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I Suck at being the strong one

Discussion in 'Help Me! I Need to Talk to Someone.' started by ThePhantomLady, Oct 2, 2015.

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  1. ThePhantomLady

    ThePhantomLady Safety and Support SF Supporter

    My boyfriend lives with a brain damage and PTSD, the latter was something I discovered and made him seek help for. He's making some progress...
    He hasn't slept properly in years, and we both thought it was because of the PTSD and the nightmares... He has finally gone to his doctor about that.
    I thought it was just a case of getting some sleeping pills to help him stay asleep...

    The doctor sent him to a sleep study, which was a horrible experience for him. His PTSD involves a serious fear of hospitals.
    When he was a kid he had a near fatal biking accident and was put in an induced coma and spent a really long time in hospital. The hospital messed up and kept him in the coma for too long, causing his brain damage and other health issues.

    We spent a long time together trying to get him strong enough to go through with the sleep study, his therapist also gave him some tips to deal with it... his sister-in-law went with him to support him...
    I couldn't be there because we're in different countries... and that hurt so bad.

    One of his worst fears was that the study would show something more wrong with his brain... and it did. Basically a nerve in his brain is overactive and doesn't let his brain activity shut down at night.
    To say it short, he hasn't actually slept for 15 years.

    He has been given some pills that are basically going to try to calm that nerve but eventually he will have to undergo more brain surgery.

    He's so scared of the pills.

    I am trained as a healthcare service secretary and have worked at a hospital... a few nights ago when he picked up the pills he asked me to read up about the medicine to see if there was anything to worry about because he was freaking out... and he said "You know stuff!!"
    Ehm. I don't... I panicked. I did read up on it, and tried to stay calm on the outside for him and tried to get him to stop panicking... while I was drowning myself.
    He was very worried about the side effects, especially combined with his 'different' brain... I tried hard to stay professional and explained to him that often the side effects marked as rare or uncommon had to be added by law even if they might not even be caused by the drug etc.

    And I have told him to not take the pills before he was ready, emotionally. He's still very scared...

    Yesterday he was going to take the pills (at his parents house, even asking his dad to check up on him during the night). I thought it was a bit soon, but I trusted his judgement.
    It was too soon. I've just spent two hours trying to make him feel better about failing to take those pills and freaking out.
    What really hurts is that despite everything I told him, he wanted to rush into it for me... because 'I deserve for him to get better'... *sigh*

    I am still trying to pretend to be the strong one, even trying to make him laugh...

    I am so so happy we're only chatting right now and he can't see my face because I'm crying. It's too much now. I am not the strong one.

    Last night I couldn't sleep, I was so worried about what would happen... both if he didn't take the pills and would feel bad about himself, and what if he took the pills and despite my judgement got sick?

    I didn't handle it well... I started one of the weirdest forms of self-harming I've ever done... I tried to break my fingers. One of my fingers really hurts today (it's not broken though)... I just... I couldn't deal with it.
  2. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    This sounds like a difficult situation to be in. It's wonderful that you are there for him...and sometimes caring for someone when things are complex can strain our abilities and knowledge.

    I have a small, practical suggestion - increase the team of information/care providers. For example, a pharmacist might be able to offer you and your bf information about the prescription pills, how they work, what to expect. And it would be a professional bit of info - very reassuring when we are scared/nervous. Since it would come from a professional, it could also help to take the onus off you for trying to find and figure out what is relevant about the med in your bf's case. The pharmacist likely has that at her/his fingertips.

    You can be supportive by listening to and caring about your bf, and by listening to what the pharmacist says...and if your bf needs some reassurance or discussion about the meds later, you might say, "Okay...remember the pharmacist said..."

    Just an idea. I can see how much you care and that you are there for him in a big way. *big hugs*

    You seem to be in serious distress yourself. Hurting oneself doesn't provide a solution to the ongoing issues and how we cope. Maybe find some constructive things to do when feelings seem to be overwhelming. I tend to scrub floors, go for a walk, clean out a closet when things are getting to me. Those distract me somewhat, and are not destructive. Again, just an idea...*more big hugs*
  3. ThePhantomLady

    ThePhantomLady Safety and Support SF Supporter

    Thank you for the advice! I used to deal with difficult situations by baking... but my sick back and hips hates being in the kitchen, or any other housework for that matter.

    Thursday my boyfriend had another appointment with his doctor... they also found some swollen scar tissue on his scalp from the surgeries... it seems to be pressing a bit on his skull and they are going to operate on him on Monday.
    It's not a big operation... they are just going to remove some of the scar tissue and he'll be sent home. He will only be given local anesthesia.
    He says he's not scared... but I can't help but feel he's not being completely honest.

    I just feel like the worst girlfriend, and friend in the world right now.
    On Monday it's been planned for a long time that I'm visiting my friend and will be going with her when she gets her tattoo done, it's a long session starting at 10 am, my boyfriend leaves for the hospital at 1-ish.
    I haven't seen my friend in a long time now, and she has some challenges that makes it mean a lot to her that I'm there with her; and also she needs stability; so I can't just cancel on her, especially not now.

    So... I'll be trying to balance texting my boyfriend and holding her hand somehow... and no matter what, none of them is going to get me 100%.

    And this is just a little quick operation... in the future he has brain surgery waiting!
  4. solipism79

    solipism79 Member

    Sleep studys are not nice. I have been having night terrors since I was 7 and have been involved in 3 now and each one has left me in a worse place than I was in beforehand. I have been told I am also suffering will PTSD as I was a human rights researcher and have see some of the worst things we are capable of doing to each other and my life is one nightmare after another so I kinda know what he is going though, and I mean that in a non-condescending way.
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