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PTSD and Cognitive or Memory Issues

PTSD and Cognitive or Memory Issues

I was asked what it is like with cognitive dysfunction and memory issues being a huge part of our everyday lives. So let me explain…

A prime example was a few days ago, Craig looked at me and asked, “So what project are you working on next?” I sat there for a second and realized what type of day it was going to be, not that that is a bad thing, I don’t view it that way anymore, but it told me what was in front of us. It was one of the more severe cognitive days. To Craig, it was just an honest question because to him he did not know.

See, last week we talked in depth, over multiple days about my next projects. We talked about what I wanted with these projects, what he wanted, threw around different ideas of likes and dislikes, how to move things around, where to put things, etc. I am always working on something, so that part seems to stick in his memory, it’s a part of my daily routine to work a little on something. I am also doing some extra Spring cleaning before starting some projects, as well as have a couple of outside projects I am working on getting to. So we had talked about these.

So, I’ve spent the past week preparing, a little each day. But to Craig, it just did not “stick” in his brain what we had talked about. This is something that has been a part of our lives for years now, we are used to it and know how to manage it.

The cognitive problems can lead to repeating things, not understanding that something has taken place, or something was said, the confusion, frustration and/or anger that comes with it, misplacing things, not recognizing the body’s signs of being hungry or not knowing if he has drank fluids or not… or believing he has when he hasn’t, same with showering, brushing teeth, etc, medications have to be given to him not just taken… for safety reasons, not recalling people’s or pets names… that includes my name as well. There are also many safety protocols we have in place.

Movies, something that is no big deal in reality but, 😉 do you know how many times a person with cognitive issues can watch the same movie and not realize it? Not recall any details of the movie? I believe we are up to 13 times for the same movie, for multiple movies watched at home. How do I respond? I just go with it! I don’t mind re-watching movies anyway.

So, those are just a few of the many things that are a part of daily life for us. The best way I can describe it, is he has to have guidance with many things each day, things that he can’t or does not know to do by himself, things that many people don’t even have to think about to accomplish.

I have actually documented things, to see if there is any rhyme or reason behind different things, because with PTSD‬ as well as depression‬, there can be concentration issues and lack of focus due to anxiety, flashbacks take one away from reality while they are occurring, dissociative episodes are the same way, and other things that some things may be related to other than true cognitive or memory issues. There has still not been any rhyme or reason discovered to why some things stick and other things don’t when it comes to true memory or cognitive issues. Some things or bits and pieces of, flow in and out of memory. Then some things are just not there at all any longer.

These things are a part of both of our everyday lives, but there are days that are worse than others, really just like any other symptoms or medical conditions. There are going to be somewhat better days then there will be the really bad ones.

Don’t worry, I’m not by any means throwing Craig to the wolves here lol! Craig likes for me to write about things we go through, with total honesty. He says it helps him. So, I’m just bringing an understanding about how life is different for us, as well as many others. By the way, Craig approves what I write about and many times will ask me to write about things so he has kind of a record of things to look back on. 😉

(Just to note here for Craig… he uses my writings as a guideline to help with cognitive issues and as reminders. 😉 I am working on re-flooring my son’s bedroom, painting inside, forming a ground level stone area to sit the outside fire pit on… so I don’t have to keep moving it to mow or have to weed-eat it, and re-doing the backdoor stones that have shifted.)

I do want to state up front, I am using the term “cognitive” more than “memory” because doctors are honestly not sure what to call what Craig experiences and cannot answer what term fits best. He has multiple diagnoses along with PTSD… overlapping symptoms, and I have basically been told to back off from using the term “memory” as much, which is what doctors have always used as well, until they are able to sort out exactly what ALL he is and has been going through the past 11 years. “Cognitive dysfunction” is a term that has been used since day one no matter what other terms have been additionally used (“memory loss” and “memory impairment, which long term memory has been affected just as short term memory has been), so for now we will stick to “cognitive dysfunction”, which has been described as dementia like symptoms he experiences.

I have been asked, “How do you handle this as the spouse?” and “What is this like for the two of you?”

I think the simple answer is, I handle these days with extreme patience. Back at the beginning though, patience was not something that was understood as needed. It was the quick comments of, “You already said that“, “I don’t understand why we are discussing this again“, “We already talked about this“, “That never happened” or “Why did you do that?“, “You said you would do… but did not.“, “Why did you go here when you said you were going there to take care of…“, etc. It was pretty frustrating, not only for myself, but for both of us, some situations came across as untruthful when in reality to him he was telling the truth, not recalling things lead to arguments.

I guess the best way to describe days like the other day, which was based around conversations and what I have already accomplished around the house and am working on, is they are like deja vu to me. Like the day is replaying itself, which in a sense it is, to me at least. I know we have already gone through this (whatever it may be based around), or something similar, but outcomes are not always the same. The fact is, this is life, this is what it is, and we go with it and make the best of each day.

I do prompt Craig at times, or give some small amount of information, if the situation is correct for it (in other words, as long as safety is not an issue), it’s a way to try to help him and his brain function, work at recalling things or part of things, and at times can help to a certain point. The brain is like a muscle, and it does take exercise, as well as this also helps spark the neurons in the brain. So the prompting is important to do, but there is a limit if higher levels of frustration and PTSD start stepping forward, so there has to be a healthy balance.

I don’t know if you would call it an advantage or disadvantage really (the repeating things). At times it is easier the second or third time around because I kind of know what’s coming, what his thoughts were last time, or where things lead, especially with conversations, so I know how to respond or better yet, how not to respond. But yet on the other hand lol it’s coming again and I know it will be a day of listening and having the same conversations again, having great patience, and understanding/empathy of what he is going through, and just going along with the repeat of the day, which doesn’t really bother me anymore. It took time for me to understand what he goes through in order to know how to respond or to know what I need to do, how to handle what he experiences. I’ll be honest, at times it’s still frustrating, but it’s something I understand and accept so I can also let go of frustration easily if it comes, so I can help him through the day.

But to Craig he does not comprehend that something has already taken place, to him it’s new. I think the toughest part for him is knowing me so well or seeing how other people react to him. There are times that he picks up on my pause to answer… looking for the right words or me already knowing it’s best to just listen and not reply, my/others facial expressions or lack of at times, me sitting too quiet while I listen again, in general my/other’s body language.

See, just because he has cognitive problems does not mean he is any less intelligent. Sure, he has lost part of what he had learned, some things take longer to accomplish, or he has to look up how to do something now, but he is still intelligent. When he picks up on something it’s now an instant “We already talked about this, haven’t we?” or “That already happened, didn’t it?“. He can many times put those pieces together even though whatever it or the situation is, for lack of better words, is gone. Then at times he gets frustrated, irritated, with himself and tries to recall things. That leads to a lot of negative thoughts towards himself which are not good for him… the “Wow did that make me feel stupid“, “They really looked at me like I am crazy“, etc. He can’t help or control his cognitive function, he tries though. I’ll give him a big “good job” on that one, he always tries with everything.

We have a lot of days where we will sit and just talk, he’s learned to state “I am just really lost today”, express to me how he is feeling which in turn helps me up front know how to help manage the day. There are many times where he will ask me to tell him about a photo, an event, what he did yesterday or what he had for dinner the night before, etc. Or, if I mention something and he has that blank look on his face I will just go ahead, second nature, and tell the story to him or what went on based around whatever my comment or his was if i already see lack of recalling is frustrating him. I learned to read his body language too, so I can tell when there is a “blank space” there and it needs something to fill the gap. We learned to talk and communicate, which has made it more manageable for both of us. I don’t view it as we have settled into a routine, I view it as we always try new things and use what works best.

Craig and I really work as a team. We have had doctors state in writing “His wife IS the other half of his memory” (oops there’s that word). We have had doctors state “He can’t make it without your help.”, which I have been his full time “official” caregiver for over three years now. We have heard all sorts of things, honest statements of facts. But even so, there are many that frown on this, they feel it causes him to rely on me too much. Fact is, they just don’t understand, at least not yet, what his disabilities are like and how we do things, our rules/boundaries we have for each other, and that we do what we have to in order for Craig, as well as we as a family, to be able to function. This view and lack of understanding from others is probably one of our toughest battles, but at the same time we have had this as a part of our lives for so long now, that majority of the time we just let things or comments roll off our backs, so to speak. Negativity from others just can’t be a part of life with battling what we do to step forward each day.

I watched Craig fall into the deepest hole there is when cognitive dysfunction, PTSD, etc. became a part his life. It took time to pull him out of it, and honestly it still pays a huge toll on him daily. But we learned how to manage it together the best possible, basically what he could/can not honestly manage alone. We have those who don’t understand that Craig goes through different things now, that if he is going to spend time with you, without me or someone from our home around that understands how to manage things when they come, there are things you need to know, there are ways of doing/saying or not doing/saying things. There is an overlap in symptoms which does cause life to be managed differently, and that cannot be dismissed.

We have been told in the past that we are co-dependent on each other. There have been ones concerned that it was unhealthy. Which is not the complete truth, which was proven, but we still went through the accusations of what comes with this type of disability being at hand. Not to state this in a negative way, but I can function and manage life on my own, independently… which is healthy for me to be able to do. Craig could/can no longer do that. I’m not saying that to sound mean or like I don’t care, it’s just a fact and what comes with this type of disability. We will never lose hope that things can get better for him, he and we will always try, but on the other hand we are not blind to the facts either, it has been 11 years and a lot of professional help. There is a different type of bond that does form, how could there not be? But co-dependent, as in a negative aspect of the term, no that’s not a fitting term in our case.

But, there is also the humorous sense or side that comes with this type of life and disability. Humor is important and healthy in the right situations. Due to the cognitive issues, Craig does not recall what he likes or does not like… especially foods! 😉 If it is on his plate or I fix something, his brain processes it as “I must like that” and he will eat it. He now eats a lot of healthy foods that he did not like or would have never eaten before! Again, those body signs come into play, he will eat something then recognize the grin on my face, it’s hard to hide the grin. Next thing that comes? “Do I like this or is this a new food you gave me?” My response 😉 “Looks like you like it to me”. 🙂

We did also go through the kids playing on dad’s cognitive issues when they were younger, and mom here had to put a foot down to it. If one of them was in trouble, had something taken away, were told they couldn’t do something, etc. they learned rather quickly that they could wait for mom to be out of sight and ask dad if it was okay to do something, etc. Of course dad would say “Sure”. So, there became a lot of “What did mom say?” over time. Now, with the kids, Craig is still included in everything, decision making, and we talk about things regarding the kids. It’s important even with the cognitive issues that he remain involved, it’s important for him, his self-esteem and self-worth, as well as good for the kids. Now, will he recall any of it later? Normally not but that’s OKAY!

Bottom line is, cognitive dysfunction or memory issues, no matter what the reason for it is, it’s tough. There are a lot of things that come with it. I will tell you that, and Craig will tell you that, it’s just a fact. But, there are so many things and ways of learning how to live with it, learning how to manage things differently, and continuing to live and work towards positive things. I still love Craig the same, I still view him the same ways as I did before his disabilities. You never lose hope, you never stop trying, and you remember to still live. Life is just simply different than what others view as normal or what life used to be like for us. And hey, some things you get a second chance to try again. 😉

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD : Facebook page

“PTSD vs Avoidance”

“PTSD vs Avoidance”

You know how you do things and just don’t think about it? Well, back when I first injured my knee I was headed for another cup of coffee, bummed knee so hobbling, and I thought, why don’t I go the other way through the kitchen? It’s a pass through kitchen and I take the long way…every time. So I turned direction and went the other way, the shorter way. Then I realized why I take the long way…there’s not a light switch for the kitchen at the other end.

**Again, I’m not a doctor of any sort and can not give medical advice. These are only my personal opinions and experiences.**

Ahhh…I was going somewhere with that, wasn’t I? 😉 One of the true symptoms of PTSD‬ is avoidance. You avoid crowds, gatherings, family, friends, events, relationships, the news, tv or newspapers in general, maybe things that seem simple to others such as a trip to the grocery store, emotions, thoughts, etc. You may avoid getting close to others, relationships (emotional or physical). The list is endless.

Are you really avoiding all of those things? Or are you really avoiding the “what if” that comes with them? The situation which may arise or happen? The feeling that you are different? The mind set of something bad is going to happen? The chance of a trigger happening? The avoidance of feeling or emotion?

Avoiding things has it’s good as well as it’s bad that comes with it. It’s a way of coping right then and there, short term. It helps you get through a situation or the what if’s. You might feel like you want to cry, or on the flip side lash out. Avoiding the thoughts and emotions of what you have been through can help keep these things from happening. One that many do, you get quiet. Which at times, and I clearly state at times, can help avoid tricky or uncomfortable situations, arguments, conflicts, and helps give you time to cope and think… which can be a good thing.

However, long term avoidance can be more damaging. Avoiding things and seeing it helped you hold back those feelings or did avoid that tricky situation, can lead you to being numb. Pulling you away from family and friends or even things you used to enjoy doing. I know, that feeling of if I face it am I going to lose control or something bad happen? Control of the tears, control of the anger, and everything else that may come with it. Are expectations going to come?

Sometimes you have to just have that trust, that trust within yourself. If I face this, I won’t lose control, I can have a grip on it. Sometimes it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to be angry, it’s okay to face things…you are human!

I have watched my husband become a hermit because of PTSD avoidance along with it’s other symptoms, and depression. I have also seen him bounce back at times for small amounts of time. And when he does find the strength to face some things, it’s not easy! Anxiety goes through the roof. But I also see his reaction when he has made it through something, done something, gone through a motion even without emotion…and nothing bad happened! That smirk on his face of ”I did it.” That smirk is priceless!

Walking out that front door is one of the hardest things for him to do. It takes a lot and every ounce of energy he has, and many times I do kindly remind him it’s healthy to go outside, how he will feel better when he does even through the anxiety and what if’s. The fresh air, seeing things around you other then four walls, the sounds of nature. It all plays a roll in being the best you can be, even if it’s just for that moment.

Mark it on a calendar, I’m being serious! “Today I made it outside for 10 minutes”. Do you know what that can do? Come tomorrow when you look at that calendar you might think “Wow, yesterday I went outside for 10 minutes. Hum, today I can make it for 15.” It gives you something to look at, to put into perspective of what you accomplished and a goal to work forward from. Maybe today is a day you can’t pull yourself from your bedroom. Mark that too. When you start seeing on paper, in your own handwriting, hey I haven’t made it from my bedroom in 4 days, what do you think you will do? I bet you make it to the living room. 😉 It’s okay to have those bad days, they are going to be there, but they are also something to build from.

I always direct you back to a wall calendar. My reason, you can see it plotted out by days. You can see how many days have passed by, you can see accomplishments you have made, you can figure out where you want to improve things from here. How about “Today I didn’t have any triggers”, then another day you might have 4, write them on there. It helps you notice the triggers and at times may help you figure out exactly what they are. It can help you face them in a way that you don’t feed the avoidance…with your own writing. You can also flip back when you want to an look at things. Just something to think about. 😉

There is something else that works really well that a doctor told us once. Take a sheet of paper. Write down what it is, whether it’s a fear, something you want to do, etc. Then make 2 rows. In one row write what would be positive or accomplished…the facts of the situation. In the second row write the negative or the facts that could lead to a negative outcome… the facts. Everything is based on the facts. For example, “I don’t want to go on a cruise because the ship will sink.” Okay, that might very well be true, but what are the odds? Take the facts and numbers of how many incidents have in reality happened and weigh them against the unlikeliness of it happening. Odds are, you are more apt to have a good time and enjoy your trip than the likeliness of the ship sinking. You can use this method for viewing the reality on paper which can lead you past the fear to try. No, I’m not saying the fear will just disappear, we know it doesn’t, but it gives you a factually based guideline to help you do something that you would normally avoid.

Avoidance is going to be there, it’s all a part of PTSD and what you have been through and I’m by no means saying it’s not. However, sometimes in some situations looking at the facts can help you get through the avoiding feelings and help you get a little piece of life back that you thought or feel is gone. You might just find out that you are stronger than a lot of those avoiding feelings. Again, it won’t happen every time, so don’t view yourself as a failure if something doesn’t work out, but trying will make you stronger and help you find new boundaries to your limits of avoidance… as well as the limits you thought were there that you can step past, even if it’s just a small step.

PTSD is so overwhelming that you can lose sight, and focus on the “who I was”, “what I was”, “I let you down”, “I’m such a burden”. Getting past that, or to a better place than you are right now is hard! Beyond words! Finding the good and positive in things is a difficult task and no one can do it for you. It’s a step you have to take or try for yourself. Does it make the horrors go away, no. Does it make the triggers stop, no. Does it stop the anxiety, no. Does it stop avoidance, no but it can help. But does it put things into a perspective you can understand and look at? Yes. It helps you with the avoidance.

Battling avoidance… Easier said than done? Absolutely! But then again, what in life is easy? Especially when PTSD is with you. Nothing! The calender idea and making a fact sheet are just a couple of ways for you to be able to learn and watch your path, to see when coping is needed as well as what does or does not really need to be avoided, and simple ways that may help you learn to live again. There are many things you can try. PTSD is not the end, I refuse to believe that! You all are worth more than anything that could be put into words.

A simple example. How many of you have avoided posting on here? I bet at times every single one of you. I know I myself bit my tongue at times. 😉 Why? Because someone may judge you? Someone might not like what you say? Someone might think you are crazy? SO WHAT! Do those things really matter? You are who you are, and that is a very special human being. One thing you think and don’t post, know what that one thing might do? It might just save someone’s life, might make another person stop and think, it might even educate someone close to you that didn’t understand you or PTSD. Look to the good my friends, at times it’s there and just hidden or masked… and you might be surprised at what you find there. (And no, I don’t expect everyone to post! I leave that to each of you and your comfort zone! That was simply an example 😉 )

Sometimes avoiding things is needed, but other times it’s not. Will I stop taking the short way to the kitchen when it’s dark? Yes, I sure will, there’s no way of having light from that way. But will I take the short way when it’s daylight? Yes, it helps me with my bummed knee. There’s 2 ways to look at everything, always remember that. 😉

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD : Facebook page

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The Unspoken Thoughts of PTSD: Suicidal Thoughts

The Unspoken Thoughts of PTSD: Suicidal Thoughts

I am not writing this to place fear into anyone, but I do want to bring awareness to reality, when life does include ‪‎PTSD‬. I personally do not know of even one person with PTSD that has not had at least a slip through the mind thought of “this world would be a better place without me” or “I just can’t do this anymore”. The thought of suicide is very real.

The number of reported cases of suicide related to PTSD is not a secret. ONLY United States Veteran reported cases of suicide is an unthinkable number of 22 suicides per day. Now, that is only reported cases, that does not include those who have not been diagnosed, were not seeking treatment, the homeless, those wearing other uniforms, civilians, or world wide numbers. I could not even fathom what a true number would be if there were the possibility of a whole, accurate number. I can only state it would be unimaginably high.

Does this reality of suicide numbers reported reflect that everyone with PTSD will lose the battle PTSD brings? Absolutely not! But that does not mean that the thoughts are not real or experienced. It also does not mean the thoughts of suicide should go dismissed.

I believe in order to understand why these thoughts come, you have to understand what PTSD causes one. A person with PTSD has survived some type of life changing, severe trauma, where symptoms last for more than a few months. These symptoms are not ones that a person can just suck up, get over, or forget about. Their trauma has in ways altered the brain, the way it processes or relates to things, people, events, etc. and the way it functions.

If you are one that is unfamiliar with what PTSD is or the symptoms list for PTSD you can find them on my page “A Spouse’s Story PTSD”, or any psychology, neuropsychology, or neuroscience page or website, the information is readily available in many locations world wide.

PTSD comes with re-living their trauma over and over through nightmares or terrors, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts that are or can be triggered by just one reminder of their trauma. PTSD can cause anxiety, fear, fight or flight, avoidance, sleep issues, anger, frustration, disconnection and lack of interest in things/people one used to enjoy, dissociative symptoms, negative changes in thoughts of one’s self, others, or at times the world. PTSD also has many mental and physical health conditions that can co-occur with it. And it does come with suicidal thoughts or acts of. That is a short list of what one with PTSD may experience.

When you really look at what PTSD brings or causes, you can clearly see why one would have the thoughts of suicide.

Those with PTSD live a battle every single day of their lives. They can have better days where they can keep symptoms at bay and they can experience what we call “rock bottom” days where that fight becomes an extremely heavy weight to bear.

It is my personal belief that those with PTSD are some of the strongest people I have ever known or lived beside in my lifetime. Why? Because even after their trauma, and their brain reaching the point it says “Hey you, I’m full, I can’t push through that trauma any longer” and PTSD develops, many do make it to see tomorrow even with everything that PTSD brings to their lives, they fight the battle, and they push themselves to be the best possible people they can be, and they are known for providing support to others even while experiencing their own battle with PTSD. You will never convince me that is not a strong and strong minded person.

The suicidal thoughts are very real with what they battle day in and day out. To add to that, many feel alone in their battle… which are real thoughts even when they have people right beside them, then many do not have a positive support system to help them or listen to them, and even if one does have those things, those thoughts can still come. Many feel that they are now a burden to others, that life is unfair… especially to those that they care about because life changed, they as a person changed due to PTSD. The real symptom of negative changes in thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

How could one not have those thoughts, they are only human.

But there is another part to this. Many only experience the thoughts of suicide, many will not act upon those thoughts, many do or will get professional help, talk to others or ones they can trust, many will look for what can or may help them, they will go through trial and error to find what works best for them and their symptoms, and they will fight those thoughts with every ounce of energy and will power they have.

Which leads me to this…

Suicidal thoughts can not go dismissed. Those thoughts are not ones to brush under a rug or turn your back to. Not every suicide can or will be prevented, there’s just no humanly possible way of preventing all of them, and the numbers of reported cases are evidence of that fact. But that does not mean we can’t try. All of us and each of us.

* If you do not know the signs of suicide, learn them.

Being able to recognize when one is having suicidal thoughts or showing the signs of suicide can help in many cases prevent one from following through and help can be reached for. Unfortunately, there are some cases where there are no signs, so I do not want to dismiss that fact, but majority of people do experience some level of signs. Learn them.

* Do NOT dismiss any signs or words that are spoken of thoughts.

There is nothing more heartbreaking to me personally than hearing after the fact someone say, “I did not think they were serious” or “I did not listen to what they told me/someone else, now they are gone.” It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to suicidal thoughts or signs.

* Be honest with your loved ones.

This is a golden rule for us personally. When the thoughts come they are talked about openly with a support person and/or doctor, and listened to. Many times when one can simply voice their thoughts and have someone honestly and openly listen to them, it can help the one with the thoughts work through them.

* Positive Support.

A support person’s words can in many cases mean everything! Listening and hearing what one is saying, can mean everything. Putting one down or telling them they should not be having those thoughts or telling them to get over them, is NOT positive support, and saying things such as those could very well push one right through those thoughts leading them to actions, those words are basically telling a person what they are experiencing is not real, when in reality it is! No one wants that to happen. If you cannot or are in a position due to your personal or negative thoughts, to where you are not capable of providing positive support, which does happen especially if you do not understand PTSD to some level or are going through your own personal issues, then PLEASE find someone for your loved one that can provide them with positive support.

* Reach for professional help

There is NOTHING wrong with reaching for professional help so the one with PTSD, as well as their loved ones or support people, can learn the tools to manage symptoms the best possible. Staying on top of the symptoms and learning how to manage and cope through them can help decrease or prevent suicidal thoughts. YOU ARE WORTH THAT REACH!

Spouses/partners, that goes for you too! You are only one person and at times in this life beside them, you are not going to be able to tackle everything on your own. This is not the time to try to be a superhero, make sure you have help and positive support for yourself too. It is a fact that spouses/partners can experience becoming overwhelmed, develop depression, anxiety, and/or have suicidal thoughts as well. Make sure you are taking care of yourself, and reach for help for yourself and/or both of you. Your PTSD loved one needs you, whether they voice that or not, and they need you healthy, please take care of yourself.

* Personal Space.

I will admit, if I see signs or know suicidal thoughts are at hand, I’m known as a “watchdog”. I do not take suicidal thoughts of any level lightly. However, I don’t and you cannot smother a person. Those with PTSD do require their personal space at times, they need it! There has to be a balance of keeping a watchful eye, being there if one needs to talk or needs help, and providing a person’s personal space when they need it. If you smother one with PTSD or treat them like a child, you have the other symptoms that are or will in many cases step into play, and they will pull away from you, which is not what is needed when one is experiencing suicidal thoughts.

One can experience suicidal thoughts and have absolutely no intention of following through on those thoughts. Over time you can learn the signs and body language which can be in majority of cases pretty accurate to how one is feeling or their symptoms at hand.

This is where communication and honesty HAS to be at hand, by both of you. If you are the one having the thoughts, be honest with your partner/support person, let them know if it is honestly PTSD just giving you a difficult time at the moment and you are overwhelmed causing those thoughts and do not intend on following through with them, or if you honestly need help to get through them.

Speaking as a spouse of one with PTSD, I will tell you right now with all honesty and heart, being honest with your partner about how you are feeling or thoughts you are experiencing is the best thing you can do for them, they would not be there if they did not care about you and want to be with you, and would be lost without you. They choose to be there with you and for you, that is a choice they have made, please allow them to be.

PTSD is going to cause you to think or feel all sorts of negative things that your partner does not view you as or feel about you. Please give them that chance to be there for you and help you through the thoughts in whatever way is needed. PTSD is going to push you to close them out, this is the time to fight that as hard as you can and include them. It can also help prevent overreacting, over worrying, and help the two of you work through this together.

Partners/Support person: A watchful eye, “watchdog” as I call it, where you keep an eye on them, are there for them, but at the same time allow them the space to cope, is possible to do and is helpful for many. When you overreact, over worry, or are up their rear-ends for lack of better wording (and that was being lady like), you chance making whatever their thoughts or symptoms are at that moment, to become worse and their feeling of being a burden to increase. You have to find a healthy balance for both of you. There is nothing wrong with having a watchful eye, but there has to be a balance.

I personal can say up front to Craig, “I love you and can see what you are going through right now. I am here for you and yes I’m in watchdog mode today, but it’s because I do love you and value you as a part of my life and as a person.” Then I will do my little projects or things inside the house to give him space but yet at the same time I am close if needed or he wants to talk. When he wants to talk, I sit, make eye contact, and I listen. Suicidal thoughts that are clearly stated will not be acted upon, are not the times to be telling one what they need to be doing or what they need to be thinking. Sometimes we will watch movies during those times, whatever he is comfortable with or helps him through those times. So, there can be a healthy balance and each person/couple has to find what is best for them when those thoughts come. Learn to work together, I will say it again as I always do, “The battle is PTSD, not each other”.

PTSD comes with suicidal thoughts at times, it is a part of what this life contains. Learn the signs and learn what each of you can do to manage and battle them. This life IS worth living, you keep trying new things, you keep learning how to work together and communicate, you keep reaching for help, and you can re-learn how to live life even with PTSD being a part of it. Yes, life has changed. No, there’s no getting your old life back. But that does not mean you can not turn the page to a new chapter and start living a new life. Fight those suicidal thoughts when they come, you ARE worth that fight.

PTSD does change and takes away or masks parts of yourself and your old life, it changes life. Suicidal thoughts will come at times, but they can also slip away. PTSD does not have to take your life, battle it, don’t allow it to win.

“Facts on the table”

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD : Facebook page

PTSD and Anesthesia (Surgical Procedures)

PTSD and Anesthesia (Surgical Procedures)

This is a topic that I find is rarely discussed, and it really is one that everyone needs to understand more about when life includes PTSD‬… Anesthesia. Craig even told me last night while we were talking, he was processing what he went through yesterday, that he wanted me to write about this today.

I have to add my note in here, I am not a doctor or in any medical field, so not speaking from a medical point of view, but as a spouse/caregiver of one with PTSD. The following is from our personal experiences.

Anesthesia is so commonly used these days, especially for many types of surgery, but what about when the one having surgery or procedure also has PTSD? Have you thought about that?

Let me explain…

One with PTSD stays on guard, so to speak, pretty much all of the time. They most likely use more coping skills than you realize in day to day life living with PTSD. They are able to manage symptoms, in a way they have some level or sort of grip on those symptoms.

When one has to have anesthesia, their guard is going to be down when they are coming out of it. Some may handle this well, but others may not. You do not know what recovery after a procedure will be like until you are there. Each time may be different, it could depend on how symptoms have been recently, it could depend on how anxiety was right before the procedure, it could depend on how the staff manages things as you are coming to, there are many factors involved.

(Craig gave permission to use him as an example and asked that I talk about this because it is serious and people need to understand what can take place.)

Before his surgery, we made sure the entire staff knew that Craig has PTSD. One of Craig’s traumas was violent and we know he has physical nightmares etc. from that trauma, so there could be the chance when coming out of anesthesia and disoriented that his PTSD could affect him, especially with guard being down. I was told “he did not have any issues noted from his last surgery so we don’t expect any this time”, which was true, he did not have any issues last time. I was quick to explain that it is PTSD, and it can change from how he responded last time when coming to, that we honestly don’t know how he will be each time. That he has had increased symptoms for several months now and that needs to be taken into consideration. Which they did, they listened to me. I also told them that if they needed me to come get me, I do know how to manage his symptoms.

Craig said that when they took him back he told them again not to get close to him when he starts coming to, and we had already explained to everyone not to touch him when he’s coming to, to stand back and talk to him for a moment so he knows who is there and they can get him focused on them (how to ground him), to tell him what they are going to do or where they have to touch him before they do so it does not catch him off guard, so they can continue with what they need to do for him without triggering PTSD.

If you do not know how the steps of surgery work, once through surgery they take you to post-op, then from there they take you to recovery this is when they will allow another person to come in with the patient. At post-op I received a call. “Rebecca we need you back here, we are sending someone to get you right now. Craig has stated four times he needs his wife, asking where is my wife? We need to bring you back.” I said, “No problem come get me”. I knew right then something was not okay because they never take me back at that stage.

When I went back I remained calm and focused. I saw Craig as I crossed the room, he was sitting up contious, but what I saw, well let’s say I am thankful they took me back. Craig was obviously having flashbacks. He was disoriented, “lost” was what he worded it as, he had no clue where he was, why he was there, or that he had just come out of surgery or even needed surgery, and he kept repeating the same things and questions over and over.

His eyes were widened and he was scanning the room, which was a sign of a flashback starting. I knew exactly what was at hand and started talking to him as I approached him. He needed to be grounded. I got him to focus on me, eye contact, and started feeding him information of where he was, why he was there, telling him he just came to from anesthesia, etc etc. It was only a few minutes later and he started scanning the room again, flashback, and I went straight into grounding him again. He kept going in and out of flashbacks.

Every time he would get grounded he was concerned he had hit someone, was convinced he had hit someone even though he did not which was sending him into more confusion and worry. The nurse was quick to tell me that she would step back from him and followed what I had told them to do, but that Craig never tried to touch anyone, but they knew they needed me back there with the confusion he was having. The flashbacks went on for nearly an hour as we pushed fluids, the staff brought him out of the anesthesia, and I kept grounding him from flashbacks. Everything worked out okay and no major episodes that could not be managed, and no he never swung on anyone but to him due to the flashbacks he was convinced he had and it worried him.

Craig experienced so many flashbacks yesterday after surgery that once home last night he did not recall that hour or many details of the long day. He remembered some details from before surgery, then remembered me coming into the room carrying coffee for him, he said he remembered he felt relief when he saw me. Last night he mentioned how much he truly trusts me and that he felt that yesterday and was so thankful I was there. I can not even state how many times last night he thanked me for being here and for being there for him yesterday. PTSD really had a grip on him yesterday, but the steps we took and plan we put in place helped tremendously. And the entire medical team was just awesome.

So here is what we want you to know and the serious reason for talking about this…

* Anesthesia can cause a person’s guard to be down and they may not be able to cope as well as they normally can with PTSD symptoms. You cannot know ahead of time how PTSD will be affected or triggered. Never assume each time will be the same as last time.

* It is urgent that you let medical staff know one has PTSD ahead of time, for the well being and safety of the one with PTSD and everyone involved. Give them any information that could be useful ahead of time as well as right before a procedure so it’s fresh in their minds. Such as how anxiety levels have been over the past 24 hours, how to approach one, what things can be said such as you are at [place], you just had [procedure] done, etc.

* Make sure the staff knows how to ground one! And make sure someone that is used to grounding that person, that the one with PTSD responds to, is present in case they are needed by staff. Let the staff know if that person is needed they are there and the staff can get them if need be. Make sure they have your name and phone number, which they should get anyway. Not everyone with PTSD grounds the same way, so make sure the medical team and staff are educated on the individual and what works for them.

* Never assume that just because they are medical staff that they understand or know how to manage symptoms for each individual. Many have worked with many PTSD patients and are great with them and with helping them through symptoms, however every patient is still different.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD : Facebook Page

PTSD and Disconnection From Others

PTSD and Disconnection From Others

You know, we live this life with or beside PTSD‬ and/or depression‬ day in and day out. It does become our new normal. What we do now, how we handle or manage things as well as symptoms, how we support each other and help each other. We learn the tricks of how to make it from one day to the next, and keep on making it.

Craig and I have been battling this life and forming a new normal for 11 years now. This morning while I was looking for one of my older articles for someone, I came across one that I wrote almost 2 years ago regarding PTSD and numbness. Unfortunately it made me realize that in reality Craig has become more disconnected, much more, than he was two years ago.

Disconnection is the one part of PTSD that has been a battle for so long and no matter what I try or come up with for him or us to try, it just does not seem to help him, or us. Every symptom with PTSD and depression that he and we battle, I have been able to find something, no matter how great or small, to help it be battled, but the disconnection? It’s the one that gives me a run for my money, so to speak. And I say that with no disrespect towards him, it’s just a part of the battle at hand that is real life.

I’m one that will not stop for anything to research, read, try new things, find new ways of doing things, I send Craig links to articles that I think may be of positive help to him and us, as a couple. Things to think about or that give different views that may help him battle what he feels (or doesn’t) and that may help in some small way. I try to enjoy each day we have together and just live in the now, and make the best of each day. I accept him for who he is and the disabilities he has.

I mean I love Craig. I will never give up on him or us. I’ll never stop researching, reading, and trying new things in the hopes that something helps. I will never stop trying to make the most of each day. But the disconnection that comes with PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder makes things and life extremely difficult. It’s just a hard fact that comes with this life.

This life beside PTSD can be extremely lonely which in turn brings a lot of guilt to those with PTSD, they don’t want or mean for their spouse/partner to go through that or feel that way, they know or view it as it’s not fair, and in return it causes them to pull away even further. Another vicious circle in this life with PTSD and/or depression.

I was asked, “How do I keep my partner from being or feeling so disconnected from me? I know I’m loved, I’m told I’m loved, but it ends there. I know their disconnection from me and even others is really strong, I know PTSD causes this. What can I as the partner do to help?”

In that older article I wrote, there were two quotes that really hit me hard.

The first one was a quote from the movie “The Vow”, a true life story about a wife that has TBI, that Craig and I can really relate to due to the memory issues involved…

I wrote: The husband in the movie told his friends, “She fell in love with me once, so I won’t lose hope she will fall in love with me again.” -Quote from the movie “The Vow”

The second thing I wrote in that article that hit me was…

“Sometimes one with PTSD needs a guide so to speak through the numb feelings. Craig told me last week he needed help through the numbness, he’s not sure how to get through the numbness to feel the love he knows he has for me, how to find the motions or what they even are.”

(I’ll add the link to that full article at the end of this for anyone that would like to read it.)

The only way I know how to answer that difficult question that came to me is this…

Don’t lose hope, don’t stop trying, don’t stop showing your love for and to your PTSD partner. And make sure you are taking care of yourself through this life, that is one thing that you are capable of no matter what.

A spouse/partner is not a cure, you cannot make PTSD and Depression or their symptoms go away… so don’t put that on yourself. All you can do is be your best, be patient, supportive, learn, find new things to try, and do what you are capable of doing and be there for them. The rest is not up to you, one person can only do so much, not everything. There are many things one with PTSD and/or Depression can work on even with the symptoms they do experience, some things can change… at least to some level, one can at least give things a try to see what helps and what doesn’t. Other things may never change and there will have to come a point in time where you just accept this is the way they are now. And I cannot answer, which will be which or what will be what. Each person will be different and have different circumstances.

Disconnection and avoidance are very real life symptoms of PTSD, as well as depression. Too many are faced with having to let go or are let go of, the disconnection PTSD brings is normally a huge factor in that. PTSD and depression can cause life to feel or become very lonely, for both the one with PTSD as well as the one standing beside them. Don’t lose hope, don’t stop learning and trying new things, don’t stop believing in each other, and don’t lose that grip of each other’s hand. You, your partner, and your relationship are worth it, hang onto each other.

I myself will not lose the hope I hold onto, that Craig and I will someday have that connection again like we used to have between us. It was the most amazing feeling two people could experience together, full of love, passion, excitement, mental and physical closeness. It was a connection that people envied and were jealous of, they wanted what we had together. I will not give up on finding that personal connection again that we had, even some small part of it… even with PTSD and Depression being a part of our lives now.

As I am known for stating and believing,
“The battle is PTSD, not each other”

April 4, 2013: “PTSD vs Numbness

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD : Facebook Page

“Invisible Wounds” or “Unseen Disabilities”

“Invisible Wounds” or “Unseen Disabilities”

I have a really heavy heart about posting this, and had NO intention of doing so! I made it for a totally different purpose. But I’m posting it because Craig told me he wanted me to, and I am going to honor that request. He said that “people need to see and understand what invisible/unseen disabilities look like”, such as ‪#‎PTSD‬, Major Depressive Disorder, and with him chronic migraines, “and actually do to a person”. As Craig told me yesterday, “I have seen all of those photos so it’s not like I don’t know what has happened to me, they were me, my life, how I was before and is the reality of what I am like now.”

I made this collage of photos yesterday morning (without the writing on it, I added the writing for the purpose of this posting) to help show someone the differences that our family sees in Craig, the differences that Craig sees in himself and what he himself compares himself to on a daily basis.

People call mental health conditions “invisible wounds” or “unseen disabilities”, I beg to differ to a certain point. No, there are not any scars to see for many, but you can see the wounds, just look at the changes in a person that mental health conditions cause. Look at the change in personality, the symptoms that are present, the change in appearance, the change in their routine and what they can or can not honestly do now. To me, those are all visible signs, and for many they are drastic signs of what and how one is affected by “unseen” disabilities.

Craig is one that tries hard to be the person he was before these disabilities, he pushes everyday to be the best he can be now. He gets regular treatment, he’s on medications to help with symptoms, he uses coping skills, he pushes himself, and I am so very proud of him, he honestly tries! But even with all that he does and we do, these photos really show the real life differences in him. PTSD and ‪#‎depression‬ are not things that one can suck up or brush under a rug and just get over. Every day it takes a lot of effort to be the best possible, to push through each day, and to battle the symptoms that come with these disabilities.

The top and bottom rows of photos are of Craig just before his disabilities became severe during his service time (Craig’s disabilities just happen to be military related, but many that are non-military suffer from the same types of disabilities), the middle photo is of Craig yesterday.

No one can convince me that PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder are unseen.

(Craig I love you dearly and thank you for your strength in showing others what mental health conditions do cause, what can be seen. You are my rock, my soul, the other half of every heartbeat my heart takes… and no disability will ever change that! Love, Bec)

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD : FaceBook page

PTSD: Memories and Triggers

PTSD: Memories and Triggers

Let me tell you a short story…

The other day Craig and I were sitting in the room, it was quiet just the two of us, then out of nowhere he said, “Are you going to make some of those bead things like you used to work on all of the time?”

I looked at him in dead silence for a moment, then asked “What exactly are you talking about?” He replied with, “You know, those bead anklets that you used to make tons of each year when the weather started warming up. You know, you used to sit in the front of the RV with your feet on the dash and make them while I would be driving. Everyday you would wear a different one, whatever matched your clothes or swimsuit.”

I sat there speechless again for a moment. The thoughts ran quickly through my head. Where did that come from? He remembered that? That was around 11 years ago! His memories are so fragmented and some completely gone, that this caught me completely off guard.

I told him, “You know, I think I should make some of those, I did love making them and wearing them. He said, “You should, you always seemed happy when you were working on them.”

I was still puzzled by this conversation that “seemed” to come out of nowhere. But I went along with it, and he was right. Then I realized he had the phone in his hand. I asked him what he was looking at? You know what? He was looking at the weather and how it is suppose to be warming up again!

It is amazing to me how at times something so simple can trigger a memory, especially when it was one that was thought to be simple or even forgotten. I just smiled at the fact of the conversation, it meant the world to me that he was able to recall something so simple but yet had such a huge meaning behind it.

This was a good memory for Craig. But you know what? Just like him looking at the weather brought that memory of me making anklets to thought/mind, that is the same way things happen to those with PTSD‬. It only takes one simple or seemingly simple to others thing related to one’s trauma, for PTSD to be triggered or a person’s trauma to be brought back to their mind. Those memories are not something that a person can just get over or brush under a rug, they can come when you least expect them. Please do not dismiss what those with PTSD actually experience.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD : Facebook page

The “What If’s” of PTSD: explained

The “What If’s” of PTSD

This is a topic that many may just not understand, unless they are standing in the shoes of PTSD‬ or one that stands beside them. I had someone mention to me how they do not understand how something that should be not a huge deal, is huge to someone with PTSD. I have also discovered some new views that may help others with or standing beside one with PTSD. So I wanted to see if I can explain this so it makes more sense to others.

You know, everyone experiences something in their life sooner or later that changes the way they view things. It may be something simple such as, let’s say for example you got food poisoning. Something that unfortunately is common and many can relate to. So what happens then? You will most likely never eat at the place that food came from again, you may even avoid eating that certain food from there forward. You start relating that specific food to what you felt and experienced, getting sick. You see this happen all of the time. You experienced something that was bad or unpleasant, so you avoid it. You get those thoughts of “If I eat that, what if I get so sick again?” You just did a “what if”.

This relation is something that is human nature, even animals experience it, it’s the way the brain works. There is the relation of bad followed by avoidance because you have already experienced something unpleasant and don’t what to repeat that experience.

Now, take that to a severe, life changing experience… a trauma. Think about what traumas may consist of, a life may have been in danger or even life lost, fear is involved. When this happens those “what if’s” become more up front, thought about, in-bedded in the brain “I can’t go through that again”. The feelings become extremely strong. It can start effecting majority if not all of the decisions you make in life. It becomes a survival skill.

Those what if’s can start running your life, which is not a good thing as we all know, and people who experience this on high levels do not like the feeling or what it does to them. It’s not something that they purposely do, it’s in a way how the brain and mind reprograms itself so bad experiences can be avoided. And it’s why avoidance is a huge part of life with PTSD.

It takes a lot for a person who has experienced a trauma to push themselves through the what if’s as they come. It effects things related to or that remind them of their trauma, but it can also effect every aspect of their life. What if’s can start forming around anything, large or small in other people’s eyes.

We had something that had to be done this week (without going into details of what it was). It was something that Craig and I chose to let go of several months back (his decision which I agreed with for the best interest of his health), but not long after that decision Craig started second guessing himself, it started weighing on him, it lead to him feeling like a failure for not pursuing or completing what he felt like he should, which lead to guilt. I have watched this cycle happen time after time around this same “situation”, we will call it. So I knew something had to be done so he could find some sort of peace regarding this situation, so there would not be any more guessing of “what if’s”. There had to be some type of resolution, an outcome, done had to be done so this does not weigh on him any longer, which also means weighing on his health.

When Craig set in his mind “I have failed and I really need something to be done about this”, he and I talked. We had to find some way to relieve this stress, guilt, and his negative thoughts of himself that kept returning. So with help from one of my support ladies who understands this type of situation, we came up with a plan. I discussed it with Craig and he agreed with this plan, he would give this a try one last time. The plan included me doing what I can so to relieve him from as much stress as possible, so he could make it through this. Any level of stress effects him greatly, so this was an urgent part that had to be managed.

See, stress and those what if’s go hand and hand. They play off of each other in huge ways. It’s not situations where one can just say “Oh no big deal, I’ll just handle it”, because those what if’s are there that bring those negative thoughts of “What if I go through the same thing again?” or “What if the outcome is not good?” or “What if I fail?”. Those are huge worrisome thoughts, especially for one with PTSD and/or depression!

Over the month that this “situation” has been worked on, even with me handling as much of things as possible, Craig’s not blind and he is very intelligent. He knows what is at hand, the importance of it to him personally, and he obviously sees me working on it. His symptoms have increased, those what if’s have increased, but he also knows this is something that had to be taken care of for the best interest of his health and so his focus can remain on his health. So this is seriously important to remove it from his plate, so to speak. In other words all of the what if’s have to be faced and there has to be an outcome.

I was already prepared for what Craig’s PTSD and depression may do to him, which it has done to him, this is something that again we have faced before. So my plan had to include more to make sure Craig could make it through this. I informed the important people involved in this of what it is causing for Craig as well as my concerns regarding his health, I talked to his doctors so they could do their part in helping him make it through this, we have put every precaution in place here at home, and we have a serious support system on call… for BOTH of us.

Yesterday was Craig’s largest hurdle in this, his part of this that I could not do for him and he had to face. The people involved and his doctors that I informed really pulled through for him. He made it through yesterday, he’s still exhausted from it, and knowing him and his disabilities I know he will need a few days down, but he made it through it! And I am so proud of him!!! Now we wait for the outcome.

The what if’s are still here, but the hard parts are now over. His doctor said something that I felt was extremely important. He was told that no matter what the outcome is, he has to choose a final decision, will he accept the outcome or will he continue to pursue it if it’s not the outcome he feels is fair? He has to define what fair is to him and decide where acceptance is for himself so this can finally be over and stops weighing on him.

It’s not a failure if you define where your personal acceptance is. That’s a huge thought! It makes sense. It can also help you change those negative thoughts of yourself that do come.

There are certain things or situations in your life that do come, some things just cannot be avoided because avoidance at times can haunt you. There are things that you have to decide how far you will, can or can not push, set a goal, and there is no right or wrong to that goal as long as you define and set in your mind that this is where acceptance within myself lies. Then you make a plan and make sure that every aspect that is in the best interest of your health and limits is in place, as well as anyone who can be a positive help to you.

The past month has contained many what if’s here, but one step at a time we together are getting through them, and we reached for help to do it.

What if’s can become so damaging, they will weigh on you. But we have learned that it is possible to take control or at least the best possible, of many situations. Choosing what things need to be faced and what may not need to be if not of great importance, setting those goals, defining where acceptance is for you personally, and then when you reach it allowing that to be it, you reached your personal goal… it can take some of those what if’s away or allow them to be done so they do not keep returning, an outcome that you define is your acceptable point. It can lead to taking those steps, small or big, forward.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD : Facebook page

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“I was a strong person… Before PTSD”

“I was a strong person… Before PTSD”

That is a comment I hear so often, from so many people. I want to tell you all something, that’s PTSD talking to you! It’s what PTSD does. It likes bringing in those negative changes in thoughts and feelings of yourself. A part of PTSD, a symptom, that every single person with PTSD experiences.

But here’s my personal view of things…

PTSD happens to “the best of the best”, the strong ones who have taken everything life has handed them, the traumas that no one should ever have had to experience, and keep on going. The brain just starts saying, “HEY YOU! Slow down, stop, I’m full and I can’t take anymore. Focus on me!”. It goes into a sort of protection mode, and the symptoms are added into it, to you and everyday life.

PTSD does NOT make a strong person weak, it does not mean you are any less of a person than you used to be, it just simply changes life. The road switches paths, the battle changed.

Yes, life has changed since PTSD became a part of it, changes in drastic ways for many. Yes, your focus and the way you do things is different than before. Yes, PTSD is a beast to battle. BUT… YOU are doing it!

To me, seeing firsthand what PTSD does each day and hearing from so many that battle the beast themselves, you are by no means weak or not a strong person anymore. YOU ARE STRONGER!

To battle PTSD every day, to learn how to manage and cope, to teach and learn with others, to at times force a day to be good, to smile when you really don’t want to, to push yourself as far as you can, and make it to the next day… THAT takes a very strong person. You have NOT lost who you were, you have not lost your strength, the battle just changed from what used to be in everyday life.

You know, life is going to change no matter what we do, that’s life and what it brings, there’s no stopping changes. Traumas are difficult to handle no matter what the trauma was experienced, and PTSD just adds a curve ball to the game of life. Don’t ever give up on yourself, don’t ever lose sight of who you really are and what you can do in life… even with PTSD being a part of it.

Always remember… 

“PTSD is a diagnosis, it is not a definition of who you are”

One step forward, two steps back… the PTSD dance, what life now includes… but at least we are still dancing. 😉 You can do this and discover a new normal!

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD : Facebook page

The Way Things Used To Be… Before PTSD

The Way Things Used To Be… Before PTSD

Super Bowl Sunday, yep it’s this weekend… so I’m being told and see. I talked to an old friend of our’s the other day on the phone, and it really hit me how life has changed by something that was said to me.

I heard, “Wish you were here for the Super Bowl party. I’m fixing wings, etc etc, and everything for the game. I remember all those years of us getting together at your house, wish you guys could be here with us for the game and party.”

Such a simple, kind, comment in reality. It made me feel really good actually and brought back so many great memories. I used to throw a Super Bowl party every year, it was my thing I loved to do! I would fix all of my appetizers… one of my specialties, finger foods and my sausage/cheese dip with chips, lol. I always had something new to make.

We would have friends over, 3-4 families, for the whole weekend, even some from out of town, yes we made a whole weekend of it! It was kind of a rule anyway that if you were drinking you better plan on staying, which everyone enjoyed staying anyway. We would stay up late talking and laughing together. It was always funny to see everyone camped out throughout the house, stepping over people to make my way to the kitchen in the mornings for my coffee. The early birds and I would sit and talk with coffee in hand before getting each day started.

All of the kids would play together… dogs included, the ladies would all gather on the front porch and talk and giggle while the guys were gathered talking about the game and guy stuff, everyone watching over the kids of course, they were younger back then. Then we would all come back together off and on. We would cook throughout the weekend, everyone chipping in to help. It was always a really fun weekend!

But then I got to thinking. Super Bowl Sunday, this weekend, and I honestly did not even know who is playing this year!!! Then my mind really started thinking. We did not even watch one football game this season!

Life sure changed when PTSD stepped into it. I can’t even recall the last time we had a gathering at our place… and we used to be the ones throwing the parties. I guess we can call it a fumble in life, of sorts, lol. It is what it is and we just have to do our best each day.

So, my thinking then went deeper. So we won’t be having that wonderful gathering of friends, the giggles and chuckles, and oh the glasses of wine or drinks lol… like we use to have together, the stepping over people to get to my coffee, or the kids playing football in the yard. So the house will be quiet. So I did not know who was even playing! That’s okay!

But you know what?… I think I WILL make that great sausage/cheese dip and thaw that slab of ribs I have in the freezer and crank up the grill! Come game day I will turn on the tv to the game, and out of the dark pick a team to yell for! I can cheer on a team now, I can get into the game, lol! 😉

Just because PTSD has changed life does not mean life does not exist in some way! 😉 You just alter things a bit!

~Bec
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