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“It will be okay. I offer you my hand to bring you up from the knees you sit upon. Stand my friend, keep stepping forward and don’t give up, this too will pass.”

“It will be okay. I offer you my hand to bring you up from the knees you sit upon. Stand my friend, keep stepping forward and don’t give up, this too will pass.”

I have heard some really tough and heartbreaking situations this week. Sadly, I can honestly relate to almost all of them, rather through my own eyes or those of my husband’s. But you know what, I know that things can get better then they may be for you right now… I know this for a fact, because we have been to the same place you may be kneeling right now.

We have walked in the tattered shoes PTSD and other mental illnesses/disabilities can bring, where it wears on you, the holes worn in the bottom of the soles cause scars upon your weary feet. A pain so great that you do not want to take another step.

We have shed many tears, through heartbreak, frustration, anger, and facing the unknown. The words that are spit can be damaging. The mind places tricks upon you like magic, of what is real and what is not.

We have tackled serious relationship issues. The mindset of fantasy, fairy tale stories become a vision of the unknown. Full of questions, heartache, resentment, and disbelief to what is before you and the changes which have occurred. Trying to make sense of what was, compared to the new reality before you now.

We have walked through the darkest of dark places feeling as if we were blind, no guide to help us. We have faced the feelings and thoughts of life, death, or walking away from the pain. Questioning if this PTSD battle is worth the fight.

It does not matter which shoes you wear upon your feet, or which side of the fence of PTSD you are on, those things are very real!

We discovered long ago that sitting upon that fence together, with acceptance, patience, understanding, communication, learning and re-learning who each other is now, all of those dark things can start to heal and many can fade into a memory of the past with time and effort.

It’s not going to be easy, it will take extra help, and PTSD is not just going away. But I can tell you, there is still life with PTSD! There can still be love, good days, smiles, and everything else that one dreams of. Things in life are just different now and a different type of life exists. You can make changes to the future and walk a new path. Never lose sight of who you are, even if you are masked by what happened, you are still you.

PTSD does not have to be the end of life, relationships, or family. Every day we are proving that, with every step forward we make, and even with the steps backwards that do come to teach us more. PTSD is still here, it has not gone away, but we are proof that things can get better then the darkest of places it can bring. Don’t give up, don’t give up on yourself or your loved one. Use the skills and things that can help.

We share our story, our experiences, and our life, in hopes that another will be given a shortcut to the long dark road we walked. And with a small ray of light in there guiding your way. 😉 You are worth this battle, you have the strength, you have the will power, and you have the extra hand and knowledge… use them! YOU are stronger then PTSD!

Right now I wish I could wrap my arms around each and every one of you that are having great struggles, embrace you with a huge (((HUG))) and whisper to you…

“It will be okay. I offer you my hand to bring you up from the knees you sit upon. Stand my friend, keep stepping forward and don’t give up. This dark time will pass, good days do come.” ~Rebecca


A Spouse’s Story PTSD

PTSD vs Accomplishing or Completing Things

Do you find some things are difficult to accomplish or complete?

This is something I actually hear a lot about, and have witnessed it myself. But do you know why?

This is actually something huge for many with PTSD. It’s not by any means that they/you do not have the knowledge or even ability to do so, and their/your IQ sure has not dropped by any means, it’s that PTSD seems to step in the way of getting things done.

You know me, I don’t stop until I find the answers to the “why“! 

I use to think in our personal situation that Craig just wasn’t capable of doing certain things anymore. Something I actually accepted after watching him try so hard with certain things and just not being able to do them anymore. (And just to note, I am by no means throwing him under the bus here, just using our real life situation(s) as an example.) And there are in deed things he can just no longer do based around his memory issues, he has memory issues/difficulties as well as “memory blocks” that are just gone. However, it did not stop there. I learned that there is much more to it then only the situations where his memory impairments are the reasons.

The “why” was much greater then I had thought back when I was just accepting memory problems were the problem, period.

Memory issues, let’s start there. Memory issues with PTSD normally come from anxiety or during times of increased anxiety. Unless you have something else effecting your memory also, such as TBI, dementia, or other organic cause.

Many suffer from memory issues and do not even realize it. Good signs that memory issues are at hand are: repeating stories that have already been told, arguing over something that happened but one swears it never happened, not recalling where things are placed when they are in their normal locations, leaving things on that should have been turned off… out of the normal, not recalling special dates or events that were not forgotten before, etc. Dissociative Symptoms are also a part of PTSD, if you do not know what that is, it’s something everyone really needs to learn about since it does many times come with PTSD (and it is treatable!), many times it can answer the “why” to certain issues that are not normal for that person.

When anxiety steps up, it causes you to have a difficult time on focusing, your concentration decreases, your arousal goes up, and you lose sight or partial sight of what you were trying to accomplish or finish. Your brain starts focusing on everything else instead of staying steady on what you are working on.

I do want to add a twist to this part though from the other side of the fence. Spouses… ever have a time when your PTSD loved one is so focused on doing something that they just don’t hear you or respond when you are talking to them? OR they spend hours doing one specific thing and won’t leave it until they are done? I’m sure I am seeing all hands raised lol. Well right there you have it! It’s difficult to focus on multiple things at one time for many with PTSD.

If your PTSD loved one is really trying hard to accomplish something, anything rather small or large, it is difficult at times to get their attention off of what they are doing and onto what you are saying. It’s not that they are ignoring you at all! It’s that their brain may only be able to focus on the task at hand. When their concentration alters from their mission, it’s hard to get back onto it. That is another reason you may see them so diligently working on something, then something else happens or someone starts talking to them, etc. then they just walk away from what they are working on and it just sits there not completed. The focus and concentration were lost or altered.

Now let’s move on to frustration. We all know that PTSD comes with frustration. When one is having difficulties with doing something it turns into the, “I was great at this a year ago or 5 years ago, but now I can’t do it.” or “This use to take me 15 minutes to complete and now it’s taking me hours.” That is more frustrating then anything! You know that this task is something you use to be able to do, complete, and maybe in a timely manner, but now it’s more difficult instead of easy for you. Do you see the vicious circle forming? I do. Frustration, concentration, focus, anxiety, memory… and now self-esteem.

Oh the evil thoughts self-esteem can bring to one! Those negative thoughts of you are not good enough, you are a failure, you can’t do anything right, you are useless, you are such a burden on others, you are not the man/woman you use to be! You throw your hands in the air and walk away. OUCH, that hurts! Fact is, you are NOT a failure, burden, useless, or those other things at all! Come on now  it’s just your PTSD stepping in the way. Don’t be so hard on yourself! Easier said then done, I know.

Then all of these things combined lead to what? “Why do I even try?” Oh boy! This goes back to what I always say… If you don’t try then you will never know what you CAN do or accomplish! No matter how difficult things become, don’t give up on yourself!

PTSD being a part of your life is going to throw you for a loop, to put it nicely. It is going to make things more difficult to do or accomplish at times. How would it not? Look at all of the symptoms that come with PTSD, and the things I mentioned do not even include the more severe and real symptoms of PTSD that also effect you. The nightmares, which leaves you tired, lacking sleep, and just plain worn out… and also effect your focus and concentration. The triggers, which throw you way off balance. The flashbacks, which also throw you off balance until you are able to be grounded from them. The extra anxiety of crowds or others being around. The physical symptoms that co-occur with PTSD. Other things such as depression. The list is endless, but it does NOT mean you are useless or can’t do anything!!! It just means you have to find different ways to do things. 😉

Just to note in here: I am not a doctor of any sort and these are my opinions based on our personal experiences and what we have learned.
So, what can you do?

* You know the first thing I will say is Coping Skills! 

They do help so greatly when battling symptoms when they start. Learn them and use them! The more you practice them the more help they will be.

* Pace yourself!

This has become a golden rule around here. If you get into a rush or have high expectations beyond what is reasonable, then you are going to have issues with everything I mentioned above. Pace yourself, it can help.

* Step away.

I know when you start something you do not want to stop for the fear of not completing it or not being able to get started again. But at times stepping away from something, especially if you get frustrated can lead to having more focus when you can return to it. Don’t be worried about taking breaks when you need them! It also helps keep you from becoming overwhelmed. You can even set an alarm or reminder for yourself. You will take a break for x amount of time, then go back to what you were working on.

* Ask for help.

I know, it’s the hardest thing to do! You want to prove to yourself and/or others that you can do this and you don’t need help. But you know what, at times everyone needs help and there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking. It may be to complete something in a more timely manner, something you just are having difficulties with recalling and could use that extra hand with, or simply to allow someone else to feel good about being included in a project. 😉 It does not mean you can’t do it by yourself, it can mean all sorts of different things, and not negative reasons behind it. You know what? Sometimes when there is another person there it also helps you mentally, it’s a gentle push that can help keep you away from some or all of those negative personal thoughts that can develop when you are doing something alone.

To say the least these are just a few things that you can try that may help. I hope this will give a little better understanding to why things can seem or become so difficult at times for ones with PTSD, and also help those living beside a loved one who suffers from PTSD. No matter what, keep trying and don’t give up on yourself! You are better than PTSD 😉 Don’t be too hard on yourself, you are worth more then that! 

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

PTSD and Pushing too hard

PTSD and Pushing too hard

Let me tell you a story…

There was a day that I needed to wait in a waiting room at a medical facility, the only seat available at the moment was next to this young gentleman who did not seem to be doing so well. He was leaned forward, his elbows were on his knees, fists on the front of his face… he had actually nodded off to sleep.

With knowing it was a mental health waiting room, I could pretty much guess why he was there. I sat down, giving as much room as possible with seeing he had nodded off so not to startle him when he woke. A few minutes later I could hear his breathing change, I understood it because of the way Craig sleeps. I knew he was waking up. I softly said to him, “You didn’t get much sleep last night, did you?” The soft voice was enough to let him know I was there but not startle him.

He turned his head slightly towards me, opened one eye, and replied “No m’am I didn’t. Thank you for asking.

He then leaned back in his chair and just looked at me for a second, then said, “I just can’t handle this.” I looked at him with full attention then he continued, “They push me to go to school full time, I am working a full time job, and my nightmares don’t allow for any good sleep. I am wore out and tired of fighting.

To say the least we had a long conversation while we both sat there waiting.

His words rang in my ears like a cry for help. I’m not a doctor but I sure sat there and listened to everything he wanted to say, and I talked to him. Gradually other seats cleared and it was only the two of us waiting. The more he talked the more I realized that there may be such a thing as pushing one with PTSD too hard, too much, for too long.

I asked him if he had told his doctors that all of this was too much for him. He replied, “Yes m’am, but they said I have to do all this stuff. I’ve been doing this for over a year now and I just can’t take it anymore. I’m trying really hard not to fail them, not to let them down, but this PTSD? I’m not going to make it.

It was very obvious that this young man had been pushed so hard to try to have a normal life, that he was worn out and ready to quit the fight. I watched the tears form in his eyes as he talked to me, he would look down every time they would form, hoping I wouldn’t see them. He was trying so hard to please everyone else that he had no focus actually on himself and only on that he could not do this anymore.

I looked at him and asked him to look at me. “What about you? What do you want for yourself?” I asked. He looked at me and a tear ran down his face as he paused, trying to hold himself together. “M’am, no one has ever asked me that before.

Well?” I asked him. He had a hard time answering, he really didn’t know because he had never stopped to think about it and was just doing everything he was told he had to do. He finally replied, “I want to be able to get better but there is no time to get better with everything they have me doing. They say all of these things will help me, but they aren’t, I feel like I’m just getting worse. I go to work, then go to school, then have homework, then I’m exhausted and try to sleep but can’t, then the cycle starts all over again. I hardly see my wife or my kid, and my wife, my wife brings my kid to meet me between where I have to be to make sure I eat and so they can see me some because by the time I get home and get my school work done I am too tired to stay up with them. Then I have my doctor appointments also I have to make it too. It’s too much, I can’t do this.

“If there is so much, that you are not feeling you are getting better after this long of trying, but actually becoming worse, and not wanting to battle PTSD any longer because of it, then at what point do you start looking at the too much part of it and what’s best for you? Not as you have failed or can’t do it, but as maybe I need to pace myself and not over-do it to the point you don’t want to continue?”, I replied.

You know what he said? “I have never thought about that or what’s best for me.” He thanked me for sitting there and talking to him, he told me I just made all of the difference in his world and he could not wait to get home and hug his wife and tell her how much he loves her. Then he said, “You were sat beside me today for a reason, thank you.

To say the least I’m not a doctor (and he knew that) and it wasn’t my place to give medical opinions, we were just two people having a conversation. He finally asked me how I know so much. I simply replied, “My husband has PTSD.” He simply smiled, then it was time for me to leave. I looked back at him and told him, “Never give up on yourself, you are worth more then that.” He just smiled and told Craig thank you for being here today. Craig just looked at him, lost of course, and said, “No problem man, take care.” And we walked away.

SO… With that being told now, isn’t there a thing as too much? Everyone needs to try for obvious reasons, and push themselves to see how much they can accomplish. If you don’t try then you won’t know the extent of what you can do or how much better you can indeed become. But doesn’t there come a point in time that if you are being pushed to the point of wanting to give up everything, life itself, you have to step back, look at the big picture, figure out if all of the pushing and expectations are actually what is causing you to get worse not better? Then regroup and try things differently?

I personally don’t believe in giving up, especially not on yourself. But I also believe that every person has a limit, and that limit is going to be different for each individual. I believe you have to pace yourself so you don’t become too overwhelmed. You have to know or learn your own boundaries. Just because something may be too much for you today does not mean that it will be tomorrow or the next day or next year. But if you are so overwhelmed right now and nothing seems to be changing, and you feel you are just becoming worse, then isn’t it time to regroup so you can continue to get better then you may be right now, at your pace? If you are so overwhelmed by others expectations, and trying not to be a failure to others that you do not want to take another breathe, aren’t you forgetting about you and what’s best for you? Which in turn will be best for everyone as you pace yourself and find a balance that is right for you. PTSD is not just going away, but finding a balance in life and within yourself so you can manage it… I believe makes all of the difference in the world and in getting better then you may be right now.

Life is too precious, don’t give up on it, and don’t give up on yourself!!! 

If you know someone that is having a hard time with PTSD and life, and you believe my story can help them, please share it with them. Their life matters, and they need to know that!

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

How do you handle knowing or not knowing the trauma(s)?

Well yesterday’s topic of knowing or not knowing details of the trauma that lead to PTSD, became a huge topic. So let’s take it a little further.

How do you handle knowing or not knowing the trauma(s)?

First rule to make sure you abide by… do NOT push to know or learn details! I can not emphasize that one enough! When one has experienced a trauma, they will share when or if they are ready to. Working up to those traumas coming out needs to be up to the person who experienced the trauma and/or left to a good doctor to handle.

Some people may not recall portions of or their trauma, or even anything about the trauma, this is normal. The brain has a way of protecting itself from traumas and can lock those events away. So not remembering details can happen. If one doesn’t recall details, there is no way of them telling others and it can lead to a lot of frustration and guilt if pushed to tell. We sure don’t want anything else added to what they already experience from the symptoms, so be careful with pushing to know.

Others may not speak details of traumas because of guilt or mental pain it brings them. Those details are difficult to relive each day as it is, and speaking them sometimes, many times, can be too overwhelming. That’s normal!

Some also do not want to share the details because they do not want those details to become a burden to another person. Think about it, look at what that trauma did, many view it as they don’t want that to roll over to someone they care about.

Pushing someone for details of a trauma can lead to:

* Added frustration and worry

* Increased anxiety

* Increased PTSD symptoms

* Increased relationship/family issues

* Increased self-esteem and/or self-worth issues

* Increased inability to find a “normal”

It boils down to the facts at hand, no matter what the details are they experienced, the trauma was something a person should not have had to experience which lead to PTSD.

You can still help them work through symptoms even without knowing details. The fact is, PTSD is there and working through the symptoms are more important then knowing the details of what happened. You can still learn the triggers and such based on what they experience and have reactions to now.

I personally know the details of the main trauma. It was shared with me and also comes out during nightmares. There are many that do know the trauma and/or details.

Knowing the trauma and/or details brings different things then not knowing. Some are good and can be very helpful, and some can be not so good, it’s all in how you handle it.

Knowing can help one have a better or quicker understanding or notice of triggers, nightmares, and other symptoms. The “why” is there to work with, which can be a huge help. It also helps with communication and both people involved being able to openly talk. It can also help with doctor appointments, another person being able to add input that can help the one with PTSD when at times they can’t speak what they have been experiencing or what lead to where they are now. So there are many positive things that can come from knowing, even though knowing details is not needed to help work through the symptoms.

But there is also a side of it that one does need to take caution with. This is where where education and self-help come greatly into play. You have to make sure that if you learn or know the details of a trauma, you learn how to manage knowing.

You have to make sure that their trauma does not become your own. This is very real and can happen. Does it mean sharing a trauma should be avoided? By NO means! It just means you have to have understanding of how to handle what is shared.

* Make sure you keep in mind it is not a trauma you as the non-PTSD person experienced.

* Make sure you are taking care of yourself. Having a self-help balance is the greatest thing you can do for yourself as well as the one with PTSD.

* Get therapy for yourself if you feel you need to OR if your loved one with PTSD thinks you need to! Just like ones with PTSD sometimes will not see help is needed, it can go both ways. So listen and take to heart if someone is saying you are off balance and could use some extra help.

* Make sure you are taking time for yourself, that “me” time I always talk about. Even while caring for someone with PTSD, you still have to maintain yourself and things you enjoy. It’s the best way to make sure you can take care of or help someone else.

* Make sure you do NOT place blame on the one with PTSD!!! Placing blame instead of practicing positive support can become damaging to both of you very fast.

So, these are just a few things to think about. Rather you know about or details of the trauma or not, rather you are the one with PTSD that has shared your trauma or not… Work together to get through the symptoms!

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

PTSD and Frustration

PTSD and Frustration

If you know PTSD then you know what I’m talking about. Frustration is huge with PTSD!

Many people don’t understand the extent of it though. Frustration can come from not only big or huge things, it can come from or with small things as well… if not more.

On top of PTSD symptoms already there… nightmares, lack of sleep, anxiety, triggers, always being alert, checking doors/windows or your back, etc. etc. etc What about the little things?

Someone saying something the wrong way, acting in a way that bothers you, floating anger… as Craig words it, “that anger that is right there under the surface all of the time that is just waiting for something to make it come out.” That brings frustration within itself, and no one wants or intends for anger to come out in the first place.

But what about doing things?

Fixing something, working on something, doing anything that you use to do but find difficulty with now, or that PTSD symptoms seem to get in the way of doing.

I have found this brings the most frustration of all! Trying to do something that you know for a fact you use to be great at, and now you find difficulty in doing. Maybe something that you know would only take you a few minutes to complete before, but now it takes hours. Oh boy! Talk about frustrating, that would do it.

But why? I had a huge key to it with what I just mentioned. PTSD symptoms. You have to remember that the anxiety from PTSD causing you to lose concentration, focus, even difficulty with remembering things. Anxiety also causes physical aspects to come into play, what about sweating? Ever notice when anxiety increases so does sweat? Sure can! And when you start sweating you become uncomfortable, and when you get uncomfortable then your focus goes to what you are experiencing and off of what you are trying to accomplish. Probably resulting in increased anxiety and the vicious circle begins. It brings frustration and the “why is this happening“.

The expectations of the outcome can also be at hand, that right there can get PTSD going in a bad way. You start questioning yourself or even viewing yourself as you can’t do this “task” anymore. But reality is, can you not do it anymore OR is PTSD just in the way?  You know what I’m going to tell you, your IQ has not dropped at all! You are just as intelligent as you always were. You just have all of those PTSD symptoms there also, that you now have to work through to accomplish things.

Just because something may take longer to complete then what the time frame would have been before, don’t give up on trying! If you have to take a break and come back to it, that’s okay! If you need to use your coping skills to manage what you are trying, that’s okay too! Use them.

But whatever it is you are doing, don’t put yourself down if it does not come to you as easily as it use to. You have a lot more at hand now then you did before, it does not you can’t accomplish it, and it does not make you a failure at all, it just means there might be extra steps or extra time involved in doing something.

You can even use humor to battle PTSD. 😉 Ever laugh at something and just speak out loud “Why can’t I do this?” Well, laugh at PTSD and say “You might try to stop me from accomplishing this, but you aren’t going to win!” When frustration comes, take a break and fight it with a good laugh. It might sound stupid to you, but you would be shocked at how it can really help bring that frustration level down.  It helps with anxiety too. Just like a person with anxiety that starts to constantly talk when their anxiety goes up, the constant talking is a defense mechanism to the anxiety (babbling as I call it lol… I do this one myself. 😉 ) Sometimes you have to find other ways around the frustration and/or anxiety so you can get some focus back to what you were trying to accomplish. Bringing a little humor into the mix can sure beat wanting to throw something also. And it sure can help beat those PTSD symptoms. 

Just because you may experience frustration more now, then ever before, does not make you any less of a person, it does not make you a bad person, it does not make you a failure or useless, and it sure doesn’t drop your IQ! Don’t be too hard on yourself. Take a moment to step out of the box and see what’s causing your frustration and figure out the best way for you to handle it and get through it. The answer is probably going to be your focus and concentration is on everything else except what you are trying to do. Realizing that, can help you through it.

Hang in there, and don’t give up!

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Getting offended and PTSD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some phrases Craig and I use:

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Real Life Facts: PTSD Statistics

Real Life Facts

Now that I have everyone curious about what I was up to with my question I asked regarding “what caused your PTSD?”, here it is. 

What are the statistics on PTSD? I have to be completely honest, what I started off doing turned into something MUCH greater! And I want to Thank everyone who participated in my question, I know that it takes a lot to share that, and I want you to know how much I appreciate you helping me out with this.

I did a lot of research on the statistics of PTSD, and to be honest it is hard to get correct information. Numbers can only be used from reported cases or those receiving treatment, and are not reported world wide. So, I did my own little numbers, from real people, right here among us.

Just to add some numbers and extra information to this before I get to my part of this…

“About 3.6 percent of U.S. adults ages 18 to 54 (5.2 million people) have PTSD during the course of a given year.” Using these numbers, that is 18 people developing PTSD every minute! -Source: excerpt from Facts about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: NIMH

It is estimated that 3.5% of the US population suffers from PTSD. And 36.6% of those cases are severe. –NIMH

Only 54.7% of PTSD cases are receiving treatment for PTSD. –NIMH

A study done in 2009 by “Picking Up The Peaces” organization Australia, revealed that 40% of children that had experienced one traumatic event developed PTSD. Also, their study revealed that PTSD diagnoses ranged from immediate to 36 years after the trauma. –Picking Up The Peaces organization

“The medical profession works on a figure of about 25% of people developing PTSD after exposure to traumas such as a serious accident, physical or sexual assault, war or torture, or a natural disaster such as a bushfire or a flood.” – Source: excerpt from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Statistics: Picking Up The Peaces (Australia)

So, those are approximate numbers from reported cases of PTSD within the US and Australia ONLY. WOW!

So seeing these numbers, I wanted to take this a little further with people who are right here within our “family”. And I also wanted to show some of the causes of PTSD. There are many people, due to what the public eye sees, that believe PTSD is only a military issue. It is NOT! PTSD can effect ANYONE who has experienced a severe trauma.

I will note here, since mine and Craig’s story is based around him being a PTSD Veteran and our life, in hopes to educate others, we do have a larger scale of military related people here, but my page is for everyone.

I had 172 people report their cause of PTSD developing. Many of these are from multiple traumas compiled, so the following numbers are based off of the experiences of the 172 people (so numbers will not add up to 172).

Of only 172 people and only traumas reported: (<3 stands for a heart symbol)

Military Sexual Trauma (MST)…03
Military Combat …………………..79 <3 <3  
Military (non-combat)……………05  <3
Childhood Abuse………………….24
Childhood Sexual Abuse…………22
Adult Abuse…………………….….16
Loss of life of someone close…..17
Medical Procedure/illness/
Injury (non-military)……………...14
Witnessed a death or
Experienced Attempted
Murder (non-military)…………….09
Effected by one with PTSD………..10
Religious trauma…………………..02
Police, Emergency, Contractor,
Prison Guard line of work………..14 <3
Home Invasion………………….…03
Natural Disaster…………………...02
Terrorism (non-military)…………02
Non-detailed cause………………. <3

Those are staggering numbers for the reason why one suffers from PTSD, they are very real, they are not made up, and they show the seriousness of what people experience which leads to PTSD.

But, I took this a little further. Do you notice the hearts next to some of the categories? Have any clue what those are for? Each heart represents a person who took their life by their own hand because of PTSD. Those numbers are looking very real to you now, aren’t they. And I do want to thank the family members for sharing those who committed suicide with me for this. That took strength to come forward and I am glad you are here with us continuing to learn about PTSD after the loss of a loved one. <3

Of 172 people, 5 people took their own lives. And again, that’s only reported numbers directly to me. Folks, that is 5 too many!

PTSD is caused by MANY different traumas, all of them come with extreme seriousness and need to be addressed so that person can get the help and treatment they need. Even though one may experience a different type of trauma than another person, does not make PTSD any less severe. When you place “what happened” to the side, the result of what happened comes with many of the same symptoms. PTSD being the result.

If you have a loved one that suffers from PTSD or you suffer from PTSD yourself, please do not dismiss the facts of PTSD. There are many different things that can help! Please take the time to learn and educate yourself, take the time to care. And get help if you are one that has PTSD, life is precious and each of you are equally important!

Another thing came from this, there are a lot of people that now realize they honestly are not alone! That is huge for one with PTSD! You are not alone, even though at times that feeling will be very real. Just know that there are others here for you!

Thank you again to those who helped me make these numbers so real! I appreciate each and every one of you! <3

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Some basics to living with one who has PTSD

Some basics to living with one who has PTSD

I’ve had a lot of questions come to me the past few days, so I want to touch on some things that for many are “need to knows” quickly. My journal page of my website does contain many of my writings in greater detail, so always feel welcome to use it as a resource when need be.

As I always remind you, I am not a doctor or in any medical field. I am a spouse who lives life beside one who suffers from PTSD and other disabilities, and bring our story and experiences to you as a form of support and personal knowledge of real life with PTSD. If you have an emergency, please contact your local emergency helpline or professionals.

* Acceptance.

PTSD is not just going to go away. You can’t change what a person with PTSD experiences. They are not going to just snap out of it. And many times, if you try to argue or convince them they can “get over it”, especially while they are triggered, you can make the situation even worse. You are not going to be able to “get it out of their head”. That is not facing reality of what PTSD is or what comes with it.

Accepting PTSD and the fact the person does have it will be one of the greatest things you can do to help them. PTSD can be manageable. But it’s not just going away.

* Learn.

The more you learn about PTSD AND the whys to what comes with it, the better things can get and the easier it will be for you to help someone manage and cope with PTSD symptoms.

* Details.

Details of what happened to a person needs to be up to them if they want to share that with you or not. Do NOT push them to tell you! When or if they are ready to, they will. PTSD can come with huge trust issues, you have to give a person time to truly trust you in order for them to share their deepest pains with you, and even then, they might not want to. You have to accept that. Focus on the now and helps them move forward to learn to cope with the symptoms. The past is the past even though it is or can be a very real “now” to one with PTSD. Focus on helping them instead of details of their past.

If you push someone to share what happened, make sure you are prepared for whatever triggers or aftermath comes with that. Sharing details when one is not ready to can stir up PTSD symptoms very quickly!

To those with PTSD, details, or details to a certain point, can help one better understand you, and the “why” to it all. But it is up to you when or if you are ready to share those things that happened.

* Coping skills.

I am a true believer that coping skills help greatly. I have seen them help. They are not going to make PTSD go away, however they help to manage it. They are also highly recommended for those who live with a person who suffers from PTSD, they help keep a balance not only in your home but also within yourself.

* Professional Help.

Always a good idea! Even if PTSD symptoms do not seem severe, it’s always good to have professional help ready or there if needed. Many times just regular visits or therapy appointments can help keep one with PTSD on track and moving forward.

Family members, this goes for you too! PTSD comes with a lot of different ways of life and at times it can become overwhelming. If you are in that position, make sure you reach for professional help yourself. There is nothing wrong with doing that! It does not mean you can’t handle things, it means you are being wise enough to make sure you are taking care of yourself so you can help others.

* Support System.

Everyone needs some type of support system! Even this page is a form of support. Support comes in many forms. Family members, friends, others in the same position, online support, local support groups… there is actually a lot of support available, find what is best for you! Anyone that thinks they can manage this alone really needs to rethink that.

* Benefits.

This is something many come to me about. I know a lot, but this is not my area of expertise lol. If you are having benefit issues, please contact a professional or someone who knows the system well.

For Veteran benefits there is a great organization that can be found at Veterans benefits support. They are awesome and have answered many questions of my own.

* Time.

You are not going to learn everything you need to know about PTSD over night! It takes time, patience, acceptance, and a lot of learning. There is not a quick fix to PTSD, but time and taking steps to DO, will be in your favor to things getting better than they may be right now. Allow yourself and/or the one with PTSD time to learn to manage life with PTSD. Giving up before you take time to learn and understand could be detrimental to you, others, and life itself.

* Words and actions.

Life changes when PTSD becomes a part of it. That’s just a hard, truthful, fact to it all. Words and your actions are very real with PTSD and need a great deal of consideration before being used or done. Be careful with your wording! Some things can in reality set a person with PTSD over the edge, to a place where they feel this battle is not worth fighting. Suicide and PTSD are extremely real! It is nothing to brush off or ignore. The “that won’t happen to me/him/her” does not exist when PTSD enters your life.

* Suicide or Suicidal Thoughts/Tendencies.

Continuing what I was saying…
These are extremely real even to a person who would have never had thought these things before. PTSD and the symptoms cause a lot of changes to ones life, this goes for family members also! Make sure you educate yourself on signs of suicide as well as ways to prevent or manage the feelings when they come. Having the knowledge ahead of time can be extremely important. And could never well save a life!

* Emergency Numbers.

ALWAYS have emergency numbers, addresses, etc on hand! When or if an emergency arises, you do not need to be trying to locate these. Have a list made ahead of time!

* Communication.

I preach this one!!! Until you start communicating with each other, it is going to be a hard struggle with making it through what PTSD brings to your life. The battle before you is PTSD, NOT each other. Work together so you can find ways to improve your life with PTSD being a part of it.

* Trial and Error.

This is a part of life. But when you add PTSD to it, that part becomes even larger. Don’t give up on trying to find things that work for you. And understand that what may have worked for you at one point might also change as your symptoms change. There is no one set guideline to follow, each person is their own individual and what works for one person may not work for another. But you don’t know until you honestly try! When something doesn’t work or help to the point you want it to, don’t give up! Try something else!

These are just a few of the many things that come with managing life with PTSD. Life can be manageable, it’s not going to be the same as it was before, but there IS still life! Take the time to learn and what can help you or your loved one.

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

New PTSD Awareness cards are here!!


PTSD Awareness Cards are here!

My PTSD Awareness cards are something I do at my own expense within the United States (only) at this time. Due to the printing cost and shipping I can not mail them or have them printed outside the USA. I do NOT collect or ask for any donations or money for these!!! Thank you to those who have offered, but funding for these can not and will not be accepted. I offer these as I can and within my own personal budget.

The ONLY thing I ask, is for your help to get these cards out there so more people can learn about PTSD and know that there are people here for the ones who live life with PTSD.

United States:

If you are interested in having some of my PTSD awareness cards mailed to you, please send me a private message with your name and mailing address, and I will mail them to you.

Other Countries:

I have had some people request to be able to have these cards printed themselves (at their own expense) to use in their area/country. So, I am using a printing company that is world wide and have a document you can use that is formatted for that company to have these cards printed, if you would like to do so. However, if you have my awareness cards printed, it would be at your own expense. I will not be responsible for the cost of anything you choose to have printed. Please send me a private message if you would like more information on this.
Thank you everyone for helping spread awareness about PTSD!!!

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Something to help with coping with PTSD

I want to introduce something to you, that many may not know about. Craig and I do use this ourselves after it was brought to our attention about a year ago I guess. Wow, did my life change and I found myself being able to manage things better! Including what PTSD can bring. This can be used by anyone! It’s easy, once you learn how to do it 😉 It might take you a little time to learn it because living life with PTSD or caring for one with PTSD does or can keep your brain in high gear much if not all of the time. So this is something that can slow that down.

It not only has been proven to help psychologically, but also can help with the physical body. I have mentioned this before on here, but this time I am sharing an article on it that is very good at describing how it can be beneficial to you. And what am I talking about? Mindfulness. This is not something to overlook, scroll past, or say “that won’t work for me”. If you really try this it can help!

“The Many Benefits of Mindfulness”

A Spouse’s Story PTSD