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Book Review: “Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation” by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.

Book Review: 
“Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation” 
by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.

Okay I really wanted to wait until I had read the entire book to write my personal review, which I have only at this point read the introductory and I am only part way through the book. However, by what I have read thus far and if the book continues on the path it has already taken (which I am sure it will), this is a book that I will be highly recommending, for everyone! When Isay everyone, that is literal… whether you are a spouse/partner, parent, one with PTSD, TBI, Depression, etc. It is not limited to one category of person, medical condition, or illness/disorder.

Yesterday I received the book I ordered, and I can’t put it down! It is very accurate to the point I am saying “I get it! Dr. Dan Siegel gets it!”. The story examples I have read so far have me sitting here saying, “WOW, that’s Craig! That’s exactly what he is like, how he acts, the way he thinks!” Then saying, “WOW! That’s what I have felt before!”

“Mindsight” pulls the mind, brain, and relationships together. It explains the different parts of the brain, how they work, as well as what functions they pertain to whether bodily, emotional, relationships with others, as well as one’s self, and it even covers symptoms we know well with PTSD. It also includes easy to follow examples and visual aids. It takes you through the process of reconnecting the brain and body, forming a connection with others, right down to making sense of yourself, your partner, or others, and much much more… on a real life platform that you are going to relate to. I know I have.

As of right now, I’m going to go ahead and state that I think that this book can bring a great understanding to many of the things that we talk about regarding life with PTSD, from either side of the fence. It will also further your understanding to how the brain works which is a huge part of this when learning and finding an understanding, and what you can work on to start taking your life back to whatever point is possible.

I have even started making a list of other books of Dr. Siegel’s that I plan on ordering when I can. I’m hooked! He knows how to make sense of things that many people are unsure how to make sense of or even explain to others. I am very thankful that Craig’s psychologist recommended this book.

So as of now, I still have to finish reading it, but… It is getting a big thumbs up from me.

UPDATE: I HIGHLY recommend this book to everyone!!!

A Spouse’s Story PTSD : Facebook page

Interview for Women’s Health: Office of Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Awhile back I had asked everyone on my facebook page to help me pick a photo and I know many were curious what it was for. 😉 So I wanted to share with you an interview I did for the month of November, National Family Caregiver month, regarding PTSD and being a caregiver.

Thank you for the opportunity to share with others a small part of our lives in order to help others who live with or beside PTSD.

An Interview About Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: Rebecca McCoy 



Do you have a “care manual”?

I have been working on updating my “care manual” and it got me to thinking, I’m not sure it’s something I have ever written about in depth. But NEED to!

With being a caregiver, I have a small book that has a monthly calendar, daily notes calendar, notes area, a “daytimer” basically that I keep track of everything in regarding Craig’s health. my own, and schedules. It’s the easiest way to remember more then what the brain has room to hold at times. It also is helpful when someone else may come to help out. It helps life stay organized lol! 

I am curious to see how many others have one of these as well? Or is it anything you ever even thought of doing? BE HONEST! 

I thought I would share what mine contains AND why…

* Monthly Calendar

A given must have. The quick view of everything. It contains doctor appointments, respite dates, my respite care person’s schedule, special events, birthdays, anniversaries, school/child schedules, symptoms… yep I track migraines and symptoms when they are high, etc etc etc. Each color coded of course 

* Note section per day

This is where I document anything pertaining to health: changes, increases, decreases, new symptoms, how meds are or are not working, changes in meds, migraines, sleep patterns, nightmares, anything that will be of importance to remember or report to the doctors.

* Emergency Contacts

A list in order of people to contact in case of emergency AND/OR back up help is needed. Phone numbers and addresses, including any other contact information and how each person is related.

* Medication List AND Instructions

This may seem like a given, just read the bottle, right? WRONG! As one that manages or helps manage medications you learn so much more than only what the bottle or medication info. tells. To start, you know what meds are taken. Many people do lock meds up and a person coming in to help take care of someone may not know what meds are taken or need to be given. You learn how far apart each medication should be or what is to be taken together. You learn which meds need to be taken at what times. You learn how your loved one responds to meds, if food or fluids are needed with each or not. You learn how your loved one reacts to meds, like blood pressure meds and not getting up too quickly after taking them, or waking up after taking them. You learn what non-prescription meds can or cannot be taken with prescriptions. What meds cannot be taken at all and are not to be given. ETC ETC ETC

* Daily Schedule

From wake time to the moment their head lays back down on their pillow at bedtime, and throughout the night. Anything that is a part of the daily schedule so they can maintain some type of normal to their daily routine while/if someone else is helping out. This is VERY important when PTSD is a part of life!!!

* Daily Care Instructions

This is the HUGE one! If you were not able to be there to take care of or help your loved one, would someone else know what to do? It is very easy for a spouse/caregiver to get so use to everyday life helping another person, that it may slip your mind to what would happen if someone else had to step in for you.

Have you sat down and really written out step by step instructions for someone else to have if you cannot be there or during times that you may be sick or need extra help? From a point of view that a person coming knows nothing about what your loved one needs or experiences each day.

This can include:

– Each symptom and how to manage that symptom. The “what to do or how to handle” each symptom if it comes. Anxiety, Flashbacks, Triggers, Nightmares, Dissociative symptoms, Migraines, Memory, Anger, Frustration, “Fight or Flight”, etc etc etc… AND any physical conditions and detailed instructions.

How to ground a person is VERY important to include… a tip for this one, a speaker phone and a familiar voice on speed dial  If your loved one is not use to the person stepping in to help it can be very helpful to have that voice they are use to just a quick phone call away. Just make sure that person does understand what needs to be said to ground a loved one.

– Coping skills and medications which can be used, when to or not to use them.

– TV, Movies, Music, or News. Which are okay or not okay during different symptoms.

– Anything one may need help or assistance with doing.

– A list of things your loved one likes to do! VERY important! Hobbies, reading, card games, board games, walks, exercise, social media, anything they like to do.

– A list of “Don’t do” things or things that could trigger or increase symptoms.

– Habits. Leg shaking, nail biting, checking locks on doors and windows, pacing… Anything that would allow another person to understand that this is something that is normal for your loved one, so they don’t over react, say something out of line, etc. and so they have instructions on how to manage these or just let them be.

– Food and snacks. Likes and dislikes. When someone different comes in, so do their own likes and dislikes. You want to make sure your loved one maintains correct eating habits and having a list will be handy to help with this.

Okay, I could add examples forever. 😉 You get my point. Basically it needs to be documented in writing every step of a day and any/all information that could be helpful for if or when another person comes in to help out. Life does take those twists and turns at times and it’s always best to be prepared ahead of time for them. 

A Spouse’s Story PTSD : FaceBook

A Spouse’s Story PTSD : Website

Product Review: “LectroFan” white noise machine

I have to tell you something I decided we needed to try at home…

A couple of days ago I ordered a “LectroFan”, personal fan and white noise machine. It’s a pretty neat little machine.

Those little white noise machines work so well at the doctor offices, I thought we would give it a try at home. Well! I am very happy with it so far!

I played with the settings last night for using outside our door, for you know, those conversations adults have that little ears don’t need to hear. It worked great!

Last night Craig had a REALLY rough night and was sick… yes he over did it yesterday. So this morning I put the machine inside our bedroom and set it to a soothing fan sound, just to see if it would allow him to sleep a little more through the kids playing and laughing in the house. It works great!

I’m going to try it through the night also, just to see if it helps his ‪#‎PTSD‬symptoms during sleep. I’ll let you know how that works and if it helps any or not. 😉 But for right now, I’m very happy with this small investment that may help make life a little easier.

Does anyone else use one? If so, what are your opinions of using white noise machines at home?

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

UPDATE June 28, 2016:

Well it’s been almost 2 years and let me tell you! We LOVE the LectroFan! It runs almost 24/7 and still running strong, majority of the time outside our bedroom door (bedroom is the retreat space for PTSD). Even our kids have become so used to it that if it’s turned off they say it’s “weird” not hearing it, that it’s relaxing. At times we use it in the bedroom and it does help some with sleep. We like the white noise sound, but the fan sounds are relaxing as well, play with the many easy to use settings to find which ones you like best. This is a must have in my personal opinion! It has made life a little bit easier and a lot more relaxing.



What do you value most…

Okay, my turn! 😉 Yesterday I shared a question

“What do you value the most: free time, recognition, or money? And why?” –

And I want to thank everyone who joined in. It was really just for fun and actually questions like that are what I call “brain games” which are awesome for working/exercising the brain. The brain is like a large muscle and needs exercise also, when you exercise your brain it helps with cognitive function, which is important to everyone but very important to those with PTSD, depression, and other mental and/or physical brain disabilities/injuries. 

So, my answer…

I personally would have to answer with “free time”.

1. Without it, it will be hard, many times impossible, to find enough or any self balance in order to accomplish the other two choices. Time has to be made and taken in order to take care of yourself mentally and physically first, which will lead to the balance, concentration, energy, and ability to succeed in other areas.

2. Time is something that once it is gone/passes, you cannot get it back. The events of time, once time has passed, become thoughts or memories, rather good or bad obviously. But you cannot step back in time to change things. You can only learn from what you have already experienced, and use those things to move forward in positive ways with what you choose to do next or what comes next and how to handle/manage it. It goes back to that old saying, “Use your time wisely”  Time equals knowledge.

The other two options to this question were recognition and money…

I did not choose money, because money is something that can disappear at any point in time, it can fluctuate, it’s value can go up or down… Even though it is important “this day and age”, you can accomplish and have the knowledge of how to live without it. Now lol, I’m not saying that would be as comfortable or easy by any means, but is possible. Money is also something that if you do not have it, you can work towards building it. But there again, you have to have the time to build/learn the knowledge to get there.

I did not choose recognition, because if you take the time to build your balance, your self-worth, recognition will become something that on a personal level you can have recognition within yourself and not feel as great of a need for it to come from others. Sure, it’s nice to be recognized, for others to notice, which also helps build self-esteem, but the inner balance makes that outside recognition from others not as important as time. If recognition is something that is important to you, it still takes time to accomplish it.

Without money in this day and age, you are going to stress. Without recognition you are going to stress that you are not good enough. But if you take, make, and use your time… you can accomplish anything starting with the self balance you form which in return helps remove the stress. Just my personal opinion. 

Thank you again to everyone that joined in! It was just a fun game and there is no set right or wrong answers, but it gives you something to think about, and most of all it exercises the brain. 

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Okay, call this a vent if you would like lol…

Okay, call this a vent if you would like lol…

(And this is NOT a debate and will NOT turn into a debate! We don’t need examples, the examples are already well known.)

I have been sitting here reading through postings on other pages, I also know what happened after a few postings of my own yesterday. There is something I just don’t get, don’t understand, and know I never will because it’s not the way I think or who I am!

How can anyone feel their “entitlement” is greater then another human beings?

My husband is a Veteran. I have family members who are paramedics, firefighters, police officers, and many family members and friends in other lines of work outside of a uniform, and I am a caregiver. When it comes to help, how is one person’s “entitlement” greater then another’s? IT”S NOT! If someone needs help, they deserve it!

My own story may be based around my husband being a Veteran and myself being a Veteran Caregiver, but that does NOT mean I have to limit the help and support I provide here to others.

When you limit yourself based on a uniform, line of work, or even age/era, you are missing the big picture. There are many people who need help/support as well as can offer help/support.

If you are one that chooses to limit yourself and/or your resources, that is your choice and I will respect that. However, do not think I am going to limit myself or this page. I stand strong, on solid ground, that the more people that stand together in this world of PTSD, the stronger we ALL will become!

Bottom line, “Together we stand or divided we fall”.

That is my belief, I have a right to it, and it has proven itself.

Just something to really think deep about. 

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

I was asked “With Craig being a veteran, why I do not focus only on military related PTSD?”

I was asked “With Craig being a veteran, why I do not focus only on military related PTSD?”

It’s a rather simple answer, at least to me. Because there are many people effected by PTSD rather they are military or civilian, wear a different uniform, and even spouses/partners can develop PTSD or secondary PTSD… and all of them are equally important when it comes to learning as well as having support. I don’t think it would be very fair to leave anyone behind just because their trauma was different then another person’s. PTSD is still PTSD and even though the traumas might be different, the symptoms and how to manage them are still much alike.

The following is a small “study” for lack of better words, that I did last August right here among this page. It shows how many different traumas people do experience, all leading to PTSD.

Real Life Facts

Now that I have everyone curious about what I was up to with my question I asked regarding “What caused your PTSD?”, here it is.

What are the statistics on PTSD? I have to be completely honest, what I started off doing turned into something MUCH greater! And I want to Thank everyone who participated in my question, I know that it takes a lot to share that, and I want you to know how much I appreciate you helping me out with this.

I did a lot of research on the statistics of PTSD, and to be honest it is hard to get correct information. Numbers can only be used from reported cases or those receiving treatment, and are not reported world wide. So, I did my own little numbers, from real people, right here among us.

Just to add some numbers and extra information to this before I get to my part of this…

“About 3.6 percent of U.S. adults ages 18 to 54 (5.2 million people) have PTSD during the course of a given year.” Using these numbers, that is 18 people developing PTSD every minute! -Source: excerpt from Facts about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: NIMH

It is estimated that 3.5% of the US population suffers from PTSD. And 36.6% of those cases are severe. –NIMH

Only 54.7% of PTSD cases are receiving treatment for PTSD. –NIMH

A study done in 2009 by “Picking Up The Peaces” organization Australia, revealed that 40% of children that had experienced one traumatic event developed PTSD. Also, their study revealed that PTSD diagnoses ranged from immediate to 36 years after the trauma. -Picking Up The Peaces organization

“The medical profession works on a figure of about 25% of people developing PTSD after exposure to traumas such as a serious accident, physical or sexual assault, war or torture, or a natural disaster such as a bushfire or a flood.” – Source: excerpt from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Statistics: Picking Up The Peaces (Australia)

So, those are approximate numbers from reported cases of PTSD within the US and Australia ONLY. WOW!

So seeing these numbers, I wanted to take this a little further with people who are right here within our “family”. And I also wanted to show some of the causes of PTSD. There are many people, due to what the public eye sees, that believe PTSD is only a military issue. It is NOT! PTSD can effect ANYONE who has experienced a severe trauma that threatened their life or that of one close to them.

I will note here, since mine and Craig’s story is based around him being a PTSD Veteran and our life, in hopes to educate others, we do have a larger scale of military related people here, but my page is for everyone.

I had 172 people report their cause of PTSD developing. Many of these are from multiple traumas compiled, so the following numbers are based off of the experiences of the 172 people (so numbers will not add up to 172).

Of only 172 people and only traumas reported: (Please note <3 is a heart symbol)

Military Sexual Trauma (MST)…03
Military Combat ……………………79   <3 <3
Military (non-combat)…………….05 <3
Childhood Abuse……………………24
Childhood Sexual Abuse…………22
Adult Abuse…………………….……16
Loss of life of someone close…..17
Medical Procedure/illness/
Injury (non-military)………………14
Witnessed a death or
Experienced Attempted
Murder (non-military)…………….09
Effected by one with PTSD………10
Religious trauma…………………..02
Police, Emergency, Contractor,
Prison Guard line of work……….14 <3
Home Invasion………………….…03
Natural Disaster……………………02
Terrorism (non-military)………..02
Non-detailed cause………………. <3

Those are staggering numbers for the reason why one suffers from PTSD, they are very real, they are not made up, and they show the seriousness of what people experience which leads to PTSD.

But, I took this a little further. Do you notice the hearts (<3) next to some of the categories? Have any clue what those are for? Each heart represents a person who took their life by their own hand because of PTSD. Those numbers are looking very real to you now, aren’t they. And I do want to thank the family members for sharing those who committed suicide with me for this. That took strength to come forward and I am glad you found us and are here with us continuing to learn about PTSD after the loss of a loved one. <3

Of 172 people, 5 people took their own lives. And again, that’s only reported numbers directly to me. Folks, that is 5 too many!

PTSD is caused by MANY different traumas, all of them come with extreme seriousness and need to be addressed so that person can get the help and treatment they need. Even though one may experience a different type of trauma than another person, does not make PTSD any less severe. When you place “what happened” to the side, the result of what happened comes with many of the same symptoms. PTSD being the result.

If you have a loved one that suffers from PTSD or you suffer from PTSD yourself, please do not dismiss the facts of PTSD. There are many different things that can help! Please take the time to learn and educate yourself, take the time to care. And get help if you are one that has PTSD, life is precious and each of you are equally important!

Another thing came from this, there are a lot of people that now realize they honestly are not alone! That is huge for one with PTSD! You are not alone, even though at times that feeling will be very real. Just know that there are others here for you!

Thank you again to those who helped me make these numbers so real! I appreciate each and every one of you! 

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

To those who are new here…

To those of you that are a little more new to the page and my website, I want to explain my views on life with PTSD and the way I run my page.

This page was created in order to find positive solutions and things that can help make life with PTSD just a little bit easier and to know that we all are not alone. It’s run on having respect for each other and supporting each other in a positive manner. It’s truly what I call a family. I do not have deep opinionated debates on here, because those things bring additional stress and are not the reason we are here together, and not what we need when trying to find positive aspects of life with PTSD.

I DO share things that are off topic. Why? Because there is still life even with PTSD being a huge part of it! If it takes me sharing positive things off topic to show that PTSD does not own my husband and I, to bring a smile or a chuckle to someone else, to show that you need to make sure you are doing things to take care of yourself and not only dwelling in what PTSD is and brings, then you can bet your bottom I’m going to share those off topic things.

All of those things are a part of life! Just because some off topic things are shared from time to time, it does not mean PTSD is any less severe or that I don’t take it seriously, those of you that know me also know I am extremely serious about PTSD and finding positive ways to live with or beside it, but at the same time remembering life itself.

I learned a long time ago that if you live your life based around only the negative, it’s going to be extremely difficult for things to change for the positive. PTSD does in fact bring many negative things to all of our lives, but what we do and how we handle or view things can make a huge difference. If I allowed only the negative that PTSD brings consume me, what good would I be to my husband or my family? I wouldn’t be. Negativity rolls over to others, and it’s not in a good way. Someone has to break the cycle so things have a chance to improve. This page and how I run it, how I still hold on to the positive through all of the negative helps many people, and my husband will vouch that it sure helps him!

Every day of our life is challenging. But you know what? We make the best of it and we see the sun set each evening and rise the next morning. We have found ways to still live, differently then normal or the way things were for us, but we still live life.

There are many who have not found that balance in their lives yet. Some lash out at others, put people down, try to discredit a person’s life when in reality they don’t know anything about that person… I won’t be harsh to them, I will offer them my hand of support in hopes I and all of us here can show them a path we did not have when things were extremely severe and off balance for us. It’s their choice if they want to try to find the positive, or stay in the negative. Craig and I chose to try to find some type of life through this roller coaster PTSD brings.

It takes time, learning, trial and errors, and working together but that balance can be found. Every day is different with more and more challenges, but Craig and I have found what works for us and as a family. We never stop trying, we never stop learning, and we believe in passing it on to others, so maybe something within all of it will help others also.

So, if you come to this page and you see recipes, cat or dog photos, wildlife or lakefront photos, or things off topic… it’s not because I lack respect or understanding of PTSD, it’s because I DO understand and respect it, and chose to find life along with it.

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

If you Care, hit “share”!

If you care, hit “share”!

Every single one of my postings, or postings on other PTSD or mental health related pages have a “share” button. That share button can be extremely important whether you realize it or not. There are MANY people who still suffer through PTSD in silence, that have not yet reached for help, and they are fighting this battle alone.

NO ONE needs to feel or think this is a one person battle! They need to know others are out there for them and understand what they are experiencing. It’s going to be difficult for them to find others if they are feeling they are alone. One share could take the alone feeling away from someone or at least lessen it, it could save a life!

Even if you think you do not know anyone with PTSD, chances are extremely high that every single person who reads this actually knows someone who is suffering, someone that is among your own friends and family members… they may have just not voiced it or not even realize that PTSD is what they are battling. YOU could help them! And without even having to say a word. It’s one simple click of one button.

When I started speaking out about our personal story and sharing the things life with PTSD has brought to us, I was shocked at how many of my old friends from years ago and even family members contacted me and told me they, a family member, or friend suffers from PTSD. I had NO clue! But by me sharing things about PTSD it has honestly helped MANY of them!

Some people do not like sharing PTSD related things due to stigma. Well let me tell you, just because you share something does not mean you suffer or stigma will be placed upon you, it simply means you care about others. So if that is your case, simply add a comment to the share of “Because I care about other people”, that should fix the issue of stigma. And if they comment to something you have shared and say PTSD is not real or people should suck it up and get over it, you are more then welcome to have them private message me and I do not mind at all chatting with them as time permits through my FaceBook page That’s a battle I have taken on many times and I don’t mind doing it.

It’s all about helping those who may think there is no help! It’s about CARING!

The suicide rate is through the roof, just reported veteran cases of suicide is 22 per day! That does NOT include others, world wide, or civilian PTSD cases. It’s time to really work on bringing those numbers down, 0 per day is the best number to me personally! But in order to do that we have to spread the word and educate others while doing so.

“If you CARE, please SHARE” any postings from my page or others that could help! YOU could help save a life! You can share a social media page or a website link.

A Spouse’s Story PTSD (FaceBook link)

November is National Family Caregivers month!

November is National Family Caregivers month!

I want to personally say  Thank You  to the family caregivers for the important role you take in your family’s health and well being!

Many people do not realize just how many people are caring daily for a family member, rather it is a spouse, child, parent, or more than one person…

Did you know that 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. are caring for a family member with significant health issues. -Pew Research Center

We use to know caregivers as ones caring for the elderly, times have changed and there are many more caregivers of younger generations included in caregiver numbers now (many due to TBI and PTSD, also due to the increased number of children with chronic illnesses), many of which have young children. Many family caregivers are of a working age group but have taken on the role of caring for a family member(s). As a caregiver of any age group, their roles include things such as managing medications, bathing, toileting, dressing, feeding, managing doctor appointments and finances, providing wound care, helping their loved one mitigate life through dementia or memory related chronic illness, caregivers have many different tasks related to physical and/or cognitive medical conditions, taking on many medical and nursing tasks on a daily basis.

Family caregivers are more likely then other adults to:

* Research medications and other treatments online and/or with physicians.

* Gather health information on specific medical issues.

* Use online reviews for medications and treatments.

* Connect with others who are caring for a loved one with similar medical problems.

* Track their own weight, diet, health conditions, and exercise routines.

* Read online other people’s personal stories of medical conditions.

(Resource: Pew Research Center)

Being a caregiver to a loved one consists of much more then many may think. There is a false impression that caregivers just get to stay at home and do what they WANT to do. That’s so far from the truth. Caregivers spend their time and energy making sure their loved one is taken care of and helping them through everyday life. It has nothing to do with wants, it has to do with needs of another person.

It is important for caregivers to make sure they are taking care of themselves through this! Like I always say, “You have to take care of yourself in order to take care of others.” It is very easy for caregivers to find themselves overwhelmed, stressed, even becoming depressed when you are taking care of a loved one full time. You have to maintain a balance within and for yourself. As mentioned above from the Pew Research Center, one of the things caregivers are known for doing more than a non-caregiver is tracking their own health, this is the very reason for that… you have to keep your own balance in order to take care of others.

There are many things available to caregivers that can help with maintaining their own mental and physical health. Many have access to respite care, this is when someone else comes in to take care of your loved one so you can do things that are needed or simply to give you a relief period. There are support groups, which can be face to face and/or online groups. These groups allow you the opportunity to talk to others in a similar position you are, allows you to compare things that could help you with daily life, get new ideas and help each other find positive solutions not only for your loved one… but for YOU, and just have someone else outside the home to talk to. And importantly, there are doctors and mental health professionals for YOU! Being a caregiver is a huge responsibility, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with reaching for extra help when you need it or in order to maintain your own health!!!

I want to again thank the many caregivers that are out there, and let you know how much YOU ARE appreciated!

Helpful links for Caregivers:

Caregiver Action Network

VA Caregiver Support

Family Caregiver Alliance

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

American Red Cross

Easter Seals

Mental Health America

National Adult Day Services Association

A Spouse’s Story PTSD