Dear Barb – Weighty Issues

Dear Barb:

My sister is one year older than me and we were close while we were younger, but now we rarely talk. I find her anger and rage extremely hard to deal with. After these outbursts she always calls me to apologize and says it was a temporal lobe seizure. I had never heard of a seizure being like that. I thought she was just making excuses for her rude behavior. I decided to keep my distance since I thought she had some type of mental disorder. One day I came across a book about temporal lobe seizures. I read the book and discovered my sister was right, these are temporal lobe seizures. Of course, I felt awful for not being more understanding so I called her up and told her that I read the book and I understand. She was relieved, but I still don’t think I can deal with her. She becomes enraged and downright mean, am I a bad person for not being able to deal with this? Feeling guilty, RenĂ©.

Hi René;

Thanks so much for sharing your situation. You are correct Temporal Lobe Seizures are not what you think of when you think of a seizure. An excellent book about this condition is “Seized: Temporal Lobe Epilepsy as a Medical, Historical and Artistic Phenomenon.” This may have been the book that you read. This condition mimics a mental illness, but it is not, it originates from a scar on the brain, possibly from a car accident or other injury to the brain. Understanding this does not make it any easier for you to deal with your sister. When she does have these fits maybe you can walk away and not take it personally. If you can’t deal with it, then there is nothing else you can do. Try to spend time with her when she is not seizing, that’s pretty well all you can do.

Dear Barb:

Hi, my wife and I have been married for five years. She has put on a lot of weight, probably about fifty pounds. I hate to say this but I don’t find her attractive or desirable. I still love her, but all she does is eat junk and she never exercises. She basically sits in front of the TV all day munching on snacks. When I suggest we go for a walk she makes excuses why she can’t go, so I end up going by myself. How can I discuss my wife’s weight without it causing an irreparable rift in our relationship? Thanks, Tony.

Hey Tony:

My first impulse would be to ask if she has been checked out for depression. Does the extra weight bother her? I guess you can approach her from a health perspective. Suggest she go to her family physician and get a complete check up. Hopefully her doctor will bring up the topic of her weight and recommend that she would benefit from losing a few pounds. This way she will not be angry with you. It’s easy to put on a few pounds a year and then find you are stuck with a lot of extra weight which is not easy to get rid of. Thanks Tony

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