SAH moods

Hi my husband had a massive SAH and had 10 months in hospital/rehab. Now we are 3 years on and sometimes he says the most awful things about people that we know and love. It really hurts my heart and I tell him this but it still continues. Is there something that I can do - he tried councelling but she told him to get anti depressants. I love my husband and don't want to not understand how he feels 🙃

37 Replies

  • Hi Bbradybunch

    My first thought is get a different counsellor or possibly some CBT.

    It sounds like your husband is complaining to you and not directly to the people. That at least is something to be grateful for.

    Do you recognise the signs when he is getting ready to be verbal in they way?

    Love n hugs


  • Not really he can just let rip. It's unfortunate but we lose so many friends and family as they don't get to know the new person and this hurts him deeply. The thing is that he forgets and we don't so it's very sad. I think I will try for the CBT hopefully it will help. To be fair I think the first counsellor was a bit crap and didn't really understand brain injury. Thank you for your reply and kindness xox

  • You could try downloading some of the Headway leaflets and making them available for friends.

    It may help them understand a little.

    Just another it possible that your hubby does not recognise when he is fatigued?

    Love n hugs


  • Morning. Oh how I do understand!! Similarly, my husband had his SAH in October 2012, caused by a ruptured aneurysm. He also suffered a stroke as a result, and spent a total of about 5 months in hospital and rehab.

    He is just the same, he seems to have lost all empathy / sympathy for anyone but himself, says really unkind things about other people, friends and family. He goes to the Headway day centre and complains constantly about various people there, and when I try to explain that he has to remember they have brain injuries, like himself, he gets very nasty and says the usual things, ie. "no one understands that I have a brain injury".

    He does not accept that I have been here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for him for 4 years now, and if anyone understands I do.

    He has had several counsellors over the years, each one referring him on to another, and we are now waiting for another appointment with a neuro psychologist, for which there is a 16 month waiting list!! He too is on anti depressants, which have recently been changed to a stronger type, but I have seen very little improvement.

    He has been hoping to get his driving licence back (he suffered major seizures for the first year or so after the SAH and had to give back his licence) although I am adamant he is not safe to drive. Recently he heard it had not been granted, and so now this is making him even more depressed and he says he is going to appeal.

    He too, has lost all his friends from before "that day". His family, for whatever reason, have no comprehension of his new life, and how awful everything is for him.....and for me. I have had no help whatsoever from any of his family except from the first few months. Once he "looked ok" they all seemed to assume they didn't need to keep in touch, ring, or visit and I have been left with it all.

    I don't know how your husband is now, but mine has a completely different personality from the man he was before, and sadly it is not one I would have chosen to be married to. Hence our relationship has suffered badly, and our marriage is really just a marriage in name. We live more like patient and carer, and it is not a happy time.

    I hope that you and your husband have come out of it all better than we have. Life is so unfair isn't it.

    Very best wishes, Molly x

  • Good morning Molly,

    I think it's a very similar thing. Like you say once he looks ok he is ok - if only !

    My husband can curb what he says but only in front of say, his mom or sister and although he adores me he constantly says really unkind things about our kids and others to me. He becomes emotional about people he doesn't know but has no realisation that he hurts me.

    I have spoken to him calmly lots of times about it but it reverts back just when it's been good for a few days.

    I'm not sure how this can be changed. He also attends Headway and fumes at people there but again to me not them.

    I am heartfelt sorry for your situation, life is never what you think it will be.

    If anyone has any ideas on how to change this mind set I'm all ears !!

    Thanks for your reply Molly take care of yourself xox

  • Oh Molly, your's could be my story. Isn't it difficult. Our relationship has suffered too, my husband is not the companion I thought would be my partner for the rest of our lives. Nothing we can do about it though, except try to learn to accept the way it is.

  • I was beginning to think that I had posted this not you Molly What hurts me is that my husband is quite polite to other people but very nasty to me .It is hard to live with you say a man I would Never have married Every time we go out or have an appointment he has a meltdown shouting and swearing basically about nothing He is very reluctant to go anywhere that he hasn't been before We get a lot of help support and advice from our local Headway group otherwise I think we would be in a very difficult situation

  • Morning Katie. It certainly does help to know we are not alone doesn't it. And eases the guilt a little. I hesitate to tell people how I feel, as it sounds so un caring, after all he is the one that suffered the injury. But as time goes by, I begin to realise that I have my life to live too, and being unhappy all the time is not the way I want to live it. I don't know what the answer is at the moment, things lurch from bad to worse and back to bad, with a little "ok" in between when things are going his way.

    One thing I can be thankful for I suppose is that so far, he has never been physically aggressive towards me, but I do worry that one day that might happen, at which point I would definitely have a huge decision to make!!

