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“How do I convince him/her that he/she needs help?”

Reach for help for PTSD

“It’s no big deal, I have PTSD in it’s box!” or 
“There’s nothing wrong with me!”

I have MANY very worried and concerned family members coming to me and the question I am hearing the most is…

“How do I convince him/her that he/she needs help?”

A spouse/partner, family member, or friend can beg, you can plead, you can fight… but it’s very doubtful any of those things will help until one realizes they NEED help. Unfortunately, by the time realization comes around, someone has hit rock bottom. “Someone” could be the one with PTSD, AND/OR the spouse/partner!

I want to tell each and every single one of you, rock bottom is NOT a place you EVER want to see with  #PTSD! Craig has seen it up close and personal, and I saw what he went through, and then what myself as his spouse went through. I am being very serious as I write this, and I hope everyone will take the time to read this in full, let your loved one read it, and really think about it, and by all means pass this along to someone it may help. 

I don’t know any other way to get a person to understand how important help is, except by telling our story. If we can experience this, unfortunately so can YOU and your family! The, “That won’t happen to us/me” does not apply with PTSD.

When Craig’s first trauma happened which caused PTSD, it was October 1996. He had a job to do, he could not stop what he was doing to process what he had experienced. Yep, you guessed it, he sucked it up and kept pushing forward, he had no choice. Without going into details being respectful to Craig here, that first trauma lead to a second trauma. He kept his mouth shut and kept sucking up what he went through.

I knew what happened, well part of it, I know much more now. He had called me and talked to me about it. We were friends back then. When we got back together 11-1/2 years ago, he again reminded me that he was not the same person he use to be. I understood to a certain point, I saw changes in him but nothing I thought we could not handle. But we had no clue it was PTSD he was battling. All of those years he kept pushing forward, pushing to be the best… what I believe was proving something to himself that what happened was not going to effect him, and yep… he kept sucking it up, and he was not about to let others know, him chance losing rank or his career, or people think he was crazy. Nope not Craig! He kept what we now know as PTSD, in a box, on a shelf, tucked away.

He still had nightmares from time to time, several times a week, I learned to avoid those rather quickly! He was emotionally distant compared to the Craig I knew when we were younger, I chalked it up to he had been through two marriages before me. He had these weird mood flips that I had never seen before from him. But those things seemed minor and nothing we could not handle on our own and work through.

In 2003 Craig and I agreed that taking orders back to a ship so he could get more sea time in and move up in rank was what we needed to do. And was what happened. We had no clue that going back to a ship of triggers would open PTSD’s box Craig had shelved so well.

When PTSD came out of it’s box in early 2004, it brought a vengeance with it! I mean a flip our world upside down and keep flipping it! He was doing things WAY out of his character, and had no idea what he was doing, and would fight to the end “that never happened”. His memory was severely effected which lead to issues at work, AND arguments, and a very uneven shaky ground between us, and much more. Throttle in hand (literally… airplane, sports cars, etc.) speed was his ultimate addiction that he had to have, and it scared the mess out of me. It was way beyond what I had ever seen from him. His drinking increased, which that part we were able to get a grip on, thank goodness! Dissociative symptoms had come to life which brought huge challenges with them… we will leave that part as such, it was REALLY horrible.

In a nutshell, PTSD had come to full life after all of those years of being for the most part, in it’s box.

He had no choice at that point but to reach for help. But you know what? We hit a roadblock there! It was the, “There’s nothing wrong with him!“. Until he messed up at work, then they realized all of the asking, begging for help from both of us was real. Thank you to a Chaplin that took the time to listen to me and talk with us to Craig’s command! I will be forever grateful to him. Craig started receiving help.

Craig was honorably discharged in late 2005 with conversion disorder, cognitive dysfunction with permanent memory impairment, and headaches/migraines, along with a few other things… they could not figure out what was wrong with him, he still did not want to lose his career and did not open up fully to the doctors, and due to the fact he had West Nile virus the focus had remained mainly on that.

We had not seen anything yet! Not long after discharge he hit rock bottom, and I mean hit it hard! He withdrew from everyone and everything, my social butterfly was not there anymore, and all he wanted to do was die. And he had it planned out… throttle in hand.

The Craig I knew so well all of those years would have NEVER considered suicide! But you know what? PTSD does not care who a person is, what position you hold or career you are in, if you are a civilian or not, or how they were before, those thoughts become VERY real life even to those who would have never thought of them before.

I am still thankful to this day that seven years ago I was able to see the signs. I took all of the keys, did not go to work, and stayed with him… sitting with my back against the door to the bathroom so he could not leave. You do not know the reality at it’s fullest of what PTSD can bring, until you have thoughts of or have talked someone out of  #suicide. It is not something anyone should have to face, but is very real. I do not know of anyone with PTSD, that if they are honest, has not at least had the thought of suicide at some point in time. Craig will tell you, he’s very open about it these days, if I had not made the choices I did that day, saw the signs, and talked him out of it, he would not be here today.

We were finally able to get him seen for more help. In 2008 was the first time anyone had said the term “PTSD” to us. In 2009 he was officially diagnosed by the VA with PTSD chronic and Major Depressive Disorder, and has remained in treatment.

It’s not a secret, Craig and I both share the facts in hopes of helping others. The largest question he asks to this day is, “If I had asked for help at the beginning, that first trauma, would I be the way I am today?” He’s pretty certain that if he had reached for help back then, today he would be leading a more normal life. That he would have had the tools, coping skills, and professional help to help prevent seeing the rock bottom he saw, and life would have been different, more normal.

You never want to be in the position sometime later in life, to find yourself asking that same question. Trust me, it comes with regrets and a lot of questioning yourself.

Today, he does require a full time caregiver, reality is most likely always will, but each day we work hard to get him to the best he can possibly be, we never stop trying… and in reality even though he is still severe, we have both come a long way from those rock bottom days. It’s been over 10 years since PTSD came out of it’s box, neither one of us or our relationship in reality should have survived what we both went through… but we did!

We survived and everyday we are re-learning how to live this new normal of a life with PTSD. Our relationship has grown and strengthened to a different type of level, something many people that don’t understand this life with PTSD, will never understand.

WE reached for help, the consequences where hard, I will not lie to you, but they were worth Craig being here today and our family finding a healthy balance. WE never stop learning or trying new things. We faced the fact our lives have changed, they will never be the same again, but life does not have to end just because PTSD is a part of it!

The reach for help is worth it, you are worth it, your family is worth it.
Don’t place PTSD in a box, on a shelf, allowing it to collect dust for a rock bottom appearance later. Take control of it, learn how to manage it, and LIVE with it!

 Love, Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD :FaceBook page

WELCOME to those who wear or have worn a Uniform…

I want to say a special, deep from the heart, “WELCOME” to all of the new faces here that wear a uniform, or have in the past. I know in your position it makes it much harder to reach out to others, we were there once ourselves. And  you just found a huge family that is full of support for each and every single one of you!

I know many think by the name that this is a page for spouse’s, it’s actually for EVERYONE! Military, civilian, spouses, loved ones or friends. It’s just based from our story and life through my eyes as a spouse. I found out a long time ago that the best way to learn how to manage life with PTSD being a part of it, is to battle it together, knowing both sides of the fence. So here, we all gather and lend a hand, a shoulder, an ear. I play no sides, I say things like they are from both the one with PTSD’s side and the spouse’s side, and I provide real life things as we know them or experience them. I’m not a doctor of any sort, not here to make a buck, and just completely here because I do not want others to have to go through as much as we did. Having real life information at the beginning is a great way to learn how to manage things faster, may help save a life, and may help to save a family.

PTSD is not easy, and it can be one hell of a ride at times. But I also know that knowledge helps you manage it and life is by all means worth living.

If you are one that is not comfortable with posting publicly on my social media page, there’s a small message button at the top right on there that you are more than welcome to use. I can also post things for you without your name attached, I don’t mind at all. I am the only one who runs this page, and I respond as I can around taking care of my Veteran and family… so if you have an emergency situation I do ask that you contact your local emergency help line or doctor, you are worth that call!

I, myself, have never worn a uniform… and was just the one watching the ship leave then waiting for the ship to pull back in, supporting my husband and the crew. But I proudly stand beside one who has (Love ya Craig!) and I know things through his eyes and his words very well. And Craig and I battle PTSD together.

And 😉 I am known for being detailed and long winded lol. So before I go there, I just want to say welcome and we are thankful to have you as part of our “family”!

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Everyone needs to read and share this…

PLEASE read and “share” this…

I’m on my soapbox this morning. So pardon me while I’m there but this needs to be said. The worst thing to me is knowing that so many people wear blinders when it comes to hearing the term “PTSD”.

Yes, by all means doctor, medications, and therapy can be of great help to ones who suffer from PTSD… BUT, yep I put a but in there… but the real help is going to come from the public and people learning about PTSD! That is YOU!

We have proof right here in front of us that educating yourself about PTSD can save lives! In numbers we can and do make a difference.

It does not matter if you know someone who has PTSD or not! And I can almost bet you DO know someone rather you realize it or not, many suffer in silence due to the stigma and what others will say or think. People, that’s sad!!! Each day there are ones with PTSD taking their own lives, the numbers are extremely high. Why? Because the battle became too strong for them to handle alone! PTSD takes support, it takes learning, it takes educating others, it takes this WORLD laying it’s differences to the side to save mankind!

When you turn your back on a person that is suffering, you are turning your back on a human being, and many times that person is a mother, a father, someone’s brother or sister, your friend, your neighbor, that nice person you met at the grocery store that offered to help you load your car, that person who went out of their way to hold a door open for you, that person who you made eye contact with that politely nodded and kept on walking. PTSD wears many faces, a person with PTSD is no different then you or I, they have just experienced something traumatic when maybe you haven’t.

Taking the time to learn about PTSD rather you think you know someone with it or not can honestly save a another person’s life! It is never too late or early to learn. PTSD can affect anyone, and I dearly hope you never have to experience it, but in all honesty look at the numbers of how many people do. Look at how many take their own lives each day… ONLY the reported numbers in the United States, now that’s reported numbers, that does not include civilians, unreported cases, or world wide… 22/23 per day! That’s a lot of people and YOU can help prevent this!

It only takes a few seconds to hit a “share” button from any PTSD page or share a link to a website… I mean seriously, you do it for everything else in the social media, it only takes a few minutes to read an article on how YOU can help or learn the basics about PTSD, and it only takes one second to save another person’s life! That person you passed in the store or made eye contact with, they may be the one on that last breathe that sees no hope left, did you know that YOU may be the person that creates a setting for them to keep fighting? I’m very serious, I pull no punches and I play no games, you never know when it may be you to save that person, and many times you may not even know you did.

If you were or are the one who suffers from this unseen disability, wouldn’t you want someone to care enough about other human beings to help YOU? ABSOLUTELY!!! Take the blinders off!

Ones with PTSD have feelings, emotions, and can throw a good cook out just as the next person, they can be great fathers and mothers and friends. DO NOT let the fear of the unknown blind you to what is all around you, stigma is a horrible thing and comes from the fear of the unknown. It only takes a few minutes of your time to educate yourself and share that education with others. And again, if PTSD happens to you or a loved one, wouldn’t you want someone to do the same? YES!

A person suffering from PTSD is not a bad person, they are only a person who has to fight harder to have as normal of a life as possible. They are not weak minded, if fact they are what I call “the best of the best”. Why? Because they have made it through something that completely changed their life, they have witnessed things that you can not even imagine the horror, and they fight everyday of their life to make it to the next! That takes a strong person in my book! Much stronger then many.

The only things you hear in the media are the bad things. It’s extremely misleading. And those bad things that are being reported most likely are cases where that person did not receive or was not able to reach for proper help. If you want those bad stories and cases to go away, you want the fear of the unknown to vanish, then do something!

