Matt Brown on Becoming a New Person After TBI and PTSD

Matt Brown, who suffers from combat-related TBI and PTSD, talks about how his family helped him defeat his suicidal tendencies and his depression — and become human again.


I remember one time I think my mom broke down and just said, "I want my boy back." And I had to look at her and go, "I'm never going to be the same, but I'm still here." Everyone would be like, "Oh, suck it up. It's okay. It's fine. You'll be all right." No, I won't. This is permanent. It's not going to go away with a little Band-Aid or super glue or something like that. It's going to be there the rest of my life. I have to adapt and overcome. It was kind of freeing realizing that, because for the longest time I tried to return back to who I was, but then over time I kind of forgot who I was. I lost my identity for a short period of time. After my injury, dealing with my physical therapy and my mental therapy, I forgot who I was. My wife has only been with me since after my injury. She never knew me really before my injury, so she's always known the injured man. She was still new into my injury, so she helped me adapt. As I was adapting, she was adapting. But then she couldn't help me return to my quote-unquote normal that I was before I was deployed, but that's where my mom, my dad, my brothers and sisters come in. They helped me realize what I was--the fun-loving guy that didn't sit on his couch and drink himself into oblivion watching old war movies-- helped me get off the couch, helped me get-- basically took that gun out of my mouth or took the knife out of my hand. They helped me return to the fun-loving person I was, and my wife helped me turn into a human again.
Posted on BrainLine January 25, 2013.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough, Justin Rhodes, and Lara Collins, BrainLine.

Special thanks to LtCol. Tim Maxwell, USMC (ret), and his wife, Shannon.