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Military who suffer from PTSD

Military who suffer from PTSD

I know my last posting is going to pull on our active duty family, so I wanted to write something directly for you.

I know first hand that to one who serves their country, their job serving their country is worth more to them then their own life. You proved that the day you signed on that dotted line. And I have total respect for that. BUT… I have something I want you to think about.

I know that your greatest concern about reaching for help with PTSD is the fact you think you will be letting your country down by doing so. Come on  I’m a Veteran’s spouse, I know first hand and we have by all means been there.

However, I also know first hand that many with PTSD that reach for help soon enough, do continue their career with the military. I know that does not include everyone, but many still can.

I personally have a friend that retired this year. This friend reached for help and was able to make it to full retirement, and in fact, the military wanted this friend to stay enlisted and not retire! I also know a few others that are here that will be retiring soon. They are living proof that PTSD does not always have to be the end to serving.

Just because you have PTSD does not mean everyone is just going to be kicked out or let go. If you get help and you learn to manage PTSD, you have a good chance of remaining in the military if you choose to. You might not be doing the same exact job you were before, depending on what you do, but you could still be serving your country. And who knows, that new job might be something that helps you get an awesome job once you do retire!

It use to be, if you had PTSD, you were out of there. But times are changing. I am personally seeing more and more active duty that do reach for help, before PTSD gets severe, manage to be able to stay active duty and make it to full retirement.

And I also know for a fact what happens when you cover up your PTSD for too long, you can pretty much kiss your job good-bye, to put it bluntly.

Get help while you are still new to PTSD being a part of your life! There are so many things you will be able to continue to accomplish when you address the battle soon enough. If you think it’s going to be tough to face the stigma and everything that comes with PTSD early on, I can promise you it’s nothing compared to facing it once PTSD is severe and out of control, and what comes with that.

If you have a command that isn’t bending for you to get help, big deal! YOU are a fighter and proven hero, you can handle that. I know you can! You fight for your right to get help so you can continue to do what you want to for your country. Stigma is just words and the fear that comes from people who don’t get it. Don’t let that stop you from helping yourself in order to continue helping your country.

I know each and every one of you will gladly give your life for your country, but giving your life to PTSD without a battle is not going to help you to continue serving. PTSD is manageable, it’s not going away, but it can be managed so you can hold on to what you believe in!

You are military, you were trained to fight all sorts of battles, how is PTSD any different? It’s not! It’s just a different type of battle then you are use to. Don’t brush PTSD symptoms under a rug, fight it and learn to manage it so you have a better chance at that long term career.

I believe in you! I know you are the strong one who can make it through this. But you have to have help to do it. PTSD is not a sign of weakness, it’s actually a sign of great strength of making it beyond what a human being should have to experience. “The best of the best”, there are no other words for it! That is YOU! PTSD is not something to battle alone in silence, I know that for a fact! It will eat at your life on so many levels if you don’t do something. Get help.

Ever single active duty member that steps forward to get help is doing something amazing! You are not only helping yourself, you are helping your other brothers and sisters standing beside you. And that means more than any words can speak.

Just something to think about.

I thank you with every ounce of appreciation for the job you do for all of us. You are a strong hero, PTSD or not, and no one can ever make me feel anything less.

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

When you first start learning about PTSD OR a Reminder…

When you first start learning about PTSD OR a Reminder

There is A LOT to learn about PTSD, I will not lie to you and I will not tell you it’s going to be easy. It’s not going to be! But just because it’s not easy does not mean it’s not possible to make it through it or make things better. The more you learn, the more effort you put into trying and understanding, the better things can become.

PTSD is not going to just go away. It’s not something that you can just say “this can not be happening” and ignore it hoping things will be better tomorrow, and it’s sure not something to battle alone! When you do not face the truth of PTSD, do not accept it, and do not try to learn… you can almost guarantee life is going to get harder then what you are already experiencing.

There are a few terms/phrases you are going to hear very often related to PTSD (other then what’s in text book definitions)…

* Roller coaster ride

PTSD has that nick name for a very good reason, because that is exactly what you are going to feel like you are on! Every day can be different, especially before one learns to cope with PTSD (no matter which side of the fence you are on with PTSD). And even then, there will be days that a quick turn could be hit, then back again.

One of the golden rules of PTSD is to take one day at a time. Don’t have overwhelming expectations and learn the “tricks” to get through what does come. It’s not going to happen overnight, there’s going to be a lot of trial and error, and again a lot of effort, but things can get better then they are right now!

You are going to feel like your world and life have been turned upside down then back again, but with learning and putting good effort into it, things can get better and symptoms can be managed. PTSD is not going away, but there are ways of coping and managing it that can reduce the symptoms and put some symptoms at bay, so to speak. But it will not be handed to you on a silver platter and you are not going to just wake up one day and PTSD be gone. You have to work at it to make things the best they can possibly be! But things CAN be better then what they may be right now, but you have to actually DO something!

* Walking on eggshells

This is a phrase you will learn very fast, especially if you are a loved one of one with PTSD. You are going to find things “appear” as if you never say anything right, you can’t do anything right, you may “think” you can’t express your own feelings or emotions, you may even feel fear of PTSD, and you are going to experience the feeling of being alone, even though that person may be physically right beside you. And when a good day is experienced you might even feel like you are waiting for the other shoe to drop and wonder when everything is going to turn around again. Over time these things can change! Again, the more you learn, and understand, the better things can become. You will never understand exactly what the one with PTSD went through, you are not them and most likely you were not there when what happened to them happened, however you can learn to understand what they experience now as a result of what happened to them in the past.

Always remember, the nasty things that may come with PTSD are not the person you love, it’s PTSD. The person you love has not left, they are still there and you just have to find ways that work for you and them to help some of their old self shine through. I learned a saying a long time ago, “I know this is not you talking/acting this way because you would never do that, I know this is PTSD”… that one phrase may be the understanding I found that saved us.

When you find yourself walking on eggshells, make sure you are taking care of yourself! Take time to do something for yourself, even if it’s just getting outside, away from everyone for a few minutes. Self-help will help things become a lot better then they may be right now. And my goodness, learn the same coping skills one with PTSD learns!!! I can not say that one enough, you would be shocked at how much they can help you through the rough times. If you don’t take care of yourself physically and mentally, how are you going to be able to help or take care of someone else? You won’t be able to, and you may very well find yourself standing in the same shoes as the one with PTSD.

PTSD can have many different levels to it. Some can still function and maintain a somewhat normal life, others can be more severe to the point they have to rely on someone else to help them make it through each day, and everything in between. No matter what level of severity you or your loved one may experience, educate yourself on everything you possibly can about PTSD and the real life things that come with it, not just textbook symptoms! Doing so can give you the knowledge to battle PTSD on just about anything that PTSD can bring.

My husband and I do share our story, our experiences, and things we have found that do or can help. If my writings about our life can help just one person make it through living with or beside PTSD, then everything I do is worth it! I did not have help when things were at there worst, I battled what my husband was going through totally alone, and I do not wish that upon anyone! My words come from the heart and our experiences. I can place it all in writing but what you do with it from there is up to you. Whatever you choose to do or not do is up to you, but whatever it is, DO something to make things better for yourself and/or your loved ones.

I’m not a doctor or in any medical field. But I am a spouse that has been there and continue the battle PTSD each and every day of our lives, and I share our story with you!

Work together! Battling PTSD together instead of battling each other will help you accomplish much more in life. The battle is not between you and your loved ones… the battle is PTSD.

“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

Military vs PTSD

I want to talk to all of you that are in the military this morning. PLEASE bare with everything I have to say here and know I have the deepest respect for each and every one of you that put your life on the line for all of us rather it’s now, the past, or in the future. I also know that some of you might not like hearing some of what I may say here, but please read this in it’s entirety and know I’m not going to sugarcoat things and as always I am going to say it like it is. So just keep in mind I do have total respect for you as well as the job you do.  With as many emails that I get, I HAVE to and need to address this.

Military vs PTSD

I have to say military personnel, our proud brothers and sisters in uniform, are the ones in the most difficult position there is when it comes to PTSD.

See, one who chooses to be in the military, chose it as life, a life style, an honor. Very few walk away from it on their own after their first enlistment. Many do see it as a lifetime. Some have served for years, and many since they were in their teens. I know there is no greater position then serving your country. I know this firsthand because my husband was one of those who did. He was a lifer… at least that was his intentions, and he did not want to leave the military!

WE chose together for him to join the military, so I was by no means a wife that was not on board with it, I backed him 110%. Even though our paths separated for awhile through life, to say the least we got back together… and I couldn’t imagine life any other way.

I saw changes in him when we got back together, I knew what he had been through and accepted it. What we now know as PTSD was what he was silently battling with minor symptoms at the time from what happened to him. But one day that changed. PTSD honestly brought him to his knees, the man that I knew, many knew, as the best of the best, strong willed and stronger then many, and by all means a great leader to others had been effected by this unseen disability that we did not understand at the time.

His greatest concern was not himself, it was his military job. He was concerned that if he asked for help or told anyone what he was experiencing, it would end his career. We found ways to handle what he was experiencing, but it honestly was not enough. I started watching him get further and further away, I watched him change into a person I no longer knew, and PTSD did bring him to his knees.

He fought me on getting help. We never fought so this was really tough on us. But I knew professional help was needed. One day he stopped fighting it and me, and reached out for help. I will say right up front, help was not generously offered. It was a battle of it’s own, but we did not give up.

His memory issues were what stood out the most at the time. The picking fights for no reason, doing things totally out of his character, and eventually the issues rolled over to his work.

One day I had to break through to him. He wanted to give up when doors were being slammed in his face, things at work were becoming worse, and things at home sure were not normal. But I knew not to give up.

I had to sit and talk to him one day. It was not an easy conversation. He did not want to cause any more waves and chance losing is career, his love of the military and country. But he had to face the facts at hand.

“You love the military and you don’t want to let your country or family down. But what happens when what you are going through costs someone else their life? You care about your brothers and sisters, they are our family. But with the way you are right now, you could cause them harm or cost them their life if you don’t continue to try to get help for yourself.” Hardest words I ever had to say to him, but very much the truth and facts on the table.

Months of doctors followed, people thinking he was just wanting out, command not being understanding at all. Yes, I can say we were going through hell and the words PTSD were never even mentioned… not until later. They took him from his ship and put him at a desk job eventually. I really think a part of him died when that happened followed by us watching his crew deploy and he was not allowed to go with them. His loyalty to this country came first, and now it couldn’t. That cut deep. It cut deep for me too as I watched what it did to him.

Eventually he did lose his career. And don’t let me lose you here, keep reading please. After the military the battle became harder, adapting to civilian life is not easy so I will not tell you it is. His PTSD became worse no one was treating him for it, oh and the VA is who said PTSD chronic to us, he was discharged with conversion disorder because they said it was the only thing that fit, PTSD was never even considered to our knowledge.

If we knew then what we know now. A phrase that I’m sure will haunt both of us for life, but we won’t let that weigh us down. My military family, you have a chance we didn’t! I know it’s not easy and I know what it does to you to ask for help and then have to push to get it, I also know that many are afraid of losing their career and military life, for many of you it is all you know. I do understand because I see it through my own husband’s eyes.

But I also know and he does too, that if he had reached out for help sooner things might be different today. When you start treating PTSD soon enough, your chances of keeping your career become much higher. I am watching ones with PTSD make it to retirement! Your job might change, I can’t say for fact it won’t, but you can still serve your country. What you do for yourself now could change your outcome. If PTSD is there, it’s not going to go away and the longer you avoid it the worse it will become, there’s no getting around that one.

