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Spouses, we need to have a little talk…

Spouses, we need to have a little talk.

This is to all of you, whether you are married to your PTSD loved one or not. My mailbox is filling up with a lot of the same issues going on so it’s time for me to address this again so you have an understanding. And I wouldn’t say this if I didn’t care about each and every single one of you.

PTSD is not easy, I know that and I will never dismiss that fact. However, there comes a time that you have to face the facts. If you don’t, it’s going to be very difficult for your relationship and family to survive.

It is okay to vent when times get tough. I can do it with the best of them myself. Venting is always welcomed because it is a way of letting it all out, getting it off your chest, so you can move FORWARD.

Forward was a key word there. I am seeing so many get stuck in the negative things that they are not moving forward to find solutions, things that can help to improve your life. Many are getting stuck in the grieving, “this isn’t fair“, “what about me” , “that won’t work” mode.

When you get stuck in those things, you are not going to move forward, and you know what? Neither is your partner. Sometimes everything is going to be on your shoulders, sometimes everyone is going to rely on you, and at times it is going to become so overwhelming you just want to throw your hands in the air and scream “I give up”. That is reality, however you have to keep focus of the facts at hand.

YOU are their rock. Vent, cry, scream, but keep in mind they did not ask for PTSD, it happened to them! The first step of things getting better, whatever point that is to, is facing the fact that PTSD is there and accepting it. It doesn’t mean you have to like it, come on now, who does lol! Life does change, it’s not fairy tail stories, and life is not going to be perfect in the first place rather PTSD is at hand or not. You have to make a choice, and this is something I have said many times over and had to do it myself a long time ago. You are either completely in or you are out! And just to note, I really don’t like seeing the out part, there are way too many things that can prevent that.

Vent, grieve, scream and yell but when that is done you have to buckle down and DO something. If you stay in a “poor me” frame of mind you are not only hurting yourself but you are also hurting all of those around you, and especially your loved one with PTSD. Your relationship will get weaker and weaker the longer you stay in a negative mind frame.

I know each of us have our own issues that need to be taken care of or that we go through, many have children to raise, homes to take care of, and so on. But I also know that when you are in the right mindset you can accomplish anything you set your mind to! I am seeing many give up on themselves too quickly. I know what PTSD causes, I know rock bottom myself, but I also learned how to pick myself up, dust my knees off, and start moving forward again. You are no different, you can do the same thing.

I am seeing an increase in PTSD symptoms. I am seeing ones with PTSD want to walk away from their family because they see how it’s effecting them. I’m seeing spouses give up. I can talk until I am blue in the face and it will do absolutely no good until you look in the mirror and choose to accept and fight PTSD. When a spouse becomes unbalanced, what do you think happens? Easy, everything else around them becomes unbalanced. It’s not about fairness, it’s about reality.

In many situations, the one with PTSD will follow suit with the ones they trust. If you are doing well, they most likely will have better days. Why? Because their worry is eased some about you and what their illness is doing to you. If you are going downhill you can almost bet they are going to be along for the ride. How could it not be that way? Think about it. They are trying to cope through anxiety, lack of sleep, feeling numbness, wanting to feel normal and give YOU normal, they can feel so lost within themselves that of course they are going to lean on the one they trust, the one they know has been there for them, the one they know cares. That’s you!

When a spouse starts battling the person, and/or fingers get pointed and blame starts being directed, what do you really, in reality, think that’s going to do to them? I can tell you it’s not going to be something good. The battle is PTSD, not the person who suffers from it.

I’m also seeing a very large issue. When a spouse gets stuck in their “what about me” mode and starts holding things against the one who suffers, the spouse’s focus goes off of what they need to be doing for the one with PTSD. I know no one intentionally means for this to happen, but I’m seeing it happen. It does not mean the spouse doesn’t deserve the best, it doesn’t mean they are any less of a person then the next, it doesn’t mean your thoughts and feelings and what you go through should not be considered. I simply means that you can’t lose sight of there is someone who still needs you even through what you may be struggling with yourself. Especially if you are that person’s caregiver and that person has to rely on you!

If you can not handle taking care of someone who has to rely on someone else, even if it is for a temporary time frame for you to have a break and regroup, then you really need to consider having someone else come in and help. That person with the disorder/illness or injury does not stop needing assistance just because you are in a stuck mode. You made a choice to be there for them, to take care of them, and if you are not able to or ever get in a position you need a break, it is only right for their sake and health as well as your own, to bring in additional help. There is always someone out there willing to offer a kind hand, you just have to find them.

Facts on the table. 

If you are one that is struggling right now, stop, think, take a good look in the mirror. There are basic things that can help keep balance, but you have to use them.

* “Me” time.

Your have to take time in order to find and keep your own inner balance. Without that balance other aspects of your life, as well as your family’s lives will suffer.

* Take care of yourself.

A number one rule. In order to be able to take care of others you must first make sure you are taking care of yourself.

Eat, sleep, exercise, and don’t lose your “me”.

* Learn.

The more you learn the better equipped you are to know how to handle things as they come. You learn the symptoms, you learn what works and doesn’t work for your situation, you can learn so much that will help life run smoothly… but you have to take time to do it and use it.

* Don’t be blind.

Don’t be blind or so wrapped up in what you are going through that you don’t see when the one suffering is crying for help. Get help for them or yourself when it is needed. Don’t delay it, don’t put it off until tomorrow hoping it will go away, do something NOW!

* Coping skills.

The ultimate weapon for all spouses. You can use the same coping skills the one with PTSD has been taught, and learn other ones as well! These are of huge value to you when you need to keep yourself balanced.

* Break the cycle.

Vent, cry, scream, beat your fist into a pillow if you need to. But don’t stay stuck in a place that will keep you down as well as those around you. If you keep saying the same things over and over again and the same issues are still happening, then it’s time to try something different. Find new ways to handle things, and keep trying until you find something that works better for your situation as well as others. If you do not try then there is no moving forward and it’s just going to be a downhill ride from there. TRY!

Those are just a few of many things.

I care about you, and I care what happens to you and your family. If you take this as harsh, then I am sorry, but someone had to say something to keep you from being stuck in a very bad place. Like I said, I know this isn’t easy, and I know accepting the facts are not easy… but you have to. You are not doing yourself or others any good until you learn to accept and do something. 

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Category: Caregiver/Spouse/Partner, Uncategorized  Tags: , ,  Comments off

Our #1 Rule of many #1 Rules: TRY…

I know many with PTSD have difficulties with things such as memory, stepping out of the house, attending events, okay let’s be real… the list is long.

We have another “#1 rule of the many number one rules” that we use on a daily basis around here, and it’s rather simple…

TRY.

Okay, so it sounds simple and easy to many people, but in reality it’s not so simple or easy for those who suffer from PTSD. There is a lot that comes with that one simple word and rule, “Try“. You face, yet again, all of the “what if’s” that come with it.

It really goes back to an old saying my mom use to tell me over and over and over when I was growing up…

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” 

I use to think ,”Oh come on mom, really? Would you just stop saying that. I did try!” Well, then one day I stopped viewing it as it sounded and started doing and understanding that old saying.

See when you try, you are making the effort to move forward with something, anything, rather it is the grandest of all things or the smallest thing that only matters to you. Even if you view it as you have failed because something did not turn out like you wanted it to, have you really failed? Nope! There is no such thing as failure as long as you have tried and continue to try. If something didn’t work out the first time, or the second time, and so on, that’s okay. The fact is, as long as you are trying then it’s not possible to be a failure, if you accomplished anything to this point then you are not a failure. You fail when you quit trying, because if you quit then there is no chance of moving forward in whatever you were putting effort into. Even the smallest accomplishment means you have already or are succeeding.

Then there is the “I can’t do that“, that comes up. How do you know, for a fact, you can’t do that? Whatever “that” is. You don’t! Even if you can’t manage to do something today, it does not mean you will not be able to do it tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that. Yes, mom has another old saying for that one too and I heard it a lot.  “Can’t never did anything, Try did it all.” Oh I just wanted to stomp my feet and grit my teeth every time I heard that! I would say back to her, “But mom! You don’t understand, I DID try!” You can guess what I heard next lol, “Well try again.” You know what? Mom was right! The more I tried, the closer I got to succeeding with what I was trying to accomplish.

Life with PTSD is no different than those little sayings I grew up knowing. Everything is not going to turn out perfect or the way you want it to every time, or on the first try. You have to work at it, you have to do things different ways until you find what works best, you have to try.

Memory is one of the largest battles for my husband. It would be so easy for me to step in when he can’t remember where he placed something, or whatever the situation is. But would I be actually doing anything for him if I did? Not really, the only thing I would be doing is helping him avoid some frustration, but I would also be preventing letting him try things for himself and for him to know HE was able to do something. Those are valuable things he as a person needs to be able to experience. Sure we have to consider safety with some issues, but if safety is not a concern then it’s only fair and right for me to let him try first. If he has tried, and can’t seem to manage whatever is needed, then I will step in to help. Next time he can try again, and we handle things case by case to if I’m needed or not. But if I didn’t allow him to try, we would never know the truth of what he can or can not remember or do.

Other symptoms, and the results of those symptoms, are no different than the memory. Same goes with different types of therapy, coping skills, different things you can try so you can manage to do something you might not have figured out yesterday. It’s the only way to keep moving forward and be able to accomplish what works best for you.

Each day with PTSD can be different. The days do not stay the same, they are going to change, no different than life itself changes. Don’t give up on yourself, don’t give up on what you might be able to do today or tomorrow. Yesterday is now gone, and it’s a new day, and a new day brings new things. Try again and keep trying, you might be shocked at what you can accomplish when you don’t give up. 

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

PTSD and Addictions

PTSD and Addictions

What is the truth about addiction and PTSD? I have had quite a few people talk to me regarding addictions lately, it’s a topic I normally add into other writings but feel I need to address it directly. There is a lot that actually comes with it. That includes a lot of misunderstandings as well.

Addictions come with a huge range of things. Many only view the most common, alcohol and/or drugs. Those two are extremely common when it comes to ones with PTSD. But, there are also other things, things people don’t think of or do not view as addictions, but in reality might be. Video games is a very common one. Adult material, of any sorts, is another. But why?

Before I go any further here  If you are one that has an addiction please do not run for the hills because of this posting. Bare with me and keep reading. I do NOT judge anyone and you know me, I put facts on the table, and you might even like this one to some point.

The answer is rather simple, but I will break it down by subject so we get a better understanding.

* Alcohol

The most obvious addiction. Alcohol is legal to start with if you are of age to purchase it. It is also one that comes with enormous misunderstandings.

I can not tell you how many people have said “They don’t believe I have PTSD, they told me I’m just another drunk and that is what my problem is.” Okay, SOME people may have the genetic makeup that is very real of alcoholics, however, does that mean everyone does? NO, absolutely not!

So those that don’t fall in the genetic makeup, what about them? What about the ones that do, however were not alcoholics? Did anyone stop and think that maybe, just maybe, PTSD came first?

Alcohol is a legal source that alters the mind. I won’t say it’s the proper way to cope with PTSD, but to the one who has PTSD it can be a way to alter the reality of what they are going through, from what happened to them. It gives them a break, so to speak.

The issue, and what leads it to an addiction, is the fact that when you have PTSD at hand there is not “a break” that is long enough or good enough… which leads to “just one more drink”. Before you know it the label “alcoholic” has been placed on you. And now you may honestly have an addiction that is beyond your control.

This leads to people placing the fact that PTSD is truly at hand to the side and placing the blame on something they know and understand… alcohol. This causes even greater issues, especially to the one that is already suffering.

But there is also something else that can be at hand here. People not understanding that PTSD is at hand in the first place. The lack of understanding of one’s self and what they are experiencing OR from others, lack of support, which leads one to having to cope on their own… and they take that first drink or that extra one.

It can become a vicious circle really quick. Alcohol is that quick fix to make the horrors go away. But… there’s an issue there, those horrors of the trauma don’t go away. Alcohol only adds a short timed delay and does not actually give true help for PTSD. It puts delays in being able to get better than where you are right now. And that doesn’t include what drinking too much, too often, can do to your physical body. Or what it can do to you if you mix it with medications… we would like you to be with us for a long time to come and that mixture is like playing Russian roulette, please don’t.

I’ve already been asked, so I will go ahead and address it. What about Craig? Craig did turn to alcohol at one point, not as an addict, that must have need, but to mask the pain and thoughts of the trauma he experienced during the worst times PTSD brought. I saw very quickly that it could develop into a serious problem, addressed it, and we found other ways for him to get true help and learn coping to where he did not have to rely on alcohol. He has a drink only occasionally now. And I will be honest, knowing that he needs to stay in check with drinking, I also backed off what I would drink (we were social drinkers) so he wouldn’t get those high urges of “needing” that one more drink and using it to mask PTSD. It had to be a joint effort for it to work and keep it under control.

* Drugs 

The step beyond the normal masking of PTSD. Many start with alcohol, but when it doesn’t quite give you that fix you need, you take it a step further. I am not only speaking of illegal drugs or street drugs, I’m also talking about prescription medications, the over use of.

The reasons are pretty much the same as alcohol, it’s just a step beyond. It’s due to that need to just feel numb, nothing. This step can be deadly. Mix the wrong thing with the wrong medications, get your hands on something that wasn’t what you thought it was, and the outcome will not be a good one.

In my eyes, over use of alcohol or drugs is a huge red flag that someone is crying silently for help. Please don’t overlook that.

* Video Games 

Video game addition is very real! I hear about it all of the time from many people. It’s not “deadly” as alcohol or drugs could be, but that does not mean it is any less addicting when it comes as a way to cope with PTSD. Other issues can come on a different level.

Now, I will not say playing video games is bad, and there are actually many benefits that can come from them. They help keep the cognitive functioning sharp, motor skills, and do provide a source of relief and coping for PTSD and it’s symptoms… especially anger, a way of venting it without venting it on others. It also can provide a joint activity with kids/grand-kids if you have them, kids love games and it can be fun, quality time together, especially if you are one that does not get outside much or often. So those positive things are kept in mind by all means.

However, the issues seem to come in because of time. Literally. When one sinks themselves so far into games, it is only normal to lose track of time. You could be there playing for hours on end, even days, without even realizing it.

This can lead to serious family and/or relationship issues. One can get so pulled in by games that the rest of life and what it has to offer just slips away from you. BUT, there is a solution to this one.  Set a timer or time frame, and follow it! “I will only play two hours of games” or whatever you choose/agree to. Have an understanding in place in your home that if it is a day filled with anger or frustration then a little more time is needed that day. The way to prevent games from becoming a true addiction or breaking the addiction, is knowing when to step away, save the game and step away. Keep in mind that there is real life that you need to be a part of and real people that want you in their lives. PTSD takes enough from you already, I know this is not easy, but don’t let the games take even more away from you. Games are a way to cope, but learn other coping skills as well so you can enjoy real life also.

And ones without PTSD, nope I’m not going on without addressing you on this one. If it’s their time frame or anger state, and they are playing their game, let them! Don’t become harassing and constantly talking to them during this time! Allow them the time to just be, so when they are done you and others can have quality time with them. And without them being upset at you for constantly harassing them while they were gaming. Come to an agreement together, and follow it, both or all of you!

I know what gaming can cause first hand, I know how it can steal life away from you, and it wasn’t Craig… he’s not a gamer. It was a person in my past, part of the reason he is now in my past, he allowed gaming to rule his life, to put it straight to the point. It’s one thing to enjoy it and to do it, but it hits a different level of interfering when it becomes all you want to do. Just be careful with this one, use it for it’s positive aspects but don’t allow it to control you.

* Adult Material (of any kind)

Oh don’t stop reading yet LOL! I’m going to address this one with facts on the table and hopefully no one dislikes me after this, let’s get to reality and face the facts. And I am going to state this up front, the ones with PTSD are NOT the only ones who have this issue, and it’s not only men by any means. This can be a tangled web on EITHER side of the fence of PTSD.

Why does one look at adult material? I mean, let’s get to the root of it. Because of the arousal it brings, the unknown and excitement.

So let’s break it down to the why they seek this in the first place, I mean in all seriousness, many people are in a relationship, or they have a spouse, so why would they do this?

The one with PTSD

Think about it. The very seriousness at hand is they do not feel like themselves anymore, they may feel like a failure and they are not good enough, they are on medications that add in huge issues with “functioning” and self-esteem, feeling needed may be an issue. All of those things that come with PTSD can effect them. It can in reality be a way of coping in order to feel “normal” again and/or to try to take away the numbness PTSD does bring. They want to feel something, anything.

I have to be totally honest, the largest thing I hear, as well as the most often is… “I turn to adult material so I can please my partner.”

It’s not because they don’t care about their partner, it’s not because their partner is not good enough or not attractive enough, it’s not because they “want” someone else, it’s not because they don’t want to be with their partner. It’s because they want to be able to please the one they are with and the one they do love. They are actually trying to get through the numbness and any physical issues so they can please YOU!

Partners of PTSD

Nope, not leaving you out of this one. It is a very real fact that many partners turn to adult material also, it might not be as obvious, but many do. Even one’s who are struggling with the fact their PTSD partner might do the same thing and it bothers them, but yet they are turning to it themselves.

Why would a partner do this? The main reason, they feel alone. They miss the excitement and closeness of the relationship. They too use it as a way of coping with what’s missing, or misplaced in their relationship.

But no matter where you stand on the topic, there has to be communication. Many stand dead set on no adult material, adult material is against their beliefs, others do not accept it as a part of their relationship, some have jealousy issues, lack of security in their relationship, and then others may indulge too much… which leads to the addiction. Relationships start having serious problems in many cases.

It’s that want, need, urge to feel human, to be wanted, and to please others. It’s really what it boils down to. They just want to feel and be normal. And it doesn’t matter which pair of shoes you are standing in.

There has to be open and open minded communication. If your partner can not talk to you, there are going to be worse issues to arise. Trust and honesty is going to be tampered with. It does not matter if you accept or don’t accept adult material as a part of your life, you have to communicate with each other.

Find a common ground and the true why’s to it, and work together to get back on track with how you feel and your personal relationship between the two of you. Many will find that the adult material is not really a need, then others will choose to include it into their lives. I can’t tell you what is right or wrong, that is up to each individual and couple to decide between themselves and what’s in the best interest of them.

But I will say, be cautious of this addiction, if it is not handled properly for your relationship it could easily tear your relationship apart. Over indulging can take away from real life what is in front of you, don’t dismiss what’s real, what comes with PTSD, and what you really want in life or are trying to find. Figure out what is best for your relationship… and Communicate.

Side Note: Now that I have gone over all of that, there is something else that needs to be kept in mind that does come with many cases of PTSD. Dissociative symptoms. These are very real and very difficult to wrap your head around. If your partner is doing things totally out of their character or a doctor has diagnosed this, please take the time to research what it is and how it effects them. It does not dismiss what has occurred is very real to you, however there needs to be great understanding of this as being something very real that may be effecting them.

So all of these addictions boil down to very real reasons. Before you judge someone, please take the time to look for the root of why they are doing these things and the seriousness of that fact. Many addictions are a cry for help, a way to mask PTSD, a way to try to feel normal, to be numb or take the numbness away, and a way to cope when no other way may be known by them. Take time to learn, communicate, and help them. Just because an addiction forms does not mean it can not be corrected or managed, it does not make them a bad person… it just means more help may be needed and more understanding of what they have been through that lead them to now.

If you suffer from an addiction, please reach for help, and keep reaching until you find the right help for you. There are so many ways of learning to cope and manage PTSD, and your reliance of that addiction can fade and you find a more peaceful way of handling things. My heart goes out to each and every one of you, I know this is tough and you just want it to go away. But you are worth the fight and your life is worth trying to find other things to help you. Don’t give up on yourself, there are too many people that do indeed believe in you, want you in their lives and as a part of their life, and will be there to help you.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

PTSD vs. Non-PTSD Nightmares

I have had several people mention that other people don’t understand their nightmares and the impacts the nightmares have. I guess it would be difficult to understand if you do not understand PTSD, or don’t understand it very well.

PTSD nightmares get compared to non-PTSD nightmares. The “Oh I have nightmares too but I don’t let them bother me” or “I have nightmares to, get over them”. It’s something that is really easy to think and get in the mind set of just get over it, IF you don’t suffer from PTSD. 

However, to one with PTSD there is no “just get over it, it was just a nightmare and not real.” There are key words there being misunderstood… “not real”. See to one with PTSD, their nightmares are not like others, those nightmares are indeed very real. No, the event of the nightmare is not really happening… but it’s of a real event that did happen!

One with PTSD relives the trauma that happened to them, over and over and over… it’s what their nightmares are of. They can not wake up, say “oh I just had a bad dream” and go on about their day. They just relived their trauma through a dream, so when they wake up from it, it’s like that trauma really happened all over again. It brought all of those feelings, thoughts, visions, etc. of their trauma right back to them.

Many times when they do wake up they may be disoriented and have to be “grounded”… Brought back to the actual time and place of the present. To them, they are still there and it is still happening, and it is very real based around a real event which they went through that changed their life.

Ones with PTSD relive their trauma psychologically, it’s not something they can just get over, suck up, or move past. It was a very real event that was severe, and nightmares are one of the things that effect them.

So please have consideration when voicing about nightmares. One with PTSD does have different nightmares then a person without PTSD, their nightmares are real life events of severe trauma(s) that keep replaying themselves. Those nightmares/terrors can not be compared to your average nightmare of psychologically “made up” bad dreams of things that did not happen or won’t happen, they are based around real life traumas that were experienced.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Walking Fine Lines and PTSD

Fine Lines and PTSD

With PTSD there are fine lines to everything. Of course they or you do not mean or want it to be that way, but it is what it is. And it is going to take time, patience, and a lot of learning not only about PTSD, but also about the individual that suffers from it. So I want to go over a few things and examples of things that everyone really needs to be aware of, in my personal opinion… I’m not a doctor by any means… So steps forward can be made to make things better then they may be right now.

* Space

And I’m not talking about sending someone to the moon. 😉 I’m talking about personal space you take or you allow someone else to take. It does not mean you have to leave where you are or leave for days, it means you sometimes might need to walk to a different room or allow another person to. This allows everyone in a situation to be able to calm, think, and use coping skills to get a grip on whatever situation or feelings that are being experienced. That few minutes or even a few hours of a break can at times be what is needed to start moving forward again in a positive direction, no matter which pair of shoes you are wearing. Communicate, I can not say that enough. If you need space let others know. This keeps a lot of issues down that could come up when there is no communication. Accept when they need that space and do not take it personally, it’s not necessarily you, it’s their battle that is the issue. Allow the space to focus.

Now, I do have to add the seriousness in here because reality is we are living with PTSD being a part of this. If anyone in a situation is experiencing suicidal thoughts or you see the signs of them, GET HELP! Do not just walk away and do not delay! Life is extremely valuable and there are so many things that can help you manage through things. NEVER give up on life! You are worth way more then you could begin to imagine.

* Over Caring

Never thought you would here me say that one, did you? It’s true though, there is a very real thing as over caring. It’s when others are constantly saying “Are you okay?“, “What can I do?”, “What do you need?“, and the list goes on.

Sometimes over caring about a person can be walking that fine line. You by all means need to care, they need to know you are there for them, but at the same time you can not smother them. Sometimes a person with PTSD just needs quietness, no questions, no sounds, no movement, they just need to be there in that moment to focus on what they are feeling and finding ways to cope and manage with those feelings. It’s hard to focus when they are having to process too much at times.

* Allow normal

Also, you have to remember that through learning to cope with PTSD and re-learning how to live life, they just want to feel normal. The hard fact is PTSD takes away from them the feeling of normal, and anything they can have or get of a normal feeling, they need to be able to. If you are constantly asking too many questions or constantly “bothering” them, or treating them differently, then they are getting no peace to be able to try to feel and experience normal, act normal, and try things for themselves… because they are constantly being reminded something is wrong.

– Example: There are many people who rely on a wheelchair. For whatever the reason may be. How often do you see ones in wheelchairs saying “push me around”, “go get that for me”, or anything else you can think of? Fact is, rarely unless it’s an absolute, no getting around it situation. You see ones in wheelchairs playing sports, in marathons, driving cars, smiling and pushing forward in life even though they are confined to that wheelchair.

Being in a wheelchair is a disability that is seen. PTSD is no different, it’s just not seen. The person with PTSD wants to be normal and carry on in life just as the one in the wheelchair. Now, you see what one in a wheelchair can do, they speak up for themselves, they don’t want your pity, and they will prove to anyone that they are still normal even though they rely on that chair. They don’t want you viewing them any differently then you did before. Ones with PTSD are no different. The challenges are a little different at hand, but they need the right to battle them and excel in life and within themselves. Don’t take that away from them. It’s good to be cautious, make sure safety is in place, but don’t over care. Allow them the right to find their new normal.

* Doing Nothing

The other end of the spectrum. Please do not think you can not do anything to help one with PTSD! There are so many that quickly say “it’s not my problem“, “it’s their problem not mine“, “there is nothing I can do to help/save them“.

I will put my southern foot down to these things. If you are viewing PTSD or the one that suffers from it this way, you still have a lot to learn. Sorry, I say it like it is and with facts on the table.

Yes, PTSD is their’s, they are the one that went through a trauma that changed their life. However, with PTSD there needs to be positive support, caring, learning, patience, understanding, and most of all… working together.

If you instantly say “it’s not my problem”, well in all reality you just became the one with a problem. You just turned your back to someone that you might in all reality love dearly. PTSD needs positive support, it’s a hard struggle and battle to make it through what comes with it and that support can honestly be a lifesaver! No, you can not make PTSD go away, you can’t take what they feel away, or the trauma they experienced. BUT you can be there for them and become a positive support system.

Educate yourself! Learn as much as you can. The more you learn, the more you can understand the what and why’s that come with PTSD. No, you are not going to “save” them from PTSD, but what you can do gives you the ability to help them, and most importantly, help them make it to tomorrow and know life is worth fighting for. Your words can mean everything, use them wisely. LEARN! Life with PTSD is different, it’s not handed to you on a silver platter with roses, but it does not mean life is bad or that person is bad. Life may have changed, but bad is not a word it has to be.

Change your mind set from what you believe life is suppose to be like and face the fact that life is not perfect, no one’s life is disability or not. Be a supportive person to what life can be like and helping them accomplish it.

There are SO many things that can be done so those fine lines of life with PTSD are not such fine lines. Learn what they are and learn about the individual person. The more you learn and pay attention to things the better life can become for everyone involved. TRY!

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Letter: To my dearest husband

PTSD

To my dearest husband,

I wanted to write something directly to you…

I know the weight of your medical is hard for you, and it rolls over to the weight of the world for you. I know you are having a really tough time right now, you don’t have to say it for me to know it, I know you oh so well. I see it in your eyes, I see it through your expressions, I hear it through the words you do not speak, as you sit so quietly and to yourself. I hear the words you do speak and feel the pain you carry within them. I see how your head is hung low, and I catch a glimpse of the tears as they fall down your handsome cheekbones. I hear you speak the words “failure“, “burden“, and how you say “I lost everything and lost myself to this illness” and “Why can’t others understand?“. I also hear the words “you could do so much better without me.”

Well I need you to know something. Really hear and listen to my words when I say this and understand that they come completely from my heart, my love for you, and with honest truth.

I know you view yourself as a burden to others, I know those are real feelings. But I want you to view things right now through my eyes, and what I see. I see a man that is not at all a burden, yes things may have changed in our lives but that does not mean you are not loved or wanted by those closest to you, it does not mean what has become a part of you is too much for me. Just because life did not go as planned and you have to rely on others more than normal, does not mean you are a burden, it means that you are loved. Loved by those who are there for you and standing beside you. When a person allows their own life to change in order to be there for another, that is a choice and with that choice comes great meaning. It is easy for one to walk out the door and never look back, but that is not the case here. You have people standing beside you because they choose to, I choose to. When that happens there is no such word as “burden”, it’s love and it’s because I believe in the man you are.

I know you view yourself as a failure, again I know those are very real feelings to you. Just because your life has changed and taken a different path does not make you a failure. It simply means things have changed. I know it hurts deeply that you can no longer proceed with your past dreams, but it does not mean there are no new dreams and goals to be made. The pages of life have just turned.

A failure would be not accomplishing anything. That’s not what I see before me. I see a strong man that has accomplished so much in his lifetime so far. A man who fights every day to make it to the next, no matter what struggle is before him. I see a man who people… many people… look up to, respect, turn to for help and guidance. A man that when something is wrong he looks for a solution, when something is broken he fixes it, when someone is down he lends them a smile or kind word, when help is needed he is there. In my eyes that is not a man who is a failure, that is a man who has succeeded in life, no matter what disabilities are a part of it now. YOU have succeeded, and will continue to.

I know you view your life as you have lost everything, those are very real feelings and I do understand. But in reality what have you lost? A career, things? Are those things really everything? No, they are not. You have things that some of the greatest of men, of all time, long for. You have people who care about you and love you and respect you. You carry a meaning to your life that is beyond materialistic things or past accomplishments. You may view what you have lost, but in reality look at what you have gained… so much.

I want you to see what I see, who I see you as, through my eyes. Even with the changes you have experienced due to disabilities, it does not change the true you, who you really are and what you stand for. And I know that a lot of times disabilities mask things, and I truly understand that, but I know you are still here. You are one of the greatest men I know. You stole my heart the first day I met you… and there is not a disability on this earth that will ever take that feeling away from me. You are my hero and my soul mate. I still get butterflies in my stomach like a teenager when you look at me or you walk into the room. I am still attracted to you as the first day I met you. I have the utmost respect and consideration for you. You are my best friend and the one I can always count on and trust above all others. You are the one that taught me to stand on my own two feet and be my own individual. And you are the one there to catch me when I fall, and to hold me when I cry.

That’s not a burden, and that sure is not a failure! That’s a partner in life and a very strong one. And there is no disability great enough to strip that away from us, because we are too strong to allow it to. I stand beside you and with you through life’s changes with pride, love, patience, and understanding. And when you hit the rough patches I will be here to pull you through them, and to fight them with you… no differently then you would do for me.

I know this is a difficult one, but Please do not hold yourself as guilty for what has or how my life has changed. It’s simple, I CHOOSE to be here. I CHOOSE to fight this battle with and beside you. That one is my choice and one I have made. Move forward with me, do not let guilt hold you back. I know that’s easier said then done, but just remember it is my choice I have made and I accept you and our life the way things are.

I know your disabilities and the struggle they bring weigh you down at times, but I want you to always remember that I am here to help you raise that handsome chin back up and I am honored to be going through this life with you… and that firmly means no matter what road is ahead of us! You are not alone in this, and I choose to be here. I hope this will help you see what I see, and help you realize that even though your feelings are very real, you are much more and greater then you are viewing yourself right now.

I know PTSD and Depression have their firm grip on your right now. But I also know that you and I will get through this, just as we always have and do together. Hang on to my hand, I will not let go, and I will be here to help guide you and walk through the steps of this life with you.

“You could do so much better without me”… No, no I couldn’t. I couldn’t imagine life without you being a part of it! Live this life with me! 

Love,
Me

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

The meaning behind my photo…

 

My profile photo was brought up, and I have had several people ask why I use it instead of posting a new one. So I wanted to tell you all the story behind it. That is not a recent photo of me lol. Everything else is recent but that photo has great meaning behind it, to me.

That photo was taken in 2006, a year after Craig was discharged from the military. Let me back up…

After being discharged, Craig had decided he wanted to open a tanning salon since he was not able to stay in the aviation field. He and I were both avid indoor tanners, and I know I need to explain before I get a lecture on tanning  We grew up in Florida and being in the sun was natural for here but we liked the fact of being able to control the amount of UV we got without the burn. Proper tanning you could call it if you are going to do it. Then baby sunblock before we would go out into real sunshine. 

Anyway, I restarted my dog training business when we moved back to Florida and Craig said he wanted to start the tanning business. It was an upscale tanning salon, we had researched this for a long time, we did our business plan, formed our budget, and saw that we could make this work. We opened the doors 5 months after Craig got out of the service. The plan was I would run my business while Craig ran the tanning salon, then when I wasn’t training I would work at the salon. It was the perfect plan! So we thought.

See, when Craig was discharged we were told “go buy a house, start a business, and start a new life”. We took those words to heart, and that was exactly what we did. We were not told PTSD was a part of our lives, we were not told just how severe his medical issues really were and we were not told about delays in the “system”. All we knew was he had memory issues which prevented him from being an air traffic controller, being rational here with facts, he was discharged with 10% disability, so it couldn’t be that severe right? WRONG! This seemed like a job that should be so easy for Craig to do considering his intelligence level and educational background. Craig’s one smart cookie let me tell you, the man has an awesome brain. 😉

Well, we knew Craig had memory issues, but this type of business is such a controlled environment that neither of us thought it would be an issue. We built the salon from ground up. Our standard was very high and maintained it that way. But it did not take very long before we realized that Craig’s medical was way worse then we were lead to believe.

I received a phone call from a client one day not long after opening, asking me if we were going to be open that day. I replied, “Oh yes, the salon is already open. Craig is there today.” The client replied, “No. The door is locked and no one is here.” I asked, “Craig isn’t there?” The client said, “no, his car is not here and everything is off and locked.” I quickly said, “Give me a few minutes, I will call you back.” I left the client I was with at the time, training, and started calling to see where Craig was. I could not get in touch with him. I called a friend that was a business owner in the plaza and they said they had not seen him. So I headed home. I was scared and not sure what was going on, Craig was a very punctual person and this was not like him at all. He wasn’t there either. I called the airport, we still had the plane at the time, and the crew said they had seen him but he had already left. But said he was not acting like himself at all and asked me what was wrong. They knew us well so I filled them in that he was needed at the salon, they told me that I probably don’t want him at the salon, he was really acting out of character. I was worried. I had no clue what was going on, if he was okay, or where he was. This was totally out of his character.

Long story short, he did not remember he was to work that day, he thought we were closed. And the other pilots were right, when he did finally come home he was not himself at all, and he could not remember where he had been that day, he even argued that he had not been to the airport.

With all of this going on, the next day I cancelled my appointments and opened the salon myself. Of course I had a lot of questions asked about why we were closed the day before, one of the other business owners put a sign on the door “Sorry for the inconvenience, closed today due to family emergency.” Thankfully our clients loved us! But as the day went on I heard so many stories from the clients, I mean we had not been open that long and the stories were very apparent that Craig’s memory was way worse then we thought. They all liked Craig, but the things I heard about him forgetting things, anger, frustration, how they would be sitting there waiting for the doors to open, oh it was just overwhelming. I had no clue. This was not my Craig! And obviously at that time I had not accepted the changes in him.

My business had to go almost stagnant so I could take care of the one we had overhead in, and take care of Craig. Since I could not train much I took a part time job at the sub shop next door to the tanning salon to try to make up some of what we were losing from me not being able to train as much. The plaza we had the salon in was like a big family and we helped each other out. One of the business owners would come down and hang out with Craig while I worked next door for a few hours days I was scheduled.

It wasn’t long before I discovered a lot more was affected, now financially. Craig was a brain at managing money and book keeping, so I didn’t think twice about him handling that, another thing I had not accepted had changed. It wasn’t long before I found myself at the salon full time open to close. Craig’s symptoms kept becoming worse, this was the first time we had been around each other full time. Before, he was in the military so our time actually together was very limited. And I was now seeing it all! From the day of the phone call from the client, we both started going in but there were many days Craig just could not go. There were many days of frustration and we were clueless to what was happening to him. Gradually he went in less and less, he could not handle it even with me there.

Craig had hit rock bottom due to something we had no clue about and did not know why. He needed me more and more. He rarely would go outside the house.

About a year after opening the salon we had to make the decision to close the doors for good.

That photo, it has such great meaning to me. That was taken in our salon in October of 2006, it was during the time of rock bottom of what we now know as PTSD (as of 2009 officially diagnosed). I was worn out, I was trying to run 2 businesses, work a part time job on top of them, keep a family going and balanced, I was taking care of a home that sat on just over an acre of land that needed work, and taking care of my husband that I only knew of as having conversion disorder. I had no answers to what we were experiencing.

I was new to this at the time and had no clue how to handle everything that was laid upon my shoulders “out of nowhere”. I had no clue what was actually going on with my husband, nothing made sense, this was not the man that I knew so very well. My, and our, life was thrown into a serious roller coaster ride.

When I look at that photo, I see how tired I was, I know the emotional pain I felt at that time, I know the heartache and struggle I was having, but that photo also reminds me of how far we have come since then. Craig has not become better, but we HAVE learned more, adjusted to his disabilities, learned to cope, and have found a balance of sorts in our life. Every morning when I log in here, I am reminded of what rock bottom was for myself, and also that I am not sitting there any longer. Even on the worst of days, it reminds me that there was a place much worse and much darker, and I’m not there anymore and refuse to go back to that time. That photo is positive for me. It helps keep me and us moving forward. It’s another part of our story.

No matter how hard rock bottom is, there is still a way to find the up side to it. We still battle disabilities being a huge part of our lives, we still have rough days, but we have found that there IS still life, there is still hope, we hold on tight to the good days and know how to manage the others. We do still love each other no matter what the past held or the future holds for us. We have a balanced family and work to move forward with each day that comes. And I would not have it any other way.

So, that’s just another small piece to our story and the meaning behind the photo. Look for the good, no matter how dark times may feel or be, there is still good in there, don’t lose sight of it.  😉

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

A note from Jerry…

I wanted to make sure everyone read this. Jerry has me in tears this morning, but with those tears is a huge smile. I am SO thankful he is here and a part of our “family”!

“I have survived some pretty awful things in my life, fought some nasty battles, some of which I saw no way to walk away from alive yet somehow I did. All that being said, this is the HARDEST battle I have ever faced.. It has not been that long ago that I was diagnosed with PTSD, before that I was doing things and taking chances I shouldn’t all in hopes of ending my life without actually doing it myself. It seemed the harder I tried to end it, the harder life in general got. I decided one day not to long ago that I had taken all I could and if I couldn’t go out in some form of self inflicted accident then maybe I needed to do it myself. I made my plan and had everything set, I came to Face Book to say goodbye so to speak to friends and family without really leading on to what I was doing, while on here a suggested page came up for PTSD as I clicked on what I thought was going to be a friends post and it opened the page. Within about 3 minutes of reading just what was in front of me I realized I may have a greater problem then just being weak in the head. I share this in hopes that someone will read this and know that there are people out here that care and you are NOT alone, if you are going through things like this and you don’t know the reason,PLEASE PLEASE reach out to someone before its to late.. As of today my family and myself are so grateful to pages like this, it truly saved my live.. Thanks for letting me share my story..” -Jerry B.

That took a lot to say! And I know it took a lot to hit that enter button. But he DID it and that was a HUGE positive step forward! I was told I could share that with all of you. And Jerry, my friend, you sharing that with us and hitting that enter button my have just saved another person’s life… thank you!

PTSD does not have to be the end of life, every single one of you CAN make it through this battle. I by no means will say it’s going to be easy, but getting help, reaching out to others, educating yourself, learning coping skills and how to manage the symptoms, and knowing there ARE people who care and you are by no means alone in this new life… those will help each of you tremendously. Life IS still worth living, and each and every one of you are worth more then you can even begin to imagine! Don’t EVER give up! 

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Storms and PTSD Triggers

I was asked to talk about storms and how to cope with them.

Storms can be a trigger for many people, and for many different reasons. So let me start by going over a couple of the things that cause storms to be difficult to handle… why they are a trigger to PTSD, before giving ideas of what can help. Understanding the why to any trigger can help with coping when a trigger comes.

* You experienced a natural disaster

Natural disasters are very real when it comes to PTSD developing. They are a trauma experienced and storms coming after that can become difficult, even a rain shower.

* Military service

Storms can be a trigger based on if it rained/stormed where/when your trauma you experienced took place. It could be due to the sounds and/or light from a storm, bringing back the memories of combat. The vibrations. The smell of the air. Storms can be a trigger for ones who were or are military just as fireworks can be a trigger.

* Accident

Storms can effect those involved in accidents as well. Many times accidents happen during bad weather conditions, because of the relation of the accident and weather conditions this can also cause storms to become triggers.

Any trauma experienced rather it was a storm itself involved or a trauma that storms carry a resemblance to what was experienced, can cause storms to become triggers.

Again, I am not a doctor and these are based on my personal opinions and experiences we have had. It is always a good idea to ask your doctors for other ideas that could help you through triggers.

So what can you do?

* Some will face what is going on. Actually sit, watch, and focus on storms to try to help keep themselves grounded to present time, place, and reality of what is happening right now.

* Some will stay inside to avoid the smells, lights formed from storms, sounds produce. To avoid the light, smell, or even the touch of rain they produce. Many will stay inside and keep the curtains shut to block those things. If doing this they focus on something else inside, something positive until the storm passes.

* The vibrations are a slight bit more tricky.

There’s no avoiding those. If vibrations are a trigger you have to focus to keep yourself grounded. Prepare yourself to what you know is actually taking place or going to take place. If you experienced a military trauma, focus on this is a storm it is not what you experienced while military.

* If the sound is a trigger, sometimes playing music or something you like such as watching a movie can help drown them out. Ear buds or headphones/headsets are wonderful in these cases.

* Using coping techniques/skills can help.

Breathe, focus on the here and now. Focus on something positive. Some face what they are feeling and experiencing head on. Whatever you find is best for you, use coping skills to help you get through the storm.

* Talk to someone through these times.

Having someone to talk to and focus on can help, as well as help keep you grounded. This can be one of the greatest things there is. I call it “backup” you are not going through it alone and there is someone there to help you through it.

* Facing the reality before you

The what if’s weigh heavy when it comes to triggers. When triggers come, the what if’s come with them, and increased anxiety. Find a way to control the what if’s, focus on the reality of what is going on right now, the facts. You can even write them down, sometimes writing down what is happening and what you are feeling can be a very good way of coping through those things.

It might help you as well to look at radars to help put into perspective what is actually happening and that it is not military related or severe storm (hopefully it’s not), and if you know it is a severe storm then I personally would skip the radar idea and focus more on the coping. Anything that can help you cut down on the what if’s can help. Try different things to see what helps you.

* Being prepared

If your PTSD was caused by a natural disaster, it might help you to prepare for storms ahead of time if you are in an area that is well known for storms. Being prepared and having a plan in case something does occur can help you be a little more at ease. We live in Florida, so being prepared is something that is second nature to us. It takes away some of those what if’s and keeps a plan in place ahead of time.

Whatever works for you, or try different things until you find what’s best for you in each situation, just make sure you do something. Flashbacks and triggers are no joke and sure not a fun experience so do or try things that can help get you through these times.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

PTSD: The Flat-line in relationships

PTSD: The Flat-line in relationships

I knew I could not leave a posting short lol. 😉  There is just SO much to this subject and after seeing how many of you tuned in, I knew I needed to say more.

My last posting…

“Yesterday I didn’t spend much time on here. I got the pond maintenance done, the yard mowed, and then Craig and I got some much needed sleep. My kiddos went to see my mom and dad after they got home from work/school, so Craig and I stepped away from everything and took some us time here at the house. 

PTSD and the feeling of distance and feeling alone can be really tough at times, and very real… even when you are sitting in the same room. Sometimes you have to put your foot down and say this isn’t us and take that time to just be with each other to try to find even a small part of what PTSD snatches away from you. Anyone that states love, closeness, feelings and emotions should not be “forced” but should just happen… has never lived with PTSD in their lives. It takes a lot of extra time and effort to hold a relationship together when PTSD is a part of it. And the sooner ones who have PTSD in their lives realize that, the better the outcome is going to be.

Relationships are not carried on a silver platter when PTSD is there. It takes patience, communication, and “going through the motions to find the emotions”. “

That said a lot within itself, but let’s dig a little deeper. 

Relationships are hard with PTSD being a part of them. It does not mean by any means that there can not be relationships or good ones, it just means you have to work extra hard at them, for them to work.

Craig and I are no different then anyone else going through this. We are very lucky, in my opinion, that we had a strong relationship before PTSD became a huge part of our lives.

And I will get to that in a minute. But, I will be honest… sometimes the fact of knowing the person before PTSD became a part of life can also have it’s down side. I did know Craig before, I know what he was like, the things he loved in life, the funny character he was, how he could so easily make me laugh, how goofy he was, how he loved the spur of the moment let’s do this or let’s go there. I watched him excel through life with his head high, no fear in the world, and a person who would take on the world without thinking twice about doing so. He would go out of his way to help anyone.

He loved teaching our kids as well as others about airplanes through the EAA Young Eagles program that we were a part of. He loved flying, being outdoors, and he dearly loved his job as an air traffic controller with the military. He/We loved travelling and being able to see the country and meeting new people. He loved teasing me (in a good way) about my love for dogs and animals in general. He loved family gatherings, loved having cookouts with friends, he just loved life to it’s fullest. All of the things and person he was brought a larger sense to us and who we are as individuals as well as a couple. If you do not believe in the term soul mates, you should, because if there is any belief in that word, Craig and I are living proof of it.

I miss those things in him, (Let’s see if I can make it through writing this without crying lol), he is right here but yet it seems like he is so far away. I do get to see a glimpse of him from time to time, but for the most part PTSD keeps it hidden. I am very thankful for knowing him before PTSD, and being able to have the memories and have enjoyed that part of life with him. I would not change things at all and value every step of life we have experienced together, and will continue to. But at the same time, I see the changes PTSD has caused. I love Craig with every ounce of my being, and I love him as he is now and accept that our path has changed, and I sure don’t hold any of it against him and hate seeing the guilt he carries caused by PTSD. But it doesn’t take away the fact and feelings of missing who he was, the part of him I knew before PTSD. It is only normal to have those feelings from time to time, it’s part of being human. They are real feelings, not meant to be hurtful in any way, but at times they do exist.

I also know that that part of him is not gone, it’s still there, it’s who he truly is, it’s just masked by what happened to him and by PTSD. So knowing how he was before PTSD also helps me understand what we have to do to help him work towards who he is, and through PTSD. It gives myself and him hope.

I also face the fact that I have changed. How could I not? It’s just a fact that comes with PTSD being a part of our life. My career changed, my/our dream life changed, my way of handling and viewing things changed, life has changed. I know I don’t laugh as much as I use to, I know some days it’s hard to find an extra smile, I know I am in a position that I have to handle things more seriously then I use to. PTSD has changed me too. I accept that and still push to move forward each day and put more effort in making sure there is positive in our life. I know I have to find that smile and hold on to myself through this “different then it was” life, and I’m okay with that. I accept it and I never lose hope, I make the best of each day that comes.

But not everyone has been in our exact shoes. Many relationships form after PTSD has become a part of life. You don’t know what they were like or who they really were. You accept them for the now.

It’s okay to in a way grieve over the feeling of loss of who a person was, it’s okay to miss them, and it’s okay to wonder who they were or what they were like before you met them or before PTSD became a part of life. You own those feelings and they are very real. And to the ones who suffer from PTSD, please do not pull away further or leave because your partner may go through this from time to time. I know it can effect you greatly. I know it causes hurt because you do not want them feeling these things. But it’s also a process to move forward and to a better future. When this happens take every strength you have and hold on to them, it’s really what they need so they can move past this. You as the one feeling the loss or distance can not stay stuck dwelling on it. Own it, feel it, go through the emotions that come with it, then use it to move forward and make things better for both of you.

And don’t get me wrong here, it’s not only the ones living beside PTSD that feel this way. These are very real feeling for the one with PTSD as well! They feel the loss, the distance, etc. and it weighs on them greatly. You have to work through these feelings and also guilt they may bring together!

I have had many people ask me which is easier, knowing them before PTSD or not? I can’t answer that. It’s really a catch 22. There are probably good and bad with both, like with anything else in life. But I do know it’s what you do today that will make a difference. And accepting PTSD is where you start.

PTSD comes with so many things. The flat-line effect is very real. And it’s not just the one with PTSD that can experience this, the partner can too. It’s where you feel numb, feel disconnected from others, when you know you love but can’t find the feeling to go with it. It’s that feeling of being there but yet it doesn’t seem real, it just seems distant… you are just there. Things get so wrapped up in trying to get better that the real life right in front of you gets put to the side. Then you add in other PTSD symptoms, avoidance, anxiety, the what if’s, etc. it all just added to it.

It’s so easy for relationships to get sidetracked when PTSD is a part of the relationship. There is so much in helping yourself or the other person, then finances, work, children/grandchildren, then throw life itself into the mix, relationships are where the suffering occurs.

This is when you have to plant your feet in concrete as Craig and I say it. You have to take a time out to focus on you as a couple. Even with all of the symptoms still there with PTSD, you can still maintain a good relationship. It’s not going to be easy, Craig and I both will tell you that. It comes with many feelings, emotions, and also lack of both. It is very easy to end up in that flat-line of a relationship, where you are just there. Many view it as the “roommate” status. You are both right there but the relationship feeling is lacking, and by either or both people, it’s more like a feeling you are roommates then a couple.

So what do you do if you are sitting in that position right now?

“Motions lead to Emotions”

Those are the strongest words there are when it comes to a relationship that has PTSD as a part of it. Emotions are not going to form or come back if you don’t do anything to make them. Even if you are numb and feel nothing at all, don’t lose hope, don’t sit there stagnant and allow it to continue. It will only get worse if you don’t do something. Follow through on motions, it could be a simple hug, holding pinky fingers, laying on the couch together to watch a movie, gently touching one’s face or kissing them on the forehead. Take a walk, even around the yard, sit and eat a meal together and talk about things you enjoy together… not about the news or what’s going on with someone else… but about “us”, leave a nice note or send a text or email, use your imagination! There are so many things that can help get a relationship back on the right path or going in a better direction. And acknowledge when one does something for the other, a little acknowledgement can go along way for helping both of you. Use the motions, it sure can’t hurt worse then doing nothing.

Relationships take a lot for the average couple, and relationships with PTSD take a lot more. They are work, they take a lot of extra effort, understanding, communication, working together to find solutions. I know all of us go through a lot, but through all of it, don’t forget to add in the motions so you can find or restart the emotions to your relationship. It can make life a little if not a lot better. Don’t forget the “us” in life. Don’t allow a flat-line to remain in your relationship, you as a couple and as individuals are worth more than that!

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD