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Looking back on 2013

Recap of 2013… Back at the beginning of the year I announced that this was going to be a very trying year for us. We had a long list of special events mixed in with the usual tough times that come. WOW, was I right! But you know what? We made it through and a new year is getting ready to start!!! Of course the new year already has some serious things coming, like Craig’s surgery this week. BUT, if we could make it through 2013 we will for sure make it through 2014! 😉

In 2013:

My oldest turned 18 AND we made it through his high school Graduation!

My daughter and step-son turning 13! Yes, we accomplished a girl’s birthday party here… with many breaks during it lol 😉

(Craig said I HAD to add this one or he would add it lol) I turned 40!

Craig and I had our 10 year wedding anniversary… we chose to not do anything, being together was enough for us 🙂

We made it out of town for a few hours so I could be in my sister’s wedding on the beach! And Craig did well as a cameraman 

I started writing my book (Thank You to “My Elder” Dean  and ALL of you!!!)

Miss Marble (the cat) came into our family.

AND that emergency bathroom remodel lol… It’s almost done! A great way to start the New Year with that off of my plate! 😉

We did not accomplish everything that was on the list for the year, however we accomplished a lot considering how life is with PTSD and everything else! 

There was one other thing that I personally accomplished this year. Let’s see if I can type this without crying happy tears. Everyone knows that I have struggled with not being able to train dogs anymore, a true love of mine. One of those weights on my shoulders that just always tried to keep a grip on me. HOWEVER, that changed this year! You know how I always say listen to what other’s say? Well, I had a light bulb moment not too long ago from a very special person. I want to say a special Thank You to Beth P. for making me realize that I am actually doing exactly what my original life dream/goal was!

My life goal from an early age was not to train dogs (even though I love it and always have), my life goal was to follow in my mom’s footsteps and help children and young adults with mental disabilities learn that they are valuable no matter what and to teach them how to make it through life with having disabilities. I wanted to teach.

See, I had a trauma happen to me at 18 years old that caused me to alter my life plans, I took a different route in life after it, I avoided my dream. My husband and his mental illnesses and ALL of you changed my avoidance and got me back on the path that originally filled my heart.

My goal might be altered a little, age group, and not as a certified teacher… but I AM living my life dream, helping others! Right here with and beside ALL of you! I hope each of you really, truly understand how much you ARE a family to us! 

I did not fail with dog training or by having to give it up to care for my husband at all. The page in my life had turned, and I accepted that a long time ago. But I was honestly being placed back to where my heart really has been all along and didn’t even realize it! I opened my eyes, heart, and dream to what has always mattered to me. Some how with one short conversation Beth and I had, the weight was gone from my shoulders completely of not being able to train and a huge extra kick was put into my step. I had never really viewed it before as I do now. I have been bringing awareness of PTSD and other mental illnesses to others for over two years, living beside and through mental illnesses with my husband for 10 years. Yes, it’s safe to say I had a light bulb moment this year. 

So, I would have to say even though some things were not accomplished this year, a whole lot of wonderful things were! And you all… you are each SO amazing! Don’t EVER give up on yourself! 😉

Much love and strength to ALL of you as we step forward to a New Year together!

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

I want to wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Where ever you are around the world…

I want to wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

My New Year’s Wish…

May your New Year be filled with love and compassion for and from those around you.

May you have the strength to find and use coping skills, and for those closest to you to have the strength to use their’s as well.

May relationships heal and families mend.

May communication grow stronger with each breath taken, with words of kindness to work together without judgement or criticism.

May you have peaceful sleep come with your nights, and symptoms decrease.

May motions lead to emotions, and the numbness fade away.

May your physical health grow stronger.

May education and awareness grow greatly.

May stigma continue to vanish, at the least… one person at a time.

May the suicide rate decrease to zero, and people know they are not alone!

May everyone who suffers or feel as if they only survive PTSD and other mental illnesses/disorders, re-learn how to LIVE!

As I always say 😉 the list is long, but I think that’s a fair start within reason.

Have a SAFE and HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!

Love,
~Bec

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

To those who are new here…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Miss Marble update: A little humor for you ;)

Everyone needs a little humor. Well after our serious day yesterday, Miss Marble… the cat with no home that is no longer homeless, we took her into our family… brought me a good laugh this morning! Seems she has made herself at home taking over one of my baskets! 😉

~Bec

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Have to love her! She can sure make you laugh 😉

How did everyone do yesterday?

How did everyone do yesterday?

We had a rough day, I mean really rough. I think Craig experienced every aspect of PTSD and survivor’s guilt there is… all in one day. He woke from nightmares and was also having kidney pain (very happy his surgery is next week so he can get past that part) We talked a lot, laid facts on the table of things in a compassionate way, I think I used every angle of everything I have learned over the years to help him make it through the day (and I’ll do it again next time).

Our day held no expectations and I was perfectly okay with us not going anywhere. He said to me, “But I am keeping you from your family.” I replied back, “Craig, no you are not, but you do need to realize they are your family too. They do not expect us to come, that is totally up to us. They understand.

I watched Alex (my dog I trained to work all of Craig’s symptoms) work his tail off keeping Craig grounded and working his anxiety. It was almost like Alex and I were taking turns getting Craig through everything.

He has been going through so much with his physical medical then combining the mental health to it and the holiday… which only my oldest was around part of the day, this year we are having a delayed holiday so all of the kids are here for it. It just did not feel like a holiday. I said something I never thought I would say to Craig, and really thought awhile before saying it. I had no idea if it would help or make matters worse… if worse were even possible, but he was to the point it was almost a last resort before me making a decision if he needed to go to the hospital or not.

His survivor’s guilt had a serious hold on him and I had to say something compassionately, calmly, and sincere to try to pull him through it. Just to note the details had already come out so this comment did not come out of the blue but came with the conversation we were having in a calm tone with complete compassion. Our communication is beyond excellent and I would not recommend this for others to say if you have conflicts, you might meet the raw side of PTSD if you do. “If your buddies were still here they would be kicking you in the ass telling you to live and not remember them in the way you are doing. If it had been you instead of them, would you want them remembering you by them suffering this way?

I know that sounds harsh, but it worked. I know Craig and his symptoms well, I know details of everything that happened, and we work very well through everything. And that comment worked in our situation. It helped him to stop and think. He went and took a shower, and he pushed himself out the door to go to my parents’ for dinner, a short visit. It did not take all of those thoughts, feelings, or symptoms away, but it helped give him a little push up from the rock bottom he was sitting in.

When we returned home he said it helped him and it was good seeing our nieces open their gifts. To be honest, I got lucky that comment didn’t backfire on me. The more I listened to him the more that comment seemed to be the only thing that fit, that could possibly help a little bit.

Craig had told me that his brain just won’t slow down, too much going on. I knew this low was coming, last week I could tell he was battling it, the joking and picking on me, trying to keep himself from rock bottom, pushing himself to do things, extra coping skills being used. I know the signs, I knew what was coming, and I was ready.

To be honest I don’t know anyone who would not have crashed with all that is going on. Yesterday was a long day, but he did good making it through it. I’m proud of him! My friends, it takes team work many times when the rock bottom comes. I am so very thankful Craig and I have formed that over the years. Even with serious symptoms yesterday, he did good!

Today is a new day, and with it we will make it through whatever may come. I can not preach enough… communication, coping skills, compassion, patience, and working together… those things do make a huge difference in a positive way when it comes to life with PTSD. 

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Category: Guilt/Survivor's Guilt, Uncategorized  Tags: , ,  Comments off

Carrot Souffle

Carrot Souffle

Okay, word of advice, double this recipe or use a smaller dish! I forgot to double, so my souffle is a little thin compared to what it should look like, but it will still be good 

1 pound large carrots peeled and sliced (7 lg carrots)
1/2 cup butter melted
3 eggs
1 cup sugar (use less if desired)
3 tablespoons self rising flour
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cook carrots in small amount of water salted until tender. Drain off water. Mash carrots and butter together. Add remaining ingredients, stir together. Pour into greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.

Bake 350 degrees F 45 minutes or until set.

Great served hot as a side dish or cold as a dessert!

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

 

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A holiday note…

To ALL of my “family”,

Today here on the lakefront it is Christmas. Coffee in hand and getting this day going. 😉 I know with our family here on the page being world wide, not everyone celebrates today in the same way or for the same reasons. Whatever your beliefs may be, with respect, I hope you have a wonderful day filled with love and smiles.

I hope PTSD will give you some time to just enjoy whatever you choose to do today, even if it is only for a short time, embrace it. Use those coping skills, take those breaks when you need to, and do those motions to find the emotions. I know today is a very difficult one for many of you, but … You’ve got this 😉 because I believe in each and every single one of you!

Each day we learn together, share with each other, support each other, and with each day of this special family we have created here, we grow stronger together. I honestly believe, PTSD does not stand a chance. 😉 It won’t go away, but we, together, are giving it a new fight and we are making a positive difference.

Do not allow whatever stigma you may experience today swallow you, you are better then allowing that to happen. We will change stigma one person at a time. And if someone is carrying that stigma, send them to my website or my page 😉 we can teach them the truth and reality of PTSD and life with it together. Because YOU no longer stand alone! <3

You all mean the world to me (and Craig). Today I wish you peace of mind, some time for happiness and joy, and I send you much love and strength. We may not have the same blood running through our veins, but YOU are a huge part of our “family”! <3

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Holiday shopping and PTSD… a Tip

When Craig and I went for his VA appointment this week, the streets were lined with chairs, roped off sidewalks, etc. That means only one thing around here during the holiday season… The Christmas parade! But do I ever have a tip for those with PTSD. 😉

Parades are not normally a place you will find someone with PTSD, even though some do manage them (a huge “AWESOME” to you). But you know what, you can pretty much guarantee majority of the town will be there… so if majority of people are at the parade or at home watching it on TV, where are they NOT at?

I had an Aunt, rest her wise soul, that told me a long time ago, “Becky, if you ever want to shop during the holiday season without tackling the crowds, shop while the Christmas parade is going on.” She would do all of her shopping every year during the parade! No lines, no crowds, and it always worked for her. 😉

Just a little tip for those with PTSD or their partners. 🙂

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Category: Life with PTSD: Symptoms, Uncategorized  Tags: ,  Comments off

“WHY did you fall in love with your significant other?”

A few days ago I asked a question, “WHY did you fall in love with your significant other?” Not the where or situation around it, but the why. What about them was the root of why you fall in love with them? This is something that even if you do not have a partner right now, may help in some way in the future, so is intended for everyone.

This question had a meaning behind it on many different levels…

Rather you are the one with PTSD or the partner, that question can bring to light a lot of memories, feelings that my not feel like they are quite there anymore or different now, some may feel there is no love left, some may say their feeling of love has grown stronger even though things have changed, or the question may bring thoughts of good times. It can bring a huge amount of mixed feelings good and/or bad. One thing I found extremely important to any relationship, in my opinion, is not forgetting why you are with someone. So I wanted to talk about this… and more.

There is also one question that Craig (being the one with PTSD) asks me a lot. “Why do you still love me?” That’s a pretty serious question! You know when someone asks that, their brain is in overdrive of thought, concern, and trying to understand reasons. Sometimes it may be as simple as they are not feeling real well or in a not so good place right then, maybe feeling they are a burden. Whatever their thought is at the moment, or whichever side of the fence they stand on really, hearing the reasons someone still loves them helps them. Sometimes it is a hard question of not understanding why a person is still here. To me, how could I not love him, how could I not remain here, it’s rather a simple answer. However the answer is way more deep then just a simple one. But to that other person, they may not understand the why or maybe they just need to hear it. We all know PTSD brings a lot on both the one with PTSD as well as the spouse/partner. At times things that seem like they have simple or already known answers still have to be voiced, need to be voiced.

I’m sure there are many in the same shoes. That was actually proven when a spouse actually asked the original question I asked the other day, and I asked if she minded me carrying her question further with a couple of postings. 

These types of questions do boil down to communication, reassurance, concern, as well as self-esteem issues from not feeling sure if you should be with or feel deserving of another person, or even wanted there by another. These are all very real with PTSD no matter which side of the fence you are standing on.

So let’s go over some of the mixed emotions and feelings these questions bring…

Why did you fall in love?

To many, and I know myself included, that question brings back all of those butterflies in the stomach of that time of excitement, a new relationship, learning about each other, finding what you have in common or what qualities compliment each other, the building of something special and personal over time. There was something, no matter what it was, to cause you to choose the person you are with (or will be with)… as well as to fall in love with them.

Some people had a relationship before PTSD stepped into your lives, like Craig and I. Then others may have fallen in love after PTSD was there. And on that note, don’t ever allow anyone to convince you that a relationship is not possible with PTSD involved!!!

So there are two different angles to it in reality. Some had to learn and develop their relationship through changes due to PTSD and others knew upfront the one with PTSD, even though changes can or will still happen.

Does it make a difference? I’m not sure it really does in some ways, then in others I question it. To me, knowing him before PTSD I think is beneficial in ways, I view it as I am lucky to have known him so well before PTSD. I know his true self without the mask PTSD does form, I have the before and now to compare so we can focus on what PTSD causes and how to make things better and continue moving forward. But while always keeping in mind that people do change, it is a part of life rather one has PTSD or not and many times based around circumstances life brings in general.

Then other times the knowing him before, caused a feeling of loss and a grieving period had to be taken of sorts, and a greater acceptance of the changes had to take place in order for our relationship to still grow. I had to change my mindset. Getting past the “what was lost” and working towards the “what can be” makes a huge positive difference. It does not mean those thoughts of loss or what was will completely go away, you will still experience them from time to time, however you learn to cope and move forward so they don’t hold the “what can be” or “who we are” back.

In either case, learning how to live life with PTSD has made us stronger. Our relationship has grown in a way that is very positive, even though it does take a lot of work and a lot of extra effort on both of our parts… I will never say it is easy. That is something that never stops, each day will be different and each day can bring new things as well as challenges. Just because things have changed for us does not mean I love him any less, or he loves me any less, it’s actually caused our love to expand to a different level then many people ever get to experience. There are many more trials and errors, constant effort to figure out things that work for us, and a serious amount of honest communication and making sure we hear as well as listen to what each other says, then what one considers a “normal relationship”, but to me those things make us stronger.

Many times it goes back to that saying we were once told, “You have to go through the motions to find the emotions.” That is one of the most true statements that has ever been made to us! It can go for either person as well. It’s not faking feelings or trying to be someone you are not, it’s not about being someone just to make another happy, it’s about discovering who you can be and what you can feel, and bringing back what PTSD has masked. It’s about rediscovering what PTSD has hidden from you. Again, for either person. 

Just because a person suffers from PTSD, or just because a partner feels weighed down by changes, does not mean you have lost the love between you! It is a fact that PTSD brings numbness, distance, and all of those other things that are hard to grasp for either person. It’s also a fact that a partner may many times put up a wall as I call it, a defense to protect one’s self emotionally against those symptoms. However, just because these things are real and experienced does not mean your love for each other is gone. It means you have to put the motions into action to find those hidden emotions and feelings. You fell in love for a very personal and real reason, just because PTSD may mask that love will never mean that love is gone. Use what you know about each other, use what you have learned about life now and PTSD, and work together to rebuild what you feel is lost.

Why you fell in love? Use those real reasons to your advantage, the root of a relationship already established.  It might just change tomorrow in a positive way. Don’t lose sight of why you fell in love with someone, use it as a positive way to uncover that love again and build from it.

PTSD can or does take away many things from a person, a career, materialistic things, loss of friends, etc. But love… that is one of those things that does not have to end in many cases, it is a true feeling that can’t just be taken away from one. It might be masked and not seen, but gone? That’s a choice you still hold onto and can make based on real feelings. Work on it, educate yourself, and find ways to hang onto it… it won’t be easy, but it is very worth it. 😉

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Introducing “Miss Marble”…

Off topic…

My day did not go as planned lol. Those of you following the story of “Miss Marble” the stray/abandoned cat with no home that showed up around here awhile back, that we have not been able to find her home or someone who wanted her… Here’s an update.

Miss Marble” as the neighborhood knows her as, a name my daughter came up with 😉 …is now her legal and official name. It didn’t happen quite the way it should have, but it is what it is.  When I went outside this morning she seemed to be gone. I finally found her and she was hurt (the reason I preach don’t leave pets outside) Yes, I freaked and went into emergency mode. Emergency vet trip today for me while my son stayed with Craig. Miss Marble will be fine, she had a pretty nasty gash and now has staples and meds, she is one lucky cat. I had them go ahead and do full vet check, scan her again for a chip… no chip, blood work A-okay, shots, ect. She has to stay inside, and will NOT be going back outside, and is resting comfortably in the house. We will decide at a later time after she heals if this will be her permanent home (which I am sure WILL be) or if she will be re-homed, but for now it is!

BUT there was a shock today! Seems Miss Marble is NOT a kitten like we all thought! She is about 2 years old and full grown… at 6.6 pounds! She is not pregnant and not spayed (that will be next) and thankfully not in heat lol. Doc said she’s probably been an inside cat her whole life from how good she is and overall in good health. He said the area has had many dumped animals lately, so assumes that is what happened since we can’t locate an owner. Later when I was talking to a neighbor, they had an update and said they believe she belonged to an elderly neighbor who passed away, which happened to be the same time frame Miss Marble showed up. So it may just be her unknown story.

SO… officially meet “Miss Marble“, the cat that had no home is no longer homeless! 😉  And no, she’s not liking her cone collar very well right now but managing with it. She seems to have become a mascot of our PTSD world and loved by us and by many!

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

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