Archive for » June, 2014 «

Our Love Story…

Morning. Coffee in hand and looks like we are going to get rain today, imagine that  😉

Let me tell you a story…

Craig and I had dated for 4+ years, he was my high school sweetheart, we had our entire lives together planned out. When he left for the military we had a misunderstanding that no amount of love in this world could fix at that moment. He went his way and I went mine. We stayed friends over the years, but 10 years after that misunderstanding took place our paths crossed in a way we thought would never happen again.

Eleven years ago today… it was raining, Tropical Storm Bill to be exact. I had been on the phone all day with our moms trying to work on wedding plans. Everyone had different ideas of what our wedding should be like, I mean this was a huge deal after our history and us coming back together as a couple. Was it going to be a lake wedding, a military wedding, a spring or winter wedding, were the flowers going to be this or that, etc etc.

I stood there that day after being on the phone all morning and just thought about everything. Craig and I had already made the decision that our lives were meant to be spent together, we had already brought our families together, we both have children from previous marriages. But marriage? It was something that after our history I never expected to happen lol. We had both already been through things in life and we were happy just the way we were. He did honestly shock me when he proposed to me almost 2 months prior to this day. I was just thinking about everything, and thinking about all of this planning at hand now.

Craig came in from work, I can still picture him walking through the door that day in uniform, him saying “Man, it’s raining out there.” as he grabbed a bowl, then the ice cream from the freezer. I remember him looking at me, leaning over and giving me a kiss, him telling me he loves me with that grin on his face, and asking me how my day was. I told him I had spent the day working on wedding arrangements. We talked for a few minutes then he sat on the couch with his famous bowl of ice cream in hand, watching CSI. LOL.

I continued what I was doing, then stood there for a few minutes just looking at him from across the room. I took a deep breath, walked into another room, and called my son who was 8 years old at the time, who was at his dad’s for summer. I asked Brandt, “Hey, is your heart dead set on carrying the rings at the wedding?” His response? “Mom! You haven’t married Craig yet?” LOL, out of the mouth of babes. I finished the phone call, looked at Craig again as he ate his ice cream, then picked up the marriage license.

I sat down on the arm of the couch next to Craig, then asked, “Hey after you finish your ice cream and show, do you have any other plans today? Do you have a few minutes?” He looked at me and said “Nothing planned, sure I have time. What do you want to do?” And I dropped the marriage license in his lap. He looked up at me, grinned, and asked me if I was serious. I smiled back at him, chuckled, and said, “Yep, dead serious.

He finished that ice cream rather quickly lol. We threw on white shirts, blue jeans, and boots. Got into the corvette and backed out of the garage into Tropical Storm Bill, and headed to the court house.

I can tell you this 😉 there were no lines or groups of people at the court house that day lol. The weather gave us a break in rain to go in, we were married, then a break in rain on our way back out. We sat in the car, looked at each other and started laughing, “I guess we better call our parents!” Craig called his first, he said “Hey mom your daughter-in-law needs to talk to you.” Oh yes she caught that! 😉 Then we called my parents. You know what? There was not one person upset about us doing that, they were all happy.

Then we went to Wendy’s for a late lunch. After we ate we went by the airport to check on the airplane. Then went back to the house for the rest of the rainy day. It was a perfect day!

To my dearest husband Craig,

I just want to say to you, even through the worst storms in life, we have something together that is greater then any storm. You have been and always will be the other half of every heartbeat my heart takes, you make my life complete in ways that some people never get the chance to experience. 

Together we have proven and continue to prove, that there are true love stories in life. The hard times, trials and errors, only bring us more strength and closer. The good times of chuckles, those grins, and memories that will last a lifetime do make each rough day worth having and living this life together through. There are good and bad things in life, that’s just life, but you and I for sure have discovered a balance to all of it. 

Every day my love for you grows another day stronger. I’m not saying some days the thought of a frying pan in hand doesn’t come to mind LOL (That’s a figure of speech/southern JOKE by the way! Of course I would NEVER do that! 😉 ), but yes I do love you and that love will never fade. 

I know the life we had all planned out 25 years ago, well lol, did not quite turn out as planned, and that weighs on you. But you know what? I think you and I proved 11 years ago today that life plans altering are not such a bad thing, and we keep proving it daily.  I will never need riches of gold, or a mansion on a hill, or all of the materialistic things in life many long for. I have true love… and that is priceless.

You Craig, are my best friend, my partner, my soul-mate, an awesome dad to our children, and truly the other half of every heartbeat my heart takes… and I could not imagine this life without you!

 Happy 11th Anniversary! I love you! 

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD :FaceBook page

A Spouse’s Story PTSD :Website

PTSD and High Stress… an example and options to handle it

I mentioned last night on my page that we had a couple of high stressful days around here. I also posted yesterday morning about PTSD and outside negative influences, there was a reason for that… It was a gentle reminder. 😉

The past couple of days I watched Craig struggle with increased PTSD symptoms. Stress does play a huge toll on one with PTSD no matter what level of coping they have accomplished. Honestly, I think just about, if not every symptom showed it’s mask of PTSD over the past couple of days. Times like that are when you use every single tool you have gathered in your “toolbox”, and you keep using them as you need them.

I heard that snappy tone, frustration… Which was responded to calmly with, “Please remember that it was not me that caused this, breathe, we will work through this together.” A simple, calm sentence spoken that carried a reminder, gave focus, directed to coping skills, and showed support and help to find a solution.

I heard the words of anger… Which were responded to calmly with, “You are better then this situation. I know this situation is not right and it is not fair, but we will find a solution. Relax, slow down, breathe“, which lead to taking a nap and breaking from the anger cycle/buildup.

I heard “How do I handle this situation? This is unreal!”… Which was responded to calmly with, “Try [this]. Not too many words, short sentences, and then take one sentence/issue at a time before going to the next. This will get worked out.” Which allowed the thought process to not become too overwhelmed through the triggered symptoms, again allowed focus without cognitive/memory weighing in too harshly, and reassurance that a solution would be found and this stress will end. Help was asked for.

I heard “I don’t understand?”… Which was responded to calmly with, “Talk to me and let’s talk through this together, I will help, and we will find a solution. Let’s ask one question at a time since there is not good communication in this situation.” Which allowed the frustration and confusion of the situation to be talked out and different points of view be given, support, and again the result will lead to a solution so this stress ends. Solution options were given and passed along.

I heard slurring of words… Which was responded to calmly with, “Enough for now, step away, this amount of stress is causing you and your brain to shut down. A solution is now offered, basically in place, and there is nothing more you can do until tomorrow.” Symptoms and what they were causing were pointed out and we stepped away from the situation for the day.

I heard increased nightmares… Which were responded to calmly from a distance with, “You are dreaming, it’s just a nightmare, you are at home and I am here with you. You are okay.” Then once awake, “Yesterday’s stress has just played a toll on you and PTSD, this will be okay.” The why and reassurance.

Day two.

I heard increased frustration and anxiety… Which has responded to calmly with, “If we do not hear something by [time], then we will make contact. Until then I will make arrangements and phone calls, then let’s watch a movie and try to focus on something else.” Which set a time frame to follow without it remaining an unknown amount of time waiting, other things were handled during this for a just in case situation so a plan was in place to help relieve symptoms (the what if’s), and focus was taken off of the situation some by adding in a different focus, a movie.

I heard increased anxiety of time frame is up and we have heard nothing… Which was handled calmly with, “Okay, let’s make contact and see if the unknown info has been found. If not, then let’s offer [this] as the final solution to this.” Which ended anxiety and other increased symptoms of waiting, the unknown, and a solution was offered.

The outcome… the solution was accepted, plan in place, this two days of stress and increased symptoms can now work on decreasing.

I heard, “You know I trusted you through this. I wanted to go off with anger. This was way too much for me to handle, too much stress on me. I listened to you.” Yes, and we made it through it and managed PTSD together.

This was a very short version of what our two days were like. My point of telling this, rather you are the one with PTSD, the one beside them, or the other person a situation involves… Stress, especially something that is not normal stress, can play a huge roll in how it effects PTSD. Symptoms can increase rather quickly, which in reality can lead a stressful situation to an even worse situation.

How you handle every situation, your wording, and anything and everything involved with the situation, can make a huge difference to how one is effected and how the symptoms respond. Even people who have PTSD managed okay, can backslide during high stress, cognitive dysfunction and memory can become severe, and if that takes place with no understanding or help, it’s going to be difficult to come to a solution without PTSD taking control. Everyone involved in a situation needs to do their part so a solution can be found instead of it leading to increased PTSD symptoms or even outbursts.

Keeping things simple without a lot of extra “noise” (extra wording), which is how PTSD in many cases will translate what it can’t process through, can greatly help in high stress situations.

When I say that everyone really needs to learn about PTSD, what it is, and things that could help another person, I really do mean that for very good reasons. Those things help everyone! Not only the one with PTSD.

What you choose to do or say, how you choose to handle every step of every situation, how you choose to keep PTSD in mind or not… will make all of the difference in the world, good or bad, to a situation. Just something to think about.

~Bec

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

I don’t know if I should call this a success or a takeover!

I don’t know if I should call this a success or a takeover! 

Let me tell you a story…

You all know that I have been working on changing what is actually the formal dining room, which we used as the “kids room” catch all lol, into my new office/library area. That is my “project of the month”. And yes, once I complete it I will post photos.  There is still a delay in a certain roll top desk being moved. 😉

My personal goal is to set one project per month for myself that I can work on as I have time to.

WELL! For the most part the room is now complete. I LOVE it! The room is not closed off (that’s an option I will be working on at a later date), it connects to the kitchen and the living room, and overlooks the lake. It also has access to outside.

This project was sparked by me wanting to re-do and paint the master bedroom, the room that Mr. PTSD likes the most in the house… take note of what I just said.  But, in order to get that room done, some large things had to move which lead me to doing this other room first so I’m not double moving things.

So, one of Craig’s docs had asked us about our bedroom, the space he uses the most and retreats to. The only way I could honestly describe it was “an office with a bed in it“. Sadly, that’s true! So then that really sparked me to wanting a bedroom that looks like a bedroom.

Anyway, back to my new office. Which also will be known as the “library” that code word of ours we have always used as the stress free room where anyone can calmly without judgement talk about anything. Say the word, and I’ll meet you there. Also a quiet place to retreat to instead of feeling one has to retreat to a bedroom. Oh, and no electronics allowed. 

Over the years the kiddos have learned to communicate, and the “need” for “the library” has not seemed to really be needed anymore, any room will do. So I decided since this “kids room” was not being used much anymore, I could get my office space back! Someplace comfortable, relaxing, and a quiet place for me to write… and get out of that bedroom!

But, when I started this project or room makeover, that term “library” appeared rather quickly. Well this project I think is backfiring on me just a slight bit lol! I really thought I was getting an office again but I’m not too sure about that now, which is still okay. 🙂

I believe over the past week or so, Craig, my son, and I have spent more time in THAT room then anywhere else in the house!!! Mr PTSD has been coming out of the bedroom for more then just a walk-through!

Last night I REALLY saw what was happening, and heard it. The three of us were watching a show IN THE LIVING ROOM, now we were given a new tv for Christmas and honestly, last night was the FIRST time Craig and I have watched anything on it! Remember, his safe room is where he normally is. 

BUT, while we were watching our show, this is what I heard, “Babe, I really think you need to paint the living room next, you are painting it the same color as your office right?” Then my son tunes in, “Yes, I love mom’s office, that color would look great in here.” Then I hear, “Yeah, my friends love our house. I told them mom is awesome at decorating.” Then I heard, “I like that room so much maybe I should move my desk and computer back in there“, from my son! WHAT? NO, not happening lol. 😉

I think my game plan has changed! LOL! I’ll paint the living room next and it MIGHT help me get my office area back a little, hehe. The “library” seems to have been reborn lol! I joked with them last night that I’m going to hang a sign above the entry way stating “Mama Bear’s Den” lol. 

The moral of this story: 
It is amazing what a little paint and reorganizing/decorating things can do! A change in scenery in a way that can help not only you, but everyone. And, my monthly projects give me something to do that I enjoy at the same time.  I think it’s safe to say this project of mine which I thought was a sort of self-help therapy for me, has turned into a family thing.  Find something you enjoy, do something different, and it does not have to be something huge… even a little can of paint can change the world in positive ways! 

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD : FaceBook

A Spouse’s Story PTSD : Website

Chicken Supreme aka “Grandma’s Chicken”

Okay here’s the recipe  It’s really easy and I have never had anyone say they don’t like it.

 

Chicken Supreme aka “Grandma’s Chicken”

1 jar Dried Beef (found in the canned meat section of the grocery store. it comes in a glass jar, normally near top shelf. It looks kind of like large pepperoni but thinner and different color)
Chicken Breasts- skinned and boned (up to 12 breasts)
Bacon- not cooked

Gravy/Sauce topping

1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 8 oz container Sour Cream
(I double the sauce and use it for mashed potatoes)

Place dried beef in bottom of baking dish, whatever size will fit the number of chicken breasts you are making. I use a large casserole dish. Put chicken breasts (cut in half if desired, I cut mine) on dried beef. Then place 1/2 to full slice of bacon on each piece of chicken.

Bake in oven 400F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and Pour off any grease.

Mix equal parts sour cream and cream of mushroom soup together. Pour over chicken, Then return to oven.

Bake on 350F an additional 30 minutes.

 And the leftovers if you have any… reheat and slice it to fit on club crackers… awesome for a quick small meal.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD : FaceBook

A Spouse’s Story PTSD : Website

NOT everyone with PTSD is physically violent!

If you had the opportunity to explain something, anything, to a person who does not understand #PTSD and/or it’s symptoms well, something that would help reduce stigma and false information from spreading… What would you say?

Here’s mine:

* NOT everyone with PTSD is physically violent! 

Believing that a person with PTSD means they are violent or a threat to others is a HUGE misunderstanding about those with PTSD. Just because a person has PTSD, and PTSD symptoms include anger, frustration, flashbacks, and more, does not mean those things are out of control or not managed in all people. There are many with PTSD that would NEVER harm another person. Anger, frustration, and other symptoms CAN be managed and proper coping used so the symptoms are managed. It does not mean one does not have the symptoms, it means they have learned how to manage them so those symptoms are not physically taken out on others.

Many with PTSD also suffer from survivor’s guilt. Survivor’s guilt is when one lived but another person did not, and guilt of being the one who survived forms. Ones who suffer from this also, even in a high rage are unlikely to physically take the rage out on another person. High rage if not managed correctly might be taken out on things, objects, or even one’s self, but rarely and I mean rarely taken out on another person physically. Again, there are ways of coping with these symptoms when they do come.

Flashbacks. Flashbacks are when one with PTSD believes they are honestly reliving their trauma. They may lose realistic time, place, and even people present during a flashback and believe they are experiencing their trauma from the past, but to them it is presently taking place. To my knowledge, the only time a person with PTSD becomes physically violent towards another person during these, is when their trauma did include some type of physically altercation with another person.

However, flashbacks/the person can be grounded in majority of cases. A person can learn to ground themselves in many cases once learning the onset of symptoms and/or recognizing their triggers and learning how to properly cope when triggered. In other cases where this is not possible, it is important for those around them to learn and know how to ground them. Grounding is bringing one back to present time and place. This is normally done by talking to the person in a calm voice out of their reach, and telling them where they are, who you are, the time and date, and even letting them know they are experiencing a flashback. Repeating these things until they are grounded.

There are many, many, with PTSD that have worked hard to learn how to and do manage their symptoms well! Many maintain constant treatment in order to help themselves as well as those around them. Many have never become violent towards others.

Labeling someone as “violent” just because they have been diagnosed with PTSD is one of the most false and stigma related labels known to PTSD.

Having PTSD does not mean a person is “bad”, it simply means they went through a life altering trauma that maybe another person did not.

Before you indulge yourself  in the stigma, take the time to learn the FACTS!

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD