So, just keep at it

Yesterday was a very up-and-down day.  I had to get some medical tests done last week, and I didn’t get the results back till yesterday, so it was a tense weekend. The tests came back with some non-standard results — but nothing to be concerned about on the extreme end of the spectrum. It’s just one of those wait-and-see types of things.

So, I’ll be waiting and watching and making notes about things that happen that seem unusual or unexpected.

Yesterday went pretty well all day — my spouse and I have been having a lot of trouble with arguments escalating into shouting matches, and we’ve been working pretty hard, trying to restore some civility to our relationship. We’ve been having a lot of troubles, as tends to happen with families that are in financial straits, and who have additional health issues. The pressure is pretty intense, and we both often feel as though we’re just there for the other to hound and hassle.

So, we made the extra effort yesterday, and things were going pretty well. Until later in the evening, when we started to argue about health choices my spouse has been making, which are really impacting their life. They have several conditions they have to be careful of, and they just haven’t been careful. At all. Things escalated, and the evening went south pretty quickly.

Not nice.

And today I’m feeling pretty hungover from the emotional drama. It was so friggin’ pointless — unbelievable, what some people will do, to avoid looking at their habits and admitting they are making bad choices. Not just poor choices, but BAD choices that can have lasting consequences.

I’m pretty sick about the whole thing, and given how many times they’ve agreed to change and seemed really intent on changing… then went right back to what they were doing before… I don’t have much hope. On the “bright” side, I was able to take out life insurance for them through my work. No reasonable insurance company would insure them, but my work offers free, no-exam-required life coverage up to a certain amount. I hate to sound cold, but given the path they’ve been on, it’s about the only thing left that I have to cover me, in case all their chickens come home to roost.

I’m not one to look on the dark side, but at the very least, I can be prepared for the worst. The person I’m married to has absolutely NO interest in getting life insurance — they think it’s “depressing” and don’t want to dwell on potential misfortune. So, I’ve got to protect myself. ‘Cause they’re sure as hell not going to do it. Hell, they won’t even protect themself.

It’s maddening. When you love and care for someone who is neglectful of their health and then attacks you when you ask them to change their ways, what the hell can you do? Makes no sense, to be stuck in some kind of emotional vortex, avoiding dealing with reality just ’cause it’s unpleasant.

Then again, they’ve pretty much always been this way. It’s only in the past several years, as I’ve gotten my own act together and really focused on dealing with my own issues, that I’ve become less tolerant of this kind of foolishness. In fairness to them, I never had a problem with it before, so why should I now?

Because I really, really want to live a healthy life. And I would like it very much if they would join me in that commitment. But they may not. So there we have it.

Oh, screw it. I’ve got to get back to work. I’ve just gotta keep steady with my own life. If they choose to screw themself over and wreck themself, there’s only so much I can do. I just have to take care of myself. ‘Cause they’re not going to do it for me.

Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

6 thoughts on “So, just keep at it”

  1. BB, you have shown that you care and told them what you would like them to do for a healthy lifestyle. That’s all you can do. Somehow people who do everything they shouldn’t sometimes do better then those with healthy lifestyles. Not that I condone unhealthy or anything.

    I commend you for your regimen.

    As for financial strain and relationships, it probably is one of the worst sources of source in a relationship.

    It sounds like you have been both making the effort to get along better.

    When people say, “screw it.” “or I don’t care anymore” I think that in some cases it is when they care the most but they are trying to put up a wall against the hurt.

    But you are right that you can only take care of yourself. There are things you can do such as eat a healthy meal together or fruit or something. But if your spouse then eats something unhealthy being the police may only make things worse. If there are physical activities that you enjoy, that is a great. Dancing is a good one for couples. 🙂


  2. Waiting and watching and seeing; I don’t get it.
    It’s not going to get better. My neuropsych put it well.
    The brain is the computer which operates all of the systems in your body
    You dropped yours on the floor.
    I’m not expecting to come back smarter, I just want a reboot.
    I’m certain that my optimism has helped
    but I can’t escape that my brain doesn’t work the way it used to
    and I’ve been celebrated for my artistic ability all my life.
    I can still draw, thank God, but I can’t use machines.
    I can’t freaking make anything and it’s got me nuts.
    On the fucking bench, teaching students to make art.


  3. I hear you loud and clear. Before my last TBI, I was a shareholder at one of the top financial services companies in the world. Then I fell down some stairs, smacked my head, didn’t even get fully knocked out, and everything unraveled, as I stood by wondering why everything was so screwed up.

    All I can tell you is, it does take time. And you may find that your ability to use machines returns after a time — mine, however, actually didn’t come back the way I expected it to. I used to be able to just pick things up and run with them – a new programming language, a new application. It’s very different now. Nobody else seems to think there is an issue, but compared to what I used to be able to do… *I* know how much things have changed.

    My neuropsych is not sympathetic to my loss — probably for a reason. They don’t want to feed that anguish, and they want me to focus on moving forward, finding new ways to be who I am and how I am, without trying to rekindle the glory of past days. And believe me, there was lots of glory.

    But things change. I tend to think of my TBI as a housefire that destroyed the mansion I had built with my own hands. Friggin’ razed it to the ground. Now there are just chimneys sticking up where there used to be grand ballrooms, just a pile of bricks, where there used to be a four-car garage filled with Lotuses and Mazeratis. When I think of it like that, it makes the loss all the more real and tangible to me — we can lose so much with TBI. But we don’t lose everything.

