Posts Tagged relationship

[BLOG POST] Breakdown of relationships after a brain injury

Picture of Michelle Munt

By Michelle Munt, 21 August 2019

Breakdown of relationships after a brain injury

If we have been fortunate enough to grow up in a supportive community, we often think that those who care about us will be there in a crisis. Sounds reasonable, right? Your next of kin get that dreadful phone call alerting them to your accident and which hospital they will find you in. They rush to your bedside with a concerned expression etched on their face as they are told you have a brain injury…

Fast forward to when you are home: your relationship with them isn’t so rosy any more. It feels like they are being short with you and always stressing out until they start ghosting you, leaving you feeling abandoned in your time of need.

Most brain injury survivors that I have spoken to have had relationships with friends and family breakdown after their injury. And I’m sure most people who say that it’s times like this that people should be pulling together, not drifting apart. So, these people are immoral, bad people, right? Wrong.

If you are a survivor who has suffered an experience like this, stay with me. Believe me; I do understand what this feels like and how hurtful it is. I have been through a similar situation myself with someone who was/is very important to me. But as I have mended that relationship, which took several painful years, I have the benefit of hindsight that I can share with you. I wrote about this situation before on my blog in Added injustice following a brain injury, half of which was written whilst we were still in the middle of this uncomfortable mess, before moving on to an update about how we reconciled. Reading it back now does bring back a lot of emotions for me. It’s interesting because it sounds just like so many other brain injury survivors’ stories. Yes, we do try to be fair and accept the stress is difficult for the people around us, but we’re still bitter about feeling abandoned.

There are so many stress factors that are straining these relationships. Whilst it might give us some relief to apportion blame, it’s not actually constructive. What we need to keep in mind is the statement “those who care about us will be there in a crisis” is just a belief, not a fact. Life is full of choices and consequences. Some of these decisions are difficult to make, but everyone has to make choices, even those that leave us with a heavy heart. It might well be that some of the stresses they are being weighed down by are having negative effects in other areas of their lives that others haven’t seen. It could be having a knock-on effect on children, careers, finances, just to name a few.

On a recent trip to Jersey, I was reminded what these painful decisions can look like. During WW2, Winston Churchill had many discussions with the Royal Navy about the defence of the channel isles. Ultimately, they convinced him that their resources were needed elsewhere, even though he passionately wanted to defend them. I can’t begin to imagine how abandoned and let down the islanders must have felt. Did Churchill make the right decision? That’s not for me to judge, but what this event demonstrates is sometimes the “greater good” can mean we have to do things that we don’t actually want to do. Even after the war ended, it took many months for Great Britain to retake the islands and things to resettle. Today, whilst Jersey has its own government, it’s still proud to be a part of the British Isles. Now that is the ultimate forgiveness, don’t you think?

In short, what I’m trying to say is let your anger at them go. Put the voodoo doll away, stop searching for all the embarrassing photos you have of them that you planned on posting on social media and definitely don’t sign them up for loads of annoying spam emails. No judgement, these are half baked plans I had once too. But because I managed to forgive, instead it left the door open for reconciliation. And if it never comes, you’ll feel better anyway because holding onto those emotions only hurts you, not them.

via Breakdown of relationships after a brain injury

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[BLOG POST] Talking About Your Injury

First, let’s review some general ideas. Many survivors initially think that few people know about their injury. After all, if the survivors did not tell others, how would they know? The reality is usually different. Sometimes, the injury event was on the news. For instance, if a survivor was in a major car accident or shooting, it generally made the news. Also, following an injury, family members may make prayer requests through social media or religious institutions. In this case, everyone who is connected via social media or anyone is part of the religions institution is aware of the injury event. Moreover, a brain injury is a big piece of news. Once one person hears about it, they are likely to “share the news” with friends from work, school or other social environments. Overall, information often makes the rounds to people you know quite quickly. However, the information is often piecemeal and occasionally, inaccurate.

With this in mind, the guiding principle when talking to others about your injury should that you give honest information in a manner that will engender others to have appropriate confidence in you. In some cases, people may be truly confused or concerned how you are doing and are using questions as a sort of gauge of health. The better you handle the situation, the more likely the other person will walk away with confidence in you.

Here are a few pieces of advice regarding talking about your injury:

  1. Always keep in mind who the person is that you are speaking with. For instance, is this a friend or an acquaintance? Is this person trustworthy to keep information private or likely to share it with everyone? Do I have a personal relationship or a professional relationship with this person? These factors will influence what you will share (or not share) with the other person.
  2. Whenever possible, keep information short and with limited detail. Remember, once you have said something, you cannot take back the information and the person you are speaking with may share that information with many others. Also, the less details you give, the less opportunity you are giving the other person to ask probing, sometimes uncomfortable, questions.
  3. Be sure to have a good exit/”no thank you” line. Not everyone has a right to your information and there are times you will not want to talk about your injury. A good exit line usually involves saying something nice, making your request and ending with something nice. For example: “Thank you for your concern but I really don’t enjoy talking about my recent health issues. However, I really appreciate that you cared so much to check on me.”
  4. Always tell the truth. If you tell a lie, there are two possible unpleasant outcomes. One, if the other person finds out that you deliberately lied, this can ruin the relationship. Second, if you tell a lie and the other person realizes the information is wrong but falsely thinks that you actually believe the lie, the other person will assume that you are quite confused.
  5. Be aware that you know a lot of medical/health terms that other people will not know, will not understand or even misunderstand. The average person on the street does not know terms such as “hemiplegia” or ” homonymous hemianopsia .” Using terms that other people do not understand may overwhelm the other person. Also, there are some terms that others may misunderstand. For instance, if you say that you are in “rehabilitation”, other people may falsely assume that you have a substance abuse problem. It may be better to say, “I have been working on my recovery from my injury” or “I have been in injury rehabilitation” rather than saying “I have been in rehabilitation.”
  6. Do not exaggerate or embellish your injury experience. Your story is already powerful and does not need any help. Also, exaggerating or embellishing may make the experience seem worse and cause other people to lose confidence in you.
  7. Be careful about using humor. Many people will not find much humor in your injury experience and may take too much humor to mean that you do not appreciate the seriousness of your injury. Again this could lead to a loss in confidence in your skills.
  8. Always ask questions of the other person. If the other person gets to ask all of the questions and you have to give all of the answers, eventually the friendly conversation may feel like an interrogation. The best way to balance the power is to ask questions of the other person, such as how are things going for their spouse, children or job.
  9. Practice your responses. When you are asked questions, the way to engender confidence is to have great responses. The best method to ensure you have great responses is to practice, out loud, your responses. This way, you can hear how your answers actually sound when coming from your mouth (which often sound different than how you imagine them in your mind) and practice different potential responses. It is often helpful to practice with a trusted loved one and/or to record and review your responses. This will help you find the best and most natural responses to questions.

These were just a few ideas and suggestions when talking to other about your injury. Always remember the key principle of giving honest responses that engender confidence!

Learn about brain injury treatment services at the Transitional Learning Center! Visit us at: http://tlcrehab.org/

 

via Talking About Your Injury

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[BLOG POST] Clamming up about my brain injury stings relationships – Jumbledbrain

At times I’m just too tired to explain how I’m feeling. (You might have noticed I write less often than I used to and that’s one of the reasons for it.) Sometimes there is a storm of emotions inside me which I realise are irrational but I can’t quell them. So to avoid saying anything that I would later regret, I find myself clamming up. But my face rarely gets the memo and goes into full on sulky mode. I’m so bored of this brain injury, I wish I could direct my anger at it and evict it from my head. Sadly it doesn’t work like that though.

At the time clamming up feels like the lesser of two evils. But maybe it isn’t.

My silence carries more weight than I intend it to. All I’m doing it trying to contain my poisonous tongue. Some people go quiet for dramatic effect, waiting for someone to ask “What’s wrong, you’ve hardly said a word today?” I guarantee you, that when you are struggling with a brain injury there is no such thing as dramatic effect.

Even when I’m trying to be mindful, holding my tongue is the best I can do. I might be sulking about my partner James having to work so much, and having less time with him. As he is the only one bringing in a income, I know I can’t begrudge him for being so conscientious. In fact, I know he would like nothing more than being able to work less, or even take early retirement. But currently neither are an option. So I try to remind myself of this and empathise with his position. And it works, but not for my brain injury. It just keeps complaining and dragging me down.

How clamming up about my brain injury is not a good idea

How silence leaves too many unanswered questions.

My grumpiness is too obvious, and I know it makes James feel guilty. But he has nothing to feel guilty about. He has been truly amazing the entire time. Superman hasn’t got a patch on this guy. If the world had more people like him in it, people wouldn’t need heaven.

But he still doubts himself as he can read my face. So eventually I manage to spill, but I start with a disclaimer: “I know I’m being stupid, and here’s the reason why it’s stupid …..blah,blah,blah…. but I can’t help it. I’m upset about ….x,y,z….. because…..”

This really does help the situation, it’s just a shame it takes me so long to be in a position where I can do it. James is getting used to my behaviour, but he is only human (although he’s as close to an angel as you can get.) When I am clamming up, his mind is running a million miles an hour, thinking of all the things I might be annoyed about. I do feel bad for torturing him like this as he doesn’t deserve it. So here’s a shout out for all the carers who some how put up with the nonsense some of us survivors put them through.

clamming up after my brain injury isn't helpful.

I’m tired and I’ve run out of words again so I’m going to leave it there. I think you get the point, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who is going through this.

Other articles you may like:

Do you find yourself clamming up, or are you the opposite? If you say everything that is going on in your mind does it work out well for you?

via Clamming up about my brain injury stings relationships | Jumbledbrain

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[BLOG POST] Survivors Speak About Recovery and Acceptance

By Marilyn Lash, MSW

You don’t get over a brain injury like you do the flu or even minor surgery. What can survivors and families expect for recovery? Why do so many struggle with acceptance of the changes and losses in their lives.

No one knows these issues more than the individuals who are survivors of brain injury. This issue of Brain Injury Bulletin features their voices about the meaning of recovery and acceptance.

Myth of Recovery

Learning to Live with Yourself after Brain Injury,is not an easy or quick process. Aptly the title of his book, Jeff Sebell says, “There are some hard realities we must face. First and foremost, there is no such thing as recovery. No one recovers from brain injury the way someone recovers from an illness. You don’t get released from the hospital, hug your family, and return to work vowing to put your brain injury in the rear view mirror. You don’t pick up where you left off in your life as though nothing happened.

You just don’t…. Life will not be the same as it was before…nor should it be. Being able to adapt to, and accept, drastic changes in life is an important skill. It means rather than looking at the time post-brain injury as recovery, or an attempt to return to a former life and pick up your routine where you left off, it’s all about discovery. It’s about learning what and who you have become and fitting into the world now.”

Recalculating
Hilary Zayed also avoids using the word recovery. Instead she talks about recalculating her life after her brain injury. Rather than a straight uphill climb of progress, she describes her recovery process as “…a spiral of getting better and getting worse. After the trauma of recovery, there is an expectation that you are fixed; and can move on. You are expected to believe the universe lies before your unfamiliar new feet. With strategies in hand, a game plan in mind, and friends and family for support, you set off into the unknown. However, you soon learn you need to recalculate.” This means finding new paths and new directions.

Trying a different way when old strategies no longer work. “Repurposing a life and finding a new direction can throw you in and out of a spiral of depression, anxiety, and needing help again…. This time of readjustment and recalculating brings up questions like, ‘Can I do this alone?’” She has learned to say to herself, “Stay strong and move forward.” Recalculating led her to a new journey of reinventing her self, perhaps her most important discovery.

Rising Again
Carole Starr explores the concept of acceptance  further in her book, To Root and To Rise – Accepting Brain Injury.  You’ve probably heard these questions or asked them yourself: What does accepting my brain injury really mean? What does acceptance look like? And most importantly, How do you know when you’ve accepted your injury?

She explains that, “Acceptance is acknowledging the reality of a situation. It’s about recognizing the difference between what can be changed and what can’t. It’s being able to say – without any internal resistance –  ‘It is what it is’.

Starr learned that acceptance isn’t a one-time event. Rather, it happens in small pieces over time. It doesn’t mean liking what has happened to you, nor does it mean you are giving up hope of making progress. Rather than trying to get back to the person you were – the “old me” – it’s about becoming the new me. Acceptance is not the end stage but the beginning of your journey into transitioning into living with a brain injury. Acceptance is about transitioning from mournfully looking back at what was to embracing what is.

Families Join Survivors
Brain injury is a family event; it affects everyone in the family. Relationships change along with altered hopes and dreams. From her experience as a caregiving spouse and her studies on grief and loss, Janelle Breese Biagioni views adjustment and acceptance, not as a destination, but as a process for survivors and families with three stages.

Say Hello…
This means reflect on the life you had before the injury, whether you are a survivor or family member. What was important to you in that life? What did you value? What brought meaning to your life? As you think back, reflect on your relationships, your interests, your work, your friendships, your hobbies….the list goes on.

Say Goodbye…
This is the hard part. It means letting go of parts of your previous life that no longer exist. You may be leaving behind concrete things like a job, college or travel. It may be relationships that have changed. It may be activities and interests that you let go.

Say hello…
Only once you say hello and goodbye to your past can you now say hello to the person you’ve become. This is the beginning of who you are now and how your life now is.

Your Journey
As you travel your journey toward acceptance, remember you are not alone. Others have shared your journey and still more will join you.

www.lapublishing.com 
Call us: 919-556-0300
Fax: 919-556-0900

via December 2017 Brain Injury Bulletin from Lash & Associates

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[BLOG POST] Miscommunication …Straight From the Horse’s Mouth

By Bill Herrin

Communication is the lifeline of any relationship!

 

Work to take frustration out of communication

When a TBI happens, the survivor is the primary person left with the biggest life changes of all. However, family and friends are also impacted in a huge way. For survivors of a TBI, finding ways to communicate about worries, frustrations, physical issues and emotions – as well as conveying all of these things to loved ones is not only tiring – sometimes it just doesn’t come out in a way that’s easy to understand. That’s miscommunication. Your grasp of your life after TBI is going to depend on several key factors: acceptance, progression, facing denial, and finding the inner strength to move on with your “new normal.”

That’s an easy thing to tell someone, but living it out is a challenge that every person will handle differently – as varied as each brain injury (and its effects) can be. Your mental and emotional connections to others are going to be different. Responses to how you communicate can be different as well…all leading to miscommunication on both ends of any conversation. That can lead to frustration, anger, hurt feelings, and a host of other things. We’re going to take a look at how to soften the blow of harsh words, misunderstandings, missed points, and overall miscommunications.

Saying how you feel

One of the key things to consider as a survivor of TBI is this: No matter how you feel, try to consider how the people all around you are feeling as well. They may be feeling bad for you, or they may be feeling time constraints from caregiving, or possibly just feeling overwhelmed or concerned that you’ve changed since your TBI. Communication of thoughts between the two of you (or between you and all of them) is critical to your successful recuperation, to your emotions, and your relationships. This also goes for your family and friends – they should strive to understand that you are affected by their attitude and communication with you. It’s always a two-way street, and it even was before TBI came into the picture – but, now it’s even more critically important. Miscommunication can create even more stress.

They’ve noticed change

Empathy makes things better for everyone involved

Friends come and go, many last a lifetime, but family is forever. Keep in mind, family members can be your best advocate – or your worst critic. The point is this: it’s best to surround yourself (to the best of your ability) with people who understand how you’ve changed and they embrace the change. Empathy is one of the strongest healers – having an understanding of what someone else is experiencing, and “putting yourself in their shoes” can make the worst situation more bearable for everyone involved. This goes for the survivor, family, friends, and co-workers, etc. Seeing how everyone deals with the your TBI can bring a team together, instead of having miscommunication and strife. Strife is going to happen, because nobody is perfect, but remember that we need each other!

Trying to read people

When we talk with each other, half of our expression comes from….well…our expressions. Our facial expressions and body language say a lot, and can be subtle or direct. Survivors of TBI may lose their ability to take expressions or body language into account, or even misread what it being intended. This is also miscommunication. For family and friends, a natural rapport and emotional (as well as physical) healing will usually improve with time. Remembering that is key to maintaining a friendship with the TBI survivor in your life. They’re working toward their new normal, and their frustrations are going to be running high as well. Work toward better communication together!

Expression and tone of voice

Try not to get discouraged

Voice, diction, and clarity of speech can often be affected after a TBI. As a survivor of TBI, strive to work on your speech patterns – with a clinician if possible, or with a caregiver or friend…and even on your own if possible. Enunciation is only going to improve with practice – kind of like playing a musical instrument. Practice, practice, practice! You’ll never get further without having the will to improve. It’s that simple – nobody can make you want to improve, but they can encourage you to do it. One of the bigger parts of miscommunication, beside changed behaviors and expressions is the simple fact that clarity of speech makes a huge difference. Some may never be able to achieve their previous language skills, but communicating what you feel, need, think, want, etc., as clearly as possible is going to be the reward for all your hard work.

Changes in relationships

Whether a TBI survivor is married, single, a child or teen, man, woman, or anything else – relationships are the fuel that keep most people pushing ahead. Since relationships require effort from all parties involved, be aware that brain injury is going to “throw a wrench” into the mix. Many people want to solve problems – they’re “fixers,” full of suggestions and comments, and sometimes criticism. This can bring a lot of tension into a relationship. If you can work to remember one thing about relationships, it’s this: True friends love you for who you are, and they’ll meet you wherever you’re at. Despite being different after TBI doesn’t mean you’re a completely different person, but it does mean that parts of your personality, likes, dislikes, and other things have changed. If someone points out to you that you’re not the same person any longer, consider telling them this: “Think of me as a house. I’ve made some new additions, I’ve changed some things around, I’ve gotten rid of some things, and maybe I don’t seem quite the same. But I’m still the same house…just a remodeled one, now.” Maybe that simple analogy will explain that you’re always going to be you, but changes do happen!

The bottom line

Frustration can make your day seem long

This particular blog is purposely not referencing clinical books, studies, findings, or scientific facts. The goal here is to help families and TBI survivors see themselves in a different light, as a team – as co-conspirators in a battle against TBI, that they both are fighting together. A TBI survivor needs you. You need and love them. Don’t let miscommunications become a wedge between you, because they’ve changed. Overlooking an outburst of frustration of a TBI survivor could make the rest of their day much better. For a survivor of TBI, letting go of a snide comment about them by a loved one who is frustrated or tired, could mean the difference in their day. Communicate with each other as clearly as you can, and always work toward better communication. It’s the key to progress. I hope that you can find contentment in life if you’ve experienced a TBI. I also hope that you will find it as a caregiver, family member, or friend of a TBI survivor. The words of a very well-known college basketball coach come to mind – Coach Jim Valvano, from North Carolina State University was battling terminal cancer, and in one of his last speeches to his adoring public he said “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” Those are words to live by.

via Miscommunication …Straight From the Horse’s Mouth – Brain Injury Blog With Free TBI Information

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[WEB SITE] Dating Someone With a Disability Doesn’t Have to Be Awkward

blonde woman and boyfriend embracing each other

My Boyfriend Has a Disability. So What?

The next time, it wasn’t really weird at all.

Now, I honestly barely notice – or care ‒ that he has no foot from the left shin down (for which he wears a prosthetic leg). To answer your next question: he was born with it, due to amniotic band syndrome, which can restrict growth of limbs in the womb and cause other problems such as cleft palate. To answer your other question — we met online.

Incidentally, he also has a corrected club foot, a scar from a corrected cleft lip, issues with his hands — one has just two fingers and a thumb, and the other has four fingers which work fine but look a bit oddly shaped at closer inspection. But so what? Nothing much to see here (apart from the fact that he’s also gorgeous). Move along. Right?

Or so I thought. I’m more than a little flabbergasted at the latest figures from the charity Scope, released ahead of Valentine’s Day, which suggest that 67 percent of people in Britain “feel uncomfortable talking to disabled people.” Apparently, my generation, the maligned millennials feel twice as uncomfortable as other groups, with 21 percent saying that they had “actually avoided talking to a disabled person.” This has prompted Scope to launch a campaign called “End the awkward.”

Well, I’ve been on a lot of first dates, and let me tell you about awkward. Silence between two people who have nothing in common is awkward. Making a joke and having the other person not laugh at all is awkward. Hell, even accidentally making intense eye contact with a stranger on the train is awkward.

Honestly, when my now-boyfriend first told me on our first date, my reaction was “Huh, interesting, why’s that, hmm these meatballs are really good, tell me more, does it bother you, how does it affect you, do you want another drink, please let’s have another cocktail so we can keep talking.” But I don’t think I’m unusual or being especially good or anything, to be clear. It was just common sense to me.

Obviously, I do notice — in the sense that I can see. But does it bother me? Is it really awkward? Er, no.

Being with someone who has a disability definitely shouldn’t be awkward. Yes, it’s something you might not encounter every day, but as far as dating goes, it’s generally something to accept and get used to, like someone’s nervous laugh, their inability to grasp why you care so much about a certain television show, or their annoying habit of always being late (and yeah, he does the last one too, but then so do I, so who am I to judge?).

Maybe it’s because as a kid I was told not to stare at people with disabilities, the same as I was told not to stare at any people. And while some people with disabilities will tell you they welcome people looking and asking questions about obvious markers of appearance, others say they hate it. Just like everyone.

I do accept that there are certain issues. Yes, luckily for him, my boyfriend doesn’t need anyone to help him with doing stuff, and he doesn’t have to use a wheelchair (although he does use one sometimes), which might be harder to manage.

And no, it doesn’t hurt that I find him ridiculously sexy and that he himself is pretty open and comfortable about things.

But I’d be lying if I said I’d never worried about whether we’ll ever be able to do typical couple-y stuff like go on long country walks (because too much walking can hurt) or, I don’t know, hike Machu Picchu.

I sometimes worry about other people’s potential reactions — in case it might hurt or annoy him rather than because I give a toss what people think. I don’t like it when his leg causes him pain. I feel sad that the disability means he hasn’t always been as confident as he might have been.

And sure, I’ve had moments of sadness and doubt where I’ve thought, Wow, maybe we’ll never be able to take glorious city breaks where we walk round the sights and streets until our feet ache like hell to the point where our cold drink at the bar afterward feels like heaven.

But you know, I’m sure – if our relationship is meant to be ‒ we’ll figure it out, just like anything in any relationship. Do a bit less walking, a bit more taking the train or car. A bit less hiking up hills and a bit more sitting in country pubs. Something else altogether. It’s hardly purgatory.

Disability is just not a dealbreaker for me in the same way someone being rude to me would be. Or someone humiliating me or someone who just stops texting for no reason or generally behaves like a jerk. That’s freaking awkward. As anyone who’s done dating in a city will tell you, at length, you don’t have to have a disability to do those things.

Which is why I’m genuinely surprised at the Scope figures.

Admittedly, before I met my boyfriend, I didn’t really know anyone who had real mobility problems and hadn’t given people with disabilities much thought, other than briefly thinking that living with a disability must be pretty hard work.

But I still don’t give people with disabilities (as if they’re one big group…) much thought, even though I’m dating someone who qualifies. Because “they” often don’t need you to treat them hugely differently to anyone else.

OK, so people in wheelchairs need you to consider access, people who can’t walk far might need you to consider transport alternatives. People with learning disabilities might need you to make other allowances or slightly alter your expectations of what they can do.

But the key thing here? They’re all people. The same damn rules apply.

Treat others how you want to be treated. Consider everyone as individuals with interests, flaws, successes, insecurities and passions, just like everyone else. We’ve all got things to deal with in life. Some people’s are just a bit more visible.

My boyfriend may not have all his limbs or fingers, but he’s still a whole human being. And whatever happens with us, relationship-wise or otherwise, that won’t change. Duh.

If the Scope research makes people realize that a bit more, perhaps we can all (especially people my age, please!) focus less on the fact that people with disabilities are “awkward” and more on the important relationship issues. You know, like giving him a hard time for how long he takes to text back, taking issue with the fact he doesn’t like whisky (WHAT? I LOVE it), groaning at his sarcastic jokes and trying to convince him that spirulina powder really is a superfood worth spending loads of money on.

There are plenty of things in a new relationship that can be awkward, as anyone who’s ever dated anyone will know. But your partner’s disability? Not so much.


Source: Dating Someone With a Disability Doesn’t Have to Be Awkward | The Mighty

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[TEDx TALK/WEB SITE] A woman with a disability gets real about dating and sex. She’s funny and honest.

“So just recently I went out on a Match.com date, and it was fantastic,” begins Dr. Danielle Sheypuk in her TEDx Talk.

If you’ve ever been on a bunch of Match.com dates, that opening line might make you do a double take. How does one get so lucky?!

But don’t get too jealous. Things quickly went downhill two dates later, as most Match.com dates ultimately do. This time, however, the reason may not be something that you’ve ever experienced. Intrigued? I was too. So here’s the story.

Dr. Sheypuck is a pretty amazing woman.

She’s a licensed clinical psychologist, an advocate, and a model — among other things. She’s also been confined to a wheelchair since childhood. And that last fact is what did her recent date in.

On their third date over a romantic Italian dinner, Sheypuk noticed that he was sitting farther away from her than usual. And then, out of nowhere, he began to ask the following questions:

“I’ve been thinking, how are you gonna be a mother? How are you gonna do the duties that’s gonna be required of you? And even as wife — how … I’m not sure how this is gonna work.

“Used to this line of inquiry, she had the perfect quippy reply: “Well that’s simple: I’m just gonna hire someone like every other New Yorker.

“But despite her witty answer, he’d already made up his mind. She never heard from him again.

“I tried to convince myself that this was like any other relationship, but deep down I knew the reality. Who wants to date someone in a wheelchair?”

Dr. Sheypuk knows that that single question is evidence of a really serious problem —not just on the dating scene, but in society in general.

Society has factored out an entire group of potential romantic partners: people with disabilities.

In her words:

“We are completely left out of the dating picture. Society, media included, seems to ignore the fact that we have the same emotional needs and desires as everyone else. Is this injustice born out of the concept of the poster child and his or her duty to induce pity to raise money?

Or maybe it’s a conclusion drawn form mainstream porn where we have actors performing, like, gymnastic stunts with the stamina that none of us have of bucking broncos and jackrabbits.

“Um, yes. So much yes. She continues:


“The silent message: The more in shape your body, the better the sex. The unspoken conclusion: If you have a disability, you are too sick to have sex.


“Now let’s look at the continuum in our society where sexual is measured. On the one hand, we have humans that are the ultimate sex appeal object. So on that end, we have Victoria Secret models, Playboy centerfolds, people like that.

On the complete opposite end, we have people with physical disabilities. And it seems like the more we deviate from this ultimate sex icon, the more desexualized we become, the more taboo the topic, and the more damaging the consequences.

Now, for most people there are quick fixes, right? We have Hair Club for Men, Botox, Spanx, butt implants. But for people with disabilities, there are no quick fixes. There is no magic pill.”

“And we are hit hard.”

Watch the rest of Dr. Sheypuk’s talk to hear her important insights about what dating and relationships are like when a person has a disability — and how much of society is limiting itself.

She talks about a guy on Tinder who asked her if she was capable of having sex (her answer is funny), why people with disabilities can have sexual experiences that are even better than those of able-bodied folks, and more.

Source: A woman with a disability gets real about dating and sex. She’s funny and honest.

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[WEB SITE] Relationships After Traumatic Brain Injury

After traumatic brain injury (TBI), many couples find that their relationship with each other changes dramatically. These changes are very personal and can be very emotional for both people in the relationship. This factsheet will help couples understand some of the common changes they may notice in their relationship after TBI. Also, suggestions are given for ways that couples can address some of the more difficult changes they are experiencing.

Although some of the relationship changes after TBI are difficult and can be painful, there are many things that couples can do in order to enjoy each other and their relationship in new, positive, and meaningful ways.

Couples’ Relationships and TBI

A TBI can significantly change a couple’s relationship. There are different degrees of brain injury severity, and milder injuries such as concussions do not always result in significant or long-term relationship changes. However, after severe, moderate, or complicated-mild brain injury, both survivors and their spouses or partners must often change many parts of their lives. The following life changes typically affect intimate relationships:

  • Changes in responsibilities
  • Changes in relationship roles
  • Changes and challenges in communication

Brain injury survivors often have new personality traits, challenges, fears, and limitations. Survivors are often surprised by how these changes also mean that they will feel and behave differently in their relationships. These changes have led many spouses to say they feel like they are “married to a stranger.”

The intimate partners of survivors may have new concerns or fears related to both the incident that caused the injury and the new behavior traits of the survivor. Also, partners often change the focus in their lives in order to manage the multiple challenges that arise for their family after an injury.

These changes in the survivor’s personality and the life focus of both partners often result in a feeling that partners do not know what to expect from one another. Uncertainty can increase stress and anxiety within the home.

How Are Relationships Typically Affected?

Continue –>  Relationships After Traumatic Brain Injury.

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