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PTSD and Things you might not think about.

PTSD and Things you might not think about.

We know the text book definition and symptoms of PTSD, but what about the other things? What else can come (co-occur) with PTSD?

* Depression

* Habit forming behaviors (such as checking locks, windows, doors, biting fingernails, shaking of the legs…)

* Cognitive functioning/ Memory problems

* Addiction (such as alcohol, drugs, pornography, video games)

* Physical Health problems. (listed individually)

* Heart disease

* Weight gain

* Heart palpitations

* Diabetes

* Physical Reactions/damage from medications

* Bed wetting

* Low self-esteem/self worth

* Hallucinations

* Trouble finding or keeping a job

* Relationship issues

* Difficulty concentrating and/or making decisions

* Upset stomach/Digestive problems

* Headaches

* Tightness in chest

* Rapid breathing

* Feeling jittery/agitated

* Sexual issues (reduced sex drive and/or lack of wanting or enjoying. Both men and women)

* Physical aches/pains

* Guilt, shame, or self-blame

* Feeling hopeless or helpless

* Lack of trusting or feeling betrayal

* Loss of interest in things that use to be important to you

* Isolating one’s self from others, even loved ones

* Sleep Apnea

* Reproductive related problems

* Dissociative symptoms

* Self-harm

* Physical or verbal/mental abuse to others

WOW! And that’s sure not a complete list. There are many things that can come with or from PTSD. Learning what those things are and information about each symptom, physical or mental, one with PTSD can or does have can help you cope better and handle things to the best possible level. Even if one does have one or many of these symptoms, there is hope and things can be done to help.

Getting help for PTSD at early stages can greatly help in preventing many things from happening or starting. If one has already had PTSD for some time, you still need to get help so the days that follow can be better then what you may be experiencing right now.

This is your life! Reach for the help you need, lean on others, use your support system, seek professional help, and know that life IS worth living, even with PTSD! You are the “best of the best”, don’t allow PTSD to take that away from you. 

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

So it’s a holiday, birthday, anniversary, special event…

So it’s a holiday, birthday, anniversary, special event… 

You might be faced with PTSD hitting it’s all time high… and not in a good way! Your loved one with PTSD seems so selfish, only thinking about themselves, forgetting about everyone else or who ever is having that special day… so you say. This is another one of the things I hear a lot and have seen myself. But do you understand why?

* Survivors guilt.

Survivor’s guilt can be a huge part of this in many cases. When the one who suffers from PTSD feels that they let someone down, or a life was lost when they felt they could have been the one to change the outcome, they should have “been there” or even if they were in a position that they themselves took another life… they survived but someone else didn’t. This also can happen to a Veteran who has been out of the service but yet hears of one of his brothers that has lost his life during duty… it makes their mind go into “if only I had been there for him”. But again, it’s not only related to the service. It really flares up PTSD on all holidays, birthdays, etc.

Survivor’s guilt is something a loved one might not even know is there. A sure sign of it is on those special occasions when everyone else is happy and smiles and the one with PTSD feels guilty of being alive. They feel that they don’t deserve to be happy, that they haven’t earned it, that it’s not fair or right for them to have happiness when someone else no longer has that option. They feel a life lost took someone away from their family and caused so much hurt. It’s almost as if it’s a way of punishing themselves for the hurt they feel they have caused. But survivor’s guilt is in a way like PTSD itself, it’s hard to control those feelings, if indeed they can at all. The fact is, many of these experiences were out of their control, they were in a position to where they had no choice, but they take the responsibility as their own. Leads to survivors guilt.

* Added expectations.

Another reason for this change at certain times of year is also the fact that the holiday, anniversary, or special event may put them in a situation of being around crowds, people laughing and having a happy time when they can’t seem to find the happy within themselves. Many see it as the person with PTSD is being selfish, but in reality they don’t view it or think of it that way at all! Their mind is on the loss and coping with it. Also, it’s focused around what they are expected to do or how they are expected to act which is difficult for them… it’s really not them being selfish at all. It rolls back to what happened to them and how they respond to their trauma.

* Anniversaries… of what happened.

Anniversaries of the trauma is one of the largest. You might not know the exact date, but if you watch closely you will know approximately when the trauma occurred. You will notice PTSD becoming extremely bad at a certain time of year, majority of the time not linked to any other holiday or event. Many think it just comes out of nowhere, but in fact there might be a link… that anniversary date.

* Dissociation

Dissociation is still one of the hardest terms out there for people to wrap their heads around. It many times can come with/from PTSD. It’s a form of detachment. Detachments from their surroundings and can become sometimes more serious to detachments from their physical and emotional experience. It’s a way of coping and in terms a type of defense mechanism. Everyone experiences some form of dissociation, even if it’s daydreaming. But it can also become more severe when a trauma has occurred.

A person can experience fragmented memory problems or even amnesia but this does not always occur for every event or all of the time, sometimes it can be triggered sometimes not. Sometimes one may act in ways that are not themselves so to speak, spending money when they normally would not, cheating or having “another life” which is out of their normal character. Psychological numbing can occur. Judgement altered from their normal can occur. There can even be parts of their identity altered in severe case… split personality. Now, with this they are NOT like this or experience this all of the time, they could act their normal selves then out of nowhere, loosely speaking, something changed or triggered them and they are not acting themselves anymore.

“Dissociative disorders are typically experienced as startling, autonomous intrusions into the person’s usual ways of responding or functioning. Due to their unexpected and largely inexplicable nature, they tend to be quite unsettling.”wikipedia

When dissociation is involved, at the time or moment it is effecting them, it seems that a person only thinks of themselves, is distant from everyone, and can very well act like a totally different person, have memory issues, etc. To say the least this is a huge subject and this is NOT all of the details that go with it, but dissociation could very well be at hand when one disconnects etc. Again, this does NOT mean the person is “bad”, it means there is something else their causing their actions when they may occur, which is NOT all of the time.

So before you jump to calling a person selfish or that they lack caring about someone else or you, ask yourself why they are acting in this manner. No one with PTSD purposely wants to hurt someone’s feelings or ruin a holiday or event. They are in fact dealing with that trauma and what is has caused. Always take this into consideration and ask “why” before jumping to conclusions or taking things personally.

There are ways of helping them through these times. Not everything has to be bad, and not everything is bad. Try pointing out the positive things they have done in their lives, people they have helped, ones that did live because of them. Remind them of the progress they have made. Whatever you come up with that helps will not take their trauma or feelings away, but it can help them have a better day and that might just make events or holidays better. Look to the good, as I always say. It will help!

~Bec
“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. 

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

Relationships: Communication and Balance…

We have a question brought to the page. It has been asked…

“Any advice on how to manage the emotions that flood you when your spouse w/PTSD goes out to a bar with his battle buddies…and you can’t even get him to take you out to dinner on a date?”

This is my opinion,

I have found this is extremely common. I know we have been through it. And it can sure overwhelm your emotions greatly!

First, understand what is happening. You as the spouse know the deepest things and emotions that PTSD brings to one, you are the one that sees it all, experiences it beside your PTSD loved one, and sees the bad and good that comes with it. The other people most likely have not.

When one with PTSD is having a good day, they try to put on that happy face and go out and do things they enjoy doing but can’t always make themselves do. Hanging with the guys is a very common one. It’s a comfort zone, but at the same time a place where all of their deepest details are not known in majority of cases. Almost like an escape from it for a little while. In some cases it’s also their way of taking the guilt away or the burden of their spouse having to do so much or be there for them during this time.

However, as a spouse we don’t see it that way. We see it as they finally make it out of the house and here they are hanging with their buddies and not spending any of their “good time” with us. The spouse wants to enjoy the good breaks in PTSD as well and with their loved one.

One thing I hear a lot is “I take care of him/her all of the time and as soon as he/she has a good day everyone else gets him/her besides me.” It’s heartbreaking to a spouse! Especially when you are happy to see them doing something normal but at the same time you are upset, maybe even angry because you don’t get to share any of that good time with them.

PTSD only allows so much energy at a time, and when it gets worn out, that’s it, the good time is gone and the PTSD battle starts again. So one with PTSD seems to try to soak up as much as they can during that time of and to feel normal.

The spouse is the one they trust, the one they know will be there, again the one that sees it all, and sadly is many times the one left out. It’s not purposely done at all! Many don’t even think about or or even realize they are doing it. In their minds it’s no big deal because they know you are there for them. They trust you.

But, that doesn’t change the way the spouse feels. Hurt feelings come.

Normally having a talk and communicating about how you are feeling and how you view it can be of great help. It doesn’t mean they can’t hang with the guys, it means that you would like some of their “good” time also.

Try to find a balance. We know it’s important to them to be able to feel normal and do things they want to do, but as with any relationship it’s a give and take situation. Both of you have needs and finding the balance within that is a huge key.

Making sure your PTSD spouse understanding that you would like some of their good time is important. Work together to make good time for the two of you together. It doesn’t mean it has to be set on the calendar, but make sure the time is there when a good day comes. Maybe, you can have an outing together during the day, lunch out together, then that night he can hang with his buddies. That puts it to where neither of you are trying to cram everything into one night or him constantly looking at his watch to see how close the guy time is, that keeps things from being on a crash course of hurt feelings.

Have date nights, as much as I personally hate that phrase. Times when you two only have to focus on the two of you. No plans for anything else. You are married, there has to be a balance and every night can’t be a buddy night or it is really going to come between you two.

Many times when a spouse is caring for one with PTSD they are home bound much of the time. When the one with PTSD does hang with the buddies, take that time to do something for yourself. Don’t spend the time cleaning house or doing errands. Do something that helps you feel good. This also gives you a break to see your friends or family. It allows you to have “me” time without having to watch over them so to speak.

Another thing that I have seen happen is one with PTSD at times seem to be able to just drop everything and make themselves do something when someone calls, but yet they don’t do that for the spouse and their time. I think this goes back to the comfort level between the spouses and the fact that one with PTSD many times feels guilt if they don’t do something when someone else calls or asks for a favor. It is a way they help their self-esteem, feel needed by someone other then the spouse, and feel guilt that they have let someone down if they don’t give in to what is asked of them.

Now that part can bring issues. If they are not having a good day but yet drop everything and go, you can almost bet the next day or few days they are not going to be able to do anything! They are worn out! This happens during those buddy situations also, especially if it’s military buddies. They have that bond that they have to be there for each other. But if it’s not one of the good days, they are going to pay the price later. To avoid the guilty feelings and fight having to be out when they actually are not ready for it, it brings higher anxiety, caution, etc. and all of that will not only physically but also mentally wear them out.

So there is a lot that goes with this other then them just having a good time and leaving a spouse out.

Balance. You have to find a good balance. The one with PTSD also needs to learn their limits and not push themselves too hard to try to please everyone.

Handling the emotions.

That can be extremely difficult. You can go on a serious roller coaster ride when things aren’t balanced. And them being away, they are not going to realize it until it’s too late.

I think it’s always best to talk up front, before something does come up. I say that because once that phone call comes in asking them to do something, and you wanting their time, it can easily turn into “you just don’t want me doing anything” and the fight is on. Avoid that! Work on finding the balance now and you can in many cases prevent all of this from even starting and find ways to keep you from even having to experience those emotions. And be prepared, sometimes you will have to remind them there is suppose to be a balance, it will happen.

When they do go out with their buddies, tell yourself this gives me a break, this gives me “me” time, and I am going to enjoy it. You know you will see them later so take the time when no other option is given and use it wisely. You might find you actually needed that time to yourself. Getting mad, upset, and crying the whole time they are gone is not going to help much. Even though that, in reality, does happen at times.

Communication and Balance. They will make all of the difference in the world. 

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

Life…

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.

~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

Just one smile :)

🙂 <—- Do you know what that is? I can tell you it’s contagious! One of the hardest things to find with PTSD is a smile. It’s something people don’t really think about and is much of the time absent with PTSD.

BUT, do you know what one simple smile can do for PTSD? A LOT! When someone with PTSD sees a loved one or friend smile it sends out a type of signal… Something must be good, that person is not worrying about things, that person is happy today, etc.

When one with PTSD thinks these things it takes a kind of weight off of their shoulders. It keeps them from thinking “I don’t make them happy” or “What did I do wrong?”. Those are some pretty serious things to add to PTSD.

I know life is not all smiles when PTSD is involved, I know it’s hard to find a smile in everything that you go through, have to take care of, and so on. But that smile can make a huge change in your day… and the day of one with PTSD. Smiles are contagious, they seem to bring, even if it’s just for a moment, a sense of relief. And you might even find when that sense of relief comes that PTSD knows how to smile too! 😉

Don’t forget to find your smile 🙂 sometime or another, it’s something that sure can help everyone! Try it! 🙂 = 🙂 🙂

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

PTSD Awareness Cards…

 

Awareness cards: (1st ones, now have updated cards)

I’m going to give this a shot, they seem to be helping others… If you are in the United States and would like some of the professional printed business type cards I had made for the website/facebook page to hand out I have them. I have found these are great for educating others especially family, friends, and strangers that ask questions, also for ones who are going through the same things we do and need some extra support. If you are interested, please send me a message privately through my facebook page or send me an email to rebecca@aspousesstoryptsd.com subject line “Awareness Cards request” with your name and mailing address and I will send you some. This is not my final design lol, I had these made for when I spoke to a congressman about PTSD but they work well.

~Bec

PTSD vs Numbness…

PTSD vs Numbness

You know, one of the toughest things that comes with PTSD is feeling numb. Last week we touched on the “motions lead to emotions”, but when you have felt numb, and sometimes for a very long time, how do you get to the actions, the motions?

I have found that many with PTSD lose a sense of the “what”, what do I do?

Craig and I watched a movie last night, “The Vow”. It was about a couple that was so in love, so happy together, showed all of the funny things they enjoyed together, etc. Then, there was an accident and she ended up with a TBI (traumatic brain injury) which lead to her not remembering anything about their relationship. This movie really hit home base with me, with Craig’s memory being so severe with PTSD. I kind of related to what the husband was going through… and I’m sure Craig related to the wife.

But you know what? There was something in the movie that hit home base with me. And I realized it is really how I view things actually.

The husband in the movie told his friends “She fell in love with me once, so I won’t lose hope she will fall in love with me again.”

That was a very strong line in that movie! And kind of fits with my life I think. I know Craig loves me, there is no doubt in my mind about that. But I also know he feels numb to love and feelings.

I have had many people say to me “How do you do it? How do you manage to stay? How do you cope with the memory issues? How do you cope with his PTSD?”

I think it’s all because I never give up on him… or us! Like the husband in the movie, I know what our relationship was like before PTSD. I know all of the laughter, the goofy things we would do, the things that made both of us smile, the things that we like or don’t like, just everything that made us, us.

I act on those things. Craig will get me for sharing this one later hehe 😉 There is one thing that I use to do when we were teens, silly thing, but it became a huge part of us. I use to squeeze his lips from the corners, making what I call a fish face, and say “fishy wishy… say it lol I won’t let go until you say it” and sooner or later he would give in and say it. We both would just laugh at it and yep it normally ended up with me being tickled. LOL! So silly, but you know what, when he was really down last week I did that. He said no, not doing it. And I said I won’t stop until you do. Before I knew it he was giggling and I was all smiles and laughing. That silly and childish “fishy wishy” is a part of us and who we are. No matter what PTSD brings to our lives or how serious life is now, that silly thing broke through the PTSD. For just a few minutes I saw it break through the numb.

Of course the movie had a happy ending and was based off of a true life story, the couple ended up back together and had children and a family even though the wife’s memory never returned she fell in love with him all over again.

It was a true life story about TBI and life. I see it being no different then life with PTSD. You might lose something in a relationship, you might feel numb, you might forget things, but are those things really lost? I refuse to believe so. You have to just work around them and find that new love in your relationship so to speak. The motions that lead to emotions and can help with the numb feelings.

Life and relationships don’t have to end with PTSD, they can in a way start over. Don’t dwell on what you have lost, find the new. Use those little things that you and your loved one found special. Even if it is only for a few minutes, they can help take that numb feeling away and remind you of the good that is there and the feelings. Don’t give up!

Sometimes one with PTSD needs a guide so to speak through the numb feelings. Craig told me last week he needed help through the numbness, he’s not sure how to get through the numbness to feel the love he knows he has for me, how to find the motions or what they even are.

I have pondered on this. How do you show someone how to love, how do you show them actions that they can do to bring a sort of happiness?

The only thing i could come up with were the things I knew in the past we laughed about, the silly things, the little things that meant something to us and no one else…anything to break the ice of PTSD and Depression.

Our fishy wishy worked! I saw my husband giggle at me and how silly I’m sure I looked doing it. Especially with how serious life has become and everything I have to stay focused on. And it was worth every second of it!

So what are things you can do to help other then your personal things?

* Watch movies together, ones that are what Craig calls girly movies, the ones that have romance, facts of life, and what life is about.

* Take time to look through old silly photos of yourself and what you were like and don’t focus on what you lost, but what could still be there hidden that you can find again.

* Do something that you use to do. Step out of your comfort zone to something you use to enjoy, even if it’s just for a little while and nothing that is beyond what you can handle.

* Spouses, uh huh I’m talking to you now! Think about what made you laugh and your spouse laugh and take away the seriousness of what you are going through now and act on what you know made both of you happy in the past. There’s something, find it!

* Talk about good times and memories you have. Come on now, every single one of us has those, those crazy or silly things you use to do.

* Use the good and positive memories or thoughts. Don’t worry about how silly they might be or what would someone say… who cares! Relate to the good times and get a good laugh from them!

* Go out of your way and daily routines to try something new! You can still stay in a comfort zone and find something nice or funny to make new good memories.

Life may have changed, you may feel as if you have changed, but there is good there… use it! PTSD is a battle, but in reality, even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time, you have the tools to fight it and break through it! Don’t give up on yourself and don’t give up on your loved one. Being stuck is really hard and does come with PTSD, use the tools of life to get through it! You might just be surprised what is still there but just hidden. 😉

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

PTSD vs Finding Solutions…

PTSD vs Finding Solutions

You will be shocked at some of the things PTSD will throw at you. I mean, you know and have read all of the standard symptoms that come with PTSD, but accepting them and the things that come that are not on that symptoms list, but so many seem to have in common as a result of PTSD, is sometimes, many times difficult.

The first step with anything is accepting that there is now PTSD in your life or in the life of one you love. I mean REALLY accept it! Until you face that, it’s going to be very difficult to move forward, for you or your loved one.

I know it’s hard to accept at times, and even those that do accept it will have difficulty at times, especially new things or increased changes. You know, like when you finally adjust to what is there in order for things to be better or the best they can be, then something else gets added to the mix or changes. You have to accept in order to adapt again.

I personally have heard ones say things such as:

* But this is not like him/her.
* But if I/we do that such and such could happen.
* But what about what people think or say?
* But that won’t work for us.
* But I/we tried that before and it didn’t work so why try?
* But he/she should not act that way.
* But he/she did this or that.
* But if I/we contact this person or that person…this or that will come of it
* But I have tried
* I understand PTSD but…

Do you see something here? I do. The word “but”, but what?? But it might lead you to a worse place then you are now? Really, how would you know for a fact? You don’t because that word “but” is standing in your way!

The word “but” used in the same sentence with anything related to PTSD equals an excuse. Some excuse not to try something. The word “but” equals fear of the unknown.

When you take the word “but” out of the sentence you can step forward to finding solutions.

This is when you put those facts on the table as I say it, you move forward, you take the “but” away and you work on finding a solution to whatever is going on or you are facing.

I can not begin to tell you how many times I have heard of or experienced myself someone reaching for my or someone else’s help and all I hear in return is the word “but”. Here’s one for you… “But nothing”. Stop the “buts” and start trying, try new things that could lead you to a solution of a symptom. That symptom is not going away, but you don’t stop living life because of it, you adapt and find a solution. You might even find what didn’t work well before might work now.

If you want the best, then you have to try your best. You have to accept what is before you, rather you like it or not, and find a solution to making things better. Don’t give up and don’t use the word “but” as a way around trying. Goes back to an old saying “You never know until you try”. I mean really, we are talking about PTSD here. Anything you really try can’t be a failure, even if it doesn’t work and you have to try something else. Don’t let the word “but” cut your options, solutions, and yourself or your loved one short of what could be. You and/or your loved one is better then that!

Take the “but” out and find a solution. You and/or your loved one deserves it! “Best of the Best”… that’s YOU my friend!

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”