Tag-Archive for » PTSD Spouse «

Spouses, we need to have a little talk…

Spouses, we need to have a little talk.

This is to all of you, whether you are married to your PTSD loved one or not. My mailbox is filling up with a lot of the same issues going on so it’s time for me to address this again so you have an understanding. And I wouldn’t say this if I didn’t care about each and every single one of you.

PTSD is not easy, I know that and I will never dismiss that fact. However, there comes a time that you have to face the facts. If you don’t, it’s going to be very difficult for your relationship and family to survive.

It is okay to vent when times get tough. I can do it with the best of them myself. Venting is always welcomed because it is a way of letting it all out, getting it off your chest, so you can move FORWARD.

Forward was a key word there. I am seeing so many get stuck in the negative things that they are not moving forward to find solutions, things that can help to improve your life. Many are getting stuck in the grieving, “this isn’t fair“, “what about me” , “that won’t work” mode.

When you get stuck in those things, you are not going to move forward, and you know what? Neither is your partner. Sometimes everything is going to be on your shoulders, sometimes everyone is going to rely on you, and at times it is going to become so overwhelming you just want to throw your hands in the air and scream “I give up”. That is reality, however you have to keep focus of the facts at hand.

YOU are their rock. Vent, cry, scream, but keep in mind they did not ask for PTSD, it happened to them! The first step of things getting better, whatever point that is to, is facing the fact that PTSD is there and accepting it. It doesn’t mean you have to like it, come on now, who does lol! Life does change, it’s not fairy tail stories, and life is not going to be perfect in the first place rather PTSD is at hand or not. You have to make a choice, and this is something I have said many times over and had to do it myself a long time ago. You are either completely in or you are out! And just to note, I really don’t like seeing the out part, there are way too many things that can prevent that.

Vent, grieve, scream and yell but when that is done you have to buckle down and DO something. If you stay in a “poor me” frame of mind you are not only hurting yourself but you are also hurting all of those around you, and especially your loved one with PTSD. Your relationship will get weaker and weaker the longer you stay in a negative mind frame.

I know each of us have our own issues that need to be taken care of or that we go through, many have children to raise, homes to take care of, and so on. But I also know that when you are in the right mindset you can accomplish anything you set your mind to! I am seeing many give up on themselves too quickly. I know what PTSD causes, I know rock bottom myself, but I also learned how to pick myself up, dust my knees off, and start moving forward again. You are no different, you can do the same thing.

I am seeing an increase in PTSD symptoms. I am seeing ones with PTSD want to walk away from their family because they see how it’s effecting them. I’m seeing spouses give up. I can talk until I am blue in the face and it will do absolutely no good until you look in the mirror and choose to accept and fight PTSD. When a spouse becomes unbalanced, what do you think happens? Easy, everything else around them becomes unbalanced. It’s not about fairness, it’s about reality.

In many situations, the one with PTSD will follow suit with the ones they trust. If you are doing well, they most likely will have better days. Why? Because their worry is eased some about you and what their illness is doing to you. If you are going downhill you can almost bet they are going to be along for the ride. How could it not be that way? Think about it. They are trying to cope through anxiety, lack of sleep, feeling numbness, wanting to feel normal and give YOU normal, they can feel so lost within themselves that of course they are going to lean on the one they trust, the one they know has been there for them, the one they know cares. That’s you!

When a spouse starts battling the person, and/or fingers get pointed and blame starts being directed, what do you really, in reality, think that’s going to do to them? I can tell you it’s not going to be something good. The battle is PTSD, not the person who suffers from it.

I’m also seeing a very large issue. When a spouse gets stuck in their “what about me” mode and starts holding things against the one who suffers, the spouse’s focus goes off of what they need to be doing for the one with PTSD. I know no one intentionally means for this to happen, but I’m seeing it happen. It does not mean the spouse doesn’t deserve the best, it doesn’t mean they are any less of a person then the next, it doesn’t mean your thoughts and feelings and what you go through should not be considered. I simply means that you can’t lose sight of there is someone who still needs you even through what you may be struggling with yourself. Especially if you are that person’s caregiver and that person has to rely on you!

If you can not handle taking care of someone who has to rely on someone else, even if it is for a temporary time frame for you to have a break and regroup, then you really need to consider having someone else come in and help. That person with the disorder/illness or injury does not stop needing assistance just because you are in a stuck mode. You made a choice to be there for them, to take care of them, and if you are not able to or ever get in a position you need a break, it is only right for their sake and health as well as your own, to bring in additional help. There is always someone out there willing to offer a kind hand, you just have to find them.

Facts on the table. 

If you are one that is struggling right now, stop, think, take a good look in the mirror. There are basic things that can help keep balance, but you have to use them.

* “Me” time.

Your have to take time in order to find and keep your own inner balance. Without that balance other aspects of your life, as well as your family’s lives will suffer.

* Take care of yourself.

A number one rule. In order to be able to take care of others you must first make sure you are taking care of yourself.

Eat, sleep, exercise, and don’t lose your “me”.

* Learn.

The more you learn the better equipped you are to know how to handle things as they come. You learn the symptoms, you learn what works and doesn’t work for your situation, you can learn so much that will help life run smoothly… but you have to take time to do it and use it.

* Don’t be blind.

Don’t be blind or so wrapped up in what you are going through that you don’t see when the one suffering is crying for help. Get help for them or yourself when it is needed. Don’t delay it, don’t put it off until tomorrow hoping it will go away, do something NOW!

* Coping skills.

The ultimate weapon for all spouses. You can use the same coping skills the one with PTSD has been taught, and learn other ones as well! These are of huge value to you when you need to keep yourself balanced.

* Break the cycle.

Vent, cry, scream, beat your fist into a pillow if you need to. But don’t stay stuck in a place that will keep you down as well as those around you. If you keep saying the same things over and over again and the same issues are still happening, then it’s time to try something different. Find new ways to handle things, and keep trying until you find something that works better for your situation as well as others. If you do not try then there is no moving forward and it’s just going to be a downhill ride from there. TRY!

Those are just a few of many things.

I care about you, and I care what happens to you and your family. If you take this as harsh, then I am sorry, but someone had to say something to keep you from being stuck in a very bad place. Like I said, I know this isn’t easy, and I know accepting the facts are not easy… but you have to. You are not doing yourself or others any good until you learn to accept and do something. 

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Category: Caregiver/Spouse/Partner, Uncategorized  Tags: , ,  Comments off

Spouses vs Holding Yourself Together

Spouses vs Holding Yourself Together 

Something I try to talk about often but after hearing from so many that are having a rough time right now I want to touch on this again.

I received quite a few emails after my postings about myself being really down last week and then “there’s Bec” out of no where I was back on my feet and moving forward again.

Ladies (or men), it’s NOT easy. And I will not tell you it is, we have reality to face. We love our partner that has PTSD more than anything, if we didn’t we would not be here battling PTSD with them.

We help take care of them, many times with basic daily living. We make sure they have everything they need and are doing what they need to in order to make it through each day, and to the next. We make sure they get the help they need so they can be the best they can be in life. We “fight” many battles, as not only their partner in life, but as their advocate. We are the ones that are there to listen to the darkest things they experienced. We are the ones who are there when they scream or when PTSD breaks them down, and even when they cry. We are there when they don’t want to take another breathe, don’t want to struggle through life anymore, and we are the ones to make them realize why life is still worth living.

And that’s only the PTSD side of the house. Then many of us also have families to hold together. Children that we have to make sure are being raised properly, as well as emotionally balanced. Many of us now handle the finances and making sure bills are paid, groceries are on the table, and doing what we have to in order to keep the “wolves” from knocking on the door… so to speak. Many of us are taking on the roles of not one person in the family, but two. Many are combining the duties of wife (husband), mom/dad, banker, representative/advocate, caregiver, and I think we can safely say the list is endless.

This is also the time that ones with PTSD are going to feel like they are a burden. They may have PTSD, but that does not make them blind or stupid! And now you have a vicious circle forming that must be stopped!

None of this being said here is in any way meaning to sound disrespectful towards the one with PTSD or in anyway discrediting them or their illness. It’s the truth that makes this disability very real to life for many. And the truth of what many go through because we do support and love our loved one who suffers a very real battle. So if you are one who does suffer from PTSD, please do not let this posting effect you in a negative way, and please do not let guilt weigh on you if this is your situation, we will fight this battle beside you no matter what! Because we choose to be here for you and beside you. 

Over the past month I have seen a drastic increase in PTSD symptoms and heard about them from many. But with that, I am now hearing many spouses who are struggling. And when I say struggling I mean a very dark place. They are mentally and physically worn out from trying to manage everything, and for whatever length of time it takes until PTSD finds a few of those good days. My friends, I do need you to be aware that suicide or thoughts of it can be very real for spouses as well.

This is a very serious situation! It is not one to overlook or think is not real. This spouse is in many cases the lifeline for the one with PTSD as well as their family. I am seeing many spouses with their hands in the air saying, “I love them but I can’t do this anymore.” Some are wanting to walk away, and some are thinking the worst way out possible. Folks, that is not a good situation!

There are going to be times that the spouse does in reality see that “place”, whatever that place may be and extent of those feelings, most cases, it’s just wanting to walk away. It’s happened to every spouse of one with PTSD I know of. That dark place can become very damaging. It not only throws the spouse off balance, but it is that huge boulder rolling down the hill that can take out everyone with it. And let me tell you, the one with PTSD will be the first one to see it happening and if you are not careful they will grab onto the spouse’s coattail and be along for the ride. That’s only normal, this is their support person and the one they most likely look to and trust more then anyone.

