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Getting offended and PTSD

This was something that came up on here, so I wanted to talk about this a little more…

“One thing I would like to mention, however, is that just like women get so offended when they are angry or having a bad day and their spouse or kids ask “Is it your time of the month?” (In other words discounting the validity of their anger or problem) so too does [name] (and I imagine other PTSD victims) when I suggest that his anger or mean words are due to his PTSD. What do you think?”

This can be a tough one! In different situations, different things could be going on. Maybe they are honestly mad and it’s not because of PTSD, maybe PTSD has a great hold on them to where they are not realizing how they sound or are acting, maybe it’s embarrassing to hear someone tell them that… to them it might not seem real that they were acting in that way, maybe even the fact they were confronted on it caught them off guard… thus the response. And sometimes being angry allows them to get to another stage of coping.  Just like mentioned, kind of the same response when a woman is confronted with PMS  It gets taken personally!

Normally, one who lives with the one who has PTSD pretty much knows and can tell the difference between what is PTSD outbursts/bad days and what are normal responses. No matter what the reason behind the anger, one has to “own it”, as we say it around here. In order to get past something, to a better place, you must first “own it”. You have to realize that your partner is trying to help you by pointing out to you what they are seeing. The fact is, PTSD does not always allow you to see it, and by someone helping out with a simple “I think this is your PTSD saying this or acting this way” is a form of helping one realize and notice their words/actions so you can work on controlling or managing it.

And there might just be a little of PTSD “wanting” that fight there too. I’ve seen this many times and sometimes it’s hard to get through to one when the fight is there. If you know that this person does not/did not speak with anger or harsh words before, then it’s a pretty good bet it’s PTSD causing it. When PTSD gets a hold on one, it can very realistically be a fight or flight.

Bad days. Most likely the one with PTSD already realizes it’s a bad day, and they are probably fighting it, trying to get past it, trying to cope with it, and yes… it being pointed out could offend them. And it’s common for the one pointing it out to hear somethings along the lines of “REALLY?” or “No Sh**!” back. This is when wording is going to mean everything. I’ve gotten to the point of saying “I notice you’re kind of off balance today, is there anything I can do?” That one seems to help the most. I’m pointing out what I’m seeing but at the same time I’m asking how to help. Normally the response is “It’s just one of those days.” Which is fine, but at the same time I was able to point out what I am seeing without it being taken as an offense.

Communication. There is no reason to take offence to someone pointing things out that could be causing issues that could effect the other person (as long as it’s not in a nasty way or fighting back). I know it’s not what one with PTSD wants to hear, but it can help so much. It helps keep communication good between people, it helps for one to notice when extra coping may be needed, it helps one with PTSD recognize what is happening so it’s not taken out on someone else, and just as I tell spouses… one of the rules to PTSD is to not take things personally, well this one goes to those with PTSD… when anger or words get pointed out to you, it’s in your best interest not to take them personally either.  Your loved one is simply trying to help you.

If you are getting offended by your loved one pointing out when PTSD is “acting up”, talk about it. Don’t lash back or take offense, talk and let them know what the best way for them to say things to you would be, find the right wording to use for your situation, make up code words (these are awesome) to use. That little extra communication can save a lot of hurt or unsettling feelings for both of you.

Here are some phrases Craig and I use:

* “It’s an off day.” Which simple means PTSD has a grip, and we are letting each other know about it!

* “It’s a down day.” Which means a day where extra coping needs to be used, no expectations, and just focusing on getting through the day the best possible together.

* “I feel [angry, frustrated, depressed, not my self].” Straight up telling how or what you are feeling so both of you are on the same page and nothing gets taken the wrong way! This one will save both of you so much hurt, misunderstandings, etc etc. This is VERY important. BOTH of you need to make sure you know how each other feels, and do not dismiss what either person says.

* “PTSD has a grip on you.” This is now used only at times when it’s getting the best of him and a blunt point needs to be made quickly.

Once you both get to a point of knowing PTSD is in fact there, and you’ve come to terms with that, you can replace the actual word “PTSD” with a phrase or code word when you can or it is appropriate. Sometimes the offense can be there just the simple fact that the word “PTSD” was used. Ones newer to PTSD will use the word often because it’s still that new phase of adjusting to PTSD is in deed the cause, but once you are use to it being a part of both of your lives, sometimes it’s okay to phrase things differently so it’s not mistaken as “PTSD” being thrown in their face, so to speak.

Bottom line is, communicate and find what wording or phrases are comfortable to use in your situation so it can reduce the offense being taken. And remember, these things are not meant to be offensive, they are meant with love and in order to help! Keep that in mind. 😉

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

“Laugh or you will cry”… PTSD

“Laugh or you will cry”… PTSD

Many of you have heard that saying. It’s been around much longer then I have lol. Nope, I couldn’t let my other posting this morning be so short lol, you know me… I had to write more.

Anyway, this saying is very true a lot of the time when it comes to PTSD. Sometimes you have to force a smile or laugh at something, why? Because it hides the tears, the pain, and gives you the strength to fight the battle… PTSD.

PTSD brings a lot of very serious things and situations, and it does not matter if you are the one who suffers from it or the one standing beside someone who does. And let me tell you, PTSD will bring you to rock bottom really fast, the lowest, worst feeling point in life you can imagine… if you let it. I know you are going to experience rock bottom sooner or later, and maybe many times, but picking yourself back up has to be done to survive what PTSD does or will bring.

I learned a long time ago that if I focused only on the bad things that we go through, the rough times, and the “oh what am I going to do?” with continuous tears rolling down my face… PTSD was going to win! Well, I’m a little hard headed and that thought did not settle too well with me!

I will be the first to tell you, PTSD is going to TRY to break you, wear you down, disrupt your life, tear your relationships apart, and cause many to welcome the thought of death just to be relieved from it. YOU are the only one that can change that! You have to FIGHT! YOU ARE WORTH THE FIGHT!!!

I stick by my saying “PTSD effects the Best of the Best”. It does! It takes a strong person to get to the point of PTSD developing, and it takes a strong person to battle it when it does. If that does not equal “the best of the best”, then I honestly don’t know what does!

It’s okay to be down for a little while, that is a normal human reaction to what has happened. But then you have to find a way to pull yourself back up and don’t let PTSD win! YOU are better then PTSD!!! And I will say that a thousand times over if I have to for you to believe me.

It’s okay to cry, again we are all human. Crying releases some of the hurt and pain of what you are going through. And guys, it does NOT mean you are weak if you shed a tear! It makes you stronger! Then you wipe those tears away and remind yourself that PTSD is not as strong as you are and it won’t win!

I have found that when there is a battle before us or myself, if I silently laugh at PTSD (not at my husband of course!) and say “okay, you gave me another challenge to face” or I smile and think of something positive… what does that do? It gives me strength to challenge PTSD back!

It’s like a child saying “nanny nanny boo boo” and they stick their tongue out lol, from a child that’s a way of taking on a challenge. Now please lol, as an adult you might not want to say or do that in that manner… unless it really makes you feel better!  😉 But you can laugh or smile and give the same challenge.

It’s a way of surviving. It’s a way of finding the good things even when the worst is upon you. It’s a way of fighting what PTSD can, will, or did bring. And in that laugh or with that smile, you might just stumble across life in there too. 😉

So, when I make “lite” of things, use a lot of smiley faces, or “lol”, or tell about things that seem so far off of the topic… it’s not that I am dismissing PTSD, what it brings, or what we all experience. We ALL know what PTSD does to ALL of us. It’s my way of showing you how to survive. How to take a step forward. Or my way of offering you a hand to help you out of a hole PTSD has stuck you in.

Battling PTSD does take a support system. It takes someone who knows how to listen, ones that understand what you are talking about, ones who have been there themselves, and by all means those willing to learn. But it also takes someone reminding you this battle is worth the fight, worth the reminder to smile, and worth the chance to laugh again. Life does not have to stop with PTSD, sometimes it just takes someone to care enough to remind you with a gentle push. And if that push is a smiley face or talking about something else for a little while, you can bet I’m going to be the one to do it! 🙂

Laugh or you will cry… it can work many times for this battle of PTSD. 😉

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

Writing, journals, notes, blogs…

Writing, journals, notes, blogs…

You would be shocked at what those things can do for you! Writing is a form of self-help therapy. It allows you to vent, say your true feelings, be able to look at what is going on from an outside of the box point of view, and can actually bring a relief to you, all by just writing something you are or have experienced down. And it could be anything! The good, the bad, the ugly, or just a simple thought.

I will be honest, I write every single day!  It doesn’t matter the subject, I just let my thoughts, feelings, and observations flow onto paper/through the keyboard. And it has helped tremendously. It helps me, and it helps others at the same time. I have always been one to write, as a child I had journals… many of them lol! I was taught at a young age it is something that can help you through what you feel or experience. So here I am today typing away on the keyboard for everyone else, but it still helps me also. And trust me, since I started back writing a few years ago, it has changed things for me, for the better.

Writing can help you relieve stress, anger, frustration, sadness, express happiness, and all of the good things in life as well as the bad, as well as one of my special ones… helping others. You know I always say everything I post/write has some sort of meaning behind it, it’s true, everything has a meaning and a reason… and in some way or another it does all fall back to life with PTSD in one way or another rather it seems that way or not.

PTSD and Writing.

Many of you might be wondering “How the heck do I keep up with what I go through when it’s hard enough to keep up with getting through it?”

Paperwork is not something anyone likes to do! Don’t view it as paperwork lol, view it as writing to help yourself. But… yep, I have a “but” in there.  But keeping track, even if it’s just jotting down in a note or journal what your day was like, what symptoms you had, how you felt including how you physically felt and where you felt it, what you did or did not do that day, etc. can be of great help…

* For yourself.

It gives you a way to vent, just get it out there on paper and be able to take a good look at what your day was like, gives you a way to reflect back and make changes to the next day. Writing is a great way to cope! As well as a great way to see what you did on good days which might help you on a rough day. It also gives you a guideline to go by of what you have accomplished or want to accomplish. With PTSD the memory can be difficult and keeping notes can help you regain what you are not recalling. A way to help keep you on track and not lose those days you feel you have lost.

Calendars! You know I’m not going to leave that one out. Those wall calendars with the boxes you can write in are awesome! They help you keep track of what’s coming, let you reflect back to days you may not recall or need info from, oh the use of them is endless. I don’t care for the dry erase boards to be honest even though we do have one. They don’t allow you to keep track of progress or things to work on. Once erased, it’s gone. They are great for daily reminders though.

* For your doctor.

By having notes or a journal, it doesn’t have to be long or in depth, but the key points written down, it can help your doctor know which medications are helping or need to be altered, gives them an idea of your sleep and activities, and let’s them know which subjects need to be focused on during therapy. You only get a limited time with your doctor, so you want to get the most good out of that time you can. Having notes when you go in are very useful to making the use out of every doctor appointment. And again with memory, many people especially once sitting in front of your doctor can’t recall details of important things that need to be discussed, so this gives that information right up front and you and your doctor can get right to business on what needs to be addressed.

I make notes myself of things that effect Craig, how his week or few weeks were, good things he accomplished, and anything that he has talked to me about that could be helpful for his doctors to know so he gets the best treatment possible and the time with the doctor touches on the more urgent matters..

Just to add to this, I even call the doctors myself if I have a question about something with his care or if I see doctor assistance might be needed for something. Like a few months ago, Craig wasn’t feeling well and was congested. I simply called his doc and asked what over the counter decongestant was safe to give him with the combination of medications he is on. Always play it safe and contact the doctor to make sure of something before assuming. Something as simple as over the counter meds or even certain foods can interact with the combinations of medications they are on, so play it safe and not sorry.

Making notes can really be of great help as well as great self-help therapy! They are important! Take a few minutes each day to do it! And writing or journals can be a life saver for your feelings and emotions… as well as keeping you from taking things out on others! Just something to think about, try it! You might notice a huge difference in yourself if you do! 

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

Balance

Balance

I spent time between the rain showers yesterday working on my pond with the kiddos. Craig’s 2 are amazed at how many new fish are in there since they were here last. AND we saw some new babies… so yep, there are more babies.

This weather over the past couple of months has been a battle lol. We had extremely hot weather which the algae loves to grow in, and too much algae in a pond can be a bad thing. It can cause the water to “seem” unclear, what happens is the water itself is clear however the particles of algae start floating in the clear water causing it to have a green tint to it. When you look at what is happening to it, it seems to look like something it actually is not.

You can put your hand in the water and see the water is the same as it has always been, and you can see the particles floating over your hand causing the appearance to be different.

So, what should I do? Leave the pond the way it is. Let the algae continue to take over? Or do I do something to make it better? 

I don’t want a pond that is hard to see the bottom and hard to see all of those pretty fish swimming around. No way could I just leave it alone and let the algae continue to take over. If I did I would have pea soup instead of a pretty pond. All of my hard work would go backwards and I would be starting all over. I would be taking a chance of death of my fish if I don’t do something to balance the pond water they live in. I work too hard on my pond and love seeing the fish, to let the algae consume them.

So I have a solution to the problem. I have dry bacteria which I add to the pond which breaks the algae cycle, the filter and pump cleans it out of the water as it cycles, I clean the filters when they get full, and the pond gets as clear as it possibly can.

How is PTSD any different then my pond? It’s really not!

See, if you just leave PTSD alone and don’t do anything to help it, it’s no different then my pond. It gets out of balance, problems start, and most of all it can become deadly.

Finding balance with PTSD is urgent! When you can find balance and things to help, life can be much clearer… just like my pond. I wouldn’t let the pond go unbalanced, so why would you let PTSD go unbalanced? 

I know there is not a cure for PTSD, just as my pond water might not ever be perfectly clear to perfection. But I don’t give up. That pond is my “me” time, my peaceful place, something I enjoy and enjoy working on. So I work on it, and I spend some time on it every day. Doesn’t PTSD deserve the same?… for you!

No one likes the fact that PTSD is at hand. But your life is still worth the fight, it’s worth the work, it’s worth making things around you beautiful, it’s worth hearing every child’s voice saying “I love you dad/mom/grandpa/grandma…”, it’s worth the fight to live!

Algae in my pond will never be completely gone, just as PTSD won’t be… but it can be managed and balanced.

* Seek help, and now! The sooner the better!

* Learn coping skills.

* Talk to a family member, friend, loved one… someone you know you can trust.

* Learn ways to control anger or verbal outbursts.

* If you are taking medications or are put on medications, make sure you take them! Over time if they don’t seem to work for you, don’t give up, tell your doctor so you can work together to find the ones that can help you.

* Educate yourself on PTSD. With education comes knowledge which leads you to learning things that can help you.

* Find things that help you relax. Hobbies, exercise, listening to music, watching nature, getting outside, reading a good book… anything you enjoy.

* Don’t give up on life! Life has changed but you are still the same person just going through something different now.

* Find solutions. When you have a challenge with anything in life, you find a way to win, succeed, move forward… PTSD is no different.

* Learn what works for you to make every day a step forward. If you have a step backwards, don’t give up, work on moving forward again.

There are so many things you can do or try to keep a balance between life and PTSD. I would never give up on my pond and let the algae consume it, so do you think for a second I would give up on something as important as battling PTSD? NEVER!  So you don’t either! 😉

Do what you have to and find that balance in life. Your life is worth it! <3

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

“How do you cope so well?”

“How do you cope so well?”

I was asked this same question several times yesterday, and have been asked it many times in the past so I want to answer it for all of you.

I’m going to take a guess that saying “I just do it” is not a good answer lol.  Okay, here it goes…

I think there are several reasons at hand. Probably the largest is I’m hard headed and refuse to let PTSD win or completely take over our lives. 

Let me give you a little background, maybe it will help make sense. I was raised in a loving home with a mom who taught (for 30 years) what we view as special children. Children that had been through traumas in their lives and many of their lives and families were shattered. Children with emotional battles. So, in short, I was raised seeing and helping out with these children. I saw what each of them had been through, not first hand but through the child’s eyes and the way they viewed things.

I watched my mom never give up on any of “her” children as she called them. I watched those kids improve, find hope, and find meaning in their lives because of the extra time and patience my mom gave to them. Those kids stole our hearts. To see a child that deserved so much more in life, they didn’t ask for what they went through, they didn’t ask for what life dealt them, and I watched my mom give something wonderful back to each of them.

It was never easy for her. To be honest, many of the cases involved were extreme and it did roll over to the way the children treated others. My mom taught them. No matter what they threw at her, and sometimes that was literally, she kept teaching, loving them, and helping them see what they could be in life.

So I would have to say a huge part of who I am, was taught to me by my mom as she and my dad raised me. Dad, I can’t leave him out, yep I am by all means a daddy’s girl lol. My dad is a Veteran, was long before I came along lol. A strong man, one that is quiet but when he speaks people listen. He taught me how to live life and have meaning in life. He’s one that no matter what a situation is you can go to him, and he would give his shirt off his back to anyone that needed it. But don’t ever mess with his family lol or you will answer to him. 

So I believe a huge part of me goes back to my roots. You know, I say all of the time children will be the future, they will be the ones to take the stigma away from PTSD so teach them and give them the tools to do so. Well, as I sit and think about the question asked, I guess in reality I’m one of those “children” myself. I was raised with not knowing stigma, I was raised to find answers when you don’t have one, to educate yourself, and to help others in the process.

How do I cope so well, I guess I was taught to.

When I saw the changes in Craig, I didn’t give up, I didn’t give in, and I looked for answers to what was happening to him. Knowledge is power. The more I learn the better I have been able to cope and understand what we are going through. And when you can do that, then it leads you to finding solutions and different ways of doing things to help in different situations.

I don’t and won’t give up life just because my husband suffers from PTSD. This is our life and even though PTSD is a huge part of it, it can’t have it. Sure, PTSD can weigh me down at times, it will do that to anyone, but when I see it doing that I start looking for those solutions around it and what it brings. I try new things, come up with things that may help and if they don’t then I try something else.  Finding things that help Craig rolls over to helping the whole family also.

The other thing that helps me cope is making sure I take care of myself. I take “me” time. I get outside some every single day. The little things in life can mean the most, that’s something to never forget or let go of. In order to take care of someone else, you must first know how to take care of yourself. A golden rule. 

A big part of coping with what PTSD brings is stepping outside of the box. You have to look at the big picture to what not only yourself, but the person with PTSD also goes through. Take consideration for them as well but at the same time consideration for yourself. Finding a balance is huge and wow can it make a difference.

Everyone knows PTSD is a serious roller coaster, there’s no getting around that. You take it one day at a time and don’t worry about expectations. The only expectation to have is we WILL live through this and we WILL see tomorrow. The rest will fall into place as long as you do everything you can to make situations the best they can be and take time to learn.

In order to cope with something, anything, you must first understand it. Once you have knowledge of it, then you can find solutions to situations as they come. And we all know with PTSD you never know what the next thing will be lol. Don’t fear it, don’t let PTSD weigh you down or get to you, and at times it will… face it! Pick yourself back up, wipe the dirt from your knees, and move forward. 😉

I’m just another person, I’m no different then each and every single one of you. Craig and I have the same struggles that each of you do every day of our lives. I use the tools of knowledge, and trial and error, to make each day the best it can be. I never give up, and I won’t let him give up! <3

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

Surviving in a PTSD Relationship…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Communication. 

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

* Set rules. 

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

* Get professional help. 

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

* Take care of yourself. 

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

* Physical and/or Verbal Abuse.

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

* Safety Protocol.

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

* Education.

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

* Stop fighting each other.

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

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

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

PTSD and Routines…

I had a question come to me about…

PTSD and Routines

So I want to talk about that a little.

“Hi Rebecca , I’m very curious, why people with PTSD like to do routines same every day and difficult for change it , example eat the same thing for 3 months , I can tell for tomorrow what my husband will do tomorrow.”

To answer this question from my personal point of view and observations, it’s because it’s what they know and there are no anticipations or expectations to it. Especially if they have memory issues which many with PTSD have. Like with food for example, Craig won’t remember what he likes or does not like so he will also stick to the same foods unless I place something different in front of him and tell him not to worry he likes it. This goes for most anything, when they know they can achieve something even simple things without fail, they are going to stick to it.

Memory again… the person with PTSD might not realize what they did or what they had the day before, when this happens they seem to repeat themselves or even the days. This happens a lot around here as well. Craig won’t recall much at all, only bits and pieces from the day before. When that happens he seems to repeat things rather it’s a conversation, food that he eats, an activity, etc.

I’ll be honest, when Craig first wakes up in the morning, I can almost bet you what he will or will not do during the day based on his mood and anxiety levels when he wakes.

For examples:
* If he wakes up and has really bad anxiety. Most likely it will be a day of severe memory issues, he will want to stay in the bedroom all or most of the day, and will most likely want to spend the day watching movies.

* If he wakes up and makes an effort or mentions getting coffee. Then it will be a day that he most likely ventures outside to get the mail and come back in, will ask me if I would like to walk outside with him, he will walk through the house and not stay completely confined to the bedroom all day, and will talk with the other people in the house.

I have found I have to be the one to change the things up without making a huge fuss over it. It’s kind of like helping them on to the new day and activities. Sometimes once they get comfortable with something that’s where they get stuck. When this happens I have found that slowly adding different things to the routine helps.

So to highlight the reasons this could be happening:

* Memory issues which causes repeating ones self as well as not trying new things or something different from the routine.
* Being in a comfort zone with that activity, food, etc.
* Doing the routine does not bring expectations.
* Doing the routine does not bring a sense of failure.
* There is not extra anxiety caused by anticipating the outcome of something new or different.

These are just a few examples for reasons ones with PTSD stick to routines. As a loved one, make an effort to help them slowly add other things back into their day, even if it is something as simple as a food. And be reassuring and positive with anything you do! 😉

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

What can I do to help?…

What can I do to help my partner with PTSD or myself feel normal?

This is a question I hear a lot! We know what PTSD does and how it makes you feel, sometimes it takes you away from the reality of what is actually right in front of you. It makes it difficult on the one with PTSD, their partner, as well as other family members in the home. So what can you do? Here are a few things that I have found can help…

* Wall Calendars: I know I say this a lot! It’s because I mean it. Wall calendars are a great way to keep track of things, remind you what day it is, when your appointments are, you can note on them how your day was, how your meds seemed to work each day, birthdays or special occasions, etc. I prefer wall calendars over dry erase boards… why? Because you can’t erase! It gives you a way to keep track and be able to flip back through things that have already happened as well as to flip forward to what is coming.

* Photos: Oh what photos can do for you!!! Putting photos of happy times, smiling faces, togetherness, up around the house brings attention to how you feel or feel about someone. I like everyday snap shots, the real life not posed for photos. They show you life and a sense of what life really is and are great reminders of the true self which sometimes gets lost in PTSD. And wow can they be some great conversation pieces! I have some up of Craig and I together when we were teenagers, one of where he and I both have huge smiles on our faces and he’s bear hugging me with my feet off of the ground, one of the kids being goofy together lol… you get my point! 😉 Use those memories to help you get through the rough or un-grounded days that come with PTSD. They are NOT meant to dwell on what is lost, fact is they are there to remind you of the good in you that is just masked by PTSD.

* Speak Positively: I know things get tough when you have a loved one with PTSD, that’s normal for it. BUT when you point out the good things, talk about positive things and don’t dwell on the negative so much, that flows over to the one with PTSD. It helps keep them from worrying so much and let’s them focus on good things and not what they might view as “let you down”. Even if they don’t appear to worry about you, trust me they do! Keep things positive and it will roll over to them and helps self esteem for both of you. “Look to the good” as a always say it.

* Smile: One of the hardest things to do huh? Did you know the fact is it takes less muscles to smile then frown? And that the expression on your face can be very contagious? Seriously! If you are upset or sad all of the time, what do you think that will do to someone with PTSD? It won’t be good I can sure tell you that! If you are smiling then that lifts stress off of the shoulders of one with PTSD, by human nature it turns to “why are they so happy, what did I miss?” Smiles are contagious… use them! 🙂

* Get Outside: PTSD will try it’s hardest to hide one away inside, away from everyone and everything… don’t let it! Fresh air is good for you, sunshine is good for you, the exercise of a simple walk or venture outside is good for you. Don’t let the sun pass across the sky each day without seeing it. It helps remind you that life is there. Feel the breeze blow across your face, hear the sound of the leaves or the birds chirping, take it all in and let it help remind you that you are a part of life!

* Support: Support is urgent with PTSD! This is not a battle to take on alone, you wouldn’t take on any battle by yourself without backup so why would you try to take this one on by yourself? Rather you are the one with PTSD or the partner, support, someone to talk to is much needed. By having someone or a group of people to talk to it gives you different points of views… other ways to look at things that you might not have thought of, gives you a chance to vent when needed, gives you a chance to share good things, and gives you a sense of belonging! Belonging, humm, strong word there isn’t it! There is a lot of different forms of support in this world, use them, they do help!

* Take care of yourself: This is something that any good parent taught their child growing up. You have to take care of yourself! Make sure you do the things you have always done, eat right, take a shower, shave, do your hair and makeup, brush your teeth, and take time to relax when you need to, find a hobby, and get sleep! House work is not going anywhere and will sure be there when you get back to it. Take care of yourself and do things that make you feel good. It will also help keep your self esteem up and the way you view yourself. And don’t ever say “I don’t have time” if you have time to text, be on the computer, etc then you can make time to take care of yourself too. 😉

* Except the here and now: Don’t let the “what if’s” weigh on you! They can really bring you down and you aren’t even sure what you think will happen will indeed happen. Live today, in the here and now, and enjoy it! There are going to be rough or bad days, that’s all a part of PTSD and what it brings, but make an effort to enjoy things. Say it to yourself “Right NOW I’m going to enjoy or do …”. It might be something as simple as sitting down to have a cup of coffee, kissing your partner on the forehead, working in the garden, or I feel good today let’s get out of the house. The here and now is endless, one day at a time and one step at a time… but you can do it!

To say the least these are just a few things that can help both you and someone you love that has PTSD. Try them! Use them! Let them help bring a sense of life back and remind you that there IS still good in all of this we are all going through! “Look to the good” and let it work for you!!

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD