Starting Marriage Over After A Brain Injury

brain injury Adobestock x-ray image human head with painWho can imagine, when you walk down the aisle with the person you love and you speak the vow to promise to love him or her “for better or worse” that the worse would happen? The “worse” involves being married to a person who completely changes because of a brain injury. How do you do this when your spouse becomes a stranger to you and you to him or her? No one could anticipate this type of strain on your vows ahead of time. But it does happen. Sadly, you know this all too well.

First, I’d like to say how much my heart goes out to you. I pray added strength for you and insight as you learn to navigate this “new normal.”

I know I can say very little to take away your pain and confusion. But I’m hoping, as a ministry, that we can give you insights that can help in some way. To do this, I’d like to share four true stories with you of spouses who are dealing with after effects of a brain injury. They have learned firsthand what it is to start a marriage over after a brain injury. I pray they will inspire you in your marital journey.

Starting Over After a Brain Injury

This first article starts with an accident, and continues into the “what to do next” dilemma. When a brain injury challenges those who survive it, what can be done? Please glean through what Stan Ward has learned and passes onto you to read. Perhaps it will help you in your marital struggles after tragedy has crashed into your life:


This next article tells the testimony of Floyd and Diana Green (as written by David Boehi). It involves the traumatic struggles and victories they’ve encountered after a car struck them as they were riding their bicycles together.

Not only was the accident traumatic itself, it changed who Floyd was after he gained consciousness. His wife had to learn who her husband had become, and learn how to love him all over again.

This article is featured on the web site for the terrific ministry of Family Life Today. To read what the Green’s learned through their experiences, please click onto the link provided below:


Another Article:

This next testimony is written by Alix Kates Sulman, gives insight into how to care for a loved one who suffers a traumatic brain injury. As the article says, “An injury irrevocably altered their marriage —but not their love.” This is a very inspirational story. We pray it helps in some way as you read:


“Krickitt Carpenter didn’t remember the horrible car crash that would forever change her life. This included the 18 months of her life before that fateful evening on Thanksgiving in 1993. She also could not remember her husband Kimmer.”

To learn about their journey of love and commitment, in an article written by Bonne Stefen, please read:


I pray that God will minister to your needs and give you strength as you reach for help. May God help you as you figure out how to deal with this “new normal.” I pray for you and for your spouse.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ —to the glory and praise of God.(Philippians 1:9-11)

Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this article.

If you have additional tips to help others in this area of marriage, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.

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Filed under: Mental and Physical Health

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138 responses to “Starting Marriage Over After A Brain Injury

  1. My husband had a traumatic brain injury in 2007…still hasn’t recovered physically…totally bedridden, in nursing home forever How can I move on?

  2. Marijuana is the ONLY thing that has helped my wife. She has severe brain damage caused by several thousand seizures post cardiac arrest, seven days after our second child was born. I saved my wife’s life that night with some good ‘ol CPR and fast reflexes. These so called doctors don’t know what to do for her. Luckily her primary (although says he has no idea what to do for her) listens well enough to me to trust my judgement and philosophies. These neurologists (who can hardly operate windows xp to get a google diagnostic) had my wife on some really bad drugs that caused psychological side effects.

    Stay away from anti-seizure drug KEPPRA. Please get the Dilantin instead if the person is EPILEPTIC. They tried to keep her on this for life; it caused severe conscious problems including Hallucinations (very SCARY). Next was ZYPREXA, which had WORSE side effects which ulitimately caused ACK-A-THEE-SHA (spelling?? severe hand shaking very scary too!! Luckily when I figured it out and quit that drug the symptoms subsided within hours, although TWO years later she still shakes her hand a bit when she gets nervous). ANTI-Depression Meds such as EFFEXOR just knocked her out and made her a zombie. There were many others too, but I don’t have the time. I pulled all the drugs she was on from her daily consumption, simultaneously losing all trust in the whole medical industry.

    In my opinion, Doctors (to generalize) are no better than a Jiffy Lube technician. There are some doctors that are just there to get paid. Yes there are some out there but most need google to do their job. I have seen enough to know that I know more about brain injuries than they do. MARIJUANA is the key. For my wife, she gets TWO hits/tokes ONCE a Month at the beginning of her Period Cycle. Her period is the only thing that heals her to the next step. Something about the menstrual cycle that helps the brain heal. Any med students out there reading this need to run with the latter statement.

    Brain damage and the lack of understanding and lack of doctors with specialization in brain injury, the Traumatic Brain Injury vs Anoxic Brain Injury it’s all a bunch of nonsense. Our medical institution has virtually NO Knowlege of the Brain and cannot do anything at all except x-ray, scan, and give drugs. Maybe they can insert a probe or needle into the frontal lobe, whatever. I don’t care. They don’t know what they are doing when it comes to the human brain and injuries. Marijuana in some form and menstrual cycle effects combined together is the key somehow. For all of you nay sayers, you can go forget it. I am the one living this life, I highly doubt you really care.

    1. I feel the same way you do about marijuana. It is the only thing that works for my husband. The only thing!

      1. Also, my husband when he is having a TBI out burst it is like dealing with a teenage girl on her period. I feel the same way you do about the doctors. I have been his wife for a short while. I know his history very well and I have to say that the doctors in 20 years have not done anything for him. The only thing that has helped him is his faith in Christ and marijuana. That is it.

        1. Sarah, if marijuana is helping your husband with his brain injury, then this is definitely a legitimate use for it. I’m glad it is helping him. May God bless and help you both.

        2. I have a question, I reconnected with my boyfriend 6 weeks ago, we had been together for years. His family actually pushed me out of the relationship 12 years ago. Well, this is so sad and I feel like a replay of 12 years ago. He got angry with me over the weekend, demanded I take him home and have not heard from him. I have text him, left a message on facebook. The incident to me was so nothing, yet, I don’t know what to do. Leave him alone? I feel he did not get what he needed after his injury. He truly needs counseling and now, well who knows?

  3. My husband caused my severe head injury, but he continues to be abusive, physically, emotionally, spiritually! God saved my life. I had great joy, and God healed me!!! He is not kind and I live in fear with him!!! What is your advice? I am a giver and I feel like He gave me wisdom in the all of the rehab. Most Drs. have tried to take me out of the environment to protect me! This causes a high stress environment!!! I need some wisdom!!!

    1. Candy… you may need to listen to your Drs. You can’t keep yourself in an environment of harm. If your husband won’t change to be a protector, then you will need to do that. Eventually, your life may be taken because you didn’t take the way of refuge and safety that is being suggested. Please do what you can to remove yourself from the place of violence. I hope you will and pray strength and help for you.

  4. I guess I have hit what would be called the burnout stage. I can’t do this anymore. We have no sort of family life…this is all very difficult on my young daughter still at home. I wish I could place my brain injured husband somewhere he could live with assistance.

    He is diabetic and does not try at all to control it. He’s starting to show signs of problems resulting from that. He’s very self-centered, forgetful, and unreasonable. We have basically been living in turmoil with his health problems for about five years and I just cannot take any more. I’ve begged God to help and give me guidance…is he listening? It doesn’t feel like it. As a christian I know we vow for better or worse, but what does that mean in our situations? Keep on til you die from anxiety and exhaustion? Help!

  5. My wife cannot tolerate any drinking of alcohol, because of her brain injury and the medications she now needs will make her sick if she drinks any alcohol. I don’t drink very often and not much when I do. The other night I found a bottle of wine in my shed that I forgot that I had, so I drank about 3/4’s of it and my wife found it. She was livid.

    Before telling the rest of the story, I have had no respite for six years. Doctor’s have all told me that I need it, but none of them told me how to get it. Back to the story; We talked and argued about me having the wine; I appologized, took my sleeping pill and went to bed.

    About four hours later the police were knocking on my bedroom door. Groggy from my sleeping pills, I answered them; they pulled me out of my bed, made me dress, giving me clothes that were on the floor, nothing matched, but put handcuffs on me and took me to jail. I was charged for uttering threats. I would never do that. The fact that it took four hours for her to make that call to 911, to me, shows that there was enough time for her to stew over the fact of me drinking some wine. When she called 911, the operator asks, “do you fear for your safety?” she said yes; then the operator asks,”are there any weapons in the house?” She said that because I am a Red Seal Chef, I have very sharp knives and that she was afraid of them. After all of these questions that were prompted to her, where she could answer, yes or no to, the police came out.

    I am certain that if the operator just said, do you feel you are in danger our would you just like your husband to leave, that would have been fine, now I must prove myself innocent. Has this ever happened to anyone else here, and what would your advice be?

  6. Nov.7, 2001 I was in a serious car accident, ultimately acquiring a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. 13 years later I stand much stronger as a Christian woman, wife, mother, friend and mentor. The journey has not been easy. I struggled with feelings of inadequacy, wanting to BE who I “used” to be. God was so patient with me :-)

    Eventually I surrendered everything to Him… He didn’t let me down. When I finally surrendered every part of me to Him and His will, He wiped my eyes with the salve of truth. I am Worthy In His Eyes. I needed to look BEYOND the reflection in the mirror to the Light of the One Who created me. Holding tightly to His hand, my hubby and I dared to take a huge step forward… trusting God to lead us through the foggy pathway ahead. There was no switch in the track to God… in fact His Purpose for my/our lives didn’t change at all.

    In 2012, I wrote a book called, Worthy in His Eyes: Looking Beyond the Reflection in the Mirror. It is very candid, but also very uplifting.

    I also put together a website recently: and have an Inspirational Encouragement blog on it. My motivation was simply born out of the realization that there isn’t much available for Brain Injured Christians, including Christian couples. And, from my personal experience along with talking to others, we Christians really struggle with being honest about our disability –for me, I felt others would think I just didn’t have enough faith to “get better.” Farthest thing from the truth!

    I still have an MTBI and all that it entails, but I also live each day fully because of the promises in Psalm 139. And, my marriage is better than I could have ever dreamed or hoped for, even without a brain injury! Please check out my book and website –I know the difficult journey, I know the strain a newly acquired disability puts on marriage, but I also know there is hope and joy just waiting to fill your life through Christ. ~ Kathleen M. Pritchard

    1. Hi Kathie! Thank you for your post. I’ve been looking for brain injury support group especially for Christians. My husband had a severe car accident that left him with aphasia and brain injury. God lead us together through mission work. I met him almost three years after his accident. It’s not easy but His grace is sufficient.

      My situation is different. There are times I wonder what he wants to tell me about himself, his childhood, his memories, his desires, his plans for our future. Communication is a struggle. At first I thought it would be easy to handle his situation but I was wrong. The struggles are different and real. I’d never imagine any of these things before. But through this I get to know and cling more to Jesus. I would not trade it for anything else.

      We’re happily married and living our life despite of our situation. I must admit it’s not always easy but He supplies the strength we need. I’m just wondering about a ministry we can do together as a Christian couple for other brain injury survivors and their wives. Can you give me an idea? Praying for God’s leading and will in our lives still. Please pray for us. Thanks again.

      1. Hello Ma Gloria….thanks so much for sharing your experience and honesty. Each brain injury is so unique and different and your sweetie’s aphasia kicks it up a notch for sure. Yet, your love for him is so evident. You are a wonderful example of true love despite your circumstances and your love for Christ shines through your post. You mentioned you met your hubby almost 3 years after his accident. What kind of mission work were you doing when you met? How long have you been married? I’m just asking these questions because it’s helpful to know what stage you are at in your journey together –your ministry will make a huge difference for those whose hearts can relate to where you are at and where you have come from.

        It has been 14 1/2 yrs. since I acquired my brain injury and my hubby and I have learned a lot as we’ve trudged through valleys [some deeper and darker than others] and also claimed victories from [symbolic] mountain peaks. But it’s all a process… and that process works according to God’s timing. Patience is the number one key. I can “hear” the trust you are continually placing in Him and I know He will honour that trust. Your mutual interests coupled with the lessons you are learning daily enable you to understand the challenges other Christian couples face [where acquired brain injury exists] in a way others cannot.

        It’s interesting –many Christians have a super hard time admitting an acquired brain injury exists in their marriage. We’ve found this to be a common stumbling block with those who dare to come forward… a HUGE stumbling block. Sometimes we as Christians feel our faith isn’t all it should be if we don’t “get better” or aren’t “healed.”

        For you two, reaching out in openness by sharing “what is” may help some folks reveal their private turmoil. Maybe consider going to a local brain injury group [if you don’t already belong to one] and offer to share your experience. Heart and Stroke symptoms can be quite similar, I’m thinking of your hubby’s aphasia as well… many stroke survivors lose verbal communication and/or motor skills as well as experiencing cognitive issues. Perhaps consider sharing your testimony with them. Sometimes it works both ways…you help them realize there IS hope and they help you two realize you are not alone in this unique journey. Perhaps share your story in a church… or other churches. Whenever a married couple experiences an acquired disability, of any kind, the newly disabled one struggles with the unwanted changes to their body or mind and the other spouse struggles with the effects of the disability and the changes it brings to their loved one…and their marriage. There are many folks who would be blessed by your story, particularly because of your courageous faith-walk and your honesty that it’s still not easy even though you depend on God.

        I have been praying for you since I read your post yesterday –and I promise to continue to pray for you. If you’re interested, check out my FB Page where I offer Biblical Encouragement through Scripture and/or photos…currently I’m also walking through my book, Worthy In His Eyes with excerpts from each chapter: You can also read my weekly journal at my website: I would love to hear how you two are doing –feel free to write me via our contact form on the website.

        Our God is an awesome God–He is faithful, compassionate, wise, strong & gentle. He loves you both unconditionally. I’m so glad you recognize His work in your life and your marriage –I admire your strength, your courage and your willingness to share your journey. You are never, ever alone and although it seems tough sometimes, He will never give you more than you can handle. May He use you two in ways beyond your imagination and biggest dreams –Blessings.

  7. My wife suffered cardiac arrest at home, seven days after our second child was born. Luckily it happened in my presence and I was able to save her life with CPR. Subsequently, she suffered back to back seizures in ICU after the cardiac arrest which caused worse brain injuries.

    It’s been three years now. Her brain injuries have healed to a degree, but still has memory and cognitive issues and gets confused. Her attitude and behavior keeps us inside at home. We cannot go anywhere in public due to her combative and obtrusive behavior. I am deeply saddened by this. I have cared for her with no help for the last three years while raising our kids. I cannot work, I have to stay at home to protect my wife from herself and care for the kids. No one helps us; no one offers help, no one ever calls us. We were left behind by friends and family.

    There is not enough resources for brain injuries and no support. The state of California authorizes my 19 hours a month to be her caretaker for IHSS. I spent that in a day to take care of her, but since I am her husband they won’t pay. They will pay me more hours if we were divorced, the social worker said. So the reward goes to the persons who cheat the system to get paid, and its obviously known per social worker acknowledgment.

    Being married and staying married to care for my wife gets no reward. The state would rather me divorce her so then they can justify a payment to me. All of our stuff is in storage as we live with her non-existent mother for free. I would rather pay to live elsewhere, getting there is a whole other story.

    1. Here’s some food for thought Jeff… is there a Brain Injury Support Group where you live? If there is, check into that resource because they have a tremendous and specialized network to help brain injured persons and their families… not spiritually, but with financial advice and day-to-day coping advice. It may also be a place you and your wife could go together –to get out and interacting with others in a safe place where others experience the same issues your wife does, as well as those who experience the same issues you do.

      The struggles getting physical & financial help is exhausting for you… you can’t do it all alone. If you belong to a church family, let the Pastoral Care know how hard this is for you. I want to share a verse that has helped myself and my husband enormously… read it out loud, together with your wife if that’s possible. If not, then read it yourself every day and/or every time pure exhaustion and questions and frustrations seem overwhelming. Then let the power of God speak to you… fill you… restore you. He is real, His power is real, and the Holy Spirit is real.

      “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. AND THE PEACE OF GOD, WHICH TRANSCENDS ALL UNDERSTANDING, WILL GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS.” Phil 4:6,7

      Jeff, I have a brain injury, and my hubby and I have gone through tough times also, especially during the first 5 years. Not exactly as you’re experiencing, but difficult, none the less. God will listen to you, He will provide answers, in His time. I don’t want to sound like I’m sugar-coating a trite answer… it’s just that I do know from our experiences, that He is always present, and He is always faithful. And we couldn’t live without asking for, and acknowledging His Presence. I hope this is helpful for you.

      1. Thank you Kathie, for reaching out like this. It is SO helpful when it comes from someone who is living through these types of issues. I pray the Lord helps you, as you reach out to others, and helps you and your husband as you reach out to learn to live a “new normal” (whatever that is). :)

        1. Hi Cindy, Thanks sooo much for your encouragement! We’re still learning after 13 years, but that’s the exciting part (now) –we’re still learning! Sure trudged through a lot of miry pits to get to where we are today, but I believe those pits made us reach up for God’s Hand to pull us out so we aren’t buried in despair.

          I liken it to a situation, which happened a few years ago: As I walked along a secluded coastal bay, I suddenly felt my feet sinking into the sand. I tried to run to get off of it but I couldn’t get one foot out. I began to panic because my foot wouldn’t move and the more I struggled, the deeper my foot sank. I was so scared and pleaded with God to help me. Miraculously, I managed to pull my foot out and scrambled on my hands and knees to a safe spot. My sandal remains buried beneath that quicksand area. I know beyond any shadow of a doubt, that God miraculously pulled my foot free that day.

          This is what I’m trying to say I guess… acquiring a tbi is very much like this real-life example. We can be coasting along pretty good somedays, then suddenly find ourselves being buried beneath a load of can’t do’s, fatigue, frustration and feelings of worthlessness because we can’t DO the things we used to. But God doesn’t want us to be consumed by those things. He reaches out to us, offering hope, faithfulness, progress and most of all, He wants us to know how very valuable we are in His eyes. Worthy enough to save….even all the way to the cross. He loves us that much.

          God sees no disability in us… we do. Rather, God looks at our ABILITIES, and we when surrender everything to Him (including our “new normal”) He can do miracles in and through us… for His glory. That’s an astounding privilege. It’s also an incredible gift. But we have to unwrap it.

          There’s still plenty of “not so fun” situations that arise for us, but we are learning to roll up our sleeves and face them square on because God goes before us, and behind us. That means the miry pits cannot swallow us up… Almighty God will enable us to move forward. ~Kathie (

          1. Kathie, that is a profound illustration. Sometimes situations we are handed seem like they will swallow us up alive. It’s in the struggle that we find ourselves sinking, but when we’re in the position of being on our knees spiritually, it’s amazing how God can help us to survive and sometimes, even thrive.

            You are an amazing woman, Kathie. I pray the Lord blesses you and your husband all the more as you persevere through these situations. I can well imagine that they are anything but “fun.” But it’s in the learning that you will see God all the more, as you lean into Him. Plus, you will be able to encourage others who are struggling in ways that are similar to yours, giving them the hope that they will be able to see God redeem that, which seems unredeemable. Hand in hand, we can do this. May you be blessed.

          2. Cindy, you are awesome. I really appreciate your encouragement too. Peeking through the site I noticed you are a definite encourager and advocate for strong marriages. ;-)

            The Lord is leading us as a couple…together. My husband is an amazing man. He has never once put me down or made me feel less of a person…or woman. Through this journey, we’ve had the privilege of learning what it means to go through very tough times in the valleys, figure out the right trails to keep moving forward and upward as we climb our mountains, and finally, what it feels like to reach the summit and look back at where we’ve been…together.

            Sometimes we end up in the valley of unknowns again, but we’re now very familiar with the pathway to the top (having worn it down several times over!) :-) We’ve shared our story through various avenues and it’s amazing how important my sweetie’s side of the story is to spouses of persons with newly acquired disabilities/brain injuries-parents, siblings, etc. Many times we hear the story of the one who acquired the disability, however brain injury is a family disability.

            Our personal prayer is that God will work through us to help others, particularly married Christian couples, discover the hope that is available through God. I was very excited when I saw this site a while ago because there is very little available for Christian couples who are hurting and groping for answers and hope via other Christians. This is a super important site…and very valuable. May God’s Grace continue to bless everyone who is courageous enough to reach out through this avenue. ~Kathie (

    2. This thought is for Jeff: I completely understand the aftermath that cardiac arrest related brain damage has on a family. The ever increasing isolation not only affects the sufferer but the rest of the family too. It’s intense and painful.

      Medical science is often praised for reviving a patient after cardiac arrest but its the family that lives with the long term consequence.

      The only thing I can say from my own experience is that God is always present even when it neither feels nor looks like He is anywhere in the depths of my despair. He promises that His rod and staff bring comfort.

  8. My fiancé was just involved in an automobile accident. He sustained severe brain injuries and he’s still in a coma. They’ve tried to wake him, but he’s so aggressive they have to keep him somewhat sedated.

    A week before the accident, I moved out. He had been physically and emotionally abusive throughout our relationship, yet I stayed for 5 yrs. The highs were very high and the lows were very low. Although he put me through so much, I still loved him dearly. I have two children from a previous marriage, and the abuse interfered with me seeing my children as often as I wanted to. My ex wouldn’t allow them around my fiancé. So, one day I said enough was enough, and left.

    A week later, I get a phone call that he’d been in a horrible accident. He was drinking and flipped his vehicle, resulting in severe TBI. He’s still in a coma. He’s suffered injuries to left temporal lobe, subdural and epidural hematomas, underwent surgery to control the bleeding in his brain, and a procedure to catch any clots. I was told the two things that would be effected is his learning and speech… and who knows what other problems he’ll face if/when he wakes up.

    His family (who has little knowledge of the abuse) is expecting me to step up and take care of him for the long term, yet because we’re not married, I have no legal rights. I haven’t been to the hospital in the past two days… I’ve been trying to sort out all the loose ends he left me and still take care of my own children.

    The two family members in charge of his care are the two people he didn’t have a relationship with. They took my name off the call list, and changed the password we use to obtain his information from his nurse. I never thought they’d be so hateful at a time like this. I feel like I’m being pushed out right now, yet they want me here long term once he wakes up.

    Not everyone knows about the abuse, and I feel like I’m bailing on him again… but I don’t know how to do this. I was considering working things out with him and had already started moving things back into our home when the accident happened. I’m reading all the comments about how aggressive and nasty people with TBI can become… I couldn’t imagine him being anymore aggressive than he was. If I step back and walk away… I look like I never cared… yet if I stay, I go from being his abused fiancé to his abused caregiver.

    I’m not equipped to handle this, but I don’t know how to walk away… or even if I should. I still love him, and never wanted this for him…but I don’t know what role on supposed to be taking. If he wakes up with memory of me, and I’m not there… I look so cold hearted.

    1. Lynn, I found our situation very similar. I was married, then divorced, then got back together with my ex. He had always been mentally abusive & manipulative. He had several affairs & I always stayed. He was drinking & had an ATV accident causing a severe TBI. Now after 4 years I’m still with him & it’s worse than it was before except he doesn’t drink.

      Please do not feel obligated to take care of him. I have no help. He’s functional but is very mean & now addicted to internet porn & dating sites. I don’t mean to sound cold hearted but I should have left years ago. Now if I do I’m afraid our 20 year old son will feel obligated to care for him & people will think I left because of the disability. Don’t let this be you. I’m 48 years old & feel hopeless.

      1. Shannon, You may or may not ever read this. You stated you feel hopeless staying. There is Hope! Please call a domestic abuse hotline and find a safe way to leave. Please find a good counselor and a good support group for domestic violence. It took years to wear you down, it will take awhile to build back your life, your self esteem, & self worth. You have the rest of your life full of hope – don’t stay. Abuse is abuse. You can do it. You are a survivor!

        Do not let what a few may say or think influence you because there are so many more willing to support you in the real world and help you get through these important steps. Find a good counselor & support group. Each county has a legal hotline for domestic violence as well as support. Times have changed. The stereotypes/roles that one must stand no longer exists. *Please read this website and please start planning a safe way to leave.*

        You can do it. So many of us are so different but our stories are very much the same. Remember, there is support for you. There is HOPE! I believe in you. I know there is hope for you and anyone else reading this. Do not let the worry of your partner and their needs or guilt overtake you. There are many services out there for your partner. You take care of yourself today – it is never too late! So many of us have been through abuse and escaped. It was not easy and please talk with someone to help you do it safely. Hope does exist and it is yours!

  9. April 11, 2007 I had an incident at my job and got what is called “Higher Brain Dysfunction” here in Japan.

    Now all the individuals that have posted, and that I have read, so far, have all been treated right away. That made me so happy, and I just want you all to know that it is such a blessing to have that.

    During the time of my incident I was in the military, and I had to do my job the next day after it happened. I had to go about as if nothing happened. I think it was because of that I thought that I was normal, that I was OK. From that day everything changed for me.

    My fiancé didn’t know what had happened because I didn’t tell her, I didn’t think anything was a big deal if I was still doing what I was told, and no one told me to go to the hospital. I wish that I had told her. My fiancé, now wife, is a nurse. If I had told her what happened the next eight years never would have happened.

    My personality changed 180 degrees. I started to turn cold. Reality and delusions melted together. It felt like I wasn’t human, like I was some devil brought to earth to bring pain and despair to everything I touched and what was worse, I was doing that. First it was small misunderstandings, then little white lies, then blatant lies, thefts, addictions, drugs, medications, arson, fraud, and finally conviction and dishonorable discharge from the military. Eleven years of commitment gone. But I had to go through all that to find the answer to why this all was happening.

    After I was discharged I was able to see a civilian psychiatrist that read over my medical record and found this incident, and noticed there was no after care.
    She immediately ordered an MRI and it was found! Like the puzzle made sense.
    Mind you it wasn’t put together, but at least we knew what it should look like. That picture on the front of the box was there for me and my family. That was August 2013.

    Since then it still hasn’t been easy. I will try to write more about the hard times and how WE overcame them. My wife and I are working towards a happy ending, and little by little, day by day, prayer by prayer we get there.

    1. Wow! I can so relate! My husband was in the Air Force and on Sept. 10, 2001 he was on his way home from work and got rear-ended (by another Air Force member, actually). He jumped out of the truck, and afraid he was going to black out, he kept circling the truck until police came, yadda yadda. I don’t remember that an ambulance was called. The next morning he went to the hospital to be checked.

      Unfortunately, that day was the day of the terrorist attacks on the twin towers, so the care he got at the hospital wasn’t the best as the president came to our base and it was just chaos. They checked him for whiplash but that was about it. Then began unexplained migraines, horrible vertigo, irritability, etc. Tests were run but nothing seemed to point to a problem. There were times when he’d think he was going to black out (he once called me to talk to him on the phone on the drive home because he was so scared and we only had the one vehicle). He got accused of faking his symptoms and his career nearly ended. He was finally able to cross train to a different job that was quieter than working on the flight line, but the damage was done to his career, and still we struggled with his symptoms. So many different meds were tried, including one that did help but caused other damage to his body (jumps in amonia levels).

      In 2011 a neurologist finally asked the question that unlocked everything. “Is there anything you can do to make the migraines go away?” My husband said there was and that was an aha moment. Pieces finally came together and they realized in that long ago car accident my husband had sustained a concussion that was never treated or allowed to rest and heal.

      Thankfully we DID make it his 20 years and were able to retire to the quiet of Maine. We have our good and bad days. Some days I can almost feel the bad mood in the air, waiting to pick a fight, then other days he can talk to me about what’s going on and what helps him. My children who we’ve always homeschooled, have learned to adapt, to go with the flow of the day. We’ve managed to find the perfect living/work situation as my husband does love to stay busy. We’re camp caretakers with a housing included. So blessed! Now our good days are great and make the bad days bearable!

  10. Very good article. For me, I became a head injured spouse after my initial injury in Colorado. Eventually I became a stay at home dad and very involved in my son’s life, being a Cub Scout Den Leader for a few years, a youth baseball coach, youth football coach and a Lacrosse target for my now 13 year old son. It was no longer about me and my life anymore which was welcome and awesome! What I ride it has been!

  11. On December 18,2011, my husband of over thirty years suffered from a Brain aneurysm bleed. He was home alone when it happened & I know God had his hands on him; he woke up and managed to call 911. I received a call to go straight to the emergency room, running in to hear my husband crying out of pain. They ran a scan, the doctor walking up to me & said “your husband has bleeding on the brain and has a about 5% chance” and just walked away. Talk about numb, confused, scared. The next morning he underwent a 6 hr. surgery on his brain where they had to remove part of his skull to get to the bleed. Most of that day is a blur. They kept him in an induced coma. Long story made short, after month &half I brought him home.

    It’s been 4 years now. It took time to see the changes; now it’s out of control temper, the verbal abuse, the lack of empathy, sympathy. His anger toward God. Sadly I don’t know this man I have loved for 38 years. I live w/ a stranger. I pray everyday that God will give me strength to get through another day. Every bad trait he has ever had controlling, narcissism, just got more intense. He refuses to go to therapy “it’s for crazy people”. The basis of this is, I walked out of that hospital thinking he survived &. things would be back to normal. No one, not even his doctors told me what to expect. It took time but nothing is normal anymore, I don’t know him anymore and he says I’ve changed.

    Last night we ended up tearing each other apart with our words. He told me I need to give up my God stuff, lack of a better word that he used if we are to survive. I told him that is not going to happen. I know my God is with me. I have looked for support groups in my area, there are none and my friends don’t want to hear it anymore and don’t come around. I feel it’s time I try to heal my pain now. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Sandy, Hard to believe this, but my husband of 28 years suffered a TBI on December 18, 2011. It was related to drinking. We still do not know if he suffered an aneurysm first, or fell. I was not there when it happened. But, exactly like you, he was in ICU for several weeks and left the hospital a month later. I was told on December 25, 2011 that he likely would not survive. Our marriage has severely deteriorated slowly over the course of the four years since.

      I have one dear friend that is here for me, but I am afraid that friend will not be able to put up with all the sadness and frustration that I keep dumping on them. Have you had any luck finding a solution? I do understand what you are going through.

  12. My son was three years old and saved me when I rolled my car. I was in a coma for 2 1/2 months. I had to learn to walk, talk and swallow again. That was in 1997 and it is now 2016. I’m just wondering why I can’t take care of my own money when I have my checkbook checks. Every month I watch what I buy and I know what amount not to go over and I do not hand out money to give it to anyone. I know I need and my family needs it and one day I would like to get married.

    I have a great guy in my life now. It will be five years July 13 2016 but I was told I could never get married and I can never move out of the state of Illinois. Can I ask why? I’m very confused about that. I’m human; I make mistakes just like other people. I cook, bake, clean the house, do the laundry, mow the yard and rake the yard, take out the garbage and down to the curb when the need to be picked up, I take care my pets I have two cats and a fish. I can basically do everything I did before the accident except my speech is not clear sometimes. Oh I can shower myself and take care of myself. I have to take care of all my medicines and I do a lot for other people if they ask me to. I’m just confused about why I can’t take care my own finances. Please give me an answer. I’d appreciate it.

    1. Dear Melissa, Oh how I wish I had answers for you on this. I don’t know you and don’t see how you function in your everyday life. I’m so glad that you are doing as well as you are. I’ve seen so much worse. You have a lot to be thankful for, even though you may not think so sometimes. That is understandable. No one wants to be dependent upon others in the ways you describe. We have an inner need to be able to take care of ourselves completely by ourselves. But sometimes it’s just not possible. Many, many people are in that place. The important thing is to be gracious to those who are trying to help you.

      I don’t know your family, but I’m thinking that they love you and WANT to allow you to be completely independent, but for some reason they see things you don’t and just don’t think that at this point it’s possible. But that doesn’t mean that it will always be that way. The best I can advise you to do is to keep showing that you are capable of doing more and more each day. Ask them to trust you in a few small additional ways this month and if you prove you can do that, then ask for more. Perhaps eventually, they will see that you are capable of doing more and they will eventually give you more independence in the areas of life that frustrate you. I hope so. I pray the Lord touches you and helps you to live up to your potential –to be the woman He created you to be. You can be a blessing even if you have to be dependent in some ways. Please aim to do so –look for ways in which you can bless others. It may not be financially ways, but by giving random acts of kindness you can put a smile on the faces of others that will bless them, and turn around and bless you too.

  13. My situation is different. I am the person with the brain injury. I have worked really hard to overcome the symptoms that I initially had. My anger and acting out was off the charts initially, but within 18 months I was on the right medication, enrolled in anger management classes and counseling. My speech and ability to understand what others say is nearly normal.

    I am probably calmer and more reasonable now than I was before. My functionality loss is still very significant in terms of being able to work outside the home, keep an organized and well run household, handle “routine” tasks such as paying bills, or anything that requires multiple steps and organized thinking. I spin in circles and get nowhere. I become overwhelmed easily because I live in failure mode and feel stupid.

    My husband refuses to believe I am not “playing sick”, even after professionals have said my symptoms are legitimate. Therefore he will not help me. So those areas of my life are in chaos. It has been 10 years. We had a 21 year marriage when I sustained the TBI. In that time my husband has become increasingly cold, verbally and emotionally abusive, and hostile.

    I am considering leaving. His behavior towards me in the last year has become indescribably harsh. This is not me being dramatic. Obviously, the thought of leaving a thirty one year marriage and facing the mental, financial and functional demands of a creating a new life and performing complex tasks is frightening, and I am so worried about failing and being even worse off.

    1. Hello – I have read your comments and felt the need to reply to your concerns. I am a caregiver and struggling wife of a TBI survivor with short term memory loss and PTSD. My husband’s accident was Jan 2012 ~ over five years ago. We have been married over 22 years (together for almost 30) with two wonderful sons, now 19 & 16.

      I have to say, sincere “Congratulations to YOU!!” for your hard work and perseverance to come so far to accomplish all the tasks that you perform. WOW!! GOOD FOR YOU & WELL DONE!! :) KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK ~ DON’T QUIT! Remember: He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29 NIV

      I also would like to share, being the spouse of someone with TBI, and being on the receiving end can be quite confusing, painful and frustrating, all at the same time. I was confused with what the Drs. were/were not telling me, half of which I don’t even think THEY knew themselves. I searched and prayed for the right Drs. until I found the “BEST” who gave my husband the proper testing, corrected medications and was able to explain to me what needed to be done to ‘help’ my husband.

      I was confused with the way he was acting and how he was treating me and the boys, so I found a TBI therapist who was able to answer my questions and concerns about how to cope and help my spouse and deal with my own feeling of a ‘new spouse’ (My husband did not want to seek counseling – he thought he was fine). We were frustrated because things were totally upside down. Nothing was the same as we had known it before. We did go for a couples marriage course on “how to build a healthy marriage that lasts a lifetime” ( and that helped… because I was at my wits end! And God had never left us.

      I’m not sure if too much time has passed, whether you and your spouse have gone your separate ways or if you both decided to keep the marriage vows ‘for better or for worse’… I can tell you, TBI changes a marriage… this is not the end of the story… there is HOPE. There are TBI support groups for both couples, spouses and survivors. Check online, do your homework, find what’s out there in your community to help you both – Brain Injury Association of… (check your state) they started here in NY. Even Military & VA Hospitals can direct you to names of qualified TBI Neurological Drs & support groups in your area (careful: Combat TBI support groups are different from regular TBI groups – do not mix) Celebrate Recovery group is also a great go to support group to help both survivors and spouses (or anyone who needs help with hangups).

      I cannot say that everything is now coming up roses… we have our good days and bad days, yet I was not going to throw away our marriage. The stats on TBI marriages are scary… usually its newly married couples who have not gone through hard times prior to TBI or have many years behind them, about 85% separate/divorce, where the majority of survivors after six months, cannot handle being on their own, and have tragic results. I will not allow that to happen in our situation. I will fight to save our marriage until my last dying breath! Family members who don’t understand say to me “Just leave…you’ll both be happy”, even Drs have told me this “You don’t have to stay…”, a lawyer told me when I inquired about Guardianship to protect my husband “Guardianship fees start at $25K. A divorce is only $2K. Go for the divorce. It’s quicker and easier.” SERIOUSLY!!!

      I pray every day for our family to survive another day and am thankful every night for the blessings God has given us ~ and the beautiful memories we’re making ;) Stay Strong. Be Positive. Go Forward. Keeping you and your husband also in my prayers, God Bless!

      1. Susan, Thank you SO much for the insight, the info and sharing your story with those who read through these comments. We have found that there are more than we realize. They are hanging on by a string, wondering what to do, and where to go next for help. Your encouragement, I’m sure, will help many. May God bless you and your husband and family as you seek guidance, strength, and help to get through each trial. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit!” (Romans 15:13) “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.” (Colossians 1:11)

  14. I need some answers! Please I hope someone can help me out!!!! Im taking any ideas, personal or not experiences, anything at all will be so greatly appreciated!! So my best friend and love of my life had to be rushed by ambulance to the hospital. He was in a comma for almost 2 weeks. He is up now still forgetful. has been home for 3 weeks getting better slowly but surely!!! I haven’t seen him since I took him to the hospital! His mom at the time at the hospital is his power of attorney. And of course his mom knows how much we love each other and is horrible not to tell him we were getting married! My question is will he ever ask about me?? Or remember me and my kids he loved to death!! I am just trying to get some answers. My heart won’t let me stop wondering if he will remember me. Please help me I am begging!!

  15. I have been in a relationship for almost 4 years with a guy who had a TBI approximately 15+ years ago. He lost everything… his home, his wife, his children and his life. He’s a funny, loving guy and yes, has his moments. After reading about TBI, I have learnt how to deal with a lot, mainly by not reacting, not arguing. Admittedly, we live in separate homes and I think that’s the way it will stay, I’m not sure I could live his life everyday.

    I often wonder what I have set myself up for, some days or weekends can be challenging. But, he has a heart of gold. I can’t not be there for him. I’d love to hear some comments on how others deal with their partners anxiety, the paranoia. The outbursts, the ‘it’s my brain injury.’

    I want to stick with this guy; he’s as good for me as I am for him. Any help for us to improve our relationship would be amazing.