There are so many things now that can help. There is so much information, therapy, coping skills, etc that can help you now.

The fact is, and don’t get mad at me here  when you signed on the dotted line and joined the military, you knew there are wounds from war, you knew that one day the day may come that you served and could no longer move on to the next battle, it’s part of the job. You knew that the day would come sooner or later and you would have to join the civilian population again. But none of us expected it could happen by an unseen injury. Life does not stop at the end of a military career, rather you make it through retirement or not. Your love for your country, brothers and sisters does not stop. And it sure doesn’t have to stop at PTSD.

Those who do lose their careers to PTSD, your military job has not ended, so to speak. The page has just turned and you are needed to continue a battle, just of a different sort. Your battle you now or will face is continuing to help your brothers and sisters in uniform that face the PTSD battle. Your country still needs you and greater then ever! Wounds of war, you now stand in front of another brother or sister and guide their way through the wounds of war so they can live through the battle they now face.

PTSD is no joke, it’s taking more lives then war is. PTSD is not just going away, but it’s a battle that can be fought and won on a different type of battle field. Life is going to change, it’s just a fact of life, but you CAN survive it. Get the help you need, learn everything you can so you have the weapons for the battle, and you will find you have a huge following asking you to help guide their way, not just a battle but through life. Military will end one day for you, there is no getting around that fact rather it’s now or later, but the help you can offer those in uniform will never end, they need YOU! You still have a mission, prepare yourself for it.

I speak from the facts. I watch my husband’s eyes light up as they did when he was active duty, in a good way, every time I receive an email saying “what you wrote or said saved my life”. My “family”, we are living proof the mission is not over, it’s just changed. Don’t give up on yourself and don’t give up on those that are going to come behind you. Fight for the help you need now, it can and will make a difference for your future and the future of others.

My greatest respect to each of you that wear your uniform proudly and those that wore it in the past and will in the future. You are all Heroes… and that is a career that will never end.

“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

PTSD and/or Dissociation… Suicidal Thoughts/Self Harm

PTSD and/or Dissociation… Suicidal Thoughts/Self Harm

We talk a lot about how suicidal thoughts or any thoughts of self harm are very real to many that suffer from PTSD and/or Dissociation.

Just to note, I have started posting more about dissociative disorders as well because many do not know about them however they are extremely common with PTSD and many times give the explanation for symptoms that do not seem to fit the common PTSD symptoms.

So we know these thoughts can be present, some experience them quite often, some all of the time, and some from time to time. So what can you do when you have these thoughts of self harm?

* Professional Help.

By all means one of the first steps you can take is getting help! Having someone to talk to, vent to, even rant to can help you battle these thoughts on a professional level.

*Suicide Hotlines.

USE the suicide hotlines. There are there for you! The VA has a hotline for veterans and family and there are also many local hotlines available in many locations.

* Safe Room.

This is one that many do not have or use but could be very helpful, especially if you live on your own. Create a room that would be safe for you to go to when you are having feelings of self harm. A room that in painted in relaxing colors, no objects that you could harm yourself with, maybe just some photos of relaxing things to you or what are important to you that could help you focus on the good things in your life. You could have a wireless/cell phone in this room for outside help communication. Make it a quiet place where you can help yourself focus on getting through your thoughts.

* Comfort Animal.

I you have a pet that you love, use it to comfort you. Pets can do amazing things to help turn your thoughts to a positive direction. They are known for reducing blood pressure, anxiety, and offering a way to cope. Animals bond to their human and show you a sign that you are needed. All it takes is just simply sitting with them and petting them.

* Movies.

Have on hand a few good, happy, funny movies. Watching movies that have happy meaning to them can help you avoid the feelings of self harm as you sink yourself into what you are watching, actually a normal form of dissociating that we all can do. Even if you watch two even three movies, that’s okay. However many it takes to help you focus on something other then the harmful thoughts.

* Call a friend.

Call a friend and talk about anything! A friend is good for distracting yourself from the self harm thoughts, talk about the weather, a sports event, anything! Use the company of the friend to help you through this time.

* Take a shower.

Let the water help soothe you and help release the stress. While doing so talk out loud, cry, let the emotions and feelings out. The sound of water and how it can soothe the body can be of huge help.

* Drawing.

Draw out your feelings. If you are one that wants to cut yourself, try this instead… use a red marker and draw on yourself instead of using an object that could harm yourself. Let the feelings out but with avoiding the actual act of harm.

* Hit a pillow.

This is a very common one used. Instead of taking the feelings out on objects of harm or other people, hit a pillow over and over to release the stress and feelings.

* Rubber band.

This is also another thing that is commonly used. Put a rubber band on your wrist and when self harm or even stress comes, snap the rubber band.

* Journal.

Writing or typing out your feelings, thoughts, emotions can do wonders! Put your thoughts on paper and allow them to help release you from what you are experiencing.

* Read.

Same as with movies, read your favorite book or a good new book to take your mind off of the self harm and focus on the words you are reading.

* Clean.

This is one that women are very use to using, clean the house top to bottom. It keeps you busy, releases stress, and is an activity of exercise.

* Exercise.

Exercising or even taking a walk can help release built up energy which can be helpful with coping through harmful thoughts.

* Music.

Music soothes the soul… seriously. Listen to soothing music, focus on the music, it can help.

* Online activities/games.

We all know how hypnotic and time consuming they can be. In times of suicidal thoughts these things can be used to your advantage. Just be careful of becoming an addict which can easily be done. Use these things in times of those harmful feeling to help you refocus.

* Sleep.

Sleep is a hard one for one with PTSD, however taking a nap during harmful thoughts can be very helpful. In many cases, naps during the day might not bring the same nightmares/terrors the night brings, and you could probably use the extra sleep anyway. It can also help reduce feelings of anger or frustration.

* Kind people.

Some time in your life there has been someone that was kind to you or many people who were kind, look up to you, value you. Think about them and their kind words, focus on all of the good things they find in you, the good things that ARE there in you.

* Meditation.

Allow yourself to focus in your mind of a happy place, a place you enjoy, a vacation. Someplace peaceful. There are many forms of meditation, learn some of them and use them to help yourself.

* Talk to someone close to you.

Sit and let it all out! Lean on a loved one. Ask them to just listen and not judge or tell you what to do, just listen.

Whatever it takes, get help and know the things you can do to help yourself!

These are just a few things you can do to help yourself. Thoughts of self harm with PTSD are very real, but having the right things to use to fight those feelings are urgent. And YOU are well worth the fight! Never give up on yourself and know that there are many things and many people that can help you through this! 

A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

“I know I need help for PTSD, but we can’t reach for help.”

I want to ask a pretty serious question this morning. I have A LOT to say about this topic, and with very good reasons, but first I want to ask all of you something.

What will it take to HONESTLY help ones in the Military that are silently suffering with PTSD?

Over the past few years I have talked with MANY military personnel from many different countries, and I’m seeing the same issues.

“I know I need help for PTSD, but we can’t reach for help.”

I’m going to level with you, I know the military here is trying to break the stigma so those in the military are not afraid of asking for help, but it hasn’t happened yet! Something has to be done for them, and I mean NOW!

I talk to a lot of people, and I’m only one person. I personally know what my husband went through because no one wanted to help him even when he finally had to asked for it because there was no other choice but to get help. I know I had to go to a Chaplain to get help for him because command wouldn’t hear us. I saw how he was treated after reaching for help.

I watched his position be yanked from him in front of the crew and given to someone under him… a form of showing him who was boss and discipline. I listened to command blame me for the way he was acting and making simple mistakes. I saw what it caused when they told him he would not be deploying and him begging for them to fix him that he WAS going and not letting his crew go without him. I listened to them tell him he just wanted out, even though he had just re-enlisted, again, and had absolutely no intentions of getting out. I listened to him be told he just didn’t want to deploy, when HE CHOSE to take orders to that ship over a land duty.

I watched how they pulled back in from being underway and think it was funny that the ship was in a different location and no one told him and he freaked out when he got there and no ship to be found… done as a joke to someone battling memory issues. I heard his command laugh when I called them to find out where the ship was because it was not where they told him to report to. I thought my husband would end his life that day.

The ones that say “I have your back”, it didn’t exist! His brothers and sisters as commanding officers that he is suppose to trust the most with his life… they let him down! They mocked him. They put him through things that could have very well sent him over the edge. If it were not for myself and a few choice crew members that stuck by him, knowing what he was going through was wrong, my husband would have never made it off that ship alive.

No one ever said the term PTSD to us. We had no idea what he was battling. I just knew something was seriously wrong with him. He was discharged with conversion disorder, memory issues what are non-repairable. The VA was who put a medical term PTSD to it. This is all a short version of what going to his command resulted in at that time. And it is mild compared to some of the stories I have heard.

I know first hand what ones in the military go through, and it seems to be getting worse!

I have had many people tell me it’s not that they don’t want to get help, it’s that they can’t.

That sickens me!

Here we are trying to get ones to reach for help, teaching what we can about PTSD from our personal opinions and what life is like with it. And I am hearing more and more, “What do I do when I can’t go to my command?”

Sickening! I know not all commands are this way, but there seems to be quite a few that still are. My personal opinion is any command that does not get help for someone who needs it and is willing to ask for it, has not earned their position because they are letting their men/women down!

You push someone who truly has PTSD and say there’s nothing wrong with them, tell them they are wimps, tell them to buck up, etc. You may just be signing there death papers! You push one with PTSD too hard when PTSD has already brought them to their knees, you are tampering with your brother/sister’s life. They put their trust in YOU as their commanding officer, you buck up and do your job!

PTSD is NOT something to hide and battle on one’s own. When you are forced to, the long term damage is much greater then reaching for help as soon as possible. The sooner you get help or offer help, the better chances that brother/sister has in continuing their job and being able to cope and manage through life even though PTSD is present.

The suicide count is rising. I am hearing about it almost on a daily basis now, that’s a lot of people that lost the battle, and I’m only one small hole on the internet. Many of these lives could be saved if just someone in ranking authority would listen. If you don’t, the new stigma is going to become “How many of your command did you lose to PTSD?” That’s not going to look really good on any decorated record, now is it?

There are too many things out there now that can help, use them! Don’t stay stuck in the stigma, too many lives could be lost because of it if you do.

Just to note, this is not a personal attack on anyone or towards anyone in the military, I have very high respect for those in uniform. This is just spoken as my opinion and the truth of what I am personally seeing and hearing.

“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

PTSD vs Guilt…

PTSD vs Guilt

That is a very strong word and it carries a ton of weight with it. Guilt can come from many different reasons. But what are some of the reasons that can be related to PTSD?

You know, PTSD is hard enough for one to cope with and the struggles from day to day can be difficult, then there is guilt mixed with it.

Now, I’m not only talking about survivor’s guilt, which many with PTSD do have. That is a beast within itself already. Surviving when someone else didn’t, feeling as if you should have been the one that didn’t make it… it’s a huge weight to carry and you have to work hard to make it through those feelings every day. And to those of you that experience it, and yes my husband is one of them so I do understand what it causes. Don’t give up on yourself! I truly believe there is a reason you are here, rather it is a known reason or not to you right now.

Other common reasons guilt my develop:

* Not being able to work.

This is a tough one for many! You have a person who has worked their entire life, worked hard to succeed in what their line of work was, then they faced a disability that took it all away. They now feel like they have let themselves and others down by not being able to provide as they use to be able to do.

This was a very difficult one in our home. I had to find a way for this to be viewed differently and voice a different way of viewing it to easy that guilt. Craig is a disabled Veteran due to his military career, even though he can no longer work, he does receive financial benefits that he EARNED. To me, that IS indeed providing! 

* Feeling like a burden.

This is very common. A person always took care of themselves as well as others, and now is in a position that those things are not so easy, or not as easy as they use to be. That can weigh on a person.

But let me tell you something, even if you are viewing yourself as a burden to others, you are NOT a burden to that person who loves you. You are in their life for a reason, try to remember that.

* I can’t do the things I use to do.

The old me and who I am now. An extremely hard one to grasp. The I use to do this or that and now it’s hard to even leave the house.

You are still you! Things have just changed, change is a part of life rather we like it or not. On your good days, do what you can and try not to worry about the things you can’t. I know that is way easier said then done, but try to make the best of the now. Find new things to do. You might be shocked at what you can indeed do.

* Not spending a lot of time with children.

This is the hardest one on any parent. Soccer games, school events, crowded places, lots of noise and rowdiness of children. That can be overwhelming to PTSD. You start feeling like if you don’t go or attend everything then you are letting your children down.

I’ve got news for you on this one! No matter what amount of time you spend with children, no matter what you attend or don’t attend, quality is the key. As long as when you are able to you spend quality time with a child that is the largest thing that matters. They just want you to love them and be there for them, it does not mean you have to go everywhere. Children can be the most understanding and forgiving people in this world, so don’t let something that they can overlook and get past continue to weigh on you.

* Date Night.

I personally hate this term lol! You hear it all of the time especially from your friends in the social media. It can weigh on you that you don’t go out like everyone else does, you can feel guilt because it’s something you can’t offer your loved one or not on a regular basis. You feel as if you are keeping them from the rest of the world.

There is something you can do or try.  Even if you are one that your PTSD does not allow you to go out or not much, try some of these…

– Go out during off hours. It does not have to be a Friday night during dinner time outing to be a date night! Go out for lunch or during the week when things aren’t so busy. It is still going to mean just as much!

– Make special dinner plans, a movie, etc at home. There is nothing wrong with having a date night at home! Turn it into something special for the two of you, do something you two don’t normally do, oh jeez and for the ladies add that sissy romance in there lol. Even through numb feelings PTSD can cause, the motions to show you do care can still be used. 

* Not being able to participate in special events/holidays.

Just do what you can and take breaks when you need to! Holidays are overwhelming! Many time just showing face can be enough or making a call to let someone know that you would love to be there but it’s just not a good day. People are either going to take time to understand or they aren’t! Don’t let them weigh on you! You do what you can at your pace and do what is best for your situation.

– Take breaks to leave crowds when you need to.
– Show face even if you can’t stay… IF you are able to make it somewhere.
– Let people know that it does matter to you, even if you can’t make it.
– Do something on another day. A holiday does not always have to be celebrated on that day, anyone that has experienced military life knows this one well! You celebrate when you can.

* Spouses!

Don’t play the guilt trip!!! You will cause a lot of damage if you do. Work with the one with PTSD and find ways to cope and handle things. A guilt trip is just going to bring anger, frustration, the guilt, and your loved one falling into a really dark place. And sure won’t bring them any closer to you! DON’T do this to them!!!

There are MANY things that can bring guilt. Guilt can eat you alive if you allow it to, don’t let it. In many of the situations there are ways around allowing it to happen or take control of you. Don’t just give up. Guilt is a very real feeling and it’s not at all easy to overcome, it will take time and a lot of hard work, but do what you can! By trying to get past some of the guilt, you might just find new things in life you enjoy or can do. 

A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

” The simple things in life mean the most”…

” The simple things in life mean the most”

This is something that I was taught at a very young age and raised with knowing.

People seem to get so fixated on the materialistic things in life that they forget the important things. They focus on the fancy cars, huge house, dinner parties, expensive dining out, the “big boy” toys, the thrills and frills of high society lol. Oh don’t get me wrong, they can be fun and nice to have or experience. Sure, we have been there before lol, the fancy dress code for the high class parties, the fancy cars, the airplane, the 40 foot rv, traveling all over the country, the boats and other outdoor toys… we were there.But when it comes down to it, are they really that important?

Nope, not really.

See all of those glamorous things can disappear in a heartbeat. Then what are you left with? People who “were” around you for what you had… not for who you are, a society that you will no longer fit in with because your status has changed or you now have a disability or live with one who does, there are lots of things that come with it.

Do we miss it? Sure we do… at times lol! It was fun and exciting. We weren’t rich by any means, but we were able to budget “the finer things in life” into our life. But when it comes down to it, it only takes one thing happening for all of that “stuff” to go away.

I know you are wondering where I am coming from with this, as always there is a reason behind it. 😉 Yesterday I received a phone call telling me Happy Birthday, then the next thing said to me was “What did you get for your Birthday?” I proudly answered, “Oh Craig and the kiddos ordered me one of those large cookie cakes and they are grilling up a steak dinner for us to have together.”

Can you guess what was said next? Absolutely nothing. A long pause, then I was asked “What did Craig get you though.” I kind of chuckled it off and said “What do you mean lol I just told you.” Dead silence again. I realized right then, this was a person who didn’t get it.

This happening reminded me of how “things” run people’s lives these days. It’s a trap in society people fall into. I was perfectly happy with having a nice dinner with my family, I didn’t need anything bought for me, I didn’t expect anything as a gift. I had my gift right in front of me… my family enjoying time together.

PTSD brings many changes in life. But I can tell you one thing, if you are wise you won’t let the materialistic things take over what is important. That person who struggles through everyday just to be here with you, be thankful that they are! There are many that now struggle on there own because that loved one lost their battle with PTSD. Makes you stop and think now, and if doesn’t it should.

When something drastic happens in your life such as PTSD, there’s a good chance those “things” you have are going to disappear, people who you thought were your friends can walk away, and life is really going to change. No getting around that one.

“The simple things in life mean the most”… It’s a really good definition of how it is. Learn to appreciate what and/or who you do have in your life, treat them with respect, ones who have disabilities or illnesses… handle their disabilities they may have with respect, ones with medical conditions… have respect for your loved one(s). Don’t battle between yourselves, there’s a larger battle at hand, and it’s called PTSD. Fight it together! No one has to be there, on either side of the fence in this, the ones there made a choice to be there. Is there really anything else more important? I don’t think so.

There is not a car, a house, a big boy toy, high society, or any other materialistic thing on this earth that is more important then one’s life. I know this first hand, I let everything we worked so hard for in life go, in order to be able to be there to save my husband. And I wouldn’t trade that choice for anything!

Let your loved ones know you care today, even if it’s a rough day for both of you, take time to appreciate each other. Hug your children. Make a phone call to a friend. Reach out to someone who needs help. It’s the simple things in life that are priceless!

“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”


There are a few things I hear quite often, way more then anything else when it comes to PTSD…

“I want my husband back.
I don’t know this person I am married to.”

“I want to be who I use to be.”

I do understand what those mean, along with the feelings and thoughts that come greatly with them. I’ll admit, these have been spoken in my own home before. PTSD does change a lot of things in life. But, there is something that many are forgetting through all of this.

Rather you have PTSD or not, life changes. It’s a part of life. Each day is a new day and it will not be the same as yesterday, last week, or 10 years ago.

You might have more on your plate today then yesterday, or even come tomorrow. It might be an easier day where you feel more like the self you knew before.

Just because PTSD is now a part of life does not mean you are not you anymore, it does not mean you are living with a stranger… even though those thoughts and feelings are very real. The fact is, life has just changed, and will continue to change each day.

The person you knew is still there. What “happened” to them is what has changed.

In all that PTSD does bring, find ways to make the best you can of each day as it comes. Taking one day at a time and not holding a lifetime of judgement towards yourself or someone else is a huge key in all of this. Life changes my friends, adapt and grow with it.

“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”