, aphasia, neuro-fatigue, word loss, extreme emotions, and the list goes on.
Add to the very real challenges of navigating daily life with a brain injury the constant negative self-talk we engage in without even thinking about it and we’ve got a recipe for personal disaster. We might begin to feel unhappy, depressed, or hopeless. BUT we can stop dancing with the devil of negative self-talk by repeating select mantras that can increase our happiness.
Self-talk is the easiest way to improve your well-being and increase your happiness. Positive self-talk also reduces cortisol levels because we are less stressed and more relaxed. Stress increases inflammation and weakens the immune system.
Adopt a mantra or two that you can say to yourself over and over. You don’t need a lot of them. A few good mantras will go a long way. By saying them to yourself throughout the day will make you feel happier and, in time, that feeling will come naturally. Say them when you wake up, when you take a walk, brush your hair, cook supper; anytime and all the time.
Here are three mantras that, when repeated often, can have a tremendous impact on your happiness.
I Am Grateful
I know who I am and I am enough.
I am exactly where I need to be.
Our words hold a lot of power, and mantras are a great way to set us on the path to happiness. When you use your words to bring positive things into your life, you will find happiness. Repeat these mantras and the difference they can make in your life.
Are you a gamer that is getting bored with all the shoot ’em up video games? Maybe you’ve leveled up so much the game just isn’t fun anymore. Not a gamer at all, but stuck at home with a computer?
Consider playing some IF games. Interactive Fiction (IF) is completely text-based. Instead of video these games have a story you read and as you progress through the story you are given decision points. If you’re a gamer, like me, you may remember ZORK.
I realize I just dated myself, but even if you’re too young to remember this amazing game you have the opportunity to play ZORK and, also, explore IF games for yourself. These are a great alternative to the noisy, flashy, constant diet of news streams and video ads that are bombarding us these days.
Life is stressful enough right now. I often feel like everything is coming at me so fast. I don’t need a screen full of zombies running toward me while gun blasts flash all around. It becomes an anxiety-producing nightmare! Besides, there are times when a good, character-rich story beats hack and slash.
I enjoy a good book, an old movie, or a simple game as part of my self-care regimen. I know self-care is a huge topic these days. How to eat healthy in a pandemic. How to exercise at home. How to create a home spa. Taking a local vacation.
On our BEST blog we’re promoting self-care, too. We think self-care should be simple, as easy as possible, and enjoyable. When navigating life with cognitive challenges we know we have greater success when it’s
You may have read some of our articles. If not click on the self-care category in the sidebar.
Now, let’s look at some of the best IF adventure games you can play in your browser. If you’re an IF fan and have a game you think we’d enjoy, please share it in the comments.
The Dreamhold is a gentle introduction to the world of Interaction Finction. It’s a small game, and not too difficult. More importantly, The Dreamhold features “Tutorial Voice”. The Tutorial Voice is a helpful guide that leads you through the basics of playing a text adventure.
This game is free to play. Just click the link for The Dreamhold and you’ll be transported to a cell. You don’t remember how you got there. The rest is for you to figure out.
You can also play this game on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
Play The Dreamhold
Created in 1998, Spider and Web is from the same creator of The Dreamhold. Spider And Web is a complex spy intrigue in several chapters. Essentially, you are a spy who has been captured while masquarading as a tourist. The fun of the game is that you gradually figure out what’s going on at the same time your character does.
Thoug the dialogue options are simple Yes/No the game itself is quite difficult. You can save/reload your game so you don’t have to do everything all over again.
Play Spider And Web
One of my favorite text-based adventure games is The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. I’m a Douglas Adams fan and if you are, too, then this is a game you should check out. I’ve been told that Douglas Adams contributed to the development of this game and its difficulty level plus “attitude” makes me think Adams actually put in his two cents worth.
Keep in mind, the story starts off like the book, but presents all new twists and turns once you begin your adventure.
No list of IF games is complete without a link to the classic ZORK. It’s is one of the earliest, if not the first, text game to become popular. It was created at MIT in 1978 for the old mainframes, landed on home computers in the early 1980s, and can still be played today. This game has endured because it has a solid storyline and advanced text recognition. While many text-based games require strictly structured responses, ZORK uses a text parser that is forgiving about what you enter.
You begin in front of a white house without any instructions. After working your way into the house, you, the intrepid explorer, “delves into the forgotten secrets of a lost labyrinth deep in the bowels of the earth, searching for vast treasures long hidden from prying eyes, treasures guarded by fearsome monsters and diabolical traps!”
There are many IF games available online. These are just a few of the games that I’ve played and enjoyed.
So, here’s to an afternoon of enjoyable self-care that doesn’t require a treadmill or sauna. You can even enjoy one of these games with chips and your favorite beverage. Now that’s hygge!
Hygge. Unfamiliar to many Americans, but a way of life for the Danes.
In Denmark hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) is a word that means a sense of coziness, comfort, contentment, and well-being. As you can tell, it’s one of those words that doesn’t translate very well into English. These feelings are achieved by enjoying the simple things in life.
When I think of what hygge means to me I think of slowing down, being present in the moment, and mindful of what is around me. I enjoy a state of hygge when I’m in front of a warm fire with a cup of tea and a good book. You might enjoy a feeling of hygge when you put on a pair of warm flannel pajamas and settle into your favorite TV show as the cold winds blow outside.
Hygge is a national obsession for the Danish. Meik Wiking writes in his book “The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets To Happy Living”, “what freedom is to Americans. . . hygge is to Danes.” That’s powerful!
Hygge just might be why Denmark is always at the top of the list of the world’s happiest countries.
It’s November and I know many of us are struggling to maintain a good attitude and positive perspective as winter settles in, COVID is keeping us from traditional family gatherings this holiday season, and our lives just feel frazzled. This is a great time to embrace those things that give us a sense of hygge.
Here are some ways you can infuse hygge into your daily life:
The key is comfortable and old-school, slow and relaxing. Savor the moment, the taste, the aroma, the sound.
Have a hygge day!