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To those who are new here…

To those of you that are a little more new to the page and my website, I want to explain my views on life with PTSD and the way I run my page.

This page was created in order to find positive solutions and things that can help make life with PTSD just a little bit easier and to know that we all are not alone. It’s run on having respect for each other and supporting each other in a positive manner. It’s truly what I call a family. I do not have deep opinionated debates on here, because those things bring additional stress and are not the reason we are here together, and not what we need when trying to find positive aspects of life with PTSD.

I DO share things that are off topic. Why? Because there is still life even with PTSD being a huge part of it! If it takes me sharing positive things off topic to show that PTSD does not own my husband and I, to bring a smile or a chuckle to someone else, to show that you need to make sure you are doing things to take care of yourself and not only dwelling in what PTSD is and brings, then you can bet your bottom I’m going to share those off topic things.

All of those things are a part of life! Just because some off topic things are shared from time to time, it does not mean PTSD is any less severe or that I don’t take it seriously, those of you that know me also know I am extremely serious about PTSD and finding positive ways to live with or beside it, but at the same time remembering life itself.

I learned a long time ago that if you live your life based around only the negative, it’s going to be extremely difficult for things to change for the positive. PTSD does in fact bring many negative things to all of our lives, but what we do and how we handle or view things can make a huge difference. If I allowed only the negative that PTSD brings consume me, what good would I be to my husband or my family? I wouldn’t be. Negativity rolls over to others, and it’s not in a good way. Someone has to break the cycle so things have a chance to improve. This page and how I run it, how I still hold on to the positive through all of the negative helps many people, and my husband will vouch that it sure helps him!

Every day of our life is challenging. But you know what? We make the best of it and we see the sun set each evening and rise the next morning. We have found ways to still live, differently then normal or the way things were for us, but we still live life.

There are many who have not found that balance in their lives yet. Some lash out at others, put people down, try to discredit a person’s life when in reality they don’t know anything about that person… I won’t be harsh to them, I will offer them my hand of support in hopes I and all of us here can show them a path we did not have when things were extremely severe and off balance for us. It’s their choice if they want to try to find the positive, or stay in the negative. Craig and I chose to try to find some type of life through this roller coaster PTSD brings.

It takes time, learning, trial and errors, and working together but that balance can be found. Every day is different with more and more challenges, but Craig and I have found what works for us and as a family. We never stop trying, we never stop learning, and we believe in passing it on to others, so maybe something within all of it will help others also.

So, if you come to this page and you see recipes, cat or dog photos, wildlife or lakefront photos, or things off topic… it’s not because I lack respect or understanding of PTSD, it’s because I DO understand and respect it, and chose to find life along with it.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

When you feel you are at rock bottom of PTSD…

You know, I am seeing a lot of people really struggling lately. I’m seeing many feel they are on their last thread of hope or help. Relationships and families having some serious problems. And everything else that comes with PTSD.

Those days of hitting rock bottom of what PTSD can bring, I know I will never forget them and hope we never see that type of rock bottom again. Yes, we know that dark place all too well.

BUT… I am also seeing something else. I’m seeing people reach out to others, talking to each other, and reading/learning what they can do to help their situation. That’s huge!

It takes time to learn about PTSD, re-learn about yourself as well as others… rather you are the one with PTSD or the one living beside it.

PTSD is one of those things in life, that just does not come with a quick fix. It does take time to learn. It takes time to go through the trial and errors to find what is going to work for you. And it takes a lot of support and working together with others.

But I can tell you this, that hard work, re-learning how to live life, reaching a hand out in order to learn, it can help things become better then where you may be right now!

I know at times you are going to want to give up, and the fight is going to at times seem unbearable. But I also know if you keep pushing forward, no matter how many steps back you experience in the process, things can improve.

Your life is not going to be the same as it was before, so I will not tell you it will be. But just because life has changed does not mean life can’t still have good to it, in some shape or form.

Every day you have the ability to accomplish something, learn something new, and work towards another step forward. But the first step is always going to be accepting PTSD is now a part of your life. When you accept it, you can learn how to battle it.

Life is too precious to allow something like PTSD to win. PTSD can be managed, it just takes finding things that are out of the normal, so to speak, that will work for you. When you try one thing, and it doesn’t work, try something else. Giving up is not an option in my book, I refuse to allow it to be.

“PTSD happens to the best of the best.” No one will EVER be able to make me view that statement of mine differently. The ones that have experienced a trauma that no one should have ever had to experience. YOU survived that trauma, no matter what it was that happened to you.

I know PTSD is unbelievably hard, but I also know that surviving whatever trauma you did also proved you are a fighter, a fighter that actually does indeed have the strength to make it through PTSD as well. Reliving your trauma every day of your life and finding ways to make it to the next and keep fighting, well, how could anyone say you aren’t the best of the best? That takes a very strong person to be able to do that. Facts on the table right there.

No matter how hard this battle gets, don’t give up on yourself! You have already proven you can make it through this, you have proven you are a fighter, that you can handle anything, and with that you can survive PTSD. I know you can. Because I truly believe in you and your ability to do so.

We have the tools to make it through that battle every single day. WE have EACH OTHER! There is one thing that we have today that others did not have before, we have numbers. One man going into a fight may be defeated, but an army of people… what are PTSD’s chances of winning? Not good, I can tell you that!

I know PTSD is not just going away, and I know it’s not going to just vanish from your life, and it’s a battle that does not end. But I also know fighting it together, sharing with each other, finding new things we can try, hearing each other’s things that have helped, learning to communicate, and just being here for each other… gives us a greater strength then one could ever imagine.

YOU are worth that fight. Life may never be the same as it was before, but in reality, life would never be the same anyway… life changes. Just because it changes does not mean you just give up. It means you find ways around those changes and you work toward your future.

NO ONE is alone in this. I know at times you will feel that way, we all will. But reality is, we have a huge “family” here rather we have the same blood running through our veins or not. Family comes from the heart, and we, as a “family” working together, can give PTSD one hell of a fight. 

Don’t EVER give up on yourself! YOU are worth more than that! 😉

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Category: Life with PTSD: Symptoms, Uncategorized  Tags: ,  Comments off

Right and Wrong forms of Support

Right and Wrong forms of Support

I mentioned this the other day in one of my postings, and last night it really hit home and weighed on me. So I wanted to go ahead and talk about this.

People who do not live with someone who has PTSD or Depressive disorder (or other unseen disabilities), in many cases… seem to really not understand what “correct” support is! This can be so frustrating, can anger you, can send you in a deeper depression, can cause the greatest guilt you have ever witnessed.

Ones that don’t take the time to “get it”… understand the disorder/illness at hand, offer support in a way they would offer to anyone else. So I’m not dismissing that they might have good intentions, many times they won’t see that what they are doing is actually causing more damage. I’m saying there is a right and wrong way when it comes to an unseen disability.

So let me give you an example and maybe this will help…

A person calls and says they need your help with something, let’s say yard work just for the sake of an example. It goes something like this…

Person calling:
“Oh there is just so much we have to do and the yard really needs to be mowed and trimmed up. Oh and those hedges, they have gotten so tall and we just can’t get everything done by our self. I have this, this, and this I need to be doing instead. Well, you have time on your hands, I need you to come over and do this for me.”

Okay, no big deal right? The one with PTSD loves helping other people out! Especially if it’s family or friends. But let’s take a deeper look into what was said from the view of the one with PTSD or their spouse.

Person with PTSD:
“Hey they want me to do this, this and this. I have to do it. I will have to watch what time of day because of my medications and the heat. I am so tired because I didn’t get any sleep or little sleep over the past, well forever. After a rough night I fell back asleep, I missed getting up to do that before the heat, now it’s too late. I can’t manage to get this done around my own house but I have to put that to the side and go do this for them because they expect me to. I have no energy. They keep bugging me so I need to get this done. I have no energy. I can’t let them down. I have to do this. I rarely leave the house but I have to do this. Oh look at my own yard, I can’t even manage to get it done myself. But I have to do this for them…….” Then lays down a sleeps the rest of the day.

I know in that last part I said the same things more then once, I did that on purpose because that is exactly what happens.

What just happened? By all means the one with PTSD WANTS to do this for someone else. But at the same time the anxiety built up. The expectations grew and were out of control, the thought of not being able to accomplish things of your own but yet being told to help someone else made them feel bad. Guilt set in on it’s highest level. In this example medications and heat were an issue which narrow the time frame of expectations, causing even more anxiety and guilt. The fact that there is lack of sleep involved therefore lack of energy, which means after this thing asked is done, this person will probably crash and not be able to do much if anything for a few days. The repeat of being told what needs to be done is a huge guilt trip.

I’m sure the person asking for this favor has every good intention. So I will give the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they are trying to push the person to get out of the house, maybe they are trying to get them to be active, maybe they think this will be “good” for them to be included in helping out… or maybe they just don’t get it and are treating this person like there is nothing wrong with them?

