Archive for » May, 2013 «

PTSD vs Outside Negative Influence

PTSD vs Outside Negative Influence

This is huge! Anyone that has PTSD probably has heard their doctor say “Try to avoid additional stress.” Or something along those lines. Keeping a calm, stable environment is pretty important when it comes to PTSD and coping with it.

Hard one to do isn’t it? I mean, this is real life which comes with stressful situations.

There are many situations in life where it is just not possible. Sometimes you are put in a position where you have to face it and handle it accordingly. Lay the facts on the table and do what you have to in order to get the situation handled/solved and move on. Don’t hold on to negative situations… when you do they are just going to eat at you and bring you down, flair up your PTSD symptoms, as well as depression if you also suffer from it. Don’t let them run your life.

Work with the facts.

What can you do right now this minute?

If there is nothing you can do right now this minute then try not to dwell on it. When the time comes to handle it, then be prepared for it but don’t allow it to run your life every second of every day. Pace yourself and don’t get ahead of yourself with the what if’s and but’s. When you allow this to happen, many times your mind thought process will leave from the facts at hand and everything will start to consume you and your life. Don’t allow this to happen!

Then there are others who like to push your buttons so to speak… which is nothing less then cruel! Especially when they know there is a disability at hand.

But I hate to say this happens oh too often. Some people are going to try to break you, weigh you down, try to put you in a worse condition then you are already battling… normally for their own personal gain or due to their own issues in life. A bully, that’s really all they are. Someone who is not happy with their own life so they pick on someone else.

Don’t let them! Life already has enough that comes with it without you allowing other people to get at you. When these times come, and sooner or later they will come, focus on who you are and don’t let their words or actions tear you down. You are better then that and obviously a better person then they are!

So what do you do?

* Stick with the facts of the situation.

* Don’t let the “what could happen” weight you down.

* Handle things accordingly as they come and don’t let them consume you and your life.

* Don’t allow negative people to over rule who you really are or cause you to question yourself.

* Use coping skills in stressful situations.

* Make a plan of action for situations you know are coming. Set a pace and timeline for you to do things to prepare for it so it does not consume your life every second of every day.

* Don’t allow a situation to take over your time you need to focus on yourself and take care of yourself.

* Talk to someone close to you or your doctor when stressful things are weighing on you. Just talking to someone can help.

* Seek professional help in situations where a professional can take added stress off of you rather it is a financial adviser, a lawyer, a doctor, or even a housekeeper or lawn maintenance person.

* Avoid negative people if you have to.

Life can be stressful, and adding PTSD to it is at times difficult. Do what you know is best in or for your situation and most of all for YOU! You spend a lot of time and energy being the best you can be with living life with PTSD, don’t allow additional things damage how far you have come!

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

Surviving in a PTSD Relationship…

Sometimes in life with PTSD, things are going to get rough. It is going to seem or feel like your life is falling apart. Relationships are going to get rocky.

But I will gladly be the first to tell you that relationships can survive PTSD. It will take more work and effort then normal, learning how to communicate so you know where each other is standing and what you both are feeling, it takes truly accepting that PTSD is real, and planting your feet in concrete that you are not going to let PTSD destroy your family.

I know the fact is not every relationship will survive, however if you truly love someone, you can get past what PTSD can bring or did bring, and you can heal and form a stronger relationship then you ever thought possible. But you have to try!

I won’t tell you PTSD is just going to go away and a fairy tale story magically appear… that won’t happen, this is real life. However I will tell you there are many ways of coping with it and making things better then where you have been or are standing now. But you have to put your all into it. BOTH of you!

When you both give it your all, you might be shocked at how much better things can become, instead of that dark rock bottom place you have been.

There were several times over the years that I thought I couldn’t do this anymore, thought it might be best to walk away, but when it came down to it and I looked in the mirror, I realized he is a part of me. I couldn’t walk away, he’s worth more then that, WE are worth more then that.

So I planted my feet and decided the only way for us to make it through this was facing the battle and learning what weapons/tools to use to fight it. You know what? It’s worked.

Every day I come here, I share things, and I rarely post something without some type of meaning behind it. I’ve been there, I live beside PTSD every day, and I share the tools with you that can help no matter which side of the fence of PTSD you are standing on. PTSD and life with it is by no means new to me. I won’t tell you it’s always easy, it’s not, those ups and downs are going to come. But I can tell you, our marriage survives through it, we have and are raising wonderful well balanced children through it, and we do make it from one day to the next. I won’t accept anything less.

But I can’t make you use what I share, that one has to be up to you. You are the one that chooses your and your family’s future. You are the one that decides if the fight is worth it. You are the one that can make a change for the better. But you have to choose to.

I will tell you, even through the worst PTSD can bring, it is possible for things to get better. But the first thing you have to do is stop holding things against each other, accept PTSD is what you are battling, and take a stand to battle it together! Craig and I, and our family are living proof it can be done! If we can do it, so can you!

* If you have already left, it does not have to be the end!

If you have already chosen to and walked out that door, have taken breathing room, really think about if that’s what you truly want. If it’s not, if there is any ray of hope, walk back through that door and stand tall that you two are going to work together to make life better through this.

* Communication. 

Place the anger, hate, and hurt of the past to the side and start new today. I know you won’t forget whatever has happened, but you can get past it. Learn to really talk as well as listen so you can work together.

* Set rules. 

Learn each others lines or boundaries. They have to be spoken, even write them down if it helps. But you have to know where each other stands in order to move forward and heal whatever has already happened.

* Get professional help. 

Many times having a third party to help you find a level ground is needed, you are both worth trying, reach for additional help if you can’t find that level ground to stand on. Get one on one help also. Therapy can help keep both of you balanced and moving forward.

* Take care of yourself. 

BOTH of you have to do this! Make sure you use the coping skills. Make sure you take “me” time when needed. Use self-help therapy, whatever works for you to help keep you balanced.

* Physical and/or Verbal Abuse.

These are things that can change! No one purposely hurts the one they love. In many cases you can get past these. Coping skills, learning about PTSD and what comes with it, communication, and everything else you can use to your advantage can help correct these things. Work together to get past any abuse that may be going on. Do it for yourself and do it for your family.

* Safety Protocol.

Rather there is any type of abuse in your home or not, having safety guidelines is a must in any home. Especially if you have children. We all know what PTSD is capable of bringing, have safety in place of what to do in any certain situation, it goes back to it’s better to be safe then sorry. Knowing ahead of time if you are faced with such and such then this is how it will be handled, and everyone understanding that, can save a lot of issues from happening or knowing how to handle them if they do arise.

* Education.

Learn! There is no tool more powerful or that can help both of you more then both of you learning what you are faced with. As you learn you will also learn solutions and ways of dealing with or coping with what PTSD can bring. You learn how to handle situations without over reacting. You learn to find a balance which helps you move forward.

* Stop fighting each other.

You have a larger beast to battle then each other! Fighting and arguing just breaks down your relationship, don’t let it!

Through everything, keep in mind you chose to be with the one you are with for a reason, don’t lose sight of that! Both of you do what you need to in order to make it through life with PTSD. PTSD is not just going away, so make a plan and take action to make life the best it can be with it. Life might not be a fairy tale story all of the time, but it doesn’t mean life has to be bad either. Don’t give up on each other! Work together, help each other, support each other, and let go of the past and start new today… it can make all of the difference in the world! 

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

Memorial Day…

Today as the smell of bbq grills mask the air, people enjoy the beach/lakes and outdoors, families get together, flags are half mast til noon then raised to the top… please remember to honor all of those that gave their lives in battle for all of us.

Many of our Heroes never made it home, many remain missing in action, today… today is a day to remember them.

Many people are continuing to say “thank you” to our Veterans and service members today, as much as this is appreciated, today is not a day for saying “Thank You”, it’s a day for saying “I’m sorry for your loss of your brothers and sisters.”

Memorial Day… a day to remember those lost in battle who gave their absolute all for our country and each of us, and didn’t come home. Today, “Thank You” goes to those that no longer hear our voices, as we still can remember their’s.

Many with PTSD will clearly recall those voices today. Survivor’s guilt will be at it’s highest. The thoughts of “I didn’t come home, I died beside him/her that same day.” Many feel they did die that day their battle buddy, brother/sister(s) did. Have strength and compassion today for those going through this.

PTSD has changed their lives. The support, love, and compassion is needed to help them through this time. My friends, life is still worth living, it’s a difficult battle, but a battle you can make it through. You are here for a reason, and I truly believe that. You are here to help others and carry on as your brothers and sisters would want you to do. Don’t ever give up on yourself!

Today is a day to remember to many, but to one with PTSD those memories carry with then every day of their lives. Keep that in mind today. As you celebrate, don’t forget to be there for the ones who have a difficult time today. Don’t push them to do things beyond what they can do today, don’t push them to be happy if they are not, and have respect for their feelings. It might be a difficult day for them, respect that fact and show them support.

If one chooses to participate in a ceremony, visit a grave site, or simply choose to stay home… honor their wishes.

To all of our Heroes lost in battle, today I honor you and remember your sacrifices you proudly gave for this country and each and every one of us. “Thank you, you are dearly missed.”

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

Memorial Day (USA)

Memorial Day

Many know this as a long weekend, a chance to take a short vacation, time for parties and/or family gatherings, a time to start the grill and have a cookout. It is a start to summer time. However, what is the TRUE meaning of and for Memorial Day?

Let us not forget…

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday, it started as being known as “Decoration Day” at the end of the Civil War to honor and commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who lost their lives in the Civil War. It was a time when ladies placed decorations/flowers on the graves of the fallen, a tradition which carries on today.

Today, Memorial Day honors and remembers all of those fallen during military service, man and woman. It’s a time of remembrance and a time of respect to all of those who gave their lives for us.

As you honor this time this weekend, please don’t forget the true meaning of this day. If you fly a flag in honor of this time on Memorial Day, please remember to fly it at half-staff until noon, then raise it back to the top for the remainder of the day.

Memorial Day can be a difficult time for veterans, military, and loved ones. Please keep that in mind if you are celebrating this weekend. If you know of a veteran that is alone this weekend, take a little of your time and visit with them, many of them have lost a battle buddy or a loved one who served and did not come home.

To those that know someone or have a loved one who suffers from PTSD, here are a few things to remember and/or things that can help through this time…

* Remember that many suffer from survivor’s guilt. This can make this time a very difficult one for them, even more then normal.

* Don’t push them to participate in gatherings. Let them set their own pace of what they are comfortable doing.

* Talk to them and be there to listen.

* Be careful with your words! Be respectful with things you may say or ask regarding service time.

* If you are setting off fireworks, PLEASE make sure you let them know ahead of time or let them know if your community will will setting some off. Even if it is not loud or from sound, remember the smell can be a trigger to some. By mentioning it ahead of time it can help keep triggers down or help them be able to control them.

* Some families remember by setting up small memorials or even place settings for an empty seat at the dinner table as a sign of remembering those lost in battle. If you have someone joining you or in your family with PTSD, PLEASE be careful with doing this, if they have survivor’s guilt and/or PTSD this could easily trigger bad memories. If you plan on doing this, ask if it’s okay first.

* Allow one to grieve during this time if they need to, don’t push them to be happy and join in events, let that be up to them.

* Know the signs of suicide and be cautious to them. This is a difficult weekend for many and PTSD could be more severe then normal.

And please, teach your children the history of Memorial Day, and what it really means.

These are just a few things to keep in mind this weekend. If you are out and about please try to enjoy yourself, be safe, but always keep in mind the true meaning of Memorial Day.

Those lost in battle may not be with us in body, but they will never leave our hearts. Each and every one of them gave their lives for each and every one of us.

Not one of them, will ever be forgotten! <3

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

Why not to say “You’re fine”…

I had a very good question come to me after my “one phrase” posting  and would like to talk about it more in depth on here.

The question asked:

“I just read your status about PTSD. I have not heard of this before. I would just like to ask a question. You say not to say to a person ‘you’re fine, there’s nothing wrong’ but what would you say to someone if they opened up to you about it? And what is it about saying ‘your fine’ that upsets them. I thought that telling someone they’re ok and there’s nothing wrong with them would be a form of support and endearment?”

One of the hardest things a person with PTSD faces, as well as anyone else that has an unseen disability, is people understanding that their illness/disability is real. Many people have trouble understanding something when it can not be seen.

When you say to a person with an unseen disability “You’re fine” or “There’s nothing wrong with you” those comments are like telling them they are making it up, it’s not real, and you don’t believe them. When this happens, and enough times whatever that amount may be for that person, it can easily lead them to suicidal thoughts, or actions I hate to say. It makes it appear that there is no hope, no one takes what they are going through seriously, and no one is there to help them.

Even in cases where you know they have this disability and believe it, to the one that has it these phrases appear as a disbelief you have towards them or as you are telling them they are not being truthful. In many cases you can damage the trust they have in you and they will stop coming to you for support.

Even if your intentions are to let them know they are going to be okay, the words “you’re fine” carry a different meaning and are not going to be taken the way you intended. If you are stating them in such a way as “you’re fine, there’s nothing wrong with you” you are not facing what they are truly going through. This can lead to them not opening up to you, avoiding you, and not using you as a form of support system which is greatly needed. In fact they are not okay, they have a illness/disability that is very real.

Words and the way you use them can mean everything to a person with PTSD or other unseen disability.

Here are some simple ways to help:

* “I know you have PTSD and I’m here for you, even if I don’t completely understand what you are going through.”

By wording it this way, you are letting them know they have your support, they can count on you, but at the same time you are letting them know up front you may not fully know about or understand PTSD.

* “I want to be able to help you and I will learn more about PTSD so I can be of more help and support.”

Those are huge words to someone with PTSD. You are showing support and you are showing the willingness to learn about what they are experiencing.

* “I might not understand exactly what you are going through or went through, but I’m here to listen and help however I can.”

Face it, you are NOT going to understand exactly what someone went through, don’t say you do understand… another phrase that won’t be viewed nicely. You may understand the symptoms they have now, what you see, the changes in them, but when it comes down to understanding what happened to them, you can’t understand it because most likely you were not there and/or you are not the one that developed PTSD. Many times just lending an ear is a huge help and is all that is needed. Listen, and don’t give advice if you don’t know/understand the experience.

* “Can you help me understand what you go through now, how you see/view things and what I can do to help?”

Fact is what happened happened. They may or may not want to talk about what happened to them. Either way, take it at their pace of what they want or don’t want to share. The only thing you can do is learn about what they experience now. One with PTSD many times can tell you their symptoms, how they feel, what emotions they experience or don’t experience. All of those things can help you understand the now.

Many times, and I will say this up front, the how can I help question will be answered with “I don’t know” or “I don’t know how to help myself so I can’t answer that.” If this happens, listen and let them speak openly without any judgement, they are being honest with you. The best thing you can do is educate yourself on PTSD. Even if they can’t answer how you can help them, you are still telling them you are there for them by asking, that’s important.

These are just a few examples. The important thing is not to word things as if their illness/disability is not real. If you are one that does not believe it is real, take time to truly educate yourself.

I believe the high rate of suicide numbers, just the ones based around PTSD, are high enough to prove there is a serious issue at hand and it’s a very real one. We are losing ones to PTSD every single day, the numbers are not going down. The stigma around PTSD and the way many are reacting to it or not doing anything to change this is literally costing people their lives. These people deserve a fair hand to the rest of their lives just like everyone else does. Your words can make a huge difference, please be careful with them. Showing there is hope and support is extremely important. PTSD does not just go away, but there is hope one’s symptoms and situation can be better then it may be right now.

~Bec

“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

Pets and Disaster Areas…

Pets

Many of you might have been scratching your heads yesterday when I posted a link for the lost and found pets in the Oklahoma disaster area. Many may be thinking “what does that have to do with PTSD?” Well let me explain…

To start with I am a retired dog trainer, so to say the least animals are dear to me and I have seen wonderful things right down to some of the most horrific things you could ever imagine through my years in the “dog world”, as I call it. I have many friends still actively working in the rescue part of it all (hats off to all of you for the job you do!) so even though this is something I can no longer do, I do still and can keep up with everything through social media and sharing does help.

Anyway, back to the question… Pets can be awesome for PTSD OR for anyone that is experiencing stress. In situations like experienced in Oklahoma this week you have a couple of issues at hand. One, there are a lot of animals that have been separated from their families and now are left to fend for themselves on their own which is not a good situation for a domestic animal. Two, you have people that are under extreme amounts of distress over a natural disaster.

Natural disasters are another reason PTSD can develop. Many think PTSD is only military related, which is completely not true. Many people can experience stress after a trauma, however if the reactions to that trauma does not go away over time and it starts effecting their life then it is possible PTSD has developed as a result of that trauma (or even multiple traumas).

So helping the people in a natural disaster area locate a pet can be of enormous help in battling that trauma they went/are going through. Pets bring a form of hope, a lifeline that not all is lost, they are a form of therapy which can help calm a person, bring their blood pressure down as well as anxiety, and many other things. Those pets can help these people now!

Helping these disaster area families find their furry family member(s) is urgent. It’s urgent for the safety and well being of the animals and it’s urgent for their owners. These pet

s can bring a form of coping, and that is very much needed for the disaster area victims right now.

So nope, myself posting that list of resources to reuniting lost pets with their families was not something I did just out of the blue non-related, it was and is a form of helping these victims now. So please, while you are scrolling through the social media, be kind to these victims and help by sharing links to missing and found pets, it could very well save someone, as well as a dearly loved pet!

 Bec
“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

 

Links to help reunite families with pets in Oklahoma:

McClain County Animal Response Team (McCART) 

Central Oklahoma Humane Society

Moore Oklahoma Tornado Lost and Found Animals

Animal Resource Center, Inc.

OKC Lost & Found Pets

 

May 21-22, 2013… FREE e-Book…

 

I have a message for ALL of you from Welby! I can personally recommend Welby’s book, it is awesome and a great help to everyone rather your loved one is military or not!

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

From Welby:

GREAT NEWS!
LOVE OUR VETS: Restoring Hope for Families of Veterans with PTSD by Welby O’Brien will be FREE ($0.00!) (e-Book reg. $9.99) for 2 days:

Tuesday May 21 and Wednesday May 22 on Amazon in the Kindle version. To everyone!!!! Please spread the word!!! It can also be given as a gift. Still free. (May 21-22 only).

(For those who do not have Kindle, it can be downloaded to your PC at this link also)

Here is the link to LOVE OUR VETS on Amazon Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Our-Vets-ebook/dp/B009ZMIBBE/ref=tmm_kin_title_0

Please pass this on to everyone who knows a veteran, or is a veteran, or works with veterans, or has PTSD or knows someone who has PTSD, or is a service member, or loved one of a service member!

God bless you all, and may many more lives be touched with hope and help.

♥ Welby

PTSD and/or Dissociation… Suicidal Thoughts/Self Harm

PTSD and/or Dissociation… Suicidal Thoughts/Self Harm

We talk a lot about how suicidal thoughts or any thoughts of self harm are very real to many that suffer from PTSD and/or Dissociation.

Just to note, I have started posting more about dissociative disorders as well because many do not know about them however they are extremely common with PTSD and many times give the explanation for symptoms that do not seem to fit the common PTSD symptoms.

So we know these thoughts can be present, some experience them quite often, some all of the time, and some from time to time. So what can you do when you have these thoughts of self harm?

* Professional Help.

By all means one of the first steps you can take is getting help! Having someone to talk to, vent to, even rant to can help you battle these thoughts on a professional level.

*Suicide Hotlines.

USE the suicide hotlines. There are there for you! The VA has a hotline for veterans and family and there are also many local hotlines available in many locations.

* Safe Room.

This is one that many do not have or use but could be very helpful, especially if you live on your own. Create a room that would be safe for you to go to when you are having feelings of self harm. A room that in painted in relaxing colors, no objects that you could harm yourself with, maybe just some photos of relaxing things to you or what are important to you that could help you focus on the good things in your life. You could have a wireless/cell phone in this room for outside help communication. Make it a quiet place where you can help yourself focus on getting through your thoughts.

* Comfort Animal.

I you have a pet that you love, use it to comfort you. Pets can do amazing things to help turn your thoughts to a positive direction. They are known for reducing blood pressure, anxiety, and offering a way to cope. Animals bond to their human and show you a sign that you are needed. All it takes is just simply sitting with them and petting them.