    If you were re-designing a house that had been destroyed by fire/flood/military assault, how would you do it? I often think of London, which got the bejesus bombed out of it. How did they do things? How did they manage? Wait – London might not be a good example. How about portions of France and Germany? Again, maybe not such great examples… but if you could redesign a devastated city, how would you use the rubble / leftovers to rebuild? Interestingly, I was just reading something about this in the news today: It’s not very positive, but it does highlight the opportunity that comes when we have to rebuild.

    In terms of your own rebuilding and moving on with your own life, it’s important to understand that temporary situations are just that — temporary. And nobody knows what parts of our injuries are going to be more temporary than others. People have sudden, almost miraculous recoveries all the time. But a lot of people don’t. So, it’s important to keep cool and do plenty of good “mental hygiene”.

    On the one hand, this temporary situation is a huge pain in the ass. Clearly. But it may also offer you a much-needed chance to just step back from the hustle-and-bustle of your past life (as rewarding as it was) and get to know other parts of yourself that have been neglected, and maybe suffered as a result. Now is a great time for you to just take care of yourself as best you can, and enjoy the parts of your life as much as you can. You can still draw. That is huge. Me? I lost the ability to write coherent code, which was my bread and butter, and also the ticket to my self-esteem. I also lost the ability to be level-headed and calm, which was another cornerstone of my personality that people really rewarded me for. Try getting a software engineering / info architect job when you can’t write code or remain calm.

    There were some things I just had to walk away from — I had to cut my losses and see what else is out there for me to explore. It was just too frustrating and demeaning, trying to get back things that were so elusive. I didn’t have a lot of time to spend, and I was running out of money, so I had to think quick and take action. So, I did. Wasn’t much fun, some days, but I focused on the positive and found something good in almost all of it.

    I’m still working on getting the composure thing back – one day at a time. But it’s hard going, and it takes all I have, some days.

    I can’t tell you how to live your life — all I can say is that when I try to find (and sometimes wring – with all my might) whatever positive aspects I can out of whatever situation I’m in (while acknowledging the difficulties and losses at the same time), my life takes on a different quality. I can move on.

    Personally, I think the emotional toll of loss of parts of our lives is vastly under-rated and under-discussed by people who think we should just be happy to be alive. This is cheap and demeaning and doesn’t do us justice. Truly, I think a lot of TBI survivors are tough ole nuts and serious bad-asses for hauling ourselves up out of the ditch and moving on. Precious few other people can understand what it means to lose significant parts of ourselves and move on, anyway. But it’s a job in and of itself.

    In the end, for me, it’s really about deciding what’s most important to me — investing a lot of time in something I may never be able to do as well, as quickly, and as proficiently as before… or finding other areas where I can put my energy and time and attention to good use. The world is a big place, and I’d rather trade on my past glorious reputation (my resume looks pretty good to most people), and “reframe” my search for What Works Now in terms of “I need to see what else is possible for me in my life, so I’m moving on and exploring other possibilities”. The thought has crossed my mind that I’m a bit long in the tooth to be doing this — I “should” be a director or vice president, based on my past experience, but that’s not happening at this moment — but screw it, it’s my life and I can do as I please. Call me crazy, but I do think life has a lot to offer us, if we remain open to even more possibilities than we ever dreamed possible.

    Good luck with everything. Make sure you get GOOD rest, stay away from alcohol if you can, and see if you can find something — anything — that will get your mind off your troubles, every now and then. The brain needs rest and patience to do its thing. You might also consider reading Norman Doidge’s “The Brain that Changes Itself” — it’s very hopeful. Seriously hopeful.

    Best to you


  4. Stephen, I don’t think your ability to be an artist is gone as you can still draw. Even if you couldn’t draw, there are so many mediums. However, you must use machines for what you need to do and I hope that ability does return. I wanted to be a teacher(not of art as I am not gifted there) but my condition made me have to change majors. It’s ironic how one person’s dream may be another person’s back up plan of almost last resort.

    I do hope you can be patient with yourself as your mind does rewire. I shared before about a friend that I had who was a National Merit Scholar and was hit by a car. She had to relearn basic things. I didn’t know any of this and she seemed like a normal beautiful, intelligent young woman. She said that she had to work hard to get back to the level of 12th grade Composition and she was in College at this point. Her experience gave her an understanding of what it may be like to have a learning disability.


  5. BB, I didn’t know you were ever in the financial business. I guess it is hard for others to relate who were never as gifted as you in the first place. I talked to someone today who said her son easily got A’s in school. I often had to work so hard for A’s. In a way, I feel sorry for people who never have to work hard as they don’t have the sense of achievement .

    I like your metaphors.

    I hope this doesn’t sound wrong but I wish that I took out the life insurance on me that my bank was offering without medical check up. It is hard for me to go places. As far as I know, I don’t have any life threatening conditions. It would be such a comfort to leave money for my parents and hopefully siblings and their families if I were to die.


  6. Oh yes, was I ever in the financial business 🙂

    From personal experience, I can tell you I’m not at all surprised that we’re having as much trouble as we are in the economic/financial arena. I had a feeling that ship was starting to sink years before the general public started to get wind that things were going south… but what do I know?


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