Let me tell the story, and please be patient with me if things are a bit scrambled. We’ve had a hectic 48 hours…
My Partner played football, he’s told me, since middle school (in the 70’s and 80’s) all the way through college, and continued the sport he loved recreationally until about 10 years ago. He’s had “more concussions than anyone can count.” Three-and-a-half years ago, he fell on ice outside of his job. He broke his neck, and knocked himself out. Initially he was treated for the cervical fracture, but nothing was done for his brain injury until almost six weeks after the accident.
We began seeing each other about four months after his fall. I’ve been his primary and loyal confidant regarding his brain issues, and I hope I’m doing enough to walk him through his “new normal” as he’s struggled with insomnia, anxieties, and pain. We’ve discussed his therapies, medications, and the question of his neurological future. He earned a promotion at work in the Spring, which requires more focus and attention to detail, and he’s been excelling in spite of the mental fatigue.
He and I have both been concerned about the likelihood of CTE, and try to be aware of possible symptoms without letting it dictate our day-to-day life. I try to keep notes whenever I notice something off (more pain, repeating things, extra stress, increased anxiety, sleep patterns, etc.) Within the last two weeks, we’ve noticed that he has sent the same content in text messages that’s he’s told me hours or a day prior, that he’s been on edge, working to get a big work project done, and that he’s “passed out” from exhaustion. His dad told me that, when they were away earlier in the month, he didn’t remember a friend joining them for a few hours and their interactions. As my partner put it, he just “blanked.”
Two days ago, he seemed on edge in the morning in spite of decent sleep, but assured me he’d be resting while I was gone for the day. A few hours later, he messaged to tell me that he “exploded” when his ex and daughter were arguing, and that’s he punched a hole through the wall. In our three years together, he’s only ever once had a similar outburst when he threw a coffee cup.
He’s terrified of himself and what could be happening in his brain, and feels immeasurable guilt for his actions in front of his little girl. He asked me, “is this how it starts?” I didn’t have an answer. I’m scared, too, but trying to remain strong and positive while I look for options (testing, therapies/CBT, studies, etc.) We’ve planned a future built on our “No Matter What” mantra, and I would like him to see that it’s still possible to live this life.
So, that’s why I’m here. I’m asking all of you: Where do I start?