Neuro-fatigue is one of the most debilitating consequences of a brain injury, as it influences everything the injured person does, both physically and mentally. A person’s emotions can also become raw when they are tired.
In the early days, the ABI survivor is likely to find that they will tire easily after any activity, even chatting to friends or watching television, but particularly after tasks that require concentration or physical effort. This can be very depressing, particularly if the individual is aware of this change.
They will often try to push themselves to complete a task in the belief that they might overcome their fatigue. This is seldom the right thing to do as it can lead to increased fatigue in the long-term. It takes time to build up energy. Taking rest periods both in between activities and when feeling tired is essential.
A useful strategy to help cope with fatigue is to keep a diary of energy levels throughout the day and evening over a week or two. The differing periods of high and low energy can then be monitored and tasks can be organised accordingly.
Often the family has to ensure that the ABI survivor doesn’t overdo things. Tell-tale signs of fatigue can be a drawn, tense look, a pale or greyish pallor, glazed eyes, irritability and, ironically, too much activity in that the person may become restless, more distracted or more talkative and make an increased number of mistakes.