Many of these people are heroes and many wear different “uniforms”. They are military, civilian, doctors, nurses, police officers, paramedics, firefighters, teachers, fathers, mothers, K9 trainers/handlers, etc. and they may just be your neighbor.

It is not a battle anyone deserves to fight alone. With support, education, and just taking a few minutes of your time, YOU can make a huge difference in this world… you can save a life! Why are you delaying? Rather you know someone with PTSD or not, I ask you to please… and I will swallow my pride and beg you, please hit the “share” button on this. You might just save a life today!

Let’s make this go viral! Someone out there and someone you may know, deserves it!

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

What is PTSD?

What is PTSD?

Sometimes we need to get back to the basics of what PTSD is, especially for those of you that are just starting to learn or have not heard of PTSD before.

PTSD is the abbreviation for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Majority of the time you will not see it spelled out and “PTSD” or “PTS” are commonly used.

PTSD is a psychological reaction to a highly stressful event(s)/trauma(s) which is/was outside of normal human range of experience. It is caused by experiencing or witnessing life threatening harm to oneself or that of another person. PTSD can effect anyone who has experienced a severe trauma where the symptoms last more then a month. Many believe it is only military related, which is untrue. Civilians can develop PTSD the same as one who had a military experience. The trauma experienced may be different, but the symptoms from “what happened” are much the same no matter what the trauma was that one experienced.

Some examples which could lead to PTSD developing:

* Military, Law Enforcement, Emergency personnel, Prison Guards, Doctors, Nurses, etc. related event(s).
* Car accident.
* Personal physical attack.
* Rape/Sexual Assault.
* Home invasion.
* Child abuse.
* Natural disaster.
* Witnessing a death of one close to you.
* Abuse (adult)
* Major surgery (such as breast cancer and stroke patients)
* Kidnapping or Torture.
* Mugging or Robbery.

Virtually any trauma that is life-threatening and damages the physical and/or emotional state or well being of an individual or causes intense fear.

Symptoms of PTSD:

  •  Reoccurring thoughts/re-experience of what happened.

Nightmares of the event.  Flashbacks.

  •  Dissociative symptoms.

Can include memory issues. If you have not heard of this one, please research it! This can in many cases explain things that do not seem to be PTSD related symptoms.

  •  Avoidance of people, places, or things that remind one of their trauma they experienced.
  •  Increased Arousal. Feeling keyed up.
  •  Sleep problems.
  •  Anger, Frustration, Irritability.
  •  Negative changes in beliefs and feelings.

May include guilt, fear, shame, lack of self-worth.

  •  Self destructive behavior. Such as alcohol or drug abuse.
  •  Suicidal thoughts or attempts.
  •  Physical symptoms can co-occur with PTSD.

Such as heart disease, digestive issues, upset stomach, high blood pressure, diabetes, and others.

  •  Other mental illnesses can co-occur with PTSD.

Such as depression, survivor’s guilt, dissociation, and others.

These are a few of the most commonly seem symptoms of PTSD.

Developing PTSD does not mean a person is weak, which is a huge misunderstanding by many. It means the person has experienced something beyond what is normal. Many people who develop PTSD may have experienced more then one trauma, compiling the traumas. Again, anyone could develop PTSD after a life threatening trauma, it is not based on being weak or weak minded.

There are many different treatments and therapies to help manage PTSD. It is highly recommended to seek help as soon as possible! The sooner you seek professional help, the sooner you can learn to develop ways of coping and managing the symptoms, as well as being able to maintain a more normal lifestyle.

Having a support system of some form, rather it is family, friends, support groups, online support, etc is urgent. These things are needed not only for the one who suffers from PTSD, but for family members as well. It is in your and your loved one’s best interest to take time to learn as much as you can about PTSD, the better educated you and your loved ones are, the stronger you will be to “battle” and cope with PTSD symptoms, as well as what can come with living life with or beside PTSD.

