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Mental Illness as a Consequence of Head Injury



Something I've wondered about for a number of years is whether my illness could have been brought on - or certainly exacerbated - by a head injury I received when I was in my mid-teens. The short version is that I found out the hard way why the rules of field hockey prohibit players from following through when they swing their stick... that one kid you have in every year group - the boy 'gifted' with way too much strength, but very little brainpower or grace - did exactly that, which ended with his stick acquainting itself with my forehead. Hard.

I don't remember the fall - the hit knocked me out, but landing on the ground (I fell straight backwards, judging by the position I was in when I came round) brought me back to consciousness again.

I never went to hospital... I was left with a large lump, a headache, and a general feeling of being 'out of it', but I was still lucid and there was no blood, so I just took it easy at home for a day or two and then went back to normal.

The thing is, since then (this was about 1991/1992) we've learned a lot more about the brain, and about the effects of head injuries... part of my own education on that (as I did some neuroscience as part of my university course) was how the front of the brain - i.e. immediately behind where I got hit - is indicted in emotional control - i.e. exactly what people with my own diagnosed condition, BPD, struggle greatly with.

I've been researching this subject on and off ever since, and have noted the growing body of evidence - mainly derived from boxing and American football, the most awful individual case being that of Aaron Hernandez (what he did, and the state that his brain was found to be in, are both horrific) - that impacts to the head while playing sport can cause brain damage which manifests as emotional volatility.

Mine was only the one hit, but it was hard, and it happened at a time when my brain was still developing, so... I've been wondering whether there's something physically wrong in there, which left my cognitive abilities untouched but messed me up emotionally.

All that said, I had already started to show signs of mentally unstable behaviour, but... maybe I could have eventually overpowered it without that injury, and in the end it'd have been written off as so-called 'growing pains'?

I'm sorry if this sounds stupid... like anyone else, I just want to understand not just what's wrong with me, but why I became like this, and I can't shake the idea of that clumsy dickhead with his damn hockey stick perhaps being part of the puzzle.


It makes sense as a theory to me. I have a family member who suffered a relatively minor head injury and has struggled with paranoia ever since. It makes sense it could be linked. I wonder where that leaves you? If there are any books/exercises that could help you? Have you ever discussed it with your gp?




Well-known member
Jul 8, 2013
Following a bicycle crash where I landed on my head and received concussion - I had the worst psychotic episode of my life.

It lasted for about 3-4 days and I got back to normal after that.