So! How do we prevent this from happening or how does a spouse stand back up when they are in that dark place life can very easily put them?

You guessed it! This is where I tell you, you have to find a solution.

Rule number one, of many number one rules… Make sure you are taking care of yourself in order to be able to take care of another.

That is the most clearest, honest fact of a rule there is to follow. If you are not taking care of yourself through this life, it’s going to be very difficult to take care of anyone else.

Things that can help:

* Take “me time”

I don’t want to hear but I have the kids or I have to be with [name] all of the time or I have a house to clean. This is one life rule where you MAKE and TAKE the time! It is in everyone’s best interest that you do, and especially your own!

Even if it’s just a simple 10 minutes by yourself to walk outside, work on something you “want” to and enjoy, that 10 minutes can be life changing to the way you feel and give you what you need to keep moving forward!

* Eating and Exercising.

HELLO! Something that everyone needs in order to stay healthy physically as well as mentally. It goes back to as a child you were told to eat your vegetables, well you were told that for a reason.  If you do not eat or eat properly your body is going to run out of energy, and when your body runs out then your brain and mind are going to follow. Do not allow everything you are doing and taking care of prevent you from eating! One of the largest things I hear is “I’m too tired to eat”. Well then take a break and relax a few minutes so you feel like eating. If you don’t stop for a fill up, then your body is going to run out of gas sooner or later. Don’t allow that to happen!

Exercise. It does not matter what type of exercise! Anything will help. It does not mean you have to have a full workout plan or extensive and expensive equipment or a gym membership. Anything you do to exercise the body will help.

* Unplug

Oh yes, I’m serious. You notice I have times when I do it.  Step away from the computer and put that phone down! When you do not unplug you are not giving yourself and your brain time to focus on what you need to do or how you need to take care of yourself. As much as these things do help you by keeping you educated, learning new things to try, your social lifeline and many times support, etc., you also need some time away from them. I do it  and I tell you when I am going to be away from here… I do that for very good reasons! One, I am helping myself. Two, I am helping you by showing you it’s okay to step away at times.

* Get Outside!

Many are so confined within 4 walls that they forget there is a world outside. Outside time is good for you, it has health benefits, it allows the brain to focus on the here and now and somewhat off of everything else going on. Walk outside and look around, feel the sun, the air, listen to the sounds of the outside world. Those things are needed.

* Balance 

Find a balance. This is one of the most important things to do but yet it’s going to be the hardest. You don’t know what is going to come with each day, you don’t know if a schedule can be kept or what will be before you. But, no matter what, if you find a balance to whatever the situation, you will be able to handle things better, know what you must do to cope or live through them, and be able to find a piece of mind in there as well. Take all of the things you must do to take care of yourself and balance them in with everything else.

* Down Time 

Mine and Craig’s favorite saying. If you are feeling overwhelmed and at your wits end, take the day off! Take a day to just relax, think over things, figure out what you need to do to make the next day better. These are also times that are good to take with your PTSD spouse! Even if they are having a rough day, actually especially if they are having a rough day, allow the focus to be on the two of you together. Even if they are quiet and more to themselves, just the fact that you are taking a time out to only focus on them and yourself, it can help! At times a spouse is so busy with everything that in reality, they are not taking any personal time for just themselves and the one who has PTSD. And if it’s a quiet to themselves day, watch a movie, do a puzzle, or just simply see if they want to talk and not about heavy weighing situations that could increase stress in both of you, just simple talk or one on one time.

* Ask for help

You are only one person. There are going to be times you need to ask others for help. Rather it is for someone to take the kids for a few hours or spend time with your spouse so you can run to the store or do something you need to do. It might be asking someone for help around the house or with yard work. It might be asking a neighbor if they can walk your dog. No matter what it is, if you are overwhelmed, ask someone for help and don’t always try to tackle everything by yourself!

And you know what, the one with PTSD might get a self-esteem boost and realize that they are still needed and wanted if once in awhile you ask them for help. Many spouses do understand what one with PTSD goes through each day, therefore stops asking. You can be doing more harm then good if they are viewing themselves as not needed. Now, you do have to accept if you get a no response. That is going to happen from time to time if they are not in such a good or decent place themselves, but do not view them as completely helpless. But at the same time don’t overwhelm them with too much, find the balance.

*Hobbies

Come on, everyone needs something to do besides bills, housework, and taking care of others. You need something you enjoy, something that means something to you. Couples can enjoy hobbies together as well, it helps build and keep a different type of bond between you. It also provides something that you have in common to talk about other then everyday life things. It also refocuses the brain and can give you a sense of accomplishment. You don’t have to spend money beyond your budget to enjoy a hobby, and you might be shocked at what you find that you really enjoy doing.

* Communication.

A must, must, must do! I can not repeat that enough! It is okay to tell others how you are feelings or what emotional things you are going through. I helps build relationships, understandings, and develops a form of communication that helps everyone! If you feel angry or frustrated, address it! “I am feeling [feeling] today, it’s not you, it’s just how I am feeling. Please bare with me if I’m not acting like myself while I cope through this.” You might be shocked at the help you get in return! Especially from the one with PTSD! They know those feelings, they know what they mean and what they feel like when experiencing them. They are going to be the ones to truly understand. And the ones with PTSD, accept it when a spouse expresses their feelings to you. Communication. It will sure cut down on a lot of misunderstandings and taking things personally.

* Coping Skills

These are a must have and must do. If you do not use coping skills it is going to be very difficult to make it through life with PTSD, let alone life itself. There are many, many, forms of coping. Find which ones work best for you, TRY different ones. Do not say up front “that won’t work for me”, because you don’t honestly know if it will work or not until you give it your best effort. Coping skills are life savers!

* Professional Help 

No way was I leaving this one out! If you are struggling, there is nothing embarrassing about reaching out for professional help yourself! Many spouses do get professional help. Even I have a doctor on standby if I find myself in need. That is just a part of making sure you are taking care of yourself the best you can! There are also help lines available for spouses and family members you can use if it is off hours when you need someone. Do NOT shove what you are feeling or going threw under a rug. I see many spouses push their PTSD loved one to get help, but if you are not doing anything for yourself, and getting the help you need when you need it, then how are you suppose to expect them to reach for help? I am going to make you think on that one. 

* Listen

If someone is telling you that you are acting a certain way, don’t get angry or upset at them, and don’t dismiss what they are telling you. Listen to what they are saying and take a good look in the mirror! No one is perfect, and no one who is under any type of stress is going to be perfect or right all of the time. And if your spouse with PTSD is the one pointing things out to you, you REALLY need to be pausing and listening to what they are saying. Just because they suffer from PTSD does not mean their IQ has reduced, it does not mean they are making these things up just to get at you. It means they know these signs better then anyone else, because they live them. Something everyone really needs to think about.

As always, the list is endless to things that can help but this will give you a good start. When you put all of these things in place, and you are making sure you are helping yourself, it’s going to make it easier to stand back up and take control of your life and find balance in that life.

I learned my personal limits a long time ago. I know that when that not so good place/feelings come of being overwhelmed, it takes me two days and I will be on my feet again full force by day three.

Day 1. 

I take time to cope and “me” time. It clears my head of the chaos. It puts me back on the playing field of balance. I put housework and such to the side for the day, I mean hey, it’s still going to be there tomorrow lol. I spend quality time with those around me between my breaks of me time, not the must do demanding schedule. I only attend to myself and the needs of my family that are right then throughout the day. On this day we normally do takeout, this is so I’m not stuck in the kitchen cooking and cleaning when I need to be focusing on coping. Kind of like giving myself a break.

Once I get through my me time and coping, I sit quietly and think. I go over everything at hand, one thing at a time. Sometimes I even plot things out in writing if there is so much going on that it just gets jumbled up. What the situation is or situations are. Not jumping ahead of myself in thoughts, but looking at what is right before me right then. If you let everything consume your mind at one time, there is no balance, so one thing at a time.

Then I analyze. Every thought and what I am feeling. The why to those feelings. Every situation that has been before me. What or how could I do something differently? What has worked or not worked? What could be tried again that may or may not have worked for a past situation? I just analyze.

Then if I need to, I take my thoughts and feeling to someone. Rather it’s Craig, a family member, a professional, or my support group ladies. It’s never wrong to get more opinions if it is something you just are not sure of or something you are struggling with. You take in all opinions and decide for yourself what you find helpful or not helpful. It’s not complaining or griping, it’s getting input in order to find a solution. And at times that does take someone not so close to the personal situation but someone you trust.

When you do this, at least for myself, I find a huge weight lifting off my shoulders by the end of the day. Then I sleep on it without allowing it to weigh on me.

Day 2

This is when I wake up and seem to always feel refreshed. I have taken time for myself, I have looked at different aspects of each individual situation. And now I make a plan for finding and using solutions. I again take some me time and always use coping skills, between taking care of only the must do things.

Day 3

I’m back on my feet and running again!

Everyone is going to get knocked down from time to time. It’s life and it’s life with PTSD. There is no getting around it. But what you do when those times come will make all of the difference in the world, in your life, as well as others in your life and around you.

