Dear My Guy


Dear M,

My husband was starting to act differently. His personality seemed to be changing. He seemed short and impatient. He would become frustrated and angry. This was not the 52 year old husband whom I was accustomed to in our home. I started thinking that maybe he was under too much stress at work and that he couldn’t figure out what to do differently. Months were going by. Then I noticed that he was even different with our kids. A close friend of mine mentioned to me that she had noticed him being like someone she didn’t know. What could be happening to my guy?

Dear My Guy,

There is no question from what you have relayed that your husband was coming across in an unfamiliar way to you. It was your friend who mentioned the same. I presume that you spoke with “your guy” about what you were noticing and that you were worried about what was happening to him. Maybe he denied that anything was different and maybe not. I am going to guess that you have found this to be upsetting at the least and maybe even a little scary because you couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t seem to be himself.

Let’s start with a medical workup which would include lab work and possibly some type of tests such as EKG, EEG and depending upon results, the physician might recommend some type of scan. This could be a CT Scan and/or an MRI. Again, once the results have been reviewed, the physician might decide to refer your husband to a specialist. This could go in a number of directions. Some people are referred to Behavioral Health Clinicians such as a Psychiatrist, a NeuroPsychologist and/or Clinical Social Worker. Others might be referred to a Neurologist or a Behavioral Neurologist.

The purpose in making referrals is to be extremely thorough and to be sure to make an accurate diagnosis. It is only by clinical observation and ruling out of possible diagnoses that the Medical Team will determine why your husband’s personality and behavior have changed. It could be related to stress which could require a change in his lifestyle and work. It could be that there is a neurological basis for these changes.

Whichever it turns out to be, there will be greater or lesser optimism related to outcome. Let’s say that it is possible to alter his schedule or his job requirements to enable him to exercise more and release tension. Maybe different food and drink selections. Maybe more time having fun. The best outcome would be that with supportive counseling and/or therapy, he could make positive changes. That would be great!

There are circumstances in which there is a physiological reason for the everchanging personality. It could be a neurological illness which may be treated in particular ways to minimize particular symptoms. It may be that it is a chronic illness that will go into some type of a remission, but more often than not, it will be a chronic condition that can be life altering and possibly life limiting.

My advice to you is to keep in mind that “ you don’t cross the bridge until you get there.” Do not get ahead of yourself but be informed. Make sure that you ask questions and provide as much information to the clinicians as possible. Hang tight. Gather up all the support you can for yourself as you go through this process. It is usually extraordinarily demanding for each of you and as a couple. Take care of each other.

Yours truly,

Elder Care Industry Pioneer. Aging Expert. Founder & Managing Director of Elder Care Consultants of Choice. Mom & Daughter. Silver-Haired Queen of Purple.

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