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TBI denial and letting go of loved one...

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Unread 04-26-2012, 10:16 PM   #11
katie71083
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There are no easy or concrete answers. I can only give you observations based on my own experiences, which are nothing more than that. I'm certainly not an expert. I'm really just very emotional concerning this close-to-home topic.

First, you need to recognize that you are going through a grieving process. The brother you once knew (and regarded highly, if your posts are any indications) was nothing like the brother you know now. That's a loss; and it's ok to grieve that loss.

This is not to say that your brother is any less significant now, or that he will never be a joy to be around again. It is simply a recognition of how things have changed. Don't feel guilty about this sadness.

I was shocked to realize that my brother struggled with this type of grief over me.

Secondly, you need to recognize your limitations. As hard as it is to consider, it is entirely possible that you can't help him in and of yourself.

That's not a shortcoming. That's not a lack of love. It may simply be the way things are. That's ok. You're not a superhuman, and no one expects you to be one.

You can't make him better. You can strive to put him in contact with people who can help him (which you've already tried to do). You can't understand him. You can educate yourself about his issues (which you're doing). You can't keep him from messing up. You can try your best to keep him and those around him safe.

You do not need to feel obligated to sacrifice your health and family in the process. Try to identify those important, essential needs, and work to fulfill them - take full advantage of resources outside of your family. Narrow your goals. Don't try to fix everything all at once; you can't, and that would only frustrate you.

Don't feel like all the fixing has to be done by you.

Imagine someone who's covered with bruises and wounds. They suddenly collapse, and you realize they're not breathing. You don't stand there and say, "Ouch! Look at that blood! Let's get those wounds cleaned up! Let's get some ice packs for those bruises!" On the contrary, you ignore the more minor problems and begin performing CPR.

That's where you are with your brother. There are relatively minor issues you need to let go of for now. What type of "CPR" does his situation call for? How can you get him that help? Focus on that for now.

Thirdly, I can't tell you how it will all work out. I don't know how he will recover. I wish I did.

I can tell you that I had to experience failure. It was painful. But I honestly don't know if the failure brought me slowly to my senses or if I simply noticed the failure that happened around the time my brain began to heal.

This topic is stirring passionate feelings - for once not angry ones! I still have a hard time gauging my tone, so once again I ask that you read between any insensitive-sounding phrasing and realize that I truly feel for your situation.

I hear such grief and pain in your posts; and I ache for caretakers like you and for those of us who unwillingly impose such deep sorrow and frustration upon others.
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Knocked heads with my brother (October 2010). Don't worry... he's fine!
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Partial list of symptoms: (Physical - noise/light sensitivities, balance problems, headaches, sleeplessness) (Mental - brain fog, severe lack of awareness, difficulty expressing ideas - or thinking in the first place!, struggle with simple problems) (Emotional - anger, depression, inability to handle/control emotions) (Social - generally inept - thanks to everyone for allowing me to "practice" some social and communication skills on this forum)

"The person in the mirror wasn't me and I didn't like her either.
But, I looked beyond the mirror and slowly became the person I am." ~ Sandee Rager
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Unread 04-30-2012, 12:22 AM   #12
swingwing
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Katie, thank you for the wonderful words of wisdom. I think I got more from your last reply than I did from talking to the therapists at his inpatient and outpatient clinics combined!

Do I dare hope my brother will one day be able to say the things you say now with similar self-awareness and wisdom?

Right now it seems he is far across some chasm on some imaginary island. The other day he told me, and I quote: "I'm sad my foot isn't working right. I'm sad my hand isn't working right. But I'm sure happy my brain is working right."

I helped him buy a pay-as-you-go phone today and he was entirely baffled as to how the plan worked. I spent five minutes trying to tell him and he just had this perplexed look on his face, said he was confused, and gave up.

THAT sort of situation right there is what is tormenting us: On the one hand, we're working to help him move out and get back his old life; on the other hand, we're witnessing these daily follies that prove he would not be able to live that life. He refuses to hear what we want to tell him, which is, "Look, you can't even understand how to add money to your phone plan; how are you supposed to live alone and work and pay your bills?"

The one hope I can cling to is that his brain is still healing and that maybe some day, somehow, he is going to wake up and say, "Hey, I don't think my brain's working right. Maybe that injury had something to do with it. Can you help me figure out how to cope?"
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Unread 04-30-2012, 02:44 AM   #13
Mark in Idaho
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SwingWing,

Go ahead and PM me. I sent you a PM that you can reply to. Sorry I missed your PM of last Thursday.

My best to you.
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59 years old, retired due to disability, married 34 years, father of three, grandfather of four, Suffered a serious concussion at 10 years old (1965) stopped most driving after concussion at 46 years old (2001), Post Concussion Syndrome/Multiple Concussion/Impact Syndrome with PTSD, immediate/short term visual and auditory memory problems, slowed processing speed, visual/auditory processing difficulties, insomnia, absence seizures, OCD, 14 concussions since first concussion at 8 years old, Taking paroxetine for 14 years and gabapentin for 12 years. Added L-Tryptophan and stopped paroxetine after 3 months of tapering. I currently take 500 mgs of L-Tryptophan AM, 500 mgs noon, and 500 mgs PM.


As of Nov 15th, Due to high stress issues resulting in PTSD, docs put me on 3 meds. Clonazepam but only for 30 days ) .125 mgs twice daily (Doc presc. .25 mgs 2x daily but half a tablet is good) , citalopram (Celexa), an SSRI , and olanzapine (Zyprexa), an atypical anti-psychotic that usually causes weight gain before bed. I lost over 30 pounds since mid July. It just stopped the weight loss. Took me off the gabapentin. I am feeling better than I have in years.

This great feeling only lasted a month. Back to the same old PCS doldrums.

May 2014, I am off the olanzapine due to a 6 fold price increase. Back on 600 mgs of gabapentin before bed.

I am also taking L-Theanine to help with GABA regulation


"Be Still and Know That I am God" Psalm 46:10
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