* Movies.

Have on hand a few good, happy, funny movies. Watching movies that have happy meaning to them can help you avoid the feelings of self harm as you sink yourself into what you are watching, actually a normal form of dissociating that we all can do. Even if you watch two even three movies, that’s okay. However many it takes to help you focus on something other then the harmful thoughts.

* Call a friend.

Call a friend and talk about anything! A friend is good for distracting yourself from the self harm thoughts, talk about the weather, a sports event, anything! Use the company of the friend to help you through this time.

* Take a shower.

Let the water help soothe you and help release the stress. While doing so talk out loud, cry, let the emotions and feelings out. The sound of water and how it can soothe the body can be of huge help.

* Drawing.

Draw out your feelings. If you are one that wants to cut yourself, try this instead… use a red marker and draw on yourself instead of using an object that could harm yourself. Let the feelings out but with avoiding the actual act of harm.

* Hit a pillow.

This is a very common one used. Instead of taking the feelings out on objects of harm or other people, hit a pillow over and over to release the stress and feelings.

* Rubber band.

This is also another thing that is commonly used. Put a rubber band on your wrist and when self harm or even stress comes, snap the rubber band.

* Journal.

Writing or typing out your feelings, thoughts, emotions can do wonders! Put your thoughts on paper and allow them to help release you from what you are experiencing.

* Read.

Same as with movies, read your favorite book or a good new book to take your mind off of the self harm and focus on the words you are reading.

* Clean.

This is one that women are very use to using, clean the house top to bottom. It keeps you busy, releases stress, and is an activity of exercise.

* Exercise.

Exercising or even taking a walk can help release built up energy which can be helpful with coping through harmful thoughts.

* Music.

Music soothes the soul… seriously. Listen to soothing music, focus on the music, it can help.

* Online activities/games.

We all know how hypnotic and time consuming they can be. In times of suicidal thoughts these things can be used to your advantage. Just be careful of becoming an addict which can easily be done. Use these things in times of those harmful feeling to help you refocus.

* Sleep.

Sleep is a hard one for one with PTSD, however taking a nap during harmful thoughts can be very helpful. In many cases, naps during the day might not bring the same nightmares/terrors the night brings, and you could probably use the extra sleep anyway. It can also help reduce feelings of anger or frustration.

* Kind people.

Some time in your life there has been someone that was kind to you or many people who were kind, look up to you, value you. Think about them and their kind words, focus on all of the good things they find in you, the good things that ARE there in you.

* Meditation.

Allow yourself to focus in your mind of a happy place, a place you enjoy, a vacation. Someplace peaceful. There are many forms of meditation, learn some of them and use them to help yourself.

* Talk to someone close to you.

Sit and let it all out! Lean on a loved one. Ask them to just listen and not judge or tell you what to do, just listen.

Whatever it takes, get help and know the things you can do to help yourself!

These are just a few things you can do to help yourself. Thoughts of self harm with PTSD are very real, but having the right things to use to fight those feelings are urgent. And YOU are well worth the fight! Never give up on yourself and know that there are many things and many people that can help you through this! 

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

PTSD vs Verbal Abuse

PTSD vs Verbal (Abuse)

I have had quite a few people come to me lately regarding this and how I personally handle(d) it. So I want to start by reminding you I am in no way a doctor and what worked for us might not be the correct things to do in every situation.

First thing you need to know, your PTSD loved one loves you, if they didn’t they wouldn’t be there. Verbal abuse in most cases is not how they would normally have acted towards you, so they sure are NOT meaning to do this to you now!

During the times of verbal abuse, I did not have anyone to guide me, I kept trying different things and continuing to educate myself on PTSD until I found what worked for us.

Verbal abuse is very common with PTSD. I believe it happens to those closest to the one with PTSD because that is the person they trust the most, the one there with them. The person they know they can turn to, and the person they know cares about them. Also the person that they know they have always been able to be themselves around. Just to say that up front.

My belief is verbal abuse happens when PTSD is what I call “out of control”. When they do not know or understand how to cope with the feelings they are experiencing, what is going on within themselves, not being able to cope with changes, feelings, and emotions or lack of, their medications if they are taking them might be out of balance, they may not know or be using coping skills… or not using them enough when needed, which leads to the anger and frustration PTSD brings being let out on the one(s) closest to them. The fight that PTSD “needs” in order to release those feelings of anger and frustration as I say it. These also seem to be the times when many with PTSD turn to alcohol, porn, or even drugs in some cases. Anything that can “seem” to help them cope. To me, it’s a cry for help.

BUT, there is hope! These things can be controlled with time, effort, self-help, professional help, family support, and a lot of good communication!

To understand why verbal abuse is there, you have to step back and figure out what is causing it, what signs are there? This obviously isn’t the way this person would normally be towards others.

Common signs that help is needed:

* Alcohol, drug, porn increased use or not normal for them to do but they are now.
* Addiction to video games has become very common for many.
* Avoiding a loved one much more then normal.
* Constantly picking the fight.
* Being critical of little things which should not hold huge issues.
* Throwing things or even taking anger out on objects.
* Becoming physically abusive.
* Picking or looking for a fight with other people, strangers.
* Road rage.

Those are just a few examples other then the verbal abuse itself.

Verbal abuse can weigh heavily on one or even on a family. It will bring you down, cause loss of self-esteem, cause emotional issues with the person on the receiving end of it, cause conflict, etc. It can very easily end a relationship.

It took me a long time to figure out, I had to get to the root of things in order for changes to happen. Once I did figure it out, then I started trying different things until something worked for us. He was not able to cope, he wasn’t able to notice what he was doing or how he was acting/speaking, to him all of the negative things that were coming out did not exist. I had to find a way to stop PTSD and what it was bringing to us in it’s tracks so he could focus and learn to cope. I had to accept the fact that he was in a place where he could not help himself and yes, it was on me to help him. All of this was PTSD, not the true him.

Please note again, these things may not work for everyone, or you might not have a situation where you are in a position to use these, and I advise you to seek professional help and NEVER put yourself in harms way!

Our part of the story…

In the beginning I would fight back, I am not one to just take personal attacks lightly, no one I don’t care who they are speaks to me that way. But you know what, that was not working out too well! It was leading to arguments which were totally out of the norm for us. It was causing more chaos, hurt feelings, avoidance of each other, and this could not continue, it was not us!

So I tried something different, when verbal abuse would start I would sit and listen. I would not interrupt and I would not really say anything at all. And I kept in mind and forced myself not to take what was being said personally.

Just to note: This by no means, means verbal abuse is acceptable or you are suppose to just take it, it’s not acceptable and has to stop.

I would sit and honestly listen to what was coming out of his mouth. Always keeping in mind that he had never talked to me this way before, so I knew this was caused by PTSD and not his true self. I would hear the anger, frustration, and most of all I could hear and see the internal pain he was experiencing. I would just listen.

I figured out real fast this was a form of coping, even though not an acceptable way of doing so, but it lead me to knowing that he needed help. This verbal usage was a way to vent, let it all out, and with me sitting there listening and not fighting back to any personal attacks (which I knew were not how he truly felt) it would eventually bring him to a more peaceful place once he had vented, and the apologies and the “what have I done? I’m so sorry.” would start. Out of nowhere he would be “back”. Even if it took hours.

This went on for some time while the doctors worked on finding correct combinations of medications, taught him coping skills and such. He did get therapy through these times as well.

Then I found that once his anger of this had it’s break though and I could see the true him was coming through with each verbal episode, I could calmly and with a stern grip on my own feelings say “I love you, I know this is PTSD and not you. You would never treat me this way. I will not fight with PTSD, but I will talk with you.” And it opened a non attacking or confrontational door for communication to start. And we would sit there and talk for as long as he needed to.

Once this started happening then I was able to add my feelings into the conversations over time. It’s kind of like when you teach a dog something new (by no means referring to him as a dog lol), you don’t and can’t expect a dog to know a command on the first try, it takes time and many steps to teach something correctly, so they learn the command. So in a weird way, I guess I was using my training abilities and applying them to our life. See, you can’t expect a person to just stop doing something and everything change in one second, it takes time, lots of effort, and many steps to get to the outcome you are looking for or is needed.

