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Choosing a Service Dog (SD) candidate and Self-Training or Not

PTSD service dogs

Service Dogs for PTSD (or other disabilities): Part 2
Choosing a SD candidate and Self-Training or Not

Okay, I had MANY questions coming to me after my Alex and service dog write-up yesterday, which I felt calls for a Part 2. PLEASE understand that training was my profession/career for years before becoming a caregiver, so I do have the knowledge and years of experience needed for training and training service dogs (even though Alex is not one, by choice).

This write-up is only intended to help you to be aware of what is involved in choosing and training a dog with the goal of it becoming a service dog. I cannot tell anyone if self-training or use of a service dog is for them or not, that is something that only you can decide for yourself. I do ask that you be completely honest with yourself before making a decision. There is a lot involved in training and/or using a service dog, that man are unaware of.

In order to understand what is involved in having and using a service dog, and deciding if a service dog is even right for you, you HAVE to do a lot of research! Another thing that I will preach, is are you far enough along in your treatment and continuing treatment to use a service dog? This is very important to be honest with yourself about! A SD is not a cure all! You have to consider… can you control anger/frustration, will you be able to manage your symptoms well enough for the dog’s safety, will you be able to tolerate when a SD acts like a dog, will you be able to keep up the dog’s training after fully trained? Will you continue to dedicate yourself to that dog, as that dog is going to do for you? You are a TEAM when you use a service dog.

Using a service dog is a choice for the one with the disability to make (exception would be service dogs specifically trained for children or adults with disabilities which require a guardian, the guardian is responsible for the SD and works with the team). If a person with a disability does not want to use a service dog, please respect that decision! A spouse/partner cannot make that decision for them, however they do need to know they will at times be in situations to where they are needed to care for the SD, it happens. A service dog is your lifeline and takes dedication to be a team.

And the biggie… Have you tried everything else first to see if other options of treatment help before jumping straight to “I need a service dog”? I have personally seen some with PTSD get a service dog right up front when diagnosed and symptoms are high, the first thing they turn to, then once that person gets used to getting back out, learns coping skills, or other treatments help, that SD gets left at home. When this happens it is NOT a good situation for the SD! They are trained for the job and love to work. A service dog is literally with you 24/7! Are you ready for that responsibility and for the number of years that SD is capable of working and their lifespan?

Another thing I will state up front, a SD is an animal and unforeseen things happen, medical expenses, dogs do get old… Are you prepared for those things? The reason I want to address this up front, and many people don’t unfortunately, is because once you get used to using and having that SD with you all of the time, one unforeseen thing can cause you personally a mental setback if that SD can’t work any longer. I saw this personally with Craig! His first service dog had to be retired after less than two years working due to an unforeseen vision problem, and Craig hit rock bottom again when she had to retire at such an early age. That’s why Alex became a part of our family, and why I trained him, even though Craig has chosen since then not to use a service dog. I do personally feel and have seen the benefits of a service dog to Craig, however he is not ready to use one again and I have to respect that decision, it is a choice only he can make.

If you do not have, and make the time to research, then you really should not even consider self-training, not to sound harsh, just stating the facts. Learn the service dog laws (Federal and State), talk to other service dog teams, visit quality (a word you will hear me say A LOT!) organizations, talk to trainers, watch how quality service dogs actually work, see for yourself what goes into training, learn what expenses are involved in maintaining a service dogs health, and understand that you will at times have issues when out in public if you choose to use a service dog… you have to know how to “correctly” handle these situations. Outbursts over a service dog conflict, especially in businesses that are uneducated are NOT going to benefit you or other service dog teams.

There are many GREAT self-trainers out there. It will all depend on the time and effort you put into it, as well as the dog’s ability! Not every dog will be a service dog, just a fact. Many may make great emotional support dogs (which do NOT have public access rights) and many may make great pets. Be honest, if a dog is not a service dog please have respect for SD teams out there and don’t take it out into public as a service dog.

For those of you that are asking how to pick a suitable candidate (dog/puppy) to train as a service dog. Honestly, it takes experience, and even then not every dog will make it to full service dog work. If you are not experienced in choosing a dog, basic and advanced obedience training, task training (a task is a specifically trained command(s) to mitigate a disability), and not experienced in animal behavior, I HIGHLY recommend getting help from a professional if you choose to AND can honestly dedicate the time needed to self-train!

If you know your life has many interruptions that could interfere with the time the dog needs then you may want to look at professional trainers or find a suitable, quality, organization. Also know, when you self-train, you are putting all of your eggs in one basket, so to speak. Not all dogs make it to full service dog status, so keep in mind all of your hard work, time, and money (oh yes it costs money even with self-training) may leave you with a pet or having to decide if you would re-home the dog if it washes out of training, develops health issues which would prevent it from working, and you have to start over with a new candidate. I think it’s 1 in 10 dogs tested/chosen make it to full service dog “quality” work, the last I read.

First, what breed is suitable for YOU, your lifestyle, and family??? What size of breed will be needed for the tasks needed, as well as compared to your own body size… the reason I state this is if you are a tall or larger built person with PTSD‬, a smaller dog may very well draw more attention to you than what already will be. 😉 We learned that one with Craig’s now retired service dog Maya (who I used in the photo), she looked like a puppy compared to Craig even though she is not a small breed. You CANNOT pick a pup/dog because they are cute, pretty, have loving eyes gleaming at you, or you feel you need to save them! The activity level of the breed and breed characteristics you choose MUST suit your lifestyle or the lifestyle you want to get back to or get to, and the tasks that will be needed. It is also important that the dog be matched correctly to you including personality and willingness to work for you.

Then decide if you want to get a pup from a breeder or not, and if you want and have time for a puppy or younger dog. If you choose a pup or younger dog, I want to state, there are different stages that pups go through and it is important to know and understand those stages, so training can move forward with as little setbacks as possible. There is also a stage where the pup can very easily pick up on and mimic anxiety and other PTSD symptoms, maintaining balance and training is important so that does not happen. IF it does, you may need to seek professional help from an animal behaviorist to assist you in training.

There are pro’s and con’s to every age level of pup/dog. A young pup is my personal choice. However, young pups take MUCH more time, house training, etc. and the late night outings are usually not an issue with PTSD being a part of life because majority of us are up anyway. 😉 The older the dog, the more corrections in behavior you “may” find need to be done.

Now, as an example, Alex was 6 months old when we got him, even though I personally prefer an 8-10 week old pup, he tested beautifully, however 3 weeks into having him and everything going great, we discovered he had a fear of large chains. This was a fear that I had to work him through and correct, which he did recover from the fear. However this is a good example.

With shelter dogs, as much as I do love them and they have my heart, I’ve had many over the years and they were/are awesome, you have to be prepared for any behaviors, temperaments, quirks, etc that they may have developed or experienced and be prepared, have a plan, for anything that may come up. Now, a young pup may go through the same exact thing as they develop, they may form fears, behaviors, etc. They are animals not robots and things can happen. Being prepared on how to handle or know how to handle different behaviors which may develop is important.

There are testing guidelines out there for choosing a pup/dog, however if you are not familiar with them and animal behavior I HIGHLY advise having an experienced trainer (that has service dog knowledge) help you choose a puppy/dog, even if you choose to do the rest of the training yourself or only turn for professional help for task training. Again, do your research first before getting a pup/dog!

Testing a pup/dog includes a lot to look for/at, such as temperament, aggressive responses, desensitization level to other animals, sounds, vision, touch, objects, etc., startle response and recovery time, dog’s body language and what each action/stance/position actually means for THAT pup/dog, social interactions, degree of dominance/submission, ease of handling in different situations, level of focus, retrieval, and anything that would be needed for specific disability work. Emotional support, comfort, love, and “making you feel safe” are NOT tasks and do not qualify as such.

(Remember there is no slacking, it takes hundreds of hours to train a service dog, a good base time frame is 2 years of training. Then after becoming a service dog they will need reinforcement training to keep them up to date on skills and tasks.)

Expense of a Service Dog. Please do not think that just because you adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue, or are given a “free” puppy/dog, that there is going to be less of an expense. NO dog is free, and especially not a service dog. Again a service dog is a lifeline, with that comes maintaining their health and other things needed, including quality food and treats, vaccinations, health exams… such as eyes and hips, proper work and/or vehicle equipment if or what is needed, toys/training toys, poop bags and clean up kit/hip pack, classes (which I recommend doing), CGC certification… this is not required or not in all areas however I highly recommend it for all service dogs, lead and collar, water/food bowls and travel bowls, liability insurance (another thing I recommend, they are still a dog), some people get health insurance for routine or emergency medical expenses, flea control, heartworm preventative, grooming if you are unable to do it yourself (Want to see someone frown on seeing a service dog in public? Take an ungroomed one out and that’s what you will get along with a lot of rude comments), nails MUST stay trimmed/short… or it can be a safety hazard out in public for the dog, as the dog ages there may be a need for medications or special beds… you have to keep in mind dogs age, and many other things… but those give you a basic list of expenses.

Another question I was asked…
Can my pet dog I already have become a service dog?

Some dogs do have the ability to. Some are still at a young enough age to train, age is important to think about… how long will that dog once fully trained be actually capable of working before retiring IF they make it through training? And is the dog of age to train for what is needed for the job?

The other thing to consider is what amount of pet training has already been put into the dog and MASTERED? Let me define mastered… having to tell a dog multiple times before the dog responds is not a skill mastered. Sure, they are still dogs and will have bad days where they don’t respond every time, but overall they should respond when commanded. This is also for the safety of the dog, there are many situations you will come across and proper response can be urgent.

However, I personally frown on this option of using an existing pet dog, I will never say it can’t be done because it can be in some cases, but there is a lot to consider, let me explain why. A dog that is an awesome pet and great at home with you, may not be the same way out in public around many people, new places, sounds, sights, smells, elevators, buses, trains, planes, other animals, food, etc etc. Some dogs can train through this, many won’t. Many are already settled into the home environment and routine, changing that may be stressful on them, which may bring on new behaviors.

The other large things to consider are habits that have already formed at home. People food is a huge one, many people don’t think twice about feeding their pet dog from the table or allowing them to eat food that dropped on the floor. Service dogs cannot do that! Those are already formed habits that would have to be corrected. They MUST be well behaved out in public which includes not sniffing which includes other people, animals, or food, not picking things or food up unless commanded to, not focusing on a child, squirrel, etc… focus needs to be on the handler and tasks trained to help the handler, barking is considered disruptive unless it is a trained command for alert or get help and used correctly, not using the bathroom or marking in stores or non-designated areas, not pulling to the end of lead (that is considered not being in control of your dog)… a SD should be right with the handler unless commanded otherwise such as pulling or opening a door, and the list goes on.

So you may find a lot of time has to go into re-training to correct habits already formed if you choose to attempt training a pet dog you already have. It can be done in some cases with some dogs, however you will be putting in additional time correcting any unacceptable behaviors. So that is something to keep in mind as well.

Okay, I think I’m writing a book here. 😉 So let me close with this, quality service dogs are awesome! I support them 110% and then some, I have seen firsthand how they change lives for those with disabilities, as well as for the family, for the better. They are by all means worth every second of time, work, and money that goes into them… and even worth the wait time it takes to train one or wait for one to be trained for you. But they are not a rush to or quick decision to make, and they are not a cure all. They will be your partner, and your lifeline if you choose to use one and honestly need one. Please take the time to do the research, think about what you need, as well as what they need.

I hope this helps answer many of the questions that have come to me.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD : Facebook page

Service Dogs for PTSD (or other disabilities): Part 1

Service Dogs for PTSD (or other disabilities): Part 1

Okay, I’m breaking my own rules here, I am going to talk about Service Dogs for a moment! But first, I want to share something that is special to our family…

It was four years ago today that I made a trip to the local animal shelter to see this crazy, goofy looking, little pup that Craig insisted that I take a look at and test… that he saw online, to see if it would be a match to him, and capable of being trained for the job of his service dog. Sure enough, the pup tested wonderfully and was a good match to Craig. That day we named the silly pup “Alex”.

I trained Alex to mitigate Craig’s disabilities, put in the time… hundreds of hours, effort, and a lot of daily/nightly work including task training. Alex by all means could carry the title service dog, however he is NOT a service dog. Craig has chosen not to use a service dog (at least at this point), which is OKAY! Alex works for Craig at home and is a wonderful part of our family. I could not imagine our lives without him! I think the picture collage to this says it all. 😉 These are random photos from day one of Alex being with us to present time.

For those of you that do not know much about tasks or are just starting to learn, let me tell you about the photos. They include retrieving items (due to memory/cognitive issues), alerting to people or unusual sounds, working depression, nose/scent work… which he is trained to alert to migraines, he also does house searches, helps with getting one with PTSD‬ and/or depression‬ outside, grounding from nightmares… he is also trained to get me out of the bed when nightmares start if I’m not already awake, working anxiety and grounding from triggers, grounding from flashbacks and helping maintain focus. There is a list of other things he is trained as well. 😉 For a more complete list and my personal writings regarding service dogs, please visit the service dog section of my blog…
“My Journal: Service Dogs” A Spouse’s Story PTSD

So now that I’ve taken a moment to be so very thankful for Alex, let’s get to the service dog talk!

I do want to state up front, I do NOT like spam. 😉 So please do not post specific names, trainers, or organizations. I have found it’s better to keep SD talk in general.

There is one major thing that I have discovered when talking about service dogs… Many do not know or have not seen a “quality trained” service dog! There are many out there, however do you know what they look like, act like, and what they should be like? There unfortunately are many people that take their pets out into public as “service dogs” when they in reality are not or are not trained correctly for the job at hand. Which in return makes it extremely difficult for the true service dog teams.

So I thought, how can I show others what a true service dog looks like? How can I show the extensive hours of work that goes into them? What is a true service dog like out in public (I found a good video that shows the differences as well 😉 )? I mean come on, there are some awesome obedience dogs out there, why can’t they be a service dog? Because a service dog MUST be specifically trained tasks to mitigate a disability, and the handler must be disabled and need a service dog. Not every great pet or obedient, loving, dog will be able to complete to a full service dog working status, just a fact. Even though all dogs are awesome in their own ways and we love them, it does not mean they can all be service dogs.

So I set out on a mission… to find videos for you to watch, that show what quality is and tasks trained for different disabilities. Boy was that a serious mission, lol! Finding quality service dogs (or good examