This wasn’t going to be a blog post for awhile but yesterday’s blog post about how fatigue manifests itself in Jason felt so icky to write I wanted to talk about how we deal with the TBI in our life.
Writing yesterdays post I was able to understand why so many blogs are by the TBI survivor themselves instead of the support person. It’s easy to construe my reporting of symptoms as nagging or ranting about my husband and that isn’t very nice. Jason and I decided when we started this blog to help others and in so doing we would have to be pretty transparent about things that aren’t all that comfortable to discuss. He reads each blog post before it goes up and any changes or information that he doesn’t want discussed would be taken out – that hasn’t happened yet because my husband rocks and is beyond brave.
Anyway, for the first few months I would report symptoms to Jason and in my mind it went like this:
Jason is distracted/sleeping a lot/ angry/ forgetting because of the brain injury.
In his mind I think it went like this:
Jasmine says I’m lazy/ a bad husband/ a bad person.
Obviously, that strategy really wasn’t working and was making both of us more disconnected. Then my wonderful, smart husband had a great idea and it has made a significant difference in our relationship.
We call his brain injury Timmy. It is it’s own distinct entity. So now it goes like this:
I tell Jason that Timmy is forgetting nouns today.
In my mind it went like this:
Timmy is forgetting nouns today – maybe we need to change plans so Jason can rest.
In Jason’s mind it went like this:
Timmy is forgetting nouns today – I need a break.
And then we move on together and united against Timmy and the symptoms that come with him.We’re on the same page because we’re removing the personal nature of the symptoms. Jason is still the amazing man I chose to date and get engaged to. It’s Timmy that has changed things and created problems and for us that distinction makes all the difference in the world. Continuing to make the brain injury a third person in our relationship allows us to concentrate on our love for each other and remember that this is just a circumstance we need to deal with, not a change in my husband’s character.
It sounds funny and it can take a bit to get into the routine but if you have been feeling attacked when people discuss your brain injury symptoms trying naming your injury and keeping it separate from your identity. It might work for you too!