To those of you who are struggling right now and have asked for me to address this, I hope this helps, I hope you find the balance and peace you are in need of, and I send you a huge hug to help you through this time and in the future when these things return. You are not alone, and what you are going through and the feelings and emotions that come with it are very real. Make sure you are taking care of yourself. <3

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

How to manage life with PTSD

How to manage life with PTSD

WOW, that sounds like something pretty serious. Well, it is! Life with PTSD and Safety Protocol comes in a lot of forms, it’s NOT just for physical things that could happen… it can be used when an episode happens, to prevent something from happening, to help keep a home running smoothly, balance in a family, etc. It’s a simple set of rules that you make for you and/or your family to follow. Rules come with life, so why not use some when it comes to life with PTSD as part of it. 

It does not matter if your home and your family is running smoothly at this time or not, safety protocol as I call it is urgent to have in place no matter what. It’s a combination of things that help physically, mentally, with daily routines, etc and help your entire household.

I have an extremely long list of things that work or have worked for us over the years. So this will be SOME examples and broken down into sections so you can scroll to which ones fit you and your family… even though you might want to read all of this. 

My note: I am NOT a doctor or in any medical field! If you have an emergency please contact your doctor or local help line. This is only information regarding what we have used to help or know of and not intended to replace medical or emergency attention.

* If you live by yourself and have PTSD.

That may sound odd that you have to use “rules” if it is only you living in your house, but it’s really not that silly.  You never know when you may have a quest or someone new entire your life. So having things in place for when that happens is a good thing and something set in place that can prevent issues from happening in the future or when you are around others. So to those of you that live alone, please take the time to read the rest of this… you never know when it may come in handy. 

* Adults.

Okay, so there are no kids in the house, just the adults. It’s important for the two of you to have things set into place as well. It can help keep arguments down, reduce stress, and help you continue to have a strong relationship.

– Make a plan. Things may have changed when PTSD came into your life, roles of who handles what may change. It does not matter who does what as long as things get done so life runs smoothly. PTSD tampers with the man/woman roles many were raised with or use to, and when that happens it can bring much stress, arguments, guilt, and so on. DON’T get into this mindset! And if you are already there, you might need to do a little re-looking over your situation and try something different. You are there to help each other! Work together and figure out which roles you will do now that PTSD is a part of your life.

– Take breaks. If things are getting heated, agree to disagree and come back to it later if it’s something that HAS to be discussed. Arguing is not going to help anyone and is just going to make things worse and cause hurt feelings to come for both of you. Take a break, actually say “I need a few minutes to cope so we can talk and not argue”. Sounds silly but it can work.  Step to another room and when BOTH are calm then start again.

– Talk and Pause. Again raised voices and emotions do not get you anywhere. If you start raising your voice, PAUSE. Breathe. Then try again without the raised voice. And this goes for BOTH of you! Partners of one with PTSD can get just as loud or vocal as the one with PTSD. When either of you yell or yell back, you are doing the same damage to yourself, them, and your relationship as the other is doing if they are using a raised voice. Pausing during conversations is okay to do. When voices are raised that is when a lot of hurtful things are going to come from your mouth, and many of those things are not meant in the first place and will lead both of you to tears later. Talk and Pause, it helps prevent that.

– Retreat. If you are having an episode there is nothing wrong with retreating to another room away from each other for a little while. This gives you the chance to cope with what you are feeling and calm down. AND if your partner retreats to do this, no matter which one of you is doing it, DON’T follow them (unless there is a chance of self harm). Allow them the space to regroup then come back to you.

– Set Guidelines/Rules. Do this ahead of time, do it right now! It’s a simple “if this happens then we will handle it like this”. Sit down together and come up with what you can do, actually write them out if need be until you both get use to them. This can include when flashbacks happen, with nightmares, with anger, memory issues, anxiety, etc. and partner stress also. This is for BOTH of you!

Example: If you have a flashback then I will stay out of your reach, but will talk to you calmly to help ground you to present time, place, and I will say my name and who I am. I will stay until the flashback passes.

– Reassurance. This is nothing to just assume! EACH of you need to hear the verbal reassurance that you are there for each other and will make it through this. You need to hear I love you and I’m here for you. PTSD can cause some VERY mixed feelings even when your heart knows you love someone or they love you. Don’t assume even if they know, say something.

* Parents/Grandparents

Oh boy! Not only do you have to make sure things are in place for you and your partner, but you have children in your life too! There are more things you have to consider and more things you have to keep an eye on.

– First, the above “adults” applies to you also! Those things can help keep things from effecting children as much. Little ears and eyes are always there, and making sure children do not get exposed to some of the things PTSD can bring is urgent for their well being and development. You can not shelter them, but you can do things to teach them and have things in place for adults as well as children for times that something may or does happen.

– Teach. Children can learn at ANY age! My two started learning at ages 8 and 3 years old (they are the two that live with us). You do not have to tell them what happened or details, and please don’t… children are very visual and will form pictures of what you are telling them in their minds, and if you tell them some details without telling everything about what happened they will form their own images of everything else which can actually be worse then what actually happened. So telling them details of what happened that caused PTSD can cause a lot of mental damage to them, especially at young ages.