    I am in my early 60's and have not had an easy life one way or another, and feel at this time in my life I should be relaxing and enjoying my retirement, not having to live each day full of arguments and hurtful words. I feel I have done my very best for him, with no help from his nearest and dearest, to get him where he is today. Thank God for my own family and friends, who give me so much help and support and understanding.

  • You are talking about my life again. !

    I too feel guilty when I complain about him I genuinely don't feel that I have a life at all I am thankful that he sleeps a lot But if we have to go out He dresses in old dirty clothes ...gets angry when I suggest he should get changed or god forbid have a shower ! . We have to be ready to go out at least an hour before we need to I try to encourage him to think about what he needs to take with us etc He has a diary so he can be organised write apps down make lists etc So then we spend ages looking for the diary ! , I am so fed up sometimes I imagine leaving him But not knowing how he is is worse than being there and taking care of him I don't think his kids ( grown up now) have the slightest idea how bad our lives are But they do come over occasionally and tidy his shed or whatever needs doing Then they go home again to their "normal" lives I just wish we could do that too . . . .

  • This is getting crazy now. All your last post (apart from the showering bit) describes how it is here. He has 2 sons (also grown up) one of which has no time whatsoever for him, and hasn't for the last 6 or 7 years or so, and the other one used to visit once every couple of months, but never ask if we wanted anything doing or stay more than a few hours (he lives 2 hours away). He has now not visited since May, saying his new job means he can't get away....his new job is not brain surgery....excuse the pun!! He has a sister, she never rings, or gets in touch either. It is always us who go "up north" to visit them. They all make me sick. His whole personality has changed, and I hate the new person I have to live with! It is a living nightmare. What are we supposed to do?? x

  • If his SAH caused a brain injury to his frontal brain that is the area of the brain that is responsible for executive function and emotional control. Also that area of the brain is where our impulse control is so if that has been damaged that would also explain why he impulsively will say things to people that previously he wouldn't have done and was able to be more controlled and thought it but not necessarily said it! I always refer to no longer having a brake to let me think before I speak. Did he have any Neuro psych testing done which would have identified his difficulties?

  • No he didn't have a test but yes his was front left. It can be very trying but I do try to understand. I am going to suggest CBT fingers crossed it may help. Thank you xx

  • I don't know about you, but I think we wives / husbands deserve medals!! Yes, you take care too. By the way, whereabouts are you in the country? We are in Leics.

  • We live in London. Thanks for letting me rant to people who understand from both sides. Have a good day xx

  • You do deserve medals, Molly. X

  • We live just outside Preston Lancashire ...I find it easier to live day to day .....As looking forward too far is quite demoralising When things are really bad I try to remember how grim things were straight after his accident ...When I was told his prognosis was poor and how I prayed so hard for him to get better.... When he was in a coma and not responding to anything ........his recovery has been slow ...It's a miracle that he is as well as he is ...But he is not the same man that I married There are glimpses of that man now and then but not often It's very sad

  • My husband says that about me sometimes, that I can really think the worst of our friends with no reason to - I'm not sure it seems to be because we're not sure how to say it so we're just extremely blunt and straight to the point? It is also something I feel I can say to him and no one else as I trust he'd understand I don't mean it... hope this helps xxx

  • Can I say, without sounding weird... but thank you for coming on here to ask and try to understand, it is unfortunate no one with a head injury themselves understands fully so how can we expect someone without a BI to understand but thank you for asking :-) xx

  • I'm so sorry to hear this.... my husband did this too after about a year of his SAH. For the first year he didn't seem to be much different, apart from being quite anxious & loss of confidence.

    He was such a loving & caring person before. Now he can be so cold & no emotions :-(

    He used to be so very hostile towards those who helped & supported me as he felt so threatened by them (his words) as he wasn't able to take care of me like they were.

    We were forced to separate last year... but something that really helped was a neuropsychologist... headway could help with this.

    Anti-d's could help along with therapy... just as a short term thing. My husband was on these & so was I. We are both off these nowadays.

    My heart goes out to you both xx

  • I am 18 months from having my SAH and I have found that the impact on the brain from any head injury causes a personality split, which means that person can evaluate things only in black and white. The middle ground has gone. I have noticed that myself. I also sometimes say things that I may not mean but it's too late as I have already said it. I have had therapy and it helped a little for the understanding. But most of the improvement has come from me by acknowledging there is a problem. So I contacted the hospital and spoke to the head nurse that was there at the time of my SAH and they have referred me to a physiology team ( this is different to physiciatrist ) and they are going to help me try to say and do things in a different way so it doesn't get me into trouble as it is now. I hope this helps.

    Please see my video blogs and talks that I have done to help others with similar issues, here is the link to my channel:

  • Hi brady bunch im so sorry that you are going throught this i myself had a sah 4 1/2 years ago lucky it wasnt as bad as it could have been ! I was in one hospital for 3 week and in another for 1 week i was really lucky ! Regarding your husbands reactions to people you know i hated mixing with people and still do to a extinct i can get nippy to my wife and others which i didnt do before my s.a.h im anti social if your unhappy with your husbands treatment ask so see another doctor ! Please take care. All the best david

  • I hope that it helps others as well as me not to feel so alone. Thank you for all the feedback I know that for some of you this is difficult xxx

  • bradybunch thats the problem with being married to someone with a bi.......we er unpredictable, because we dont have any filters to stop us what we think is what we say.

    it is a known fact that a person who has suffered a bi will eventually stop being invited to things and their friends will gradually drift away, thats not a problem for me because i moved to a new town, found myself working with young people who had nothing in common with me nor i with them.

    so now since my stroke thats not a problem,as the only time i go out is with my wife at the weekends.

    dont you dare suggest to your doctor that your husband needs antidepressants that councillor should be struck off he is not qualified to give advice like that.

    sorry to say this sweetness but you can never understand unless you go through it yourselfand none of us would wish that. just be there for him tell him off when he needs to be and find your local headway group.

    welcome to the family

  • Hi thanks for that Steve. We do have good times too it's not always rubbish. You are right about friends and family he says terrible things sometimes and everyone just stares at the floor😂😂. He attends Headway two days a week and moans about others there the one he truly loves can't speak, says it all really. Hope you guys are ok I was feeling a bit low but am back on again.

    Thanks again all for all the support xx

  • Hi

    I can identify with what everyone says on here. A BI is a hidden disability mostly recognised by the nearest and dearest to the person with a BI.

    My son had a SAH 5 years ago, he's done remarkably well but his emotions are different as is his tolerance level and misinterpreting what others are saying.

    He swears more and can be very negative and argumentative with his children and me. it's one rule for him and him only. He can't let things go and goes on and on and on. He has no filter and that was exactly his words.

    He does recognise this after the event but not at the time. It's worse when he's tired or there's a lot going on. I do understand why he acts the way he does but it can be hard accepting it and it can be like walking on eggshells.

    He manages to control it to some degree with others but doesn't control it with us.

    I'm not writing this to criticise him but to say I know how you feel and that it's not always easy.

    I hate confrontation however there is confrontation of one sort or another most days.

    It always helps to share on here, it's the only place that seems to recognise everyday difficulties following a BI.

    Make sure you take time for you xx

  • Good morning Alice

    I think you are talking about my husband that is him to a t. It seems to have gotten slightly worse lately but I'm not sure if that's because he's doing more and is fatigued. It's true that few people understand him anymore which is very sad because he has done so well. Hope you have a good day xx

  • Hello, Bradybunch35, and welcome to the group. We all have different experiences and perspectives, united by our frustration at the general lack of understanding about the massive range of life-altering impacts of a Brain Injury. My perspective is from the injured side, grade 4 SAH in February 2015, they found two other aneurysms in there while they were coiling the blown one, and I had the second-largest coiled in March of this year. The third one is too small to be viable for surgery, and in a 'risky' position, so just regular scanning on that one.

    With regard to the moods, and the unpleasantness, the most important thing for you to accept is that we don't mean it. Our brains are physically altered, effectively damaged, and they don't function in exactly the same way as they used to. That's not an excuse, and I do agree with comments others have made about CBT being a potential pathway. As much as he doesn't 'really' mean the hurtful/hateful things he says, there's a chance that he doesn't realise he's saying them, the 'no brakes' thing is very, very real, and we brain-injured folk can be a tad blurty, especially if we're carrying frontal lobe damage. The emotional regulation or inhibition of inappropriate comments needs re-training, I was an absolute horror for months, and still slip occasionally now.

    The problem with looking at it from the outside is that you're not 'in' it, that's not in any way to diminish how hard it is for you, but it can be difficult for 'us' to explain how much more complicated everything is with a brain injury. I was speaking to an old friend yesterday, and he was reeling with all of the side-effects and double-processing I described to him; we barely scratched the surface. I'm lucky in that my work involved mentoring challenging adolescents, so I already had the tool-kit to recognise and respond to my weird behaviours, once I realised they were inappropriate. I'm not claiming that I catch every single blurt before it happens, or that I don't have extremely uncharitable thoughts about others, don't get me started on how often I get profoundly angry about things that aren't in the least bit relevant.