Things like this can be handled in a much better way. I just showed you what approaching a situation as in this example can do to someone with an unseen disability. Now let me show you a very simple, easier way to approach the same example…

Proper support:
“Hey we are going to be working on the yard today which has become overwhelming to us, if you are up for helping you are more then welcome to come over. If not that’s okay too, we understand.” And don’t say it again!

Do you see the huge difference? Wording things to where what you want to say is said, but also in a way that does not place expectations, guilt, or even harassing manner, I can almost promise you will work much better… and for both people!

Work, another example…

Wrong support:
“You are the best at the job you were doing. Don’t give up, go get another job doing that. There’s nothing wrong with you and you can still do the same thing. Why are you just letting your career go? You are letting yourself and us down, go get another job. We know you can still do this, you were so good at it.”

Person with PTSD:
“I let them down. I’m not good at anything anymore. I was the best and everyone knows that, now I’m nothing! I failed. That was my life dreams and now I’m nothing. I’m worthless. I can’t do what I did before. I’m damaged goods. I should be doing my dream job right now and living life to it’s fullest as I expected to, but I can’t. Look at all of my education wasted! All those awards mean nothing, I failed my family and myself!….”

OUCH! The person that was trying to be supportive, or just not accepting the unseen disability, could have just honestly pushed the one with PTSD into ending their life! You think that is a strong statement? Well let me tell you, it’s a pretty honest and serious one! To the one without PTSD, they view it as pushing the person in a positive way that they can indeed still do what they are good at, that they should not give up. However, look what their view of positive turned into. Not so good when an unseen disability is involved.

Correct support:
“I know you have to figure out what you can or can not do with your disabilities, but I just want you to notice and remember how many accomplishments you have made in your life. Just because you may not do what you expected you would be doing, does not mean you won’t find something else you are wonderful at also. Life comes with changes, and this is just one of them. And look, you get to find something new you will enjoy just as much.”

See the difference? Wrong support and/or wording can throw someone with PTSD into a huge downward spiral. To the point that they honestly want to end their life. It does not mean you have to pamper them or treat them differently, it means you choose your words wisely and remember that a disability is indeed there. There are many ways to word things to keep things positive, and to avoid making them feel guilty or unworthy… or even make them feel as if they are a burden and everyone would be better off without them. Think about what you say before speaking!

These are only two examples of many, but I hope you care enough to get my point. Your words can honestly be the difference between someone wanting to live and move forward, or sadly… want to end their life.

PTSD and other disabilities are very real. Rather you are one that believes they are or not, you really need to take a good look at what the facts are. And right now the fact is 22 veterans and 1 active duty member are taking their own lives each day, that’s higher then war itself… and that’s only reported cases in the United States and not including civilian or world wide. If those numbers don’t scream PTSD is real, then I honestly don’t know what does!

It only takes a minute to think about “how” what you do or say to someone will effect them. It only takes a little bit of time for you learn the difference between correct and wrong support. Things have changed when PTSD becomes a part of your life or your family’s life. And with that change everyone needs to learn how to be supportive in a way that will actually help not hinder your loved one.

PLEASE take the time! Take the time to CARE!

~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

Why not to say “You’re fine”…

I had a very good question come to me after my “one phrase” posting  and would like to talk about it more in depth on here.

The question asked:

“I just read your status about PTSD. I have not heard of this before. I would just like to ask a question. You say not to say to a person ‘you’re fine, there’s nothing wrong’ but what would you say to someone if they opened up to you about it? And what is it about saying ‘your fine’ that upsets them. I thought that telling someone they’re ok and there’s nothing wrong with them would be a form of support and endearment?”

One of the hardest things a person with PTSD faces, as well as anyone else that has an unseen disability, is people understanding that their illness/disability is real. Many people have trouble understanding something when it can not be seen.

When you say to a person with an unseen disability “You’re fine” or “There’s nothing wrong with you” those comments are like telling them they are making it up, it’s not real, and you don’t believe them. When this happens, and enough times whatever that amount may be for that person, it can easily lead them to suicidal thoughts, or actions I hate to say. It makes it appear that there is no hope, no one takes what they are going through seriously, and no one is there to help them.

Even in cases where you know they have this disability and believe it, to the one that has it these phrases appear as a disbelief you have towards them or as you are telling them they are not being truthful. In many cases you can damage the trust they have in you and they will stop coming to you for support.

Even if your intentions are to let them know they are going to be okay, the words “you’re fine” carry a different meaning and are not going to be taken the way you intended. If you are stating them in such a way as “you’re fine, there’s nothing wrong with you” you are not facing what they are truly going through. This can lead to them not opening up to you, avoiding you, and not using you as a form of support system which is greatly needed. In fact they are not okay, they have a illness/disability that is very real.

Words and the way you use them can mean everything to a person with PTSD or other unseen disability.

Here are some simple ways to help:

* “I know you have PTSD and I’m here for you, even if I don’t completely understand what you are going through.”

By wording it this way, you are letting them know they have your support, they can count on you, but at the same time you are letting them know up front you may not fully know about or understand PTSD.

* “I want to be able to help you and I will learn more about PTSD so I can be of more help and support.”

Those are huge words to someone with PTSD. You are showing support and you are showing the willingness to learn about what they are experiencing.

* “I might not understand exactly what you are going through or went through, but I’m here to listen and help however I can.”

Face it, you are NOT going to understand exactly what someone went through, don’t say you do understand… another phrase that won’t be viewed nicely. You may understand the symptoms they have now, what you see, the changes in them, but when it comes down to understanding what happened to them, you can’t understand it because most likely you were not there and/or you are not the one that developed PTSD. Many times just lending an ear is a huge help and is all that is needed. Listen, and don’t give advice if you don’t know/understand the experience.

* “Can you help me understand what you go through now, how you see/view things and what I can do to help?”

Fact is what happened happened. They may or may not want to talk about what happened to them. Either way, take it at their pace of what they want or don’t want to share. The only thing you can do is learn about what they experience now. One with PTSD many times can tell you their symptoms, how they feel, what emotions they experience or don’t experience. All of those things can help you understand the now.

Many times, and I will say this up front, the how can I help question will be answered with “I don’t know” or “I don’t know how to help myself so I can’t answer that.” If this happens, listen and let them speak openly without any judgement, they are being honest with you. The best thing you can do is educate yourself on PTSD. Even if they can’t answer how you can help them, you are still telling them you are there for them by asking, that’s important.

These are just a few examples. The important thing is not to word things as if their illness/disability is not real. If you are one that does not believe it is real, take time to truly educate yourself.

I believe the high rate of suicide numbers, just the ones based around PTSD, are high enough to prove there is a serious issue at hand and it’s a very real one. We are losing ones to PTSD every single day, the numbers are not going down. The stigma around PTSD and the way many are reacting to it or not doing anything to change this is literally costing people their lives. These people deserve a fair hand to the rest of their lives just like everyone else does. Your words can make a huge difference, please be careful with them. Showing there is hope and support is extremely important. PTSD does not just go away, but there is hope one’s symptoms and situation can be better then it may be right now.

~Bec

“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

Caregivers and Family of PTSD…

Caregivers/Family of PTSD

Many people do not realize what a spouse/partner and/or family members of one with PTSD may go through themselves. We love our PTSD family member by all means but knowing what comes with PTSD can greatly help everyone, so important to talk about.

Things a partner/family member may experience and be affected by:

* Detachment/Disconnection. This is when one with PTSD has emotions which are shut down to others, has difficulties showing positive feelings, they may want to be alone and/or avoid gatherings… even family ones. The one with PTSD may shut someone out, actually trying to protect their loved one from negative feelings or emotions. These things can lead to a loss of support, friends, family, understanding, and even intimacy.

* Sympathy. It is normal for loved ones to show sympathy to one with PTSD. No one wants to see their loved one suffer from a trauma as well as ongoing symptoms of PTSD. But sometimes too much sympathy can be a bad thing. It can lead to you doing everything or babying the one with PTSD which can effect the way they feel about themselves, the way they cope, and things that they try to accomplish even with PTSD. It leads to low expectations from one’s self.
* Conflict/Anger. PTSD can lead to conflict within a family. Ones with PTSD seem to find themselves more irritable or angry then before, they may expect things to be perfect and the way they view things should be. Things such as what a partner is expected to do or in a certain time frame, how children are expected to do in school, expectations from ones on a job. All of this can lead to conflict and finding ways of explaining how one with PTSD feels is often times difficult to do. It can lead to arguments and the fight which PTSD can bring towards family members.

* Worry/Fear. When a family member with PTSD feels unsafe or a situation is unsafe, it can cause the family to feel the same way. Families trust feeling of others within the family, so when unsafe feelings surface they can roll over to others. Many fears for safety are acted upon by means such as extra security, more locks, checking locks on doors and windows, a protection dog, alarms. You might live in a great neighborhood with little or no crime, but with PTSD the feeling of extra safety is needed.

* Depression. This is something very real among PTSD family members. There can be a sense of loss, change in lifestyle, and just the fact of seeing what your family member with PTSD goes through each day. It is important to still do things you enjoy, see friends or family members, take care of yourself, participate in support groups, and seek professional help when needed.

* Shame/Guilt. Many family members might feel guilt or shame for many different reasons, maybe because you feel no matter what you try your PTSD family member is not getting better, maybe you feel if you had done something differently the one with PTSD would not have experienced the trauma, maybe you feel out of control of an outcome or even what could be in the future. These are things that will greatly effect you when in reality something might have been completely out of your control. Continue educating yourself, get help for yourself, and work on moving forward and not holding so much guilt personally. Your PTSD family member needs your support, rather they show improvements or not, making it to the next day is a positive thing and they need your help to do that.

* Addictions. Many family members might turn to drugs and/or alcohol when they feel as if they can’t cope anymore. I don’t think I really need to tell you these are not good and won’t help you find a way to keep moving forward, they can be detrimental to you and your loved one. There are many resources for coping other then these, try them, let them work for you. Even as a family member you can use the same coping skills your PTSD loved one has been taught.

* Anger. Oh boy! Yes, it’s true. Family members can have anger or anger outbursts just as the one with PTSD can have. You can feel lost, unwanted, that nothing means anything anymore, you may grieve, you let things weigh on you, and sooner or later you explode. Do things to help with the anger you might start feeling. Exercise, do that mad house cleaning, scream into a pillow away from everyone, allow yourself to cry, allow yourself to grieve, and remember that you are human too. 😉 Find ways to let the anger go before you start taking it out on the one with PTSD or others in the home.

* Negative feelings. This is a huge one! Negative feelings come out when you feel a loss of love, closeness, when one with PTSD has a hard time expressing their feeling towards you. You might find yourself or even doing it without realizing it, being mean or short with your loved one with PTSD, even acting the way they might have acted towards you. You might even experience feelings of disrespect, that you have been let down, or that your loved one could have done something differently related to their trauma. All of these feelings are going to lead you to negative feelings toward someone you actually love, and neither one of you need to go through that. Focus on the good things, what you can do, positive steps that you both have or are taking. Setting the negative feelings to the side and not feeding off of them will help both of you.

* Health issues. Many family members can experience being anxious, when this happens it can lead to physical health issues such as stomach problems, bowel problems, headaches, body aches/pains such as neck and back. You can also have health issues caused by poor eating habits, lack of exercise, and bad habits starting such as drinking or drug use. You have to again, make sure you are taking care of yourself to help prevent physical conditions from forming.

* Stress. The one which I think weighs the most one a family member. There might be a loss job or change in job, where finances become a huge weight on you to handle. The fact of learning hope to cope and care for your loved one with PTSD. Lack of communication or socialization which you use to be able to maintain. You might be the one having to juggle the finances and bills now. You find yourself in a position of being the one to handle important issues and decisions where it use to be someone else’s responsibility or position to do so. And the world came crashing in… what they refer to as “caregiver burden”… even though I hate that term, I don’t see my loved one as a burden at all!!! But wait, it doesn’t stop there, you are also trying to understand the changes in your loved one, the change in affection and even intimacy. It plays a huge toll on your own self-esteem on top of your everyday responsibilities. So what do you do? Make time to take care of yourself! Do things that you enjoy. Seek professional help. Caring for a loved one with PTSD can be a handful, but what you do for yourself can make all of the difference in the world to both of you!!! Learn ways to cope with the stress, and if you say there’s no stress lol… open your eyes and face the truth! I’m not saying we don’t love our ones with PTSD, that is by far from the truth, but I am saying that all of us will at some time or another have stress. Do something to help it when it does come.

Well, to say the least there is still a lot more to it but this is a start. Many don’t realize what families go through and how things change when PTSD comes to life. But when it does, it’s what you choose to do to make things the best possible and how you choose to take care of yourself through this that will make the largest changes to life with PTSD. And I’m here to tell you, your loved one needs to see you taking care of yourself and your family… it helps take some of the stress off of them and leads all of you to the better or good days. And those lead to the strength to battle PTSD again when the time comes to. Take care and smile, PTSD does not have to be the end of life or the end to a family in many cases. Work together, learn from each other, and help each other! “Family”, it’s a pretty strong word in my book!

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

PTSD Awareness Cards…

 

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

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

~Bec