Example: It’s better in my opinion to say things such as “Dad had something bad happen to him that caused him to have PTSD, but don’t worry we are doing things and working as a family and with the doctors to help dad.” (of course change “dad” to which ever name it needs to be)

By saying something along this line, you are letting them know “dad” has a reason for what he says, acts like, or goes through ( a help if or when a child may copy actions or behaviors that are “owned” by PTSD and not the child), but at the same time letting them know they don’t have to worry because there is help to get dad better or the best he can be.

As children grow older, they will ask questions and be curious. Teaching about PTSD on their age and learning levels is the key I have found. Don’t try to teach them everything at once or beyond their level or age, of learning or understanding. Don’t overwhelm them 

– Coping skills. Children can learn coping skills at any age! And you don’t have to tell them it’s a coping skill, you just simply teach them as you would anything else in life.

Example: My daughter for several years now has done this… She writes her feelings or anything that is bothering her on paper then balls it up and throws it away.

To her, this is her way of getting her feelings out (by writing them), she talks to me when it’s something she can’t figure out or needs to talk about (normally paper in hand), then she throws the paper away… that is her way of releasing the feelings or what’s bothering her. She lets go when the paper is thrown away. In reality, she is coping without realizing that is exactly what she is doing. 

The sooner children of any age learn to cope, rather they realize it is coping or not, the better they can handle things in the present as well as their future adult life.

– Rules. It is actually easier for children to learn rules that can apply to PTSD then adults. Why? Because they are still learning and not yet set in their ways.  There are many things you can use to help children and your home function smoothly.

Adult space. Have a room where children are not allowed unless invited in. This gives BOTH parents breathing and coping space when it’s needed.

Play rules. Don’t jump from behind things or around corners. Don’t jump on someone’s back without them knowing. You get my point 

You can teach them that if a parent is upset or angry to go to another room until they calm down. AND as the parent, when you do calm down, go to them, hug them, and let them know you are okay. That sometimes adults get angry and it’s not because of something they did. By doing this you have given the child an option of knowing they can leave the room and away from whatever is happening if the adult hasn’t. You are reassuring them you care about them. And you are explaining that sometimes things happen in life but it’s not their fault. That’s a lot coming from one small act you taught them they can use if need be.

Discipline. DON’T discipline if you are mad! When you do, you are reinforcing your angry behavior is okay (and a child may copy it), you could cause the child to fear you, and most likely you are not going to discipline with a clear mind or in the correct way. Sometimes it’s good for BOTH of you to take a “timeout” to be able to handle the situation correctly.

– Helping Out. Oh the chores word  It is good that children learn to do things that will carry on to adulthood. It helps keep a balance in the house without one person becoming overwhelmed with doing everything. And it also, rather they know it or not lol, helps them be an active part of the family. LET children help. It gives them one on one time with either parent which is important. If you are doing something, just simply ask them if they can help you. It raises their self-esteem, teaches them, and helps them know life still has a normal even with PTSD being a part of it.

Some people make chore charts. I personally found this was more work and stress on me then it was worth, but it does work for many. I just ask or nicely tell, when I would like the kids to do something or help with something. It keeps the personal interaction with the child, gives them the feeling of being needed, and less stress to me. And they respond so much easier then if they think they are being ordered to do something or have a set schedule of this must be done on this day.  AND it works GREAT for teenagers!!!

– One on one time. URGENT! Children of any age think and view things differently. They are each their own person, with their own personality. You can’t treat each of them exactly the same way. Taking one on one time, even just a few minutes per day, forms a communication between you, gives you input to what they are experiencing, feeling, or areas they may need help with. Gives them the time to bond even with PTSD as part of your lives. And is urgent for their development. A lot of things can be stopped before they get too far, if you just take a little one on one time with each child.

– Adult talking to children. Watch this one! There are many cases where a parent will talk about the other parent to or in front of the kids… of any age. I promise you… sooner or later this will backfire on YOU. DON’T put you or your children in this position. If you need to vent, vent to another adult. Children will make their own opinions about each parent no matter what you say or tell them, don’t let your negative words or bad mouthing about the other parent result in you being the one judged by your own child. Parenting 101, PTSD or not. 

This can also lead to children worrying about each parent and cause harm to the child’s well being and development, which can roll over to their adulthood life.

* To everyone.

Get help! Rather you choose a doctor, therapist, couple or marriage counseling, church counseling, support groups, etc. Get some type of help and a support system. Learn coping skills and use them! And try… try different things, form your own safety protocol and things you can do to make life run a little smoother with having PTSD in it. If one thing doesn’t work, try something else. Not everything is going to work for everyone, so try different things and put effort into it when you do try. It can make ALL of the difference in the world, to your life and your family’s lives.

Again, I could write you a novel on this one, but these are just a few things that might help. Please take time to educate yourself about PTSD and the symptoms that come with it. Knowledge gives you the upper hand to learning to live life with or beside PTSD.

Love to all of you! <3

~Bec
A Spouses Story PTSD

“Laugh or you will cry”… PTSD

“Laugh or you will cry”… PTSD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

Doctor Appointments

Doctor Appointments

Do you attend doctor appointments with your PTSD (or any other mental disorder/illness for that matter) partner?

This is something a lot of people do not really think about to be honest. I mean, it’s not an appointment for you, so why should you go? Why should you take off work for it, if you work? Isn’t it the other person’s “problem”? Many people who are not a caregiver to the person where they know they really need to do these things, may just not think about them.

OH, let me let you in on a few things you might not have thought about. When a mental condition is at hand, no matter what it may be, or another health issue which may be severe or even stressful for the one with it, YOU might want to at least ask the person if they would like you to go with them. And don’t forget, at times they may say no because they already feel as if they are a burden, point out and talk to them about why it would be good for you to go.

I have heard several people say “It’s his/her problem, so I don’t go to his/her appointments.”

Well, I have news for you, if that person is someone you love, help care for, or is your partner in life, you might want to really look at what you are saying.

Here’s a few reasons why:

* First off, it’s a form of support. 

Even if you do not do anything but sit in the waiting room, that person knows you are there if they need you. Sometimes doctor appointments can also be emotional and you being there can help them and also help them when they are leaving the appointment if they are too emotional to drive or having to cope with what was discussed in the appointment.

* Information.

There is no better way to know the information that could in many cases be important to both of you then to be there. At times a person may have memory issues or not remember details for a longer length of time. This is common with not only PTSD, but other conditions as well. In these cases, between that appointment and them getting back home some of the important information needed may not be recalled. By being there, you are more apt to get the information that could help them, especially right after an appointment if you do not sit in on it. It also keeps you informed of things they may have been advised to do or try. By knowing it gives you the advantage to help them stay on track with their treatment and progress.

* Being included in appointments.

If the one who has the appointment tells the doctor they want you included in the appointment, many doctors are more then welcome to include you. There may have to be a paper signed by the patient stating the doctor can include you, for privacy purposes, but that’s okay. The only time I have ever found that you really would not want to sit in on an appointment is if it is a one on one therapy session, but even with those, sitting in the waiting room can be a huge help. Especially if the doctor has questions for you about something that has come up in the session. When two people are trying to work through life with a mental illness, it’s good for both of you to be on the same page and being on the same page in many cases means being there at those appointments.

This also gives you the opportunity to ask questions to the doctor of what you can do or how you can handle certain things. It helps you help your PTSD loved one.  It also gives you the chance to work together which is urgent.

* Medications.

It is always a good idea to know the medications your partner is taking! Even if the one with PTSD is fully capable of handling their medications on their own, there are still very good reasons for you to know this information also. If there is ever a medical emergency, you have the information to give professionals which may not know your loved one’s medical history. Also by you knowing their medications it gives you a better idea of what the doctors are treating them for and why, how to help, and just simply help them keep up with the medications they should be taking.

And again, if memory is an issue, knowing medications and dosages can be urgent to make sure they take the correct amounts when they need to, also to make sure they do not accidentally overdose! You can also double check to make sure refills are done when they need to be so they always have the medications they need and there is not a lapse of time between refills. Many of the medications for PTSD can not be or are not recommended to be stopped cold turkey, so those delays if not refilled on time can become urgent.

* Memory issues.

I know I’ve already mentioned this several times but I want to add to it. If you know or suspect your PTSD loved one has memory issues at any level, you can be a huge help not only to them but to their doctor as well. MANY with PTSD or even other mental conditions do suffer from some level of memory difficulties.

Many times when memory is a symptom of an illness, doctor appointments can end up seeming like a repeat of the last one. Same things discussed all over again, which leads to no or very little moving forward with treatment. Going to appointments can help keep sessions moving forward! You can give the doctor an update, even if you just sit in on an appointment for 5-10 minutes, and let them know about progress, any difficulties, things you have noticed, how the person has been since their last appointment, and areas you see they could use some extra help in. They need to know about the good days too!

When memory is a part of this, the person may not recall how they were last week or even yesterday. Many times they will say “oh I’m doing okay” or “not good”, when in fact they may have hit rock bottom 3 days ago or maybe they actually had an awesome day/week. Many do answer the question with the here and now of how they are feeling right then which can be misleading to what they have been like or going through. You giving their doctor an update, even if brief, can help the doctor know exactly what has been going on so they can help the one with PTSD in the areas needed at that time.

* Making notes.

This can be a life saver! Make notes of things you have noticed between appointments. If you are sitting in on an appointment it is important that YOU do not “take over” THEIR appointment! However a good way to experience a better appointment is to take notes ahead of time and nothing lengthy but specific points of concern and also the good days. If you notice something is being left out during a session that needs to be addressed it’s good to add in “I noticed…” Could you help him/her/us with this.

If you can not attend an appointment, ask the doctor if you can email them notes before a visit or drop them off if it’s not out of the way. They most likely will not respond to you unless proper paperwork is in order for them to do so, but just making sure they get the information can help out a lot! And it only takes a few minutes to call the office and say “Could you please give Dr. [name] a message for me. Please let him/her know that [name]’s spouse sent him/her an email to help out with the appointment later today/tomorrow.” Any good doctor will take the time to review what you have sent to them!

You are the one living with the person, therefore you have a lot of information the doctors could use in making sure your loved one gets the best time of every visit they have. Notes can be extremely important, just make sure they are helpful and not an attack… or that doctor may wonder if you are actually trying to help the one with PTSD… or not.

These are just a few examples of how being involved in your loved one’s care can be beneficial to them… and you/your family. And if you are one with PTSD (or other medical condition), think about including your partner in your treatment! They could really be a huge help to you. Working together, even when it comes to doctor appointments, can be a huge help to everyone and help you move forward! 

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

“How do you cope so well?”

“How do you cope so well?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

“It is what it is”

“It is what it is”

This is pretty much my saying this week. Along with my normal schedule of to-do’s and daily routines as mom and caregiver… Summer has started for all but one of our 4 children, so I still have a school schedule to keep up this week. I have paperwork to do on several different things, which can take a lot of time. This week is my son’s high school Graduation, so a lot going on with that. We now have family dropping in and out because of the kids all being here. No more quick meals because feeding 6 needs more cooking and time. It’s been raining so yard work still needs to be done. And I have VA home inspection this week. Oh I’m sure I left a few things I have to do out on purpose also lol. This week is an “it is what it is” type of week.

It is important to pace yourself, don’t over do it and don’t get overwhelmed. Sometimes life throws you all sorts of things, and at times all at the same time. Prioritize and set a pace accordingly. When you get overwhelmed you lose focus and concentration, the world can just suck you in. Don’t allow that to happen.

Breathe. Make a list of to-do’s in order of importance. Take breaks throughout the day when needed. And don’t forget to enjoy life and also some “me” time. You have to take care of yourself no matter what each day holds, so make sure you do it! 

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

Surviving in a PTSD Relationship…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Communication. 

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

* Set rules. 

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

* Get professional help. 

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

* Take care of yourself. 

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

* Physical and/or Verbal Abuse.

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

* Safety Protocol.

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

* Education.

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

* Stop fighting each other.

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

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

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

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

It’s okay to feel that way…

So at times with PTSD looking to the bright side does not always work… does it? 😉

If you have PTSD, I bet you are agreeing with me on this one. See, PTSD brings all sorts of emotions, or lack of. It can bring anger, guilt, frustration, along with many other things.

Those are real feelings! They are not something you can just sweep under a rug. So here is a twist for you…

It’s okay to have those feelings!

Sometimes those feelings are needed. Sometimes it’s okay to experience them or let your loved one experience them (just no harm to yourself or others please). You have to keep in mind that something very real did happen. Every day is not going to be a happy cheerful day. It’s all part of the process that PTSD brings.

Sometimes instead of a loved one playing the “today is going to be a good day” or “smile, it will make you feel better” role, having a little empathy can be more helpful. Empathy, recognizing the emotions of another person, helps lead one to compassion. See, it’s all steps to the larger picture, and a step to being able to cope better and get to a better mind set. Goes back to you can’t just brush things away, especially feelings and emotions. You have to be given a chance to experience them.

For one with PTSD, encouragement and understanding to the best you can are much needed, but a “cheerleader” so to speak, could do more harm then good during these times. Encourage, and try to relate the best you can without actually being in their shoes, and don’t claim to completely understand, because you don’t. Like I have said before, we as loved ones understand what they have told us, what we have heard them say in their sleep, what the nightmares bring to them, and what we see everyday day which they go through now, however… we don’t understand the actual experience they had. So make sure you are careful with your wording. You sure don’t want them to experience more anger or frustration then they are already going through when those feelings are already there.

Of course it’s not good or healthy to experience these things constantly, however it is okay to feel them when they come to you. Allow yourself to, and loved ones, you allow them to also and just be there for them during these times.

So no, I’m not going to tell you to smile or look for the good on this one, those will come in due time. I’m going to tell you to embrace the feelings, notice you do still have feelings, and know that someone is there for you when you experience these feelings and emotions. Experience them when they come and let them lead you to a better understanding of yourself (or your loved one), and know it’s just another step of coping through PTSD.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD