Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Medical Brain injury in May, 2009

  1. Mar 18, 2014 #1
    Hi everybody!

    I'm writing to seek help, very seriously and sincerely. As you can read from the title, my brain was hit back in May, 2009. Strange as it may sound, I realized how horrible the ramification of this accident was after more than a year, i.e., in fall, 2010. Then I started to worry whether this kind of physical injury(including the CT scan) would cause permanent or severe damage to my mental faculty which I'm referring to the ability to do Math. So I am wondering, are there any Mathematicians or Physicists who suffered from some physical brain damage, and if so, how do they deal with it?(It appears that some Mathematicians commit suicide after some medical surgery just because it ruined their confidence, and also, on the other hand, some Mathematicians even solve some problems they failed to solve before), and more specifically, how should I deal with it? Is my worry justified?
    I'm 21 years old now and about to become 22. I still want to do Math, so please help me!

    Thank you for reading and helping!
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 18, 2014 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Have you tried to learn math since the accident? Did it work?

    Or do you just sit and worry since then?
  4. Mar 18, 2014 #3
    Of course I've been learning Math since then, but I feel like my mind wasn't as sharp and quick as usual, and my memory wasn't good as old times as well. I know there are other possible alternative explanations, and the reasons might be quite complex, but when frustrated, I just couldn't help but doubt whether that accident had ruined my mind.
  5. Mar 18, 2014 #4
    At the time you had your accident it was impossible for anyone, including yourself, to predict how good your future self would be at solving mathematical problems or even how committed you would remain to mathematics - there are many different distractions in the world. It is now still impossible for you to predict the same thing plus it is impossible for you to predict whether what you will achieve will be better or worse than it would have been if you had not had the accident. Philosophising, or worrying, about the affect of the accident is itself a distraction from doing mathematics and may effect detrimentally your future mathematical achievements, so if you want to be a mathematician be a mathematician.

    There was a puzzle from an article by Martin Gardner I read in the past that might be useful.

    I have in my hand a playing card, you will not be able to logically predict what card it is. It is the three of clubs.

    With all this information you still cannot logically predict that the card is the three of clubs, even if I add that I am 100% truthful. You can state the card is the three of clubs, or go for a different card or get bogged down in trying to find a logic that will tell you whether the card is the three of clubs or not or you could just think 'that was an interesting diversion for a moment' and move on.
  6. Mar 18, 2014 #5
    Thanks Jing2178. Good point.
    Actually before trying to seek help online, I was already aware that one couldn't draw any absolute certain conclusion on issue like this; at best one could only estimate the situation in terms of probability. But speaking of probability, I suppose the only person that possesses the most information could only be the person who underwent the whole thing, like every detail, cause, effects, etc., and I also don't believe the doctors. But the tricky, and even cruel part of this crap is that, it's hard for anyone to describe the whole process with words and language accurately: e.g., one can't be sure whether the narrator was exaggerating or understating it.

    Nonetheless, my own pessimistic estimation of the situation always haunts me, irritates me, at least emotionally and subconsciously, thus further hampering my mental faculty, and I really feel like I'm experiencing what Hardy used to write in his famous article, the sorrow of the loss of one's mental ability, even though I'm 21; in short, it's not very easy just to "be a Mathematician", and I don't even dare to just claim that "I will at least try my best to persevere, try my best to do Math, or do my best", even though I've been aspiring to do Math since I was a little kid, simply because sometimes it is really damn hard to persevere, at least emotionally. I suppose I'm experiencing some sort of quarter life crisis which I'm not sure whether I could go through with.
  7. Mar 18, 2014 #6
    As a mathematician you probably like graphs. There does appear to be a cycle of emotional responses to change. Particularly ones that are as dramatic as your accident and your grief over your perceived loss of mathematical ability. This is the Kubler/Ross Graph of emotional responses over time.

    Since you have asked the question on the physics forum site I am guessing you are heading from the depression stage towards the testing stage but I could be wrong.

    So a question for you 'What are the benefits you are gaining by staying at the stage you are at and not progressing to say the testing stage?'

  8. Mar 18, 2014 #7


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    There is no way we can diagnose you. Anecdotes about other people have nothing to do with your personal situation. If you have concerns, you need to discuss them with a doctor. They may want to do cognitive testing. I'm sorry, but there is nothing that we can honestly tell you that would have anything to do with any condition you may have.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook