I've touched on the loneliness that exists in a TBI/PTSD relationship but it so far reaching that it just pervades my whole life. I will start by saying Dean doesn't feel this loneliness that exists, it's only me who feels it. His experience is that we love each other, we are close, he loves me, I love him, things are great! He can sense my unhappiness and just attributes it to mistakes he must be making.
I've been thinking about what makes two people feel close in a relationship? What made me feel close to him before his injuries? I came up with a list:
- He used to be aware of what I did day to day and would help me out anytime he saw something he could do. He talked often of loving to "make my day easier". This always made me feel like we were partners, we were on the same team, and he was paying attention!
- He used to love to talk to me and learn about the little things I was thinking about. We would share the minutia of our lives and would always make each other giggle at how similarly we thought. I felt like I knew him and he knew me.
Even though there may be other things that help people feel close in a relationship, these two things were a constant all day, everyday occurrence that it was the base of our relationship.
Now our days consist of him being in his own world, working on his own goals that he is trying so hard to keep in his memory. He doesn't share everything with me because as he says "any time I think of telling you something, another thought comes along and I forget what I wanted to tell you". It makes me picture how his mind must be like a crazy Autobon highway minus any order. I can't expect him to share his thoughts with me if it's so difficult and confusing and would just cause him pain.
Now keeping his own thoughts in his mind takes so much effort and focus that he can't also be aware of what I'm doing or how he could help me. I can't expect him to pay attention to me on top of trying so hard to do his own things all by himself.
At the end of all this...it's just a sad reality. The list of things Dean lost is long and it may seem like a trivial list to some, but when you live watching these losses in someone you love, it is very significant! Our closeness was also lost and that is just so hard to live with sometimes!