PTSD is not new. PTSD has been around for many, many years… just known as other names such as shell shock, battle fatigue, and soldier’s heart. With the technology in today’s society, PTSD has become a more known name due to the many forms of awareness and ones speaking out to the public in hopes of helping others and reducing stigma. Past generations suffered alone in many cases due to the stigma which does come with PTSD and the lack of information provided. Thus in the past, majority of known cases were related to military and other cases were unreported.

These are some of the basics of PTSD. There is a lot that can be learned as well as taught regarding PTSD. Rather you believe you know someone who suffers or not, the hard fact is, you probably already do or sooner or later you most likely will know or meet someone who does suffer from PTSD. Learning about PTSD could very well help save lives. PTSD is a very real disorder and has touched many, many, people’s lives. It is not something that one can just snap out of, get over, or forget about. When PTSD affects one’s life, they relive the trauma they experienced each and every day, it is not just going away. Ones with PTSD are very strong individuals who fight every day to make it to the next the best they possible can and to be there for their family/loved ones, have a heart, please take the time to educate yourself.

One who suffers from PTSD is no different then you or I, they have just experienced something we may have not.

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD” :Website

A Spouse’s Story PTSD :FaceBook

PTSD and Fireworks…

Has anyone noticed that many with PTSD are having additional symptoms or increased symptoms right now? Now, do you know why?

For those of you in the United States… What’s coming? Ah… the 4th of July! (There are certain anniversaries or such going on in other countries as well) Which means…

Fireworks…Crowds…Celebrations…Expectations! Oh fireworks!

Fireworks. 

Many ask why fireworks. Because they might resemble what someone, especially military/war related OR a natural disaster, went through.

Many that do understand believe it’s because of the sound they produced, which is very true however not the full truth to them. What about the vibration they give off, vibrations from them can also effect one. Then you have the light produced from them, it can be another PTSD trigger as well.

So the one with PTSD might be able to manage through the lights, vibrations, sound but you can’t figure out why fireworks are still a trigger to their PTSD. But are you still missing something? What about the smell? Ah… you might not have thought about that one, the smell. Many that have experienced military trauma relate the smell of fireworks to combat.

In a situation where natural disaster was at hand, it may be more of the sound, lights, and vibration over the smell sense that trigger a person.

You have to keep in mind ALL of the body’s senses when it comes to PTSD. PTSD can react to anything that can be sensed that reminds them of what happened to them.

At times, ones that are triggered by fireworks can find ways to cope through them, others may have a more difficult time doing so. It all depends on the person and their level of coping at that time.

So what can you do?

* Some will face what is going on. Actually sit, watch, and focus on fireworks to try to help keep themselves grounded to present time and place.

* Some will stay inside to avoid the smells fireworks produce. Or to avoid the light they produce, also by keeping the curtains shut to block the light.

* 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. Helicopters are another thing that is a huge trigger to many due to vibrations.

* 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.

* Talk to someone through these times. Having someone to talk to and focus on can help, as well as help keep you grounded.

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.

PTSD does start showing more symptoms when one is getting closer to days like the 4th of July. Recognize what there is a cause for additional symptoms and they are not something that are just coming out of the blue. With PTSD, there is always a “something” to cause the flashbacks or triggers. When you learn to recognize the causes or reasons, it makes it a little easier to handle and learn to cope best as possible when those things come. 

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

Surviving in a PTSD Relationship…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Communication. 

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

* Set rules. 

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

* Get professional help. 

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

* Take care of yourself. 

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

* Physical and/or Verbal Abuse.

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

* Safety Protocol.

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

* Education.

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

* Stop fighting each other.

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

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

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

Happy 2nd Birthday!!!

After spending many years fighting this battle called PTSD, just Craig and I, I felt the loneliest I have ever felt in my lifetime. After a few years of learning about PTSD in the beginning and doing what I could to better understand it, I refused to believe we were alone. Just over two years ago I started the FaceBook page trying to find others like Craig and I out there, There had to be others that were going through the same things we were, and ones that had already experienced it.

I decided that if I could help just one person, just one person out there have more knowledge then I had in the beginning, if just one family could be saved, if just one person realized they were not alone, if just one person learned it’s okay to reach for help, then the effort for me to try was more then worth it. I think in a way it was also my reach for help into the unknown, my little hole on the internet as I call it. If we were going through this, someone else had to be too.

I found out really fast that we were by no means alone! There are many of us.

Two years ago today I sat here in my desk chair, looking at this page, and realized just how many this page had touched in such a short time. I sat here and realized that I could do more! My mission was not going to stop here. When Craig woke up on this day 2 years ago, I told him “A Spouse’s Story PTSD” and every single person it touched was worth it, they ARE worth it. I had purchased the website domain that day, a Birthday gift to myself and hopefully a gift of life and understanding to others.

Today, I want to thank all of you for becoming a part of this “family”! We have had so many friendships form here, we have kept each other’s backs, we have picked ones up when they reach the down side, we have shared silly things that life brings, we have laughed together as well as cried together… THIS my friends is what the word FAMILY is all about! And I am proud and honored that you are a part of it!

It’s not about numbers to me, it’s about heart, helping, and understanding… reaching out to a hand that needs to be held onto and not letting go. However, that number of 30 people two years ago has now reached approximately 70,000 people and growing! No, none of us are alone anymore! Thank you for helping me spread the word and awareness about life with PTSD, that has touched so many lives, you ALL ARE “The Best of the Best”!

Today on the calendar it says I was born 40 years ago today, but you know what? Two years ago today was a very real birthday. I wouldn’t change it for the world!

HAPPY 2nd Birthday “A Spouse’s Story PTSD”!

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

Perimeter security and PTSD: Paranoia and/or Alertness

staying safe

Perimeter security and PTSD: Paranoia OR Alertness

This is something that becomes a huge part of life with PTSD for many. Checking the window and door locks seems to be the most common, but it can go much further then that for many. It’s linked to paranoia and/or over alertness that PTSD can bring related to one’s safety.

See, once you experience something that possibly threatened your or your family’s life, and most likely linked to PTSD, you become alert, many times over alert. This is common in veterans/military, assault/rape victims, and abuse victims… I like the term survivor better personally. It’s your natural defense for the “I won’t let that happen to me again.”

Caution to me is always a good thing, however it can consume you if you allow it to. The fear of the attacker or situation, and belief it will happen again takes over. All of the “What if’s” that can come with PTSD.

You could find yourself not only checking doors and windows but also constantly looking out the windows, seeing and hearing everything, noticing and being alert to everything that moves from the corner of your eye, find it hard to make eye contact with others or letting them too close to you, being over cautious to your loved one’s safety, etc.

Your defenses for protection can go into over drive. Extra security around the house, cameras, lights, video recording systems, electric fences, fences in general, guard dogs… and even weapons. There are some that use geese for their alert system, and some that go to extra measures of the type of landscaping and gravel/rock around their homes. Many even move out of populated areas or to ones that have more space to where it is more noticeable if someone approaches. And also gives PTSD a breathe of space and silence from the busy world.

The measures one may take for their safety and piece of mind can be great but again, they can also consume you… which is not a good thing many times.

So what are things that you can do to help you feel more secure yet not let it consume you?

* Window treatments.

– There are so many different kinds these days! There are blackout curtains where you can see out but others can’t see in.

– Curtains that are more thin so you still get light in and not feel confined inside but can be followed up by a heavier curtain for times they need to be closed.

– Sometimes if the paranoia is really high, it’s good to just close the blinds and focus on coping.

* Electronics.

Cameras, computer systems, house alarms…

With technology these days this one is endless. Whatever system you choose to use, if you choose to use one, just make sure it is not going to be to the extent that others within your home feel like prisoners. As well as your neighbors not feel like the FBI moved in next door. Paranoia can roll over to others very easily and you sure don’t want people saying you are out of your mind or feel threatened/scared of you.

* Lights.

Think out of the box on this one. Sometimes those fluid lights are not always needed. Motion sensor lights can be an easy fix as long as you set them in the right locations and remember that sometimes they can be set off by animals and strong winds.

But there are other things these days you can also use. Landscape lighting, glow in the dark stepping stones and/or garden fixtures, lamp posts… Things that will blend in that are appealing to the eyes of outsiders and not cause alarm or over reactions from neighbors, but still give you the sense of security.

* Locks.

Fort Knox is not needed to feel safe. There are many products on the market now that can be used and do just as good of a job. There are lock sets that can easily be changed or code changed after someone has had access to your home such as a repair man or relative. Locks on windows can be updated. Just whatever you use, remember if there is an emergency and people need to get out, they can get out… this is where you don’t let the security consume you to the point it could cause harm.

* Dogs.

I am putting this in here for a very good reason, this seems to be the first thing by human nature to turn to. I know just a little bit 😉 about this subject lol.

For those of you that turn to using dogs for protection and/or alert purposes there are a few things to keep in mind.

– A dog is a responsibility.

– Getting an aggressive breed of dog and putting it in a back yard and/or confining it from people outside your family is only going to cause you more problems and heartache and could very well damage your checkbook.

– Dogs are pack animals, they in majority of cases will not protect someone they are not bonded with. In many cases they will welcome an intruder that gives them attention. You also have the chance of them attacking a child or someone they should not, that isn’t a threat, if they are not properly trained. Majority of dog bites happen within the dog’s own family.

– If you are one that decides a dog is what you feel you need for protection, make sure it is trained and socialized, it could save you from possible legal action and problems within your own home.

– In my opinion the best dog is a quiet one unless there is a true reason for alarm/alert, well socialized and trained, and one that is a family dog I can almost guarantee you will do the job it needs to if that time arises. On the norm, not by any means in all cases, just the appearance of a dog present can detour one.

Okay, I will spare you there, you know I could write a book on this one.

There are many things you can do to help lessen the feelings PTSD can bring. Use your coping skills! There are also many worksheets out there that can come in handy when these feelings overwhelm you, they allow you to see with your own eyes the differences between the facts at hand and the “what if’s”. Once you are use to using these skills, they don’t have to be done on paper but can be used mentally. Always look at the facts at hand and learn to face what you are feeling, which is very real, but find ways to not let it consume you and your loved one’s lives.

Caution is always welcomed, just don’t let it consume you to the point you become a prisoner to it.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

“Self-Esteem” things to help…

“Self-Esteem”

This is something for everyone! 😉 Self-esteem is one of the hardest things to keep up when it comes to PTSD… and it does not matter which side of the fence you are standing on either. I don’t know of anyone that hasn’t or won’t hit the down side of it sooner or later.

Being in the rut of it is not a good thing either. I know this first hand. The key is to never give up, there are always ways to pull yourself up and out of it. Then, when it comes again and trust me, it will come again, you work to pull yourself up again.

The one with PTSD:

“Oh those medications, (many times) the weight gain, lack of energy, all of the anxiety, the sleepless nights, lack of sex drive and emotions and/or feelings”…. You look in the mirror and think “Who is that? Why would someone want to be with me? Where did I go?”. The thoughts run through your mind of “why am I here? Why would someone love me? No one is attracted to me? I’m useless!” You just don’t see you anymore. Now hang on there, I’m coming right back to you in a moment. 😉

The one living beside PTSD:

“Oh I’m so lonely, my life is out of control, I’m worn out from having to take care of everything, my husband/wife doesn’t look at me the same anymore, I’m not attractive anymore, I don’t want to spend the extra time making myself look nice when no one is going to notice, I feel like I have a roommate now not a husband/wife, I miss the good times… the fun times, I miss the physical relationship, …”

Oh boy! WE have a huge problem here. You have two people (in a lot of cases, even though this can go for just one person of either side) that has lost their self-esteem and now playing ping-pong off of each other. I don’t think that’s going to work for any of us.

This is when we have to step up and put our foot down to ourselves! “I am not going to allow myself to be like this.”

It’s time to do something. No matter what PTSD has done to you or brought to your life, you can still find your self-esteem! Even if it is not as much as you had in the past, self-esteem is self-esteem and you can find it.

Things that can help:

* Take a shower. I’m serious, many start losing the fact of what things are basic that they still need to be doing. Bathing refreshes you, makes you feel better, and sure helps those around you want to be around you more. 😉

* Brush your hair and teeth. 

* Put on fresh clean clothes each day. It becomes a bad habit to say “oh I didn’t go outside yesterday so this isn’t dirty, I’ll wear it again.” Don’t do that to yourself. Let each day bring a new you and sometimes changing your clothes or fashion for the day can bring some of that self-esteem back and help you view yourself differently.

* Hair cut and/or Shave. Something you notice in the mirror and can change your whole outlook on yourself. Ladies, if you are one that always shaved before, don’t stop now or you will not feel very good about yourself.

* Exercise. I don’t care if it is just doing sit ups while laying in bed or taking a walk outside. Any type of exercise can make you feel better about yourself and even change the way you view yourself in that mirror to the better.

* DO something. Anything! Doing something equals accomplishing something, even if it’s just a step forward to accomplishing something larger. Accomplishments of any size equals self-esteem.

* Change bad habits. Changing or working on changing bad habits, or ones you know aren’t so good for you will lead to you feeling better about yourself.

* Notice others. Tricky one there, isn’t it? 😉 Taking note of someone else and actually saying something nice not only will make you feel good but can improve how someone else is viewing themselves.

* Sex. Oh my lordy yes I’m going there! This is a huge issue that comes with PTSD. The lack of or decreased amount of physical relationship can weigh on both of you dearly or you as an individual! Medications, lack of self-esteem, decrease in or inability to function, not feeling worth, etc. etc. etc. These are all very real situations and play a toll on you. There are many different ways to have a physical relationship with the one you care about… and no lol, I’m not listing those off! 😉 Use your imagination! At least attempt to continue your physical relationship, don’t let what you can’t do interfere with your closeness with another person. Back to that saying “motions = emotions”. Everyone deserves to feel needed, wanted, cherished… it’s human! Don’t let what PTSD brings to your life step between you and what was there or could be there. And I can bet you will find a little self-esteem hiding in there when you find some sort of closeness with your partner. 😉

Okay 😉 I will stop there even though as always there is a long list to things that you could find to help. Find the things that make you feel better about yourself and you can almost guarantee someone else will follow suit. Self-esteem is one of those things that is contagious, like a smile is. Find it within yourself. It won’t only change you, it may just change a person’s outlook about you and themselves both.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

“The PTSD Dance”…

“The PTSD Dance”

It’s that old saying “one step forward two steps back”. Something my good friend at “PTSD and ME” ♥ reminds everyone about quite often. 😉

When one with PTSD puts their energy into something, you can almost bet, and need to keep in mind, that the day(s) following will need to be what I call “down days”, where they can just relax and are not expected to do anything.

This week is a good example. Craig put all of his energy into helping me out with the repairs I needed to do to my pond. He made it out of the house, spent some time in the garage, and helped me get the new filter system into the pond.

See, with his PTSD as well as depression, that was a lot! It’s hard for him to even make it outside, then adding the physical stuff into it, let’s just leave it to that was a big step for him. (Thank you babe!)

However, I also keep in mind that after the effort is made on something like this, it takes a lot out of him, not just physically but emotionally as well. It normally takes approximately 3 days for him to recover from one day like this.

And these are the times that the “no expectation” rules come into play. He did great! Helped out. And now needs time to gather his strength again.

One of the things to keep in mind the most with PTSD is not to expect too much! Trust me, when they can do things they will! But placing expectations/or too many on one can bring a huge weight to them on top of their PTSD, it’s just not worth it. Why put yourself and them both into that situation? There are enough things in life that already bring expectations, and even those things bring a huge weight, do yourself and your loved one a favor and don’t expect any more then what they can handle and trust them when they say they can’t do any more, they know their limits. It will help life be a little easier with PTSD. 😉

It all goes back to the “one step forward two steps back”… so you can dance again. 😉

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”