"There's Nothing Mild About It:" The Lived Experience of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) From An Occupational Perspective
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This study explored everyday life for six individuals diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) at least one year earlier. Using a phenomenological design, two in-depth interviews with each person explored occupations such as self-care, leisure, and productivity, as well as occupational identity, transition, and adaptation, and issues surrounding legitimacy, passing, and stigma. Analysis revealed that everyday occupations such as shopping, preparing food, driving, and managing finances, posed tremendous challenges for participants. Participants passed through denial, guilt, and grief before transitioning toward rebuilt occupational identities, and eventual occupational competency. Seeking social support and community involvement were key. Finally, participants spent considerable time seeking legitimacy within legal and medical communities, and often altered their everyday lives in order to be viewed as less brain injured. Increased knowledge about the everyday occupational lives of MTBI survivors holds valuable, practical implications for occupational therapy, and other health professions.
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