Then came into play the coping skills. Oh this was a fun one. I heard “Those won’t work for me, that’s silly and I’m not doing them”. Okay, this is a normal reaction from someone who’s PTSD has not found a balance. So what did I do? I can tell you I didn’t fight or argue about it.  I started using the coping skills myself, exactly what his doctors were teaching him and sending home worksheets with us on. 

One day I was doing breathing exercises, he looked at me and said “What the heck are you doing?” I paused and calmly said “Breathing.” I continued doing the exercises. Then I heard, “Why are you doing that?” My answer again calmly, “Because they help me when I’m stressed, help me relax.” And he walked away and I continued the exercises until I completed them.

It was only a few days later I noticed him away from me and sure enough he was doing those exercises.

See, PTSD causes one to lose direction at times, it causes them to have difficulty in making decisions at times. And sometimes it just takes someone else leading the way and giving an example to follow. And it worked!

I knew that I could not take the verbal abuse, I also knew it was killing Craig that he was treating me that way and couldn’t find a way to control it. So I had to find a solution, and I did. I had to get past the words being yelled and focus on what to do to make a change, and I did. I also had to accept that it was not a quick fix and it was something that had to have a lot of will power and effort put into it, and I did. It also took him putting effort in on his part, and over time he did. It just took time to re-learn, so to speak.

Over time Craig has learned other ways of coping with anger and frustration, all the things that come with PTSD. Those feelings don’t just go away, they are still there, but he battles them and keeps control of them.

He found that when he does have those feelings surface that it helps him if he just focuses and becomes quiet. He and I talked about this as a form of coping, so we are both on the same page of what is going on and no one takes anything personally. If I see he becomes quiet, then I leave him alone and allow him his time to be quiet and cope.

He also found that if that does not work, it helps him if he sleeps, takes a nap, and when he wakes up start over as if it were a new day. And yes, the doctors have even said they approve of this since it does help him to be able to cope with his feelings and emotions.

Communication is urgent! Many have lost their communication skills with each other in all of the anger and hurt. Small steps and work on getting it back. Talk to each other, both really listen to what each other is thinking and feelings. Don’t take everything personally, accept that is how the other person is viewing or feeling right now this moment, rather it is factual or not it’s the way they are feeling or viewing things at that moment… so you can work on finding solutions to it instead of arguing. Know that nothing involving PTSD is going to be solved in one conversation or right there that moment. It is going to take time and effort. Accept the phrase “we are going to work on this” and then each day work on it. Don’t dismiss what each other is feeling, use it to move forward, use it to heal the situation. Also understand that the verbal abuse may not only be coming from the one with PTSD, if one experiences verbal abuse for any extended amount of time, they can very well become a verbal abuser themselves without realizing it. Both parties have to work together to prevent this.

If you take note of everything I’ve said here, what we have been through, and you do something to help your own situation, you might just find the verbal abuse, the arguments, and the space between you gradual heals.

I can say, Craig and I have not experienced any verbal abuse or arguments since we started doing this and had our breakthrough. Every day will continue to need steady work to keep it the way it is now, I mean let’s be real, PTSD is still at hand, but we found what works for us! 

We are proof it can be done, and there is hope! Find what works for you and make sure you get professional help along with it. It will save your relationship, your children, your family!

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

Life is like a book…

“Life is like a book with chapters, just because you turn the page does not mean you have failed, it means you have accomplished or succeeded with something in order to move on to the next chapter. Sometimes tears come with that but the next chapter is an important one that will lead you to accomplishments that are greater.”

A few years ago when I was battling the mind set of having to shut my dog training business down, I had a friend of mine explain life to me in a different way. I think it really fits with PTSD in general and something to think about. See, she explained to me that just because something was ending in my life did not mean it was the end of everything. It meant that something new, more challenging, and with greater accomplishments I had already found in order to turn that page and let go of my business and also be able to take care of Craig.

You know, she was right! Even though I dearly miss training, there is greater writing in that next chapter of my life that had come… and you know what? It’s right here with all of you! 

She was referring to “A Spouse’s Story PTSD”.

So today, don’t look at your life as you have failed, look at it as you have turned the page and started a new chapter, a greater chapter that you can accomplish many things during. Today is a new day my friends!

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD