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I don’t know if I should call this a success or a takeover!

I don’t know if I should call this a success or a takeover!ย 

Let me tell you a story…

You all know that I have been working on changing what is actually the formal dining room, which we used as the “kids room” catch all lol, into my new office/library area. That is my “project of the month”. And yes, once I complete it I will post photos.ย ย There is still a delay in a certain roll top desk being moved. ๐Ÿ˜‰

My personal goal is to set one project per month for myself that I can work on as I have time to.

WELL! For the most part the room is now complete. I LOVE it! The room is not closed off (that’s an option I will be working on at a later date), it connects to the kitchen and the living room, and overlooks the lake. It also has access to outside.

This project was sparked by me wanting to re-do and paint the master bedroom, the room that Mr. PTSD likes the most in the house… take note of what I just said.ย ย But, in order to get that room done, some large things had to move which lead me to doing this other room first so I’m not double moving things.

So, one of Craig’s docs had asked us about our bedroom, the space he uses the most and retreats to. The only way I could honestly describe it was “an office with a bed in it“. Sadly, that’s true! So then that really sparked me to wanting a bedroom that looks like a bedroom.

Anyway, back to my new office. Which also will be known as the “library” that code word of ours we have always used as the stress free room where anyone can calmly without judgement talk about anything. Say the word, and I’ll meet you there. Also a quiet place to retreat to instead of feeling one has to retreat to a bedroom. Oh, and no electronics allowed.ย 

Over the years the kiddos have learned to communicate, and the “need” for “the library” has not seemed to really be needed anymore, any room will do. So I decided since this “kids room” was not being used much anymore, I could get my office space back! Someplace comfortable, relaxing, and a quiet place for me to write… and get out of that bedroom!

But, when I started this project or room makeover, that term “library” appeared rather quickly. Well this project I think is backfiring on me just a slight bit lol! I really thought I was getting an office again but I’m not too sure about that now, which is still okay. ๐Ÿ™‚

I believe over the past week or so, Craig, my son, and I have spent more time in THAT room then anywhere else in the house!!! Mr PTSD has been coming out of the bedroom for more then just a walk-through!

Last night I REALLY saw what was happening, and heard it. The three of us were watching a show IN THE LIVING ROOM, now we were given a new tv for Christmas and honestly, last night was the FIRST time Craig and I have watched anything on it! Remember, his safe room is where he normally is.ย 

BUT, while we were watching our show, this is what I heard, “Babe, I really think you need to paint the living room next, you are painting it the same color as your office right?” Then my son tunes in, “Yes, I love mom’s office, that color would look great in here.” Then I hear, “Yeah, my friends love our house. I told them mom is awesome at decorating.” Then I heard, “I like that room so much maybe I should move my desk and computer back in there“, from my son! WHAT? NO, not happening lol. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I think my game plan has changed! LOL! I’ll paint the living room next and it MIGHT help me get my office area back a little, hehe. The “library” seems to have been reborn lol! I joked with them last night that I’m going to hang a sign above the entry way stating “Mama Bear’s Den” lol.ย 

The moral of this story:ย 
It is amazing what a little paint and reorganizing/decorating things can do! A change in scenery in a way that can help not only you, but everyone. And, my monthly projects give me something to do that I enjoy at the same time.ย ย I think it’s safe to say this project of mine which I thought was a sort of self-help therapy for me, has turned into a family thing.ย ย Find something you enjoy, do something different, and it does not have to be something huge… even a little can of paint can change the world in positive ways!ย 

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSDย : FaceBook

A Spouse’s Story PTSD : Website

As I Promised! Our 1st trip out in the boat!

As I Promised! Our 1st trip out in the boat!

Jumping for joy is an understatement! We made it out for the first time in the boat today!!! What better time to go then right before the rain storms when no one is on the big lake.ย ย You know I’m ALL smiles today ๐Ÿ™‚

This is such a HUGE step for Craig! It has been several years since he left the house to do something other then have to things. Just HUGE! We stayed out for just under 2 hours, had the lake basically to ourselves, and enjoyed it! ๐Ÿ™‚

~Bec

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

ย 

ย 

Now that’s some type of self-help therapy now!

WELL!

I’ve heard, “Craig really needs something that he use to love that he can get back, that will help him get out of the house more.” I’ve heard “We only have a couple more years before our teenagers are out doing their own things.” I’ve heard “I want us to be able to enjoy things we use to do as teens, with the kids before it’s not cool to hang with mom and dad anymore.” And I’ve heard… “I feel guilty that you and the kids are so bound to the house because of me.

The guys (Craig and my son) did some online shopping the past few weeks and… Mysteriously this just happens to be sitting beside our house! Seems some people around here decided on an early “Mother’s Day gift”. LOL!!!

Now you all know why Craig took me for the drive around the big lake the other day looking for quiet/not crowded areas.ย 

I was told my gift is we are going to start taking small steps of getting out of the house more and taking a part of our lives back! The second part of that statement was “with this“. LOL.

Some days you just give in and let them have their way, especially if it could help them!!! I think an RV will be on hold for the time being while smaller steps are being taken. ๐Ÿ˜‰

~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 onย 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!ย 

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

“Self-Esteem” things to help…

“Self-Esteem”

This is something for everyone! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Self-esteem is one of the hardest things to keep up when it comes to PTSD… and it does not matter which side of the fence you are standing on either. I don’t know of anyone that hasn’t or won’t hit the down side of it sooner or later.

Being in the rut of it is not a good thing either. I know this first hand. The key is to never give up, there are always ways to pull yourself up and out of it. Then, when it comes again and trust me, it will come again, you work to pull yourself up again.

The one with PTSD:

“Oh those medications, (many times) the weight gain, lack of energy, all of the anxiety, the sleepless nights, lack of sex drive and emotions and/or feelings”…. You look in the mirror and think “Who is that? Why would someone want to be with me? Where did I go?”. The thoughts run through your mind of “why am I here? Why would someone love me? No one is attracted to me? I’m useless!” You just don’t see you anymore. Now hang on there, I’m coming right back to you in a moment. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The one living beside PTSD:

“Oh I’m so lonely, my life is out of control, I’m worn out from having to take care of everything, my husband/wife doesn’t look at me the same anymore, I’m not attractive anymore, I don’t want to spend the extra time making myself look nice when no one is going to notice, I feel like I have a roommate now not a husband/wife, I miss the good times… the fun times, I miss the physical relationship, …”

Oh boy! WE have a huge problem here. You have two people (in a lot of cases, even though this can go for just one person of either side) that has lost their self-esteem and now playing ping-pong off of each other. I don’t think that’s going to work for any of us.

This is when we have to step up and put our foot down to ourselves! “I am not going to allow myself to be like this.”

It’s time to do something. No matter what PTSD has done to you or brought to your life, you can still find your self-esteem! Even if it is not as much as you had in the past, self-esteem is self-esteem and you can find it.

Things that can help:

* Take a shower. I’m serious, many start losing the fact of what things are basic that they still need to be doing. Bathing refreshes you, makes you feel better, and sure helps those around you want to be around you more. ๐Ÿ˜‰

* Brush your hair and teeth.ย 

* Put on fresh clean clothes each day. It becomes a bad habit to say “oh I didn’t go outside yesterday so this isn’t dirty, I’ll wear it again.” Don’t do that to yourself. Let each day bring a new you and sometimes changing your clothes or fashion for the day can bring some of that self-esteem back and help you view yourself differently.

* Hair cut and/or Shave. Something you notice in the mirror and can change your whole outlook on yourself. Ladies, if you are one that always shaved before, don’t stop now or you will not feel very good about yourself.

* Exercise. I don’t care if it is just doing sit ups while laying in bed or taking a walk outside. Any type of exercise can make you feel better about yourself and even change the way you view yourself in that mirror to the better.

* DO something. Anything! Doing something equals accomplishing something, even if it’s just a step forward to accomplishing something larger. Accomplishments of any size equals self-esteem.

* Change bad habits. Changing or working on changing bad habits, or ones you know aren’t so good for you will lead to you feeling better about yourself.

* Notice others. Tricky one there, isn’t it? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Taking note of someone else and actually saying something nice not only will make you feel good but can improve how someone else is viewing themselves.

* Sex. Oh my lordy yes I’m going there! This is a huge issue that comes with PTSD. The lack of or decreased amount of physical relationship can weigh on both of you dearly or you as an individual! Medications, lack of self-esteem, decrease in or inability to function, not feeling worth, etc. etc. etc. These are all very real situations and play a toll on you. There are many different ways to have a physical relationship with the one you care about… and no lol, I’m not listing those off! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Use your imagination! At least attempt to continue your physical relationship, don’t let what you can’t do interfere with your closeness with another person. Back to that saying “motions = emotions”. Everyone deserves to feel needed, wanted, cherished… it’s human! Don’t let what PTSD brings to your life step between you and what was there or could be there. And I can bet you will find a little self-esteem hiding in there when you find some sort of closeness with your partner. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Okay ๐Ÿ˜‰ I will stop there even though as always there is a long list to things that you could find to help. Find the things that make you feel better about yourself and you can almost guarantee someone else will follow suit. Self-esteem is one of those things that is contagious, like a smile is. Find it within yourself. It won’t only change you, it may just change a person’s outlook about you and themselves both.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

PTSD vs Taking things Personally…

One of largest battles for a loved one of PTSD is to NOT take things personally! I hear this a lot, used to battle it a lot myself, and it’s become a #1 rule.

PTSD brings out some nasty comments. It’s always good to keep in mind when this happens that it’s the PTSD talking, not your partner!

One with PTSD seems to take things out on the one they love the most, are the closest to, most comfortable with,ย and most of all the one they trust. You learn over time what is PTSD by how they respond to things, how they are acting, etc. By learning the signs, it helps you know the difference between what is PTSD talking and what is the true them.

When PTSD gets to a point of being harsh, listen. Just listen. And sometimes it helps if you remind them that you know this is PTSD speaking to you this way because you know they would not do this, it’s not the true them. I know it does not excuse what is being said or how it is being said, but you always have to keep in mind that PTSD is there and sometimes the venting is needed. For BOTH of you, find a way to communicate so you can keep the harshness at bay. No one intends to hurt each other, so find a way to avoid it.

To the ones with PTSD, be honest when you are feeling the anger coming. Tell your partner you are feeling angry, frustrated, or that you really need to vent. This keeps the arguments down and allows the door to open to helping each other through the rough times. Communication is a huge key in battling PTSD, use it! Work together! It takes time for both of you to learn this and how to approach a subject, but you can do it.

Things like this can be of help:

“I notice your PTSD has a grip on you today, is there anything I can do to help?”

By saying this, you are accepting that you see PTSD is causing the issue. You are pointing it out in a nice way when maybe your partner is unaware of how they are acting. And it opens the door for communication which can avoid an outbreak later. The one with PTSD can do the same thing in reverse, accept and tell when you know you are having a PTSD battle that day. A heads up to a partner on this can help things go more smoothly. Sometimes it’s the partner that might be acting off key, accept that you are not perfect and built up frustration, anger, feeling alone, etc can cause you to act in a negative manner as well… it does happen!

“You seem to be having a rough day, why don’t you just take it easy today.”

Wow! Huge statement there isn’t it? PTSD wears you out! Accept that some days your partner needs to just rest. Never expect too much. Anything that needs to be put off today can always be rescheduled for another day. It is important to give that down time when it is needed. No expectations. The doctors have actually told my husband that if taking a nap or going back to bed is the best way for him to cope, then do it. Start the day over when you get up. You just have to always keep in mind not to let depression keep you down too much of the time though, but breaks in the day are okay. Even take this time to watch a movie, or just talk if you are okay with doing this at this time. ๐Ÿ˜‰ If not, take that nap and start over. Even take a nap with your partner… sometimes we all could use the extra sleep. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s better then taking anger and frustration out on the one you love.

Keeping in mind that a lot of anger and frustration comes from PTSD and knowing not to take these things personal is urgent. They are going through a great amount of battle within themselves, and taking everything personally… even when and especially when it is directed at you, can make matters so much worse. Focus, use the coping skills, and make sure you take care of yourself during these times. PTSD can bring you down, but you can find ways to pick yourself up and continue being there for your partner, especially through the rough times when they need you most.

Communicate with each other! Don’t take things personal… remember PTSD is there! I can’t state that enough!

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

PTSD vs Self-esteem…

PTSD vs Self-esteem

Has anyone even considered this as being a huge issue with PTSD? Guess what… it is!

When someone has low self-esteem it weighs on them greatly. How they view themselves, what they feel their worthiness is or is not, how they think others view them…

It plays a huge toll on their abilities emotionally which leads to lack in physical aspects of their lives.

For many, PTSDย has taken away the “them” who they are, or think they are, it can cripple a person to moving forward and finding the good things that are still there within themselves. Especially a person who, for example, prided themselves on the job they could do, but now can not do the same job. It causes them to feel like they are a failure when the fact is, they might not be able to do that same job but maybe there is something else they are just as good at if not better.

Looking in the mirror. Something huge for a person with PTSD!!! When you view yourself in a mirror it can make you think “look at me now, who is this person I am seeing?” Physical changes can come with PTSD due to medications, maybe weight gain, lack of exercise, if you add depression in the mix it can become even more overwhelming and a struggle, seeing yourself growing older and wondering where the time has gone, maybe you don’t shave as much as you use to or cut your hair. Again, the list is endless.

So what do I do? Now that you know your self-esteem might be an issue you can set a pace for changing and seeing the person in the mirror you want to. You might not see the person who was standing there before, but you can see a new you, a better you, then what you see right now.

I must add in here, I have talked to many spouses over the years of this journey and there is one thing that I keep hearing. “I find him/her just as attractive as I did the first day I met him/her”

WOW! Now doesn’t that say something??? Think about it for a second. Here is a person who has seen the changes in you, seen what PTSD can bring, listened to probably the worst things we could imagine… and this same person still gets those first date butterflies in their stomach when you enter a room!

I know I’m guilty of this! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Craig has changed a lot, but those butterflies of attraction to him haven’t changed one bit! I think that is something that self-esteem needs to take note of. ๐Ÿ˜‰

A person may change, their abilities may change, the way they act or think may have changed, but aren’t they still the same person? Of course they are!!!

So back to what can I do…

1. Start a routine. Anything! Maybe it’s making sure you shower every morning. Shaving a few times a week. Something within your ability to do without setting your goal too high.

2. Exercise. Something we all need to be doing. When you do something physical, within your limits, it naturally makes you feel better. This could be something like just exiting the house… and that’s also a great time to take your partner along and just talk about anything or goals you would like to try for.

3. Help with something around the house. I know many are no longer working, which is what you were use to, take that time to do something else. Maybe you will find that your wife loves the fact that you can iron better then she can lol ๐Ÿ˜‰ and the reward for helping I guarantee will be a good one! You might find that you love cooking or growing things or building/fixing things… you never know until you try.

4. Try a new project or hobby. Sometimes with PTSD when you can see a finished project it helps bring back that hope and sense of worthiness that you ARE still good at something.

5. Help someone else. You have no clue how much help you can be to someone else that hasn’t made the journey you already have yet! Just talking to someone can make a huge impression one someone else’s life! (I can personally say Thank You to our Vietnam Veterans on this one!!!)

6. Talk. Communication and letting it out can make a huge difference in how you feel about yourself. Keeping things bottled up inside is damaging and will weigh heavily on you. Don’t EVER think your story is a burden to someone else, in reality it’s going to help them understand you better. It does not matter what you did or what you have been through, they aren’t going to judge you for something where they didn’t walk in your shoes, they are going to learn from it.

Okay, truth is I could list things forever. The point is find that thing that helps you find yourself again, the new you! It’s there and it will help you view yourself in a better light when you find it. If one things doesn’t work, try something else but never give up!

Your life has changed, but just because it changed and just because it’s a larger struggle to do things that use to come easy to you, does not make you less of a person. Self-esteem plays a huge roll to all of us, it’s very important to have, don’t throw it away with “I can’t”. Work towards it, make it a new mission. You will be glad you did! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Don’t let PTSD win this one, you are worth way more then that… and I’ll be the first to say so! “Best of the Best”… that’s what you are!

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story PTSD”

Relationships… Simple things that can help…

Okay let’s hit this page running this morning. I’m seeing HUGE issues going on in the PTSD world right now, and I believe there are some simple things we can do to prevent them! On BOTH sides of the fence.

Let’s face the facts. Relationships are falling apart! With PTSD being involved there are extra steps that have to happen in relationships to make sure they survive. These things take extra self-control that is beyond normal. It takes stepping out of the box as I say it and looking back in. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes even for a brief moment to take a look at where you stand, what you are doing, and what you could do to make things better. And that goes for everyone.

Having PTSD or living beside it does not bring the “normal” relationship! And you can’t expect it to! I’ll be honest, as a child majority of us had our heads filled with fairy tale stories of the happily ever after and the house with the white picket fence, children running around happy, and a dog named Spot. It’s a mind set that every little girl grows up believing in, it’s every boy’s vision of being the knight in shining armor. Think about it, many will agree.

But the fact is, none of those visions of what life is suppose to be like include sickness of any sort, and especially not PTSD. So you have to reset your thoughts. It’s called the facts of life. I’m not saying you can’t have a happy life or be that knight, what I’m saying is you have to reach that type of life in a different way. It’s not just handed to you, you can’t just expect it to happen.

With any relationship it takes work! Then you mix PTSD, as well as other disabilities or illnesses with it and that happy life and relationship are not going to just fall into your hands.

Let me touch on these separately…

Spouse/SO:
Look at yourself. Look at how you act, how you respond to things. Are you keeping in mind that PTSD is real and does exist? Be honest with yourself.

I know that living with a partner that has PTSD gets lonely. That’s a fact about it. But at the same time you can’t rely on someone else to make you happy. It goes back to doing things for yourself to bring happiness. If you don’t know how to make yourself happy, how would you be happy in a relationship? Especially mixed with PTSD.

This goes back to one of the things I do for myself, I buy myself flowers once a month, or something that I want for myself that will bring me a different sense of happy. This month and last I didn’t buy flowers, I put the money aside to buy Alex a new training collar that I’ve really been wanting for over a year now. And don’t get me wrong, many budgets are tight and buying things for yourself isn’t always the answer, you can do something for yourself, whatever it might be that brings a smile to your face. Something that you can see that reminds you that you did it for yourself.

Self-help therapy! A huge key to living a balanced life when living with PTSD. No, it doesn’t take the loneliness away, but it helps you keep your self esteem which is extremely important and easily lost with everything that goes on.

Look at how you treat your partner. Many times I hear “but look at how I’m being treated!”
Well, the truth is, if you don’t like the way you are being treated, then don’t treat them that way because you are hurting or feelings are hurt. Two wrongs don’t make a right… at all!

Sometimes when a person with PTSD sees their partner smile, laugh, still live life, it doesn’t mean you are going on with life without them, it means you have a chance to lift them up from those dark places PTSD brings them to.

As long as they are seeing you sad or upset, even angry what do you think is going to be the response? I can answer this, they are going to feel like a burden, that you deserve a better life, that they are just bringing you down, that you would be better off without them and it fuels the PTSD anger. That’s not quite the outcome or response you want now is it. NO!

Your feelings are going to show rather you want them to or not, but you can work on making yourself feel better which in turn leads to them not worrying as much. You always have to keep in mind PTSD consumes them, and they can’t help this, it’s a part of what comes with PTSD.

Oh I hear you saying it now! “But he doesn’t want me to be happy! He doesn’t want me to feel good because he can’t!”

Well guess what, sure you are absolutely right. This does happen. But how about adding something simple to this? How about “I’m trying to be happy and accomplish things because it will help US be happy”. It will help take the burden off of their shoulders of bringing you down too. It’s hard for one with PTSD, normally they have lost most everything to this and in reality have jealousy that you can succeed in something but they can’t. It takes time for you to get through to them that things you do are to help both of you. You have to be able to stand on your own two feet so both of you can be better. I’m already hearing the “but” in this, don’t worry, the PTSD side of this is coming also. It takes working together, not against each other!

Being in a relationship with PTSD is hard, extremely hard… but it’s not impossible! You as the spouse have to remember that it’s PTSD NOT your partner! Come on, would you have ever been with them in the first place if all they were was “bad”? Absolutely not! You saw something in them, something that you loved. That something is still there, it’s just harder to see, but it’s there. Think of the good things, find a way that brings those good things back to life… it’s possible. “Look for the good” I say it on here all of the time, there’s a reason for it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Stop being at war with your partner and start working together to find solutions, they are there, you just have to find them!

The one with PTSD:
Nope, not leaving you out of this. ๐Ÿ˜‰ We know you still love and care about your partner, it’s just hard to show it much of the time. PTSD takes so much time and energy just to feel some sense of normal.

I know you are a good person! If you weren’t your partner would not be there for you! They found the good in you that they love and attracted them to you in the first place.

It’s time to start unmasking that good so they still see it. I know this is one of the most difficult things you will ever do. PTSD does not like the good and hides it so to speak. I truly believe that PTSD affects “the best of the best” and I will keep saying that until you believe it again yourself!

PTSD breaks you down, it brings you to your knees, and it’s a battle that is very tiring on the mind and the body. I understand that completely, BUT, yes there’s that word you hate hearing me say. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But YOU are still there! YOU can override some simple things so that good part in you shines through. I know it’s not easy, but you CAN do it!

A partner of PTSD feeling “lonely” is the largest thing I hear, and also feel many times. I want to explain this feeling to you so you can understand it from a spouse’s view and can help change this.

You don’t have to be physically apart from each other to feel lonely. You can be in the same place even 24/7 and still feel it. It comes when you are focusing on yourself and fighting PTSD within yourself and all of the focus is on that and little on your partner. I know you don’t mean to do this, it’s hard enough coping with PTSD. But this is exactly what is happening. Then the anger of the fight comes and rolls over to your partner, no one means for this to happen but it does. Your focus remains on yourself, not because you are selfish by any means, but because you are trying to survive!

But in this surviving you are forgetting one huge, major tool you have on your side to use! Your partner! I know it seems like so much work, added stress and worry, the thoughts of I can’t please her/him. But I have something very important to help you in this, and it’s simple.

Loneliness comes from an emotional as well as physical distance, a wall put up between the two of you. And I’m saying loneliness because this seems to be the largest battle a partner has being with someone who suffers from PTSD. We all have feelings, even when there is numbness. You are human! And you do deserve feelings, you deserve happiness, and it does not matter what or where PTSD has you, there is something you can do.

As difficult as it is to take the feeling of lonely away, there are things that you can do to help prevent it. And they are rather simple but get lost in the trying to make yourself better.

Let’s start with the more easy ones, even though I know nothing that comes with PTSD is easy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

A hug. A kiss. An “I do love you and glad you are here.”. Sitting on the couch while watching a tv show and putting your arm around your partner or holding their hand. Look at them, think of why YOU chose them, there’s a good reason and it’s still there. Focus on that person for a second and think about who they are, the things you like about them, the things they do and many times do for you. Don’t let guilt that PTSD brings overlook these things, don’t think about the bad or how they would be better off without you, think about why they chose you and why you those them. It brings a sense of a happy time and place. That time and place are not lost, they are just set to the side. Use those good times to help in your relationship. No, you can’t go back, but you can move forward, and moving forward creates new senses of happy. PTSD causes you to feel stuck, things as simple as what I’ve said here can help you get unstuck… and with help from your partner.

Here’s something else that seems silly and unimportant. But it plays a huge roll in all of this life with PTSD. PTSD puts you in a place where you rely on that other person, sometimes too much but might not notice that. Things like duties around the house, fixing meals, taking care of majority of things for you. It goes back to that stuck place PTSD puts you. Let’s help you get unstuck. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Simple things like picking up your clothes from the floor and putting them in the hamper. How about when you fix yourself a drink, asking your partner if they would like one. Asking what you could help with so things get done and you have more “couple time” without your partner being worn out. The little things as I call them. Just anything that could help, show you are thinking about them, shows you do care about how they feel. I know many, especially men, are use to the wife/woman doing many of these things… their role so to speak. But you have to remember, especially for those of you who are home all of the time now or most of the time, things have changed. Life with PTSD does not separate his and her roles anymore. Another mind set that many of us were raised with. You have to learn to work together on things so there is balance.

This also helps you! It helps you from being stuck, it helps you from feeling unworthy, and it will sure help your relationship. And wow… it battles PTSD on a new playing field that will be to your advantage! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anger. Oh a huge thing that PTSD has on it’s side. When you feel that anger starting, tell your partner. Make them aware that you are feeling this way. And focus on not letting the anger control you. When both of you are aware of this feeling happening you can work together to get through it. Use your coping skills! Breathing exercises. Talking about it. Anger comes out during some of the worst times PTSD gives you and it takes a lot of self control to make it through it, but you can! Say out loud “I’m angry right now but I don’t want to take it out on you.” You might have to have a break of just quietness during this time, let your partner know that and you need this quiet time to get a grip on it because you love them and don’t want it released on them. Try this! It works! Verbal abuse is one of the most damaging things PTSD brings, and I know that none of you mean to do this, but it does happen. And when it does it really puts a wall up in a relationship, just as you use a wall to cope through things, your partner will do the same thing, it’s a defense mechanism. You both have to watch out for this, it can be dangerous to a relationship and very hard to tear down. Be open and honest with your partner, communication is a huge key that is on your side.

SO… all of this is something to really think about. None of you want to feel lonely no matter which side of the fence you are on in this. Take back your relationship, work together, you can speak honestly and calmly with the goal of making changes for the better. Avoid the fighting PTSD brings. Fighting it, for either of you, is feeding the PTSD. YOU can control this and strengthen your relationship at the same time. Try these things. Start new, start now! Work on rebuilding your relationship and letting the past hurt go so you can move forward together. And always keep in mind that when it comes to PTSD, the simple things in life are going to be the things that bring the most meaning and change for the better.

Don’t let PTSD take your relationship from you! Because it will if you allow it to. Work together, communicate, “look for the good”… it’s still there!

And to add my legal note to all of this, I’m not a doctor or in any sort of medical field. I’m simply a spouse that’s been there and these are my personal opinions and points of views. If you have an emergency situation please contact your local help hotline.

Love to you all โ™ฅ

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story PTSD”

PTSD vs Survivors Guilt

I want to touch on something today that many forget about or don’t even consider when it comes to one with PTSD.

PTSD vs Survivors Guilt

This is a topic that I have found effects many with PTSD. It is very apparent in the many Veterans I have spoken to or been in contact with, but does not effect only them, it stretches to anyone that has survived an episode where someone else didn’t.

The questions and statements brought up range widely…
-Why am I alive?
-What could I have done differently that could have saved them?
-Why am I the one that came back and they didn’t?
-I should have saved them.

The list is endless. The fact is, if you are hearing any of these things from a PTSD loved one, most likely you are not only dealing with PTSD but there may very well be survivors guilt there as well.

This is probably one of the most difficult things to cope with. Many Veterans ( I speak from the Veterans side since that is what Craig is, but it does go for anyone.) I know have found that helping others or helping other Veterans is a good way to cope with this. To feel useful, to unwrap some of the burden they feel to at least speak of it, they might do it because their doctor wants them to, and the most sincere… they know it might just save the next life. It’s in reality a form of survival. There are many that do not yet understand what PTSD brings and I know first hand that these very Veterans who shared their stories with me, as well as their guilt of the losses they saw or in some cases caused in the line of duty, brought a new understanding to me that I am very grateful for. Without them opening up the way they have done, it would have been a very difficult road to me understanding my own husband.

It goes back to a story I shared a little while back. Every one of the Veterans thanked me for listening, told me how much it helps them to be able to talk, but in reality they all helped me too! They are the ones I am thankful for. See, if they indeed weren’t the ones to survive, where would the next generations learn from? I believe that there is a reason for everything, I don’t know all of the answers to why lol because we sure don’t wish anything bad on anyone, but there’s a reason.

The ones who suffer from survivors guilt I have found are very hard on themselves. Almost like they are punishing themselves for surviving. And I can’t see through the computer but I bet there are a lot of heads shaking yes right now. My friends, don’t punish yourself, there’s no reason to. Without you and what you can bring to the rest of us, this world would be very incomplete! I know things happened that haunt you and your dreams, but you have a life to live that will change those of the future. I also know that there is nothing I can say that will change the way you feel, but I can say I am still proud of you and proud you are here today. You bring the rest of us wisdom, understanding, compassion, and hope.

To those of you who have a loved one which show the signs of survivors guilt, it’s not something to turn your back on or brush off. It’s real, it comes from real events, real feelings, and you have to make sure you make an extra effort to try to understand the best you can with not experiencing what they have and be there for them with extra love and understanding when these feelings surface. This is the time they will need you the most and also the time they might somewhat pull away. Be cautious of this. They need their space but they also need you! Especially during these times!

~Bec

Comments from those who wrote in on this subject: (with permission given to share)

” Yes, I have not been able to enjoy a holiday or any special occasion without the guilt, thinking of those who never got the chance. I often think why did I make it!”

~John, PTSD Veteran

“Could not have said it better,Bec–you do have a way with words. I was one of three who survived an ambush, out of fourteen, and the only way I found to get over the guilt feelings was to go and contact the families of the fallen, and share what I could with them–the good times, character quirks, stories shared, etc. You know, just about every one of them invited me in, had me stay for dinner, or lunch, and seemed glad to hear about the final hours of their loved ones—it helped me—thanks for your understanding, and your sharing.”

~Larry, PTSD Veteran

December “Self-Help” Therapy ;)

It’s that time again. ๐Ÿ˜‰ My once a month self-help therapy of buying flowers for myself! It’s always important to take care of yourself when you take care of someone else. I love fresh cut flowers, so a long time ago I started treating myself once a month to flowers. This month my favorite of all roses…the red rose. I thought they would look nice for the holiday season and always bring a smile to my face when I walk through the room. ๐Ÿ™‚

My daughter asked me while I was taking the photo, “Mom, why do you take pictures of your flowers each month? And isn’t it kind of weird buying flowers for yourself?” My answer, “I post them to my page.” I smiled and continued to explain, “Flowers are something that makes me smile. I enjoy them, seeing them when I walk into the room, and the fresh smell they bring to the room, so they are a little way of me taking care of myself. I post the photos because it reminds people to take care of themselves, gives them something to see that’s not just words but something to make them stop and think and remind them to take care of themselves too. As for buying them for myself, why not? You don’t have to wait for someone to do something for you when you can do it for yourself.” ๐Ÿ˜‰ Her response, “Oh, that makes total sense. I’m glad you do it then, I like them too!”
~Bec