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Thursday, March 24, 2016

A wife intervenes to save her hero husband and their family

DBSA released a video, Family Support: Coping with TBI, to highlight a military husband and wife. He returned from Iraq suffering depression, PTSD and TBI. His wife intervenes for her husband and family.

http://www.DBSATennessee.org/ive-been-there/t…

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Words of Wisdom from a veteran wife - thanks to BP magazine

Marriage & Bipolar: Words of Wisdom

Consider this heartfelt (and humorous) advice from a veteran wife who has worked through many of the special challenges associated with being married with bipolar disorder.

By Laura Yeager

I'm no psychiatrist, but maybe I should be. A little more than 10 years ago, I got married, a big step for anyone. But marriage was a bigger leap of faith for me than most of my friends because I have bipolar disorder.

My husband, Steve turned out to be a great partner, and I'm fairly certain he'd say the same about me. Everyone knows marriage teaches you a lot. But being married and bipolar means learning about yourself and your spouse in ways others can't always understand.

Sharing the challenges of living with bipolar can bring you closer together. It can be an avenue toward real intimacy that comes when a married couple shares their deepest feelings.

Consider this heartfelt advice from a veteran wife who has worked through many of those special challenges. For now, forget the professionals. Listen to words of wisdom that have worked for us.

Life as a comedy

Know any jokes? OK, even if you don't, remember humor can often defuse difficult situations. It's better than bitterness, defensiveness, paranoia, anger or sadness. Be aware of the comedy in your problematic scenarios. Too depressed to take a shower? Try joking with your spouse about how terrible you look; you might feel better and get in there.

And remember living with someone gives you a front row seat to what he or she thinks is funny. One time, I thought my husband was stealing my money.

"No, I wouldn't do that," he said when I asked him about it. "I'm stealing your credit cards."

Taking it easy

When I begin to feel ill, I take a day or two off from life. I go to work if I must (I teach at a local college), but I try to stay inside and slow down. This usually helps me reclaim my equilibrium. For me, being mentally ill is like being physically ill. In both cases, I limit my activities until I'm better. Your spouse might appreciate the intermission as well.

The 'new' and 'old' you

Spend time with friends you knew before you got sick. It's nice being with people familiar with "the old" as well as "the new" you. This way, your spouse sees you had a life before you became ill.

And don't tell everyone about your disorder. Sorry, for many people, the mental illness stigma still exists. Scope people out. Can they handle the information? Will they use it against you? Does your spouse want you to be more discrete or open than you would be? Respect the difference.

Perfection? Yeah, right

Accept each other's flaws. Obvious as it sounds, no one is perfect. Not you, or your spouse. Be tolerant of each other's foibles and eccentricities. Last year, my husband told me something really beautiful.

"Perfection isn't what it's cracked up to be," he said.

And don't be afraid to enjoy yourself. A diagnosis is not a death sentence. Treasure your marriage. You have so much to give. Your spouse is lucky to have you.

Keep an "attitude" journal. Record what gets to you, analyze problems and how you work through difficulties. Now that I'm in remission, I've gone back and read my "crazy" thoughts from years gone by. I feel for my younger self, how troubled I was. My journal reminds me how far I've come.

And don't be afraid to enjoy yourself. A diagnosis is not a death sentence. Treasure your marriage. You have so much to give. Your spouse is lucky to have you.

Talk, talk, talk

Use your spouse as a reality sounding board. Does he think Regis is really talking directly to you on the television? Trust your spouse's ability to observe your moods and suggest how you can keep your balance.

Hold a weekly family meeting to discuss your issues. Ours were called the "Eat My Shorts" sessions, in homage to Homer Simpson. We took minutes and covered everything from shampooing rugs to gifts for in-laws. These meetings actually got us talking. After holding them diligently for years, we've stopped; now we talk all the time. Success!

An expert at humanity

Here's something I say from my heart: I am a good wife. I keep my family together. I wash their clothes, feed them, drive them where they have to go. I earn money to support them. I play with them, hold them when they're crying. Most importantly, I nurture and love them.

Remember, you, too, can be a great partner. As a person with bipolar illness, you bring so much to the table. Think of what you know about being alive, about pain, about joy. You are irreplaceable. You are an expert at humanity.

And don't you forget it.

March is National Brain Injury Month

March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month, a time to recognize and support the more than 5.3 million Americans who are living with traumatic brain injury-related (TBI) disabilities. Those suffering from traumatic brain injury can display a wide variety of symptoms based on the severity of the injury. Common signs and symptoms include headache or neck pain; memory loss; slowness in thinking, speaking, acting, or reading; getting lost or easily confused; fatigue and mood changes; blurred vision; and ear ringing. Signs and symptoms of TBI may be subtle and might not appear until days or weeks following the injury, while some symptoms can be missed altogether. For more information, visit the U.S. Army TBI webpage at www.army.mil/tbi/, the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center website at dvbic.dcoe.mil/, the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury website at www.dcoe.mil, the Deployment Health Clinical Center website at www.pdhealth.mil/TBI.asp, and the Health.mil website at www.health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Conditions-and-Treatments/Physical-Disability/Traumatic-Brain-Injury?page=2.