Patience after a Traumatic Brain injury


Definition of Patience

We all know the definition of patience.  The official Meriam Webster Dictionary definition is the capacity, habit, or fact of being patient. As children it is one of life’s lesson we have to learn and maybe one of the hardest.  As we mature it becomes easier but even as adults it may be difficult.  Add brain injury to that and it makes it extremely difficult.

Examples of Patience

To give you examples of patience after brain injury we turn to our TBI Voices Project. The first example comes from our interview with Betty. Betty suffered a traumatic brain injury while attending Loyola University.  Out of the goodness of her heart she chose to accompany a fellow student home for Thanksgiving as her friends family was in a bad way because her brother had just been in a terrible motor cycle accident.  When her friend picked her up for their trip, Betty did not realize that her friend had been drinking.  Because of this they were in a horrible accident and Betty ended up in a coma.  One of the frontal lobe issues that Betty suffers from is problems with patience.  She is quoted; “: “When I’m in occupational therapy and I’m looking on, working on a big cross stitch project, I’d look at it and I’m halfway finished and I get angry because I’ve done stitches wrong and I have to go back and take them out. I used to try to cover them up, which was not a good idea, and I’d take it into therapy and she’d say, we have to take all this apart and you have to do it again. And then I would get angry at myself for allowing myself to just slop over the problem and think I can fix it in the wrong way.”

Frustrations with completing a task accurately can cause impatience as it does with Betty.  To read the entire interview with Betty click here.

Our next example comes from our interview with Kevin. Kevin was injured in an assault that caused him a severe brain injury.  He was at a concert when someone hit him from behind with a crowbar or a heavy stake.  He wasn’t sure which it was as his memories of the incident are foggy.  He remained in a coma for two weeks and after a year or impatient care he had less than a satisfactory recovery. He states that he has trouble with being patient when people are talking.  He is quoted; “I think my problem is interrupting when people are talking. I get impatient I think. Or not impatient but anxious and I butt in, or an interruption. That’s what irritates me too, when people are talking and I kind of butt in you know. Not butt in but interrupt and then tell my, or what I’m going to say, that irritates me.”

Kevin may claim that this is more irritating than him being impatient but they go hand in hand.  Frustrations and become irritated in a situation often brings out a survivor’s impatience.  To read the entire interview with Kevin click here.

So many of the frontal lobe deficits will cause other problems such as a survivor’s patience level.

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To Return to Brain Injury Symptoms click here.


Gordon Johnson

Attorney Gordon Johnson is one of the nations leading brain injury advocates. He is Past-Chair of the TBILG, a national group of more than 150 brain injury advocates. He has spoken at numerous brain injury seminars and is the author of some of the most read brain injury web pages on the internet.

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  1. Linda Drain
    Jan 11, 2014 @ 23:43:21

    This is a description of me since my surgery in 2000. I am wanting more contact and support if you can help.


    • facebook-profile-picture Gordon Johnson
      Jan 13, 2014 @ 09:18:56


      You may want to reach out to a local support group. If you need assistance locating a group in your state, please call our office at 1-800-992-9447.


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