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General TBI and PTSD resources

Thread starter #1
Hi, I recently started dating a medically retired vet who has a TBI and PTSD. He's really something and I'm pretty sure I want to be with him. He was pretty up front about his issues and has tried to explain how his damaged brain works. I am an ER nurse (with a minor in psychology that I haven't used until my recent move to the ER) with some experience in psychiatric emergencies so I feel like I am in a unique position to understand him. I've been doing some research on TBI and PTSD and I guess what I'm looking for are some recommendations for further learning/reading so I can better understand what is going on when/if issues arise. I'm the type that likes to be prepared 😁
 
#3
Welcome to the boards @GoldieT. Which kind of resources are you looking for? Also books and articles? I am not saying that you doing that but I think you cannot learn everything or most things about being in a relationship with a vet with ptsd from resources... because he is always an unique person and most things you need to know for being in a relationship you learn in the relationship.
Dont get me wrong. I think it’s great that you want to learn about it and doing research ❤
 
Thread starter #4
Welcome, @GoldieT .
Would recommend checking out the PTSD stress-cup explanation:)
Yes, I did see that and it made perfect sense.

Welcome to the boards @GoldieT. Which kind of resources are you looking for? Also books and articles? I am not saying that you doing that but I think you cannot learn everything or most things about being in a relationship with a vet with ptsd from resources... because he is always an unique person and most things you need to know for being in a relationship you learn in the relationship.
Dont get me wrong. I think it’s great that you want to learn about it and doing research ❤
Yes, I'm beginning to realize that "academic knowledge" is just that, academic. It's not really helpful when it comes to trying to figure out what's going on in his head. I guess I was hoping for a miracle, lol. I notice things, like he gets quiet, gets a far away look in his eyes or he'll kind of unexpectedly bark out responses. I'd like to just flat out ask him what's going on in his head but to be honest I'm afraid that it will upset him. My gut says to just be upfront and ask whatever I feel I want to know, but I don't know if I'll set him off by doing that. 🤷
 
#6
@GoldieT I think the look maybe what some people call the “thousand are stare“. My vet sometimes has it and I asked him what is going on in his head and he said “nothing, my mind just blanks and absolutely NOTHING goes on in my head“. I have heard other people have it when they are dissociating.

I think he sometimes also does it on purpose... for example if he wants to show me he is ignoring me.

I am not sure what you mean by “bark out responses“, you mean he is yelling the response at you?
My vet sometimes does it. I think it is because he is hard of hearing (I noticed it in a lot of people who are).

I think the question “Whats going on in your head?“ might be a bit offensive under some circumstances. May be you better ask “Yesterday I asked you a question and I noticed you YELLED your response at me. I just wonder why“... or “What have you been thinking?“. @Freida has a thread by this name... and maybe even an answer for you. She likes to help and explain thinks to us.
I mean I don’t know him but I guess some people would interpret “What’s going on in your head?“ as “WTF is wrong with you. (You are crazy)“ and some don’t like that - because PTSD is not seen as being crazy but more like a war wound today.

Some people with ptsd (like my Vet for example) also sometimes cannot talk about their feelings. I think it is a symptom of ptsd (correct me if I am wrong, guys)... like they want to talk about their feelings about something but they cannot... and in this case I think it is best to show them it’s okay and that you will be there whenever they need you.

My vet also told me I can ask him everything I want I can ask him everything I want and it happens to be true. However I learned that I shouldn’t expect an answer that makes sense. Often the answers more like “Dunno... actually.... I think... errr... well... dunno“. Sometimes he starts talking about how he is feeling and I ask a question and the answer is just “Dunno“.
People with ptsd differ, sometimes they don’t wanna talk or just wanna talk with other sufferers... but sometimes they feel the need to talk... and sometimes although they feel the need to talk they cannot... and this sort of hurts them. In this case you can help them by making it easier to talk for them... like by giving them the feeling that’s okay to talk about things. (Sorry for psychobabble, hope you get what I mean nevertheless).

However in other cases he can explain it very well.
 
#7
Welcome to the community!
My gut says to just be upfront and ask whatever I feel I want to know, but I don't know if I'll set him off by doing that. 🤷
That’s my MO... trust my instincts & be myself.

Which can be harder than it looks, sometimes, especially if I’m kicking into work-mode. :facepalm: And eeeeeeven more important. Because what I want in a romantic relationship is a partner in crime :sneaky: , an equal, a peer. Not someone I’m using professional distance with. Not someone I’m responsible for (in the ‘you know what I mean?’ sense // he’s not a patient you’re responsible for... the difference between being kind to someone I love... and closely monitoring how someone else is reacting/responding, and always placing what’s best for them & their situation first and foremost, etc. and me-being-me doesn’t happen until I have a break or go home).

Still happens, of course. The same skills that let me read a person in a life or death situation don’t magically vanish when I’m out living my life. (Unless my brain is full. Nope. Couldn’t read a sign, right now, much less a person!) But the difference is in application. Just part of who I am, versus deliberately directed at a person & situation. One’s work, one isn’t.

So when I catch myself torn between what’s professionally correct -vs- what I want? Whoopsies! Not at work. Hey, Babe! I’ve gotta question for you! :cool:

Because how they respond? Isn’t my responsibility in my personal life. It’s their responsibility. My only real look-out is to see if I LIKE the way they respond to me-being-me.
 
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#8
Still happens, of course. The same skills that let me read a person in a life or death situation don’t magically vanish when I’m out living my life. (Unless my brain is full. Nope. Couldn’t read a sign, right now, much less a person!)
My Vet can sometimes do this even though he is.... A MAN!!!!!!!!😱😱😱😱😱 (Actually I always said “even though he is a Vet“ but you seem to think “because he is a Vet“)
 
#9
but you seem to think “because he is a Vet“)
Less that. than the OP’s job as an ER nurse. There are quite a few jobs hat require constantly reading people and adapting to swiftly changing circumstance: Trauma docs/nurses, paramedics/emts, hostage negotiators, cops, teachers, parents especially of very young children, therapists/psychologists/profilers, etc. Especially for the caregiver roles, it’s very easy for those skills used at work to bleed over into personal lives.
 
Thread starter #10
@GoldieT I think the look maybe what some people call the “thousand are stare“. My vet sometimes has it and I asked him what is going on in his head and he said “nothing, my mind just blanks and absolutely NOTHING goes on in my head“. I have heard other people have it when they are dissociating.

I think he sometimes also does it on purpose... for example if he wants to show me he is ignoring me.

I am not sure what you mean by “bark out responses“, you mean he is yelling the response at you?
My vet sometimes does it. I think it is because he is hard of hearing (I noticed it in a lot of people who are).

I think the question “Whats going on in your head?“ might be a bit offensive under some circumstances. May be you better ask “Yesterday I asked you a question and I noticed you YELLED your response at me. I just wonder why“... or “What have you been thinking?“. @Freida has a thread by this name... and maybe even an answer for you. She likes to help and explain thinks to us.
I mean I don’t know him but I guess some people would interpret “What’s going on in your head?“ as “WTF is wrong with you. (You are crazy)“ and some don’t like that - because PTSD is not seen as being crazy but more like a war wound today.

Some people with ptsd (like my Vet for example) also sometimes cannot talk about their feelings. I think it is a symptom of ptsd (correct me if I am wrong, guys)... like they want to talk about their feelings about something but they cannot... and in this case I think it is best to show them it’s okay and that you will be there whenever they need you.

My vet also told me I can ask him everything I want I can ask him everything I want and it happens to be true. However I learned that I shouldn’t expect an answer that makes sense. Often the answers more like “Dunno... actually.... I think... errr... well... dunno“. Sometimes he starts talking about how he is feeling and I ask a question and the answer is just “Dunno“.
People with ptsd differ, sometimes they don’t wanna talk or just wanna talk with other sufferers... but sometimes they feel the need to talk... and sometimes although they feel the need to talk they cannot... and this sort of hurts them. In this case you can help them by making it easier to talk for them... like by giving them the feeling that’s okay to talk about things. (Sorry for psychobabble, hope you get what I mean nevertheless).

However in other cases he can explain it very well.
When he barks out responses it's not really yelling, it's more the tone, very abrupt, not very nice but not necessarily loud. And like you said sometimes when I do ask questions he doesn't really know the answer. I

've noticed him pulling away at times, almost like he's on overload (stress cup explanation helped a lot there). I've learned a bit more about his situation in the last week and I think that's he's under an extraordinary amount of stress right now. He's working on getting all his appointments done with the VA for his medical retirement and has been thwarted by this damn pandemic. And of course the start of this relationship is adding to it. I had noticed a change in his communication and mentioned it and he about bit my head off. This was before I realized that the change probably had to do with his PTSD, I of course didn't let him get away with biting my head off, I held my ground and explained why I had questioned him, and it worked out.

Welcome to the community!

That’s my MO... trust my instincts & be myself.

Which can be harder than it looks, sometimes, especially if I’m kicking into work-mode. :facepalm: And eeeeeeven more important. Because what I want in a romantic relationship is a partner in crime :sneaky: , an equal, a peer. Not someone I’m using professional distance with. Not someone I’m responsible for (in the ‘you know what I mean?’ sense // he’s not a patient you’re responsible for... the difference between being kind to someone I love... and closely monitoring how someone else is reacting/responding, and always placing what’s best for them & their situation first and foremost, etc. and me-being-me doesn’t happen until I have a break or go home).

Still happens, of course. The same skills that let me read a person in a life or death situation don’t magically vanish when I’m out living my life. (Unless my brain is full. Nope. Couldn’t read a sign, right now, much less a person!) But the difference is in application. Just part of who I am, versus deliberately directed at a person & situation. One’s work, one isn’t.

So when I catch myself torn between what’s professionally correct -vs- what I want? Whoopsies! Not at work. Hey, Babe! I’ve gotta question for you! :cool:

Because how they respond? Isn’t my responsibility in my personal life. It’s their responsibility. My only real look-out is to see if I LIKE the way they respond to me-being-me.
What I think I'm hearing here is to use my skills to try to read him, but also keep in mind that I'm not at work, that this is a relationship and I should treat it the same way I would any other. Is that pretty much where you're going with that?
And honestly one of the things I like the most about him is that I feel like I can be completely me and he seems to get me. I don't feel like I have to hide my goofy side or my darker side that I usually keep hidden. And to me that's priceless.
 
#11
I don't know you nor your guy so cannot say, but some times when all you feel pulled by is the tone - like "bark" responses - to shift focus to content and the whole expression instead?

As in I'm in wiildly different headspaces when "bark. Don't disturb me, thinking on something else." Vs "Bark. Playful, or not reaally annoyed, but I don't have the presence of mind to modulate yet my tone - and trust you (the supporter) not take it personally."

Vs "Bark. Hyperfocused on the next moves, do *not* disturb me."

Vs "Bark. Nearing feral, stressed. f*ck off. Or support me on the feral level - touch or none, hand me food, hand me meds or booze for meds, dim the f*cking lights as I'm not even able to notice massive sensory overload just cranky by it"... etc.

And entirely different range of "Bark. Protecting someone... and -you f*cked up in my book.-"

Only veery few of them are actually hostile. But the heard tone? Might be the same.

Sorry for the example noodle.
 
#12
Less that. than the OP’s job as an ER nurse. There are quite a few jobs hat require constantly reading people and adapting to swiftly changing circumstance: Trauma docs/nurses, paramedics/emts, hostage negotiators, cops, teachers, parents especially of very young children, therapists/psychologists/profilers, etc. Especially for the caregiver roles, it’s very easy for those skills used at work to bleed over into personal lives.
Sorry. Got you wrong because I always see you as “@Friday the Vet“ but I thought that you had medical knowledge before. Did you serve as a combat medic/military doctor?
 
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