On the morning of January 13th, I awoke with a start at precisely 7:05 – the exact time eleven years ago that David and I began the journey of our new and unexpected life. We did not know what was in store for us. We didn’t even know if there was going to be an “us.” I relived the moments of David’s TBI: his excruciating pain, the wild ambulance ride, my signing on the dotted line, the taking of a saw to my husband’s skull (I didn’t do that – the surgeon did), my talking incessantly on my cell phone arranging – and arranging and arranging – flights and accommodations, my squeezing David’s hand and promising him that he would get better – even though I wasn’t sure that he would, my “threatening” that I would never forgive him if he didn’t fight to stay with me, and my telling the story – over and over and over – of how David stumbled into our bedroom with his hand clutching his eye and his falling into a coma as the paramedics strapped an oxygen mask over his face.
There are many myths and misunderstandings about marriage and divorce among couples when a spouse has a brain injury. These blogs articles explore the impact of brain injury or tbi on relationships.
Family caregivers face multiple emotional and physical demands. This article shares the experiences of two families who faced these challenges from the TBI suffered by their veteran spouse. Hearts of Valor is one organization providing support for family caregivers dealing with the effects of TBI and PTSD in wounded veterans.
Ambiguous loss can not be seen but it is real and felt by combat veterans, their families and caregivers who struggle with the invisible wounds of war. The story of a World War 2 veteran Louis Zamperini illustrates how even the most strong willed and courageous combat veteran found another war at home with chronic PTSD that almost destroyed him. How much has changed with our returning veterans today?
The anger of the TBI caregiver is too often ignored by family, friends and even professionals. While clinicians focus on helping the person with a brain injury whose ability to control anger has been affected, who helps the TBI caregiver whose anger is often not even acknowledged. Janet Cromer explores why it is important to recognize that this anger is real and gives strategies for TBI caregivers to manage that anger. By recognizing what trigger TBI caregiver anger, she helps caregivers respond with positive strategies.
Matthew and Cossandra Brown talk openly about how the effects of his TBI and PTSD changed their relationship and almost destroyed their marriage. His anger, drinking, and sexual demands drove his wife away and they separated. Even his young children were scared by his anger and outbursts.Losing contol over his life and with his marriage dissolving, he sought counseling and help for his PTSD. Cossondra reveals what it was like for her as a spouse and her concerns for her children during this tumultuous time. Now reunited, they are rebuilding their marriage and future. .
For so many returning service members and veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the question may be, “Are your emotions ready for intimacy?” Sex and intimacy are very different. While sex is a physical act, intimacy is an emotional connection. loss of intimacy. Tt is the elephant in the room that too often is not discussed with family, friends, physicians, or counselors. When the connection between loss of intimacy and PTSD is not understood, too many partners “take it personally” and feel unloved, unworthy, unattractive, and rejected. Whether the demands for sex are constant or sex is avoided for long periods, loss of intimacy can undermine the very core of a couple’s relationship.
A traumatic brain injury can result in so many losses with the physical, social, emotional, behavioral, and financial changes. TBI survivor, Bill Jarvis, shares how his relationship with his wife changed as she became his caregiver. The toll eventually led to their separation and divorce plunging him into despair and grief. Sustained by his faith, he has rebuilt his life and found new meaning. He shares what he has learned with tips for survivors on how to head off a divorce.
As I write this, the calendar says July 5, 2013, but my mind is pulled back to July 5, 1998. That’s because my husband Alan suffered the massive heart attack and cardiac arrest that led to his severe anoxic brain injury fifteen years ago today. Today my mind goes back to Alan’s sudden cardiac arrest on an airplane in Chicago, the hour of resuscitation, the life and death decisions, and the month we spent in an ICU before Alan was stable enough to board an air ambulance home to Boston and months of rehabilitation.
If you believed everything you hear, you’d think hardly any one stays married after a brain injury. It’s a commonly believed that most marriages end in separation or divorce after a spouse has a traumatic brain injury. I’ve often heard folks quote an unknown source that, “Ninety percent of survivors of brain injury wind up divorced.” This is not exactly true. The reasons why relationships change after brain injury are complicated. Some research on marital relationships when a partner has a brain injury or a disability share some light on this.
It’s still January, still the beginning of a new year. The time of year we all get a do-over. People make promises to start over: lose weight, exercise more, get that promotion, or spend more time with family. They make these promises because they choose to. They make them because they want to.