The computer has been a sore spot in our life for quite some time. Actually, I think it has been an "issue" for almost the length of Allen's injury. The problem, as I see it, is that Allen has great difficulty managing his time and spends the majority of his waking hours in front of his computer. Don't get me wrong, I spend time on the computer as well, but I do manage to do other things daily and am able to communicate in person and not solely through the computer or some other form of technology.
This computer addiction all started when he began attending online classes. The classes were very difficult for him with all of his injury "stuff" and therefore he spent every waking moment working on them. Even with all of that time in front of the computer, he still had an extremely difficult time retaining the information he was trying to learn. Currently, he has taken a leave of absence (for over a year now) from his online program while he works to get himself into a more stable place.
Even though he's not taking classes anymore, he spends the majority of his wake hours on his computer. Occasionally he watches movies, but more often than not he is on the internet. He claims he is researching "stuff". The latest obsession seems to be anything related to sniper's and their weapons. When asked about this recently in his psychiatrists office, he simply answered "they make the best guns."
None of this is what really bothers me about his computer time. Although I must admit, the constant researching of weapons and snipers is of concern to me. However, the thing that really gets me is that he emails people frequently when he can't seem to speak a complete sentence to anyone here in his own house!
This weekend is a prime example. Yesterday he spent the majority of his day outside working on the truck. (The time he is not on his computer, in bed, or at an appointment, he's outside working on something and he doesn't want to be disturbed by anyone.) Of the few words that were exchanged through us, it was apparent that he was in a mood not to be messed with. He was pissed off at the world. I know this not by words or actions, but more because of the way he carries himself and his body language. Before his injury, he was NEVER like this. He was the most even tempered person I'd ever met. So, yesterday no communication between him and anyone else. This morning he got up with our youngest early because I wanted to sleep in for a little longer. He did not do this voluntarily, I had to push the issue. About an hour later, Dreyson came in and told me he couldn't find dad. I got up to look for him and found him locked in the bathroom, no lights on, which is not normal. We're lucky if he shuts the door! I asked him what was wrong and he said he just needed some peace and quiet and it was peaceful in the bathroom. I then gave him the choice of going back to bed if that is what he needed to do. Of course, he said he did and headed to the bedroom and shut the door. We didn't see him again until 4:00 this afternoon when he came out, took meds, made a sandwich and then got on his computer. His fingers were pounding away and so I asked him what he was doing. He was emailing his old good buddy so and so. I didn't say anything, but my heart hurt. The entire weekend he had not hardly spoken to anyone here in his physical life, but then he gets up and emails people he hasn't seen in years.
I know that he loves us more than anything. I also know that he would give anything to get better. But, his isolation is really hard not to take personal. It's a daily chore to keep remembering that it is the PTSD and TBI that makes him push us away, not him. Knowing all of this though, doesn't make it hurt any less.