Life With A Traumatic Brain Injury – Guest Post by Amy Zellmer

Every 13 seconds someone in the United States suffers a Traumatic Brain Injury. That’s over 3.5 million people per year just in the U.S.

In February 2014 Amy Zellmer slipped on a patch of ice and fell, forcibly landing on the back of her skull. The impact briefly knocked her out, and when she started to get up, she immediately knew something was very wrong.

Amy had suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and was about to start a journey unlike anything she had ever experienced. Her life had changed in literally a blink of the eye.

Falls are the leading cause of TBI. Rates are highest for children aged 0 to 4 years and for adults aged 75 years and older.

Amy began writing articles for The Huffington Post to bring awareness to the subject of TBI. She is now running a Kickstarter campaign to publish her first book “Life With a Traumatic Brain Injury: Find the Road Back to Normal” which is a collection of her articles originally published on sites such as The Huffington Post, Brainline, The Good Men Project, Vivid & Brave, and others.

Learn about what it means to have a TBI as you read about her struggles and frustrations, like the days she can’t remember how to run the microwave, or how she gets lost driving to familiar places. Understand what it’s like to suffer fatigue and exhaustion after doing a simple task that most take for granted.

Traumatic Brain Injury is the leading cause of death in the U.S. for those ages 1-44, and third overall behind cancer and heart disease.

This book is perfect for TBI survivors, their caregivers, friends and loved ones. It is a great book for survivors to give to their supporters so that they, too, can understand what those with TBI are dealing with on a daily basis.

A TBI is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild,” i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness to “severe,” i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury.

There is no cure for TBI. Many will deal with the aftereffects for the rest of their life. It can take months, years, or decades to start feeling better again. There is no correlation between the severity of the accident that caused the TBI, and the length of recover. The most severe can recover quickly, while some of the most mild cases can take years to recover. There is no magic formula, as no two TBI’s are alike.

Motor vehicle–traffic injury is the leading cause of TBI-related death. Rates are highest for adults aged 20 to 24 years.

Survivors are continually trying to find their way back to normal, and it may take them months or years before they fully understand and accept that the “normal” they once knew no longer exists. If they aren’t surrounded by loving and supportive family and friends, it can make the process all the more challenging.

Society at large doesn’t understand that EVERY single concussion is a brain injury, to some extent.

Amy is passionate about bringing TBI awareness to the public. She has found that even medical professionals are perplexed about TBI, and often don’t know how to diagnose or treat it properly. Amy’s mission is to get the information in this book into the hands of as many people as possible to spread awareness.

“I first heard of Amy Zellmer through her Huffington Post pieces. Reading her work through the eyes of a survivor, it was clear that she was writing from the vantage point of being a brain injury survivor herself. Simply put, she was speaking my language. I immediately identified with her experiences as they paralleled my own life. In Amy’s new book, Life With A Traumatic Brain Injury, she shares many of the triumphs, frustrations, pains and joys that we face within the survivor community.” ~ David Grant, author of Metamorphosis: Surviving Brain Injury and Slices of Life after Traumatic Brain Injury. David is also a staff writer for Brainline.org–a PBS supported web presence, as well as a contributing writer to Chicken Soup for the Soul, Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries.

*statistics in bold are sourced from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

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Amy is a professional photography, writer, and creative coach living in Saint Paul, MN with her Yorkie, Pixxie. In 2014 she suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and is presently volunteering and advocating for TBI Awareness around the world.

She recently created an online community for TBI survivors as well as caregivers and loved ones. The group has grown to over 2,500 members in just four short months.

Amy has an addiction to Starbucks coffee and Miss Me jeans, and loves everything glittery and sparkly. She travels the country with her Yorkie, and Instagrams her journeys. In her free time she can typically be found relaxing at the nearest beach.

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