Marriage after a Brain Injury


Today was a beautiful day in El Paso, TX. The Sun was shining and a blue sky make my eyes appreciate how spectacular is to live day by day. I do not worry about tomorrow, the enjoy the blessings of today.

Life after a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can be challenging not only for the patient but for the family. My husband sustained a TBI and I also suffered the consequences that comes with it. That may be just me but I don't believe so, the more I hear spouses the more I realize that this injury although unknown by many, it is well lived by others. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the incidence of brain injury is approximately 1.7 million a year (http://www.cdc.gov/TraumaticBrainInjury/). That means that every day 46,575 people sustained a TBI. This statistic excludes TBI in Soldiers, so the incidence is even higher. The short and long term consequences of a TBI are(http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/outcomes.html):

•Thinking (i.e., memory and reasoning);
•Sensation (i.e., touch, taste, and smell);
•Language (i.e., communication, expression, and understanding); and
•Emotion (i.e., depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, acting out, and social inappropriateness).

The reality is that very little is said about marriage after a TBI. One thing that most of us have to realize is that the person we married is no longer the same in so many ways. So, how marriage can work? There is no an set of instructions that will provide you the perfect formula. For me marriage needs to be founded in the principles of communication, friendship and love. For other people it may be other things. After a TBI communication has to be better than ever.

Communication is a key component to understand how your loved one feels and also how you as a caregiver feel. We caregivers feel loneliness and we are so embedded in taking care of our loved ones that we disregard our own feelings. The reality is that if we do not take care of ourselves we will be burned out. We need to take time and reinforce those attributes that will make us stronger, physically and emotionally. The marriage does not ahve to be over, it will just experience slightly changes because your life had a sudden detour, but not everything is over. We have to plan, analyze and execute the plan that will make things work. Alone we cannot do that, we need the support network of friends and family.

The marriage after a TBI changes and you may not do the things that were the "normal" but like my husband and I say "TBI is not the end but the beginning of a new life" and as a consequence a "new normal". I hope we all strive to make everyday one worth living and be proud of. I also encourage you to believe in the possibilities that marriage after TBI can be a new journey with new paths that as a team should be walk with love and hope.

Hugs!

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  2. I suffered T.B.I 42 years ago and didn't know what was wrong.I was on top a Dud 155 Howitzer that was brought to our C.A.P. compound by a civilian.It was placed under our steps.For reasons unknown it went off.The Red & Yellow Flames,The Loud Blast left my ears ringing.I was torn to bites bleeding from everywhere.Months in the Hospital and no one cared.

    The wounds were painful but the garbage,the protesters would eat at you.No one wanted anything to do with you.Ones your age no longer excepted you as friend.
    The reason I say this to you.Don't let that sink inside him or her,get them to talk about it,show your concern and when he rants don't push or respond harsh that only pushes them into a shell.
    I spent 40 years in one.

    Going into a shell is as harmful as striking back.

    I know everyone is different I have lived it and I'm just trying to help others work through.

    Best Wishes. Dinkiedow USMC1/1/1/D Nam 67/68

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  3. Dear Dinkiedow, thanks for your recommendation, thanks for oprnning up to others so we don't make mistakes that will cost somebody's happiness. I am very proud of your courage then and now as a survivor. Please know that I am in debt for your sacrifices.

    Best wishes,
    Roxana "TBI Army Wife"

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  6. Thanks for your comments.I am glad that sharing my experience helped in some way. Please feel free to send me questions, comments or anything you would like to know, I am here to share and help others who are going through similar circumstances. All my best to you :)

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  10. Thank you so much for your comments. It is about time I write another post about marriage after a TBI now that it has been two and a hlaf years after the injury. Your comments makes a huge difference in my life and keeps me motivated. I hope you can fall in love again with your loved one and that marriage becomes a great experience in your lives. Love, TBI ARMY WIFE

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