We received this story today from a loved one living with a Veteran with PTSD & TBI. I know many who will completely identify with her heartache. Much of what she is experiencing can be attributed to Secondary PTSD. It is so important (and often so difficult to do) for us to take care of ourselves while we weather the storms caused by PTSD and TBI. If you find yourself in need of counseling, check out GiveAnHour.org. They offer free counseling for veterans and their loved ones in many locations throughout the United States.
Prayers and hugs to this writer and all who love an injured hero...
My boyfriend of 3 years has TBI and PTSD. We were once engaged, bought a home together and I thought we would have a white picket fence. I knew when we I met he had TBI and PTSD he had just been diagnosed. I could see clues of the affects but blew them off as it will get better with time. It didn't get better - it got worse. His depression is so bad I have become depressed at times. Living with this man has damaged my soul. He is emotionally detached from me most of the time but when I talk about leaving he cries and says he's sorry. I do love him very much but I'm now damaged.
I can deal with the loss of speech, the numerous doctor appointments and all the affects of the injury but the emotional side is leaving me drained. I have become the financial advisor, the decision maker, and his mental punching bag.
I love this man with my heart and want to stick by him and care for him but now I feel like this is my injury. I'm so alone and hurt all the time. He has given up on life and at times me. He doesn't take care of himself often goes days without a shower or shave.
As I said we bought a house together after a year and half in one of his fits of rage he threw my children and I out with nothing even though most of the belonging were mine. After a month or so and me getting my own place he came and said how sorry he was and that I knew how his head was. I agreed to take him back because he was suppose to go to a clinic for TBI In January. Once they sent the paper work this place sounded like a nut house, homeless people, drug addicts, etc. Now no clinic and emotional abuse all over again. Because now he has the stress of not having the money to pay his bills. So under stress comes headaches then anger and I become the mental punching bag again.
I have read every forum, books, all I can on TBI and PTSD but none of them tell the loved one's the hell they are headed for. They tell you to be patient, don't argue, do not cause stress, remember what they have went through. I do and respect him for his service but tell the loved one's what they are in for, give them support because we don't take the medicine or feel the injury but we feel the emptiness of lost love, lost dreams, and the guilt of feeling selfish for often wanting to run away.