Loss of a friend :(

I feel sad at the potential loss of a friend, who I saw as a sister and who told me she felt the same. My best friend was by my side throughout my stay in ICU, whilst I was in a coma. I am told she was there as much as possible, I went for my first outing from the neuro rehab ward with her and she stayed with me the first night I came home from 3 months ionhospital. Through my early recovery she was always there incouraging me and cheering me on. I did so much and was really proud of myself and grateful for the support, we went to concerts, we ran, we walked, camping, she came to my PIP interview with me, we did loads together along with her family. I felt so supported and grateful for having my fantastic friend looking out for me. Then suddenly the contact lessened, she got a new job and I was so happy for her it made sense. But then the doubts set in, she seemed to not believe me when I would talk about the negative symptoms I was suffering that were getting worse as time went along, she would question me and ,make me feel like I wasn't believed or that I was making it up. She didn't seem to believe in the fatigue and would say things like "but your coming up to 2 years and you should be better" or "you could do this last summer, why not now?", these doubts and questions hurt me and make me feel like I'm doing something wrong. The final nail in the coffin was when she text to ask if I was going to go to an event I had invited her and her family to and I said I needed a shower, she replied with "we're leaving in 5 minutes". I was a bit put out as I struggle to do things at the last minute now, I get stressed and confused. So I responded this in a text, I said I didn't thin k it was fair she gave me 5 minutes knowing that I struggle now. No response, no response and not contacted me for 2 weeks. Just cut me off for speaking my mind for once. 13 years of friendship cut off for what, I'm being punished for having an accident, punished for not being the person I used to be and punished for not being able to do the things I used to be able to do. As well as this friend I have lost my partner, we have drifted apart throughout my recovery and can no longer spend time together. I know they must be struggling with the "new" me, like I'm not struggling with how am now. My life has been turned upside down and I'm expected to return to being the person I used to be, its just not going to happen.

Sorry for the moan peeps, I just had to get it off my chest. Brain injury sucks and I'm feeling pretty fed up.

Has anyone else lost partners and friends since their BI's? and how have you coped with it and made new friends? is it even possible?

I just don't understand what I have done wrong, I had an accident that broke my brain. Surely I have been punished enough by this event xx

18 Replies

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  • Hi jennaberri

    Sorry to hear of your loss but it seems that this can be the case with friends not seeing the whole picture.

    I dont think I have any of my pre bi friends the last two drifted away saying I thought you would be better by know.( my bi was 16 years ago). I AM BETTER, its just I am a different person now. This they dont believe as well even though they remark how I have altered.

    As far my partner yes after about 4 -5 years post bi we split. My wife felt she was cheating on me with me. A bit messed up I know but I could understand her. Also I understood that she had to learn to love this new me and I deffinately understood that, I did not care for this new me.

    It seemed a strange decision to split up in order to see if there was anything worth saving. Looking back I am glad that we chose this route. We eventually got back together and went on to renew our vows.

    Oh and as for friends . I have made new ones that accept me for who I am ....even the bad bits. It is sad when old friendships end but you cant force people to accept you. There are people out there that are your friends.....they dont know it yet....but thats only because you have not met them yet.

    Sorry for long reply...oh and dont forget about all the friends on this forum....see you have more friends than you know already.

  • Hi Jenna , I can relate very much to your experience, in terms of the loss of your friendship and the reasons why after a long time. It's given me time to analyse the why and wherefores in my own situation. My BI was March 2013., oh and I just separated before but Friends sympathetic and kind. actually I felt fine in the days immediately after discharge, it took time for confusion, personality changes, and neural effects to start, so no problem then with BI! Except for stress with OH, we had been married 45 hrs, till I had a car accident 9 moths later and within. 3 months all the neural symtoms were back, to the point where I realised the 'mind' and the brain are like 2 separate entities - the mind continues to work, but the brain controls how you are able to react to the days happenings and. Circumstances. I even walk with a funny wobble, that's a balance issue I know that. My speech was slower.

    I started to feel like I wasn't me, I was watching myself from somewhere else, although in the same room. I'd go to do something, find a different thought going through my mind and wander off to do that, yand not finishing what I'd started, this puts pressure and stress on you when you realise that, but your friends still see you the way you were, to them you look the same, can talk and walk - so why are you being like that sort of attitude, there's nothing wrong with you. because they don't realise what's going on with your brain, they don't see a problem.

    Like you I cannot do things at a few moments notice, I need the information about timings well in advance - the brain needs to absorb the information and then process it so it sends the right messages to the necessary parts of you, the mind, so you know what you must do, i.e wash, dress - even choosing what to wear takes time to look, absorb what's in front of you and then make a choice, and next you have to go and wash/shower, in what you think is normal time - for me I get downstairs when I'm finished, look at the clock and discover I've taken 20-30 minutes. time passes so quickly it's unbelievable. Perception of things, what we think we see or know isn't Always what we do see or know. short term memory can be diabolical.

    Your friend does not see or know these things that's possibly why she does not have the patience with you. stress for you at her attitude, possibly adds to your confusion. I am afraid I got to a point where I just stopped contacting friends And my family doesn't want to know at all. I have moved to a different Area, through talking to local people in village, they know I had a haemorrhage that's All, I told them, so that if I did or said something daft they knew there was a reason! but they do accept me for what I am and what they see. For me that's good, they didn't know what I was like before, so no judgemental issues for me. They know I have good or bAd days and sometimes don't see me for 2or 3 dYs at a time, or they may see me several days in a row.

    My doctor is the worst - he thinks I'm depressed and kept giving me anti depressants - which made my brain worse. I know that - so I stopped taking them last Autumn. but all those pills, no appetite were also affecting my liver, and blood passing through the liver can also worsen or give similiR effects to BI. they found after several MRI's and blood tests I have cirrhosis. fortunately my doctor changed my meds eventually, since then my brain is much clearer long some days and my liver is stable. I tell you this, because I'd hate to think you may end up with similiR problems, especially with your current situation with your friend.

    Can you not perhaps send her a letter and try and explain that you are not in control of your brains actions and reactions. I think we all know that antidepressants can restore Seratonin in the brain. but we are not depressed and their is nerve cell damage, different types of drugs may be needed to help. we Also know alcohol slows the brains reactions that why there are drink driving laws, the consequences Of drinking and driving are well documented. the consequences of brain damage are know to those of us who have it and no as easily explained to people because they can't see it. It must be like having Alzheimer's, which people understand and know and accept the consequences, but we walk and talk and our minds know what is going on with us but can't prevent the consequences.

    I hope you and your friend are able to talk and that she will be able to accept that you are still there in your mind, if not your brain. I hope that doesn't sound too crazy to you, I've rambled on with it. Try also and talk to meet some new people who will accept you as you Are now, because they won't judge you as didn't know you before.

    I am living in France so will just say 'Bon chance' - Good luck and best wishes I hope your friendship is saved. Shirley xx.

  • Jennaberri

    Never apologise for a moan.

    You have done nothing wrong!!!!

    Try if you can to take a step back and look at the situation from as many angles as you can. Some people are brilliant in crisis situations and some aren't. Some cope really well when there are long term changes in someone or illness and some don't.

    You have been unfortunate enough to have 2 of the most important people in your life in the unable to cope category.

    Absolutely yes you can make new friends and for some it can be the best way forward because new friends don't know the old you.

    One of my pet hate expressions is "baby steps" but the idea can be useful.

    If there is a headway group near you why not drop in. The level of acceptance you receive can be a great morale booster and give you the confidence to try things in the big bad world.

    Love n hugs

    Xoxo

    Hope you are feeling a lot happier.

    PS forgot to say that if you need closure with your friend it may be worth sending a lovely letter thanking them for their support in the dark days of hospital etc and that while you may not be in a position to offer the same levels of support youto them you are available to do what you can.

  • Hi Jennaberri

    Sorry to read your post and hear about your friend's behaviour towards you.

    I think the problem is that when you look ' fine' people assume you are back to your 'old' self when in fact you are a 'new' self.

    Genuine struggles for you may seem like excuses to them, in a way it's like a hidden disability.

    Could you ask your friend to look at the Headway site as it gives a real insight into what happens when you've had a BI.

    I think people see that you've recovered but don't realise there are changes because you look the same.

    I'm always amazed, when I read through the posts on here, to see the similarities between people's experiences. There really is a common thread.

    I've learnt so much that I've been able to share with my son who had a subarrachnoid brain haemorrhage 4 years ago. There was so much I didn't realise or understand and it's helped us both.

    I hope your friend is open enough to take a look at the Headway site and gain more understanding.

    Let us know. You take care and share on here because it really does help.

    Love Alice xx

  • Hi there

    I had a similar thing happen to me. All I can tell you, is that I was fortunate in leaving South Africa and coming to the UK, cos now I have lots of 'Brainy' friends, most of whom I met through Headway.

    I was also going through a divorce at the time of my TBI, which was turning into a right mess. My best friend, after running my business for me while I was recovering, ended up not speaking to me, and I now realise that at the time, I had no 'tact', and probably said some bad things, none of which I can remember.

    Anyway, this 'new' me, is trying hard over here, but has lots of ups and downs, but one day, I will be ok!

    Hope you will be too!

    😀😉

  • I'm so sorry to read about your friend's reaction. Can't say too much as it brings back all the negative feelings about a certain guy I was dating for years at the time of my BI - came to hospital with me and kissed me goodbye at a&e - never to be seen since. Have vague recollection of text messages between us but he ended up being abusive whilst I was hospitalised and it seems some people just can't cope/understand that none of this is something that we chose to have.

    Hope things settle with you and have a good weekend. I've learned who my true friends are - and off on holiday with some of them today.

    K

  • Hi Jennaberri

    I too lost someone I thought was a good friend recently, over something I said. Contact just ceased abruptly. But like you, I couldn't have told it any differently:what I said was the reality for me.

    Other people do struggle with how we are. We do work differently. We do have to live differently. We sure as anything think differently. And I am pretty sure we feel differently too - emotional lability is common.

    There is, unfortunately no answer to that conundrum. Those who knew us before may well walk. It is all too different and they like what they knew. But into their place come others, who meet us where we are now, and take our difference as being part of who we are. Just as well, because it is.

    So: old friends may fade away, but you can still be hopeful because new people will spring up and, in time, take their place. We all 'move on', all the time. Some leavings are more painful than others for sure. But just keep in forward gear and there will be a 'new thing' waiting, just for you, around the corner.

  • Thank you, your words make perfect sense. I did speak my truth; how it is for me now. Its just such a shock that my best friend and my partner bolt at the same time. The two people who have been there all along suddenly gone.

    I know I need to Move on and make new friends but for now I'm reeling x

  • I think there are lots of others here that can fully understand your confusion, distress and sense of loss with the breakdown with friendships and partners. I certainly add myself to that situation as my long term very best friend (40+yrs), who we refered to ourself as 'sisters' and 'family' and who was by my bedside when I was in the coma and looked after my son in my home for 6 weeks while I was in hospital. But who I now have a infrequent and tension filled friendship with. Pre BI we were always chatting on the phone and staying with each other (we live 250 miles apart). I feel very bereft of the loss of my best friend. I have tried to offer her info to read to help her understand but she took it but then gave it back 6 months later saying she didn't need to read it because she already understood - yet her expectations of me clearly indicate she doesn't at all!! Other friends have disappeared too and of course now I am not working the work colleague friendships are gone as well. Because of my BI difficulties I have become very socially isolated and that's partly because it is easier to manage keeping myself to myself than the difficulties of not fitting anymore socially. Like SAMBS has said I ended up being told that antidepressants were the answer and would resolve my difficulties and I did end up on a variety of them for several years. However, having stopped them just before xmas because I was rock bottom fed up I discovered that actually they were causing my extreme emotional lability problems rather than helping them! I wasn't depressed it was a frontal BI that was causing my emotional problems. Now without the anti d's I do still have some emotional difficulties but my mood is not plummetting to such bleak depths and nor is my emotional outspill so extreme! I am starting next week as a volunteer at a new Headway group starting in my area so hopefully that we introduce me to some new friends who like on here totally understand and accept me and my BI.

  • Hi strawberry cream, glad coming off the anti-d's is helping you better. Your up and down days hopefully will also lessen, as you become more pre occupied with Your new Headway group. Take things off your 'Mind' as the saying goes! I helped out at a village flower fete a couple of weeks ago, reheating 'pre-cooked crepes - well the French do weird and wonderful things here, but I had a good time and finished the day flogging cooked sausages to the men in the beer tent at 50centimes per sausage. They do things v cheap here at times. I raised a few euros for the committee funds, and no sausages got thrown away. It was a good day! Hope you have many of them as well! x

  • Maybe your friend needs a little space. Or maybe you could send her a bunch of flowers and say Thank-you. Thank you for being there for me if YOU need me I am always near Love you always.

    It is very sad when friendship breaks down but by remembering the positive and helpful things your friend has done for you I am sure you will work through this storm, I am sure that given time things will work out for you both.

    Love Liz 🌹😅

  • That's a nice idea, maybe I a few weeks once the dust has settled :-)

    Thank you x

  • i can see this from both sides,it does seem a bit odd that suddendly no more contact! just because of a shower? However it could be that she felt she had just run out of giving! i sometimes feel like that with my hubby,even though i love him and would never leave,maybe she just needs some distasnce,try texting or writing in few weeks,or asking her out? good luck xx

  • Yeah I get that, I feel like that towards my partner. Whilst in recovery I was constantly putting his needs first and ended up putting my recovery backwards. My friend did give a lot and I'm always grateful and saying thank you and doing things for her. I'm always there for everyone else when they need me. Hey ho,

  • yeah i hear that! put yourself first for once! and i have no doubt that you always say thankyou

  • Hello Jennaberi, I too lost a friend of over 30 years. It broke me for some time but I had to keep moving forward as only I could, at my own pace. I had to grieved for a lost family member, it was awful St the time but I hope that maybe one day in the future we may be reconciled.

    They say that time is a healer but in this instance it wasn't to be, may in future who knows.

    I hope like me you will find new friends who accept you for what you are now.

  • Oh that is sad to hear. People find it so difficult to adapt to the change but that is no way of any friend to act with or without your accident. Do you have anybody else who could talk to her and explain you feelings and difficulties?

    You have been through a lot and coping amazingly. Well done you for speaking up and taking your time. Your friend will come round eventually. keep the faith xxxx

  • people who havent had a bi try to understand but because they havent had one themselves cant realise that the things we were able to do, even a short while ago, we may not be able to do now.

    we arent the same people we were before our bi, jenna and steve who were that life is in the past, as scary as that may seem we are new people. i find it scary and exciting at the same time.

    jenna my stroke was 31/2 years ago ive had to accept who i am, but heres another problem people look at us and think nothing wrong with them.dissability does not have tobe visible.

    please send the headways link to your friend and ask her to view the posts and maybe just maybe she ll realise.......it could also be a psycological thing for her having seen before and after not being able to get her head around it.

    good luck and a merry christmas

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