March 4, 2009

PTSD, TBI, and MORE ... oh my!

Posted by meli on Wednesday, March 04, 2009 in , | 1 comment
Where do I begin?
I mentioned a few blog posts ago about the possible devastating news pertaining to my husband. I'm finally going to expand on that post, and go into more detail.

My husband was part of the first forces sent over to Iraq during the onset of the war. He was only there for a couple of months before returning home... we were VERY lucky in that regard. However, it seems that just a couple of months was enough time to cause some serious issues that we will be challenged with for the rest of our lives. He came back a changed man. Changed in many ways. Not so much the typical vision one sees when thinking of a PTSD soldier "All bitter and mad at the world. Closed off, shut down, and giving up on life". He's not like that... he's just, different. Not the man that I met, fell in love with, and married.

At first, we both figured it would take a little time to re acclimate back into "real" life again. So, we were patient. Just waiting for things to return back to normal. Normal never did come back to us. He has been seeking help for PTSD for quite a number of years now, and it isn't really helping the issues! He quickly became very depressed and self loathing, not knowing why he couldn't fix himself and help his family. His depression lead him on a very self destructive path, and in doing so, he made some huge mistakes at the expense of our family. Which, of course, lead to more self loathing and destruction.

I have tried my damnedest to not give up on him, on us, on our family... which has been no easy feat. More times then not I had a blueprint to the front door, and was ready to split faster then fast! But, we have held onto each other. My husbands want, desire, and willingness to acknowledge these problems, and seek help for them is what keeps me here. He's a great man!

We have been seeing a marriage counselor for almost a year now. This new counselor mentioned the possibility of TBI (traumatic brain injury, aka - brain damage!) a few months ago. Honestly, it wasn't something we had ever thought about. In all Nicks years of counseling for PTSD, it was not something that was ever mentioned to him. Very odd, indeed, to never hear it mentioned as a "possibility". We started researching it. He was never IN an explosion while over there, but he was very close to a massive explosion that caused all of the soldiers standing there to lose their footing, become disoriented and nauseous, and may have even caused some black-outs (though, he can't be entirely sure. Memory loss is a big problem of his now). So, there it was, the *maybe* answer to all of his symptoms. His neurology appt is in a couple of weeks. It was supposed to be yesterday, but we had to reschedule. We may have more answers after that appt. Though, from everything we've read and have been told, there is no definitive test that will accurately say "yes, it's TBI" or "no, it's not TBI". So, who knows.

So, we have been faced with the very real and scary possibility that my husband has suffered brain damage. Un-fixable, irreversible brain damage. On top of the possible TBI diagnosis, He has been diagnosed with PTSD, depression, and has anger management issues. He has very recently been diagnosed with sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and idiopathic hypersomnia (all sleep related, in that, he can fall asleep anywhere, anytime, doing anything). He is also in occupational therapy for memory loss (he has a really tough time remembering things, especially things that he and I talk about. We communicate up the yin yang about our issues. Lack of communication is definitely not a weakness in our relationship. We talk and come to solutions/ compromises... but a day or two later, the same issue will resurface because he'll have completely forgotten the previous conversation. Even when talking about it again, nothing will "ring any bells" or "jog his memory", it'll be like he's hearing it for the first time). It's devastating to know that he will never again be the man he once was. As strong as I am trying to be for him and for our family, and as selfish as this may sound (my husband IS still alive, after all), I have been grieving the "death" of the man I fell in love with. It's a horrible reality to be faced with.

On the other hand, it has given me more strength to fight! It has given Nick more strength to fight! It's easier for us to remain optimistic when we know what it is we're dealing with. When we know that things aren't getting better not because of us not trying enough, or not caring enough, or not giving it our all ... but because the challenges we face AREN'T going to get better. How we react to those challenges, THAT'S what can get better. Restructuring our lives to met the challenges, that's what can get better. The issues, the problems, the challenges ... it seems like those are here to stay. We have to welcome them... learn to live with them.

Part of me has really struggled with releasing this information out into the blog universe. After our recent bout with DSS, and the hell my family went through because of a judgemental reader (dss really did treat us like complete SHIT!), I thought long and hard about whether or not to post this (which is why it has taken me this long). But, in the end, I'm a blogger. Always have been, always will be. I can't let the simple mindedness of one person change who I am. This is me. This is my family. Yes, we have struggles ... but who doesn't. We are filled with problems, but we are also filled with love, with compassion, and with a desire to weather even the toughest of storm ... together! You can't really ask for more then that, can you!

1 comment:

  1. Wow this has been a rough time for you. You write about it so lovingly and graciously, I hope some of your beautiful look on life can rub off on me a bit if I keep reading :) I wish you guys the best, and hope that you guys can find some answers that help somehow.