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Gas Has Been Thrown on the Fire - Post 9/11 Trauma

tlaud

Well-Known Member
#1
Hello to all, and I hope sharing this doesn't lead to a disaster, as I have been hesitant to share this experience. It has recently been amplified to a level higher than what it was when I showed up a few months ago. If anyone doesn't know my recent story, here it is. Five years ago a Traumatic Brain Injury occurred in a hospital after a misdiagnosis of a brain tumor. Technically not a TBI because things were surgically removed, not shaken up from a concussion. If you read all of this post, please take into account that mental fatigue will always be part of who I am, and at times I am in high gear when I literally need rest, which will be shared below. I've lost short term memory and the "fight or flight response," so I tend to share what's on my mind, whether good or bad.

Part Two may further explain why I joined this forum..........my wife got off the subway on 33rd St. in Manhattan on 9/11 just as the first plane hit the Twin Tower. Shortly after that was a physical attack from a former partner. Alcohol was the escape from the emotional pain suffered. She and I met in February 2004 during a group trip to Madrid, Spain that was organized by a mutual friend. We got to know each other, and enjoyed drinks in a bar until 5 am, but the trauma response wasn't active during that trip.

When we returned home, she was back in the traumatic environment, and for the next seven years she checked out every night to make the pain go away. For the past several years it happens when "something uncomfortable" occurs, and that response does not have a standard pattern. We have been together since 2004 despite the difficulty, but recently it changed. My thoughts are that when we shut down for so long, that we decrease our ability to deal with life's issues, and small things can become a reason to "check out." She was arrested last Friday for DUI. The response to that was to drink to remove the pain, and it happened again two days later on Sunday. Today she went to get the local weekly newspaper, and there is a description of the two DUI's, which was followed by another traumatic response and removal of the experience by drinking. Gas has been thrown on the fire, and I am exhausted.

I just wanted (and needed) to finally explain why I am here. If it was only one of the two traumas, I probably wouldn't be here. Thanks to all who took the time to read this tale.
 

Sassy the Wonderful Cat

SF hugger
Safety & Support
SF Supporter
#5
*hug10Sounds like a very hard week. My ex was an alcoholic it’s hard for an alcoholic not to drink when they don’t know how to deal with things. I hope your wife can stop drinking I know how hard it all feels dealing with someone who won’t stop drinking.

I hope you get some help dealing with your feelings over everything. I know there are groups for people to get support al anon might be a good idea if you want some support on dealing with her drinking. I know many people tried to say I should go to such a meeting. *hug I hope things get better.
 

tlaud

Well-Known Member
#7
*hug10Sounds like a very hard week. My ex was an alcoholic it’s hard for an alcoholic not to drink when they don’t know how to deal with things. I hope your wife can stop drinking I know how hard it all feels dealing with someone who won’t stop drinking.

I hope you get some help dealing with your feelings over everything. I know there are groups for people to get support al anon might be a good idea if you want some support on dealing with her drinking. I know many people tried to say I should go to such a meeting. *hug I hope things get better.
Thanks. Al Anon didn't accept me, so I stopped going there.
 

tlaud

Well-Known Member
#9
*hug I wish they had accepted I am glad you have SF
I don't want to come across as angry, but I've asked many for a hand.....family, friends, professional colleagues (I have been a physical therapist for 27 years, and we try to get others to accommodate those who have been injured), etc. Most days I feel like Sisyphus, rolling a boulder up a hill in the depths of Hades.

If I sound a bit off kilter, it is the level of fatigue that has been amplified this week.
 

the.end.ish

Misknown Member
#10
we have 2 things in common... mental fatigue from physical injury or illness and an alcoholic loved one. it was hard for me to cope with the latter, while having to deal with the former everyday and i imagine it may be similar for you.

... life with both can be exhausting and embittering, not to mention heartbreaking so I understand if you are off kilter, as you put it, especially when you are doing it on your own.

in the end, i decided to put my mental & physical health first and cut ties. not suggesting you cut ties, but think more about putting your health first. perhaps by joining a support group for people with traumatic brain injuries if you haven't already. if you can't find support from family & friends, try out communities that will support you.
 
#11
I agree with the idea of finding some kind of support group to attend on a regular basis. One in which you can begin to build some connections that may help strengthen that which has been weakened by some of what you’ve written.

If you can’t find anything directly related to T.B.I’s (or even if you can)—then I’d seek out something more along the lines of mental health: there can be sure to be some in your area, try them out, and hope to find a good fit. Depression & anxiety along with everything else that falls under that umbrella (“m. i.”), are quite rather common and popular topics / subjects; meaning, there should be a good number of people you can meet & who would understand you, and where you’re coming from. And in so doing, you may also be able to return the favor (which brings along with it, it’s own intrinsic rewards. . .)

lastly, with the brain injury, at least those that I’d come to know — (although receiving theirs from more traditional, or ‘typical,’ means) a lot of them had great difficulty in dealing with the normal everyday stresses (in comparison with before), as well as, it seemed “post-injury,” that the little plastic clip we all have, that filter in our brains, seemed to have then been gone. Meaning, not necessarily zero “impulse control,” but most certainly a lack of awareness when it comes, or came to the ability to judge whether or not what they were about to, or going to say, was appropriate (for the given situation).

And so! I feel for you, I truly do—
 

tlaud

Well-Known Member
#12
I agree with the idea of finding some kind of support group to attend on a regular basis. One in which you can begin to build some connections that may help strengthen that which has been weakened by some of what you’ve written.

If you can’t find anything directly related to T.B.I’s (or even if you can)—then I’d seek out something more along the lines of mental health: there can be sure to be some in your area, try them out, and hope to find a good fit. Depression & anxiety along with everything else that falls under that umbrella (“m. i.”), are quite rather common and popular topics / subjects; meaning, there should be a good number of people you can meet & who would understand you, and where you’re coming from. And in so doing, you may also be able to return the favor (which brings along with it, it’s own intrinsic rewards. . .)

lastly, with the brain injury, at least those that I’d come to know — (although receiving theirs from more traditional, or ‘typical,’ means) a lot of them had great difficulty in dealing with the normal everyday stresses (in comparison with before), as well as, it seemed “post-injury,” that the little plastic clip we all have, that filter in our brains, seemed to have then been gone. Meaning, not necessarily zero “impulse control,” but most certainly a lack of awareness when it comes, or came to the ability to judge whether or not what they were about to, or going to say, was appropriate (for the given situation).

And so! I feel for you, I truly do—
It looks like you have experience understanding TBIs, and also acceptance. One of my co-workers is with an ex-military guy whose head was hammered by a tank turret. I reached out to him recently by phone, and she told me the next day that his chat with me over the phone was the longest she ever saw. I don't know why, but I think acceptance of others is a key component.

And you are on target about my brain filter. I can count on one hand those who accept me for who I now am, rather than their expectation that I should still be who I was.
 

tlaud

Well-Known Member
#13
we have 2 things in common... mental fatigue from physical injury or illness and an alcoholic loved one. it was hard for me to cope with the latter, while having to deal with the former everyday and i imagine it may be similar for you.

... life with both can be exhausting and embittering, not to mention heartbreaking so I understand if you are off kilter, as you put it, especially when you are doing it on your own.

in the end, i decided to put my mental & physical health first and cut ties. not suggesting you cut ties, but think more about putting your health first. perhaps by joining a support group for people with traumatic brain injuries if you haven't already. if you can't find support from family & friends, try out communities that will support you.
Your reply is much appreciated. My health is fine, no meds except one for brain, no support groups short of an hour drive, and no support in community. I've tried. Here's an example......I have been a physical therapist for 27 years, and have offered free treatment to the local EMS and fire department.....no reply.

I will say again that your reply is much appreciated. What I will also share is that your first sentence about mental fatigue from physical injury is something that I am very good at. If the source of the pain is addressed, the psych component will also be addressed. I don't want to sound like I am the expert, but five components of all health issues are medical, physiological, anatomical, biomechanical, and PSYCHOLOGICAL. If the psych component is not addressed, then all may fail. I am still very good at my profession, but it is gone, and I was in a "saying goodbye to my profession" mode back in March after I failed in my fifth attempt to return to work in the health care field. Not that I couldn't do the treatment, but that my memory removal caused an issue that put a patient at risk.
 

the.end.ish

Misknown Member
#14
Your reply is much appreciated. My health is fine, no meds except one for brain, no support groups short of an hour drive, and no support in community. I've tried. Here's an example......I have been a physical therapist for 27 years, and have offered free treatment to the local EMS and fire department.....no reply.

I will say again that your reply is much appreciated. What I will also share is that your first sentence about mental fatigue from physical injury is something that I am very good at. If the source of the pain is addressed, the psych component will also be addressed. I don't want to sound like I am the expert, but five components of all health issues are medical, physiological, anatomical, biomechanical, and PSYCHOLOGICAL. If the psych component is not addressed, then all may fail. I am still very good at my profession, but it is gone, and I was in a "saying goodbye to my profession" mode back in March after I failed in my fifth attempt to return to work in the health care field. Not that I couldn't do the treatment, but that my memory removal caused an issue that put a patient at risk.
Oh I apologize for implying your health was not fine when that doesnt seem to be the case.
 

tlaud

Well-Known Member
#15
Oh I apologize for implying your health was not fine when that doesnt seem to be the case.
I hope I didn't come across rough. If so, I apologize. I am quite active, and also have a degree in exercise physiology. I'm not trying to be Mr. Righteous, but I have a lot to offer others, but am struggling because I no longer can.....not because I can't, but because it is not accepted by people in my community or my profession. I have not been accepted with one accommodation by an employer, despite PTs making sure patients are dealt with appropriately, so I sometimes wonder if that would have changed my return to work instead of five failed attempts.

Thank you for taking the time to respond.
 

the.end.ish

Misknown Member
#16
I hope I didn't come across rough. If so, I apologize. I am quite active, and also have a degree in exercise physiology. I'm not trying to be Mr. Righteous, but I have a lot to offer others, but am struggling because I no longer can.....not because I can't, but because it is not accepted by people in my community or my profession. I have not been accepted with one accommodation by an employer, despite PTs making sure patients are dealt with appropriately, so I sometimes wonder if that would have changed my return to work instead of five failed attempts.

Thank you for taking the time to respond.
It's okay. When I said take care of your health, I meant more... take care of your needs so your mental health doesn't suffer, but I do realize you have that under control. And I 100% agree that the source of the physical ailment needs to be addressed for the psych component to be addressed. I suppose unfortunately for me, I don't have a way out of the physical, so it's just me figuring out how to cope with both.

I am sorry you are dealing with a lack of acceptance in your community. That must be hard.
 

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