Updated: Nov 25, 2020
My brain injury was acquired following a brain infection called viral meningo-encephalitis. The list of changes that can occur following a brain injury can sometimes be pretty long so I thought I'd break things down in smaller pieces. This blog focuses on changes relating to Information Processing Time.
Some changes are noticeable from the very beginning such as headaches, nausea, fatigue and what I've called "funny vision stuff" which can range from seeing floaters, problem re-focusing, needing new pair of glasses to losing your peripheral vision. Some changes however aren't as obvious and resurface once you start going out and about...
I personally quickly realised that cognition is a very fragile thing and that this delicate equilibrium that the brain provides can easily be offset.
Number one rule with ABI is that no two injuries are the same. What might be a problem for one may not apply at all for another person and within that, there is a wide spectrum to which one's affected. Processing time is one of the thing that has been affected the most for me.
WHAT IS INFORMATION PROCESSING TIME?
In a nutshell, processing time is the speed at which a brain reacts to information they receive (input but also output). The type of information I'm mainly referring too here is visual, auditory and/or movement. In a person living with an ABI, the speed at which the brain processes the various types of information can be slowed down. It takes longer to make sense/decipher incoming stimulus and the same can occur when you are trying to react/respond to the information you are being presented.
IN WHICH WAYS CAN INFORMATION PROCESSING TIME BE AFFECTED FOLLOWING AN ABI?
I've found that processing information at a slower pace triggers a whole lot of other Weird and Wonderful such as difficulty to read, environmental overload, struggling to multi-task, tripping when walking, dropping stuff on the ground and difficulty to follow conversations in a group situation to only name a few.
In my case, a slowed processing time also means that my ability to think quickly and to put thoughts into actions has been reduced. The additional efforts required to process information often results in slurred speech and I'm struggling to put my thoughts across efficiently. In short, I can't go from thinking to reacting as quickly as before...quick fire conversation is a story of the past. I know what I want to say but it takes way more time for my brain to connect the dots between the thoughts and actually getting the words out. My inability to communicate efficiently has changed the way I interact with people and greatly affected my confidence. I've come across the below picture which I thought showed quite well how the whole process of speech comes about. Something which, for most, happens naturally and quickly but that has clearly been impacted for me following my ABI.
My writing skills are still excellent though. In fact, I can type much faster than I can talk. The whole idea of creating this blog was born from my desire to find another way to be able to communicate efficiently on some levels...part of the silver lining I guess.