    I'm stubborn, I'm obstinate, and incredibly fortunate that I was able to recognise that there was something 'wrong', or I might have been sacked or sectioned by now. That, I think, might be the biggest obstacle you face, that he doesn't realise how difficult he's being. Honestly, trapped in our new worlds with the brain-fog, the aches and pains, the fatigue, and a multitude of sensory issues, we have a lot to process before we get to 'being nice'. General counsellors aren't really equipped to deal with 'us', and anti-depressants, while effective for some, only stabilise the brain chemistry, the damage, the injury, and the work-arounds are still there. (I'm not a doctor, anti-depressants DO help some people, and I need to shake off my personal "I'm NOT depressed!" problem, Selective Seratonin Re-uptake Inhibitors DO work for some people.)

    CBT, or neuro-psychology, he needs to recognise his negative behaviours, and work on responding more appropriately to the triggers, there isn't a magic wand, or silver bullet that will suddenly turn him back into the man he was before, but he can be taught strategies for when the blurt/anger bubbles up. It hasn't 'gone away' for me, I've just taught myself to respond to it differently.

  • I know it's so difficult for him and most of the time he is ok but lately he seems to just turn really quickly. I'm not sure if things have changed for him inside his brain. He is under the hospital for high haemoglobin and this seems to be stressing him out to the max. He is very hot all the time body temp normal but he is roasting. I think this adds to his boiling point. I just hope things get resolved soon and then maybe he will calm down again xx

  • Please understand that I wasn't implying it's not difficult for you, in some ways, it must be harder, because you can see the changes, and he can't. I know that I was a tw*t of the highest order early on, a complete nightmare, BUT I recognised, and responded to it, that's what he needs help with, for all of your sakes. Living with a brain injury is completely different to everything before, and, until he recognises, and accepts that his brain has changed, he's likely to continue in what I referred to as my 'toddler' phase. He needs help, and you need help. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy would likely be the best option, to help him understand what it is he's doing, and respond more appropriately. Do your local Headway provide family therapy? It's evident that it's causing you stress, in trying to deal with him as he is now, there will be therapeutic support available, it's just getting the right referral that's the issue, some GPs aren't particularly clued up on brain injury, hence my current "Around the NHS in 80 days" mission, I've still enough restraint about me not to scream "It's not my EYES, it's the blood-flow to my retinas, due to the brain damage!"...

    We're here, there are other partners here, and you're doing a grand job, just don't do it all on your own.

  • Ah thanks I just had a cr.. p couple of days where a few things were wrong and just sometimes it all gets a bit much. But I am back on form and managing much better. I will definitely speak to headway about the right therapy I think that's a good place to start. I am grateful for all the info and just chatting makes things a bit better. There are not many outside who understand and nor could you expect them to. Thanks all xx

  • This is a very moving discussion. Although my experience is of a TBI not a SAH I would offer the following. I have suffered from depression since losing my job, my mother's death and my father and siblings dumping me and mine for no reason that they would give! I have been on three or four different 'happy pills' as I call them but have learnt some potentially useful things that I would share!

    First, a GP will 'start' a patient on a medium low dose of their 'favourite'. Almost certainly this is not the optimum dose of the optimum pill for that patient in their circumstances - it is just that they have to start somewhere safe and reasonable as a starting point. Moreover it takes at least six weeks to start drawing any conclusions so it is not a 'quick fix' in any way shape of form except one. That one is a fairly high dose to take the 'oomph' out of feelings pushing someone to self-destruct! And this actually highlights the way these things works; they provide a 'cushion' for one's emotions is how I would describe it. They distance one from the biting edge of emotions. This means that at too high a dose one becomes hard and unemotional - not dissimilar from the behaviour being described above. They switched me from Citalopram to Sertraline because the dose I was on was too high for the latest recommendations and this has seemed to suit me better. I am now slowly reducing the dose - a pill cutter is essential as is a pill box to keep track of what you take when. I hope to be able to be endurable without them some day!

    So I would have thought that there is some potential in this type of medication but it would need a lot of time, patience, objective monitoring and cooperation on the part of the patient to find a beneficial pill at the optimum dose. However surely it is the person's own recognition of the issue and will to avoid such behaviour which has to be the driving force behind this? I hope this is useful in some way. Best wishes.

  • Sounds like you've had a hard time. Thank you for that I know that meds is not a quick fix so maybe will try CBT first hopefully that will help him xx

  • Given the timescale why not get started on the happy pills soonest and start observing?

    PS I do remember The Brady Bunch!

  • I have been on a variety of " happy pills "and do agree that sertraline seems to be hitting the spot

  • I'm coming up to the first anniversary of my SAH and I've recovered remarkably well but having read the posts in this thread I now wonder if things might change. .......and not for the better! Are there any stories of good long term recoveries?

  • Can I just tell u it's not all bad. My husband had done wonders. He spent 10 months in Hosp and rehab learning to walk and do daily living. He has now got his licence back and has started to speak at conferences about recovery it's just the tweeting that he needs help with xx

  • Thank you, that's very reassuring. How great that he's speaking at conferences which will help others. Shake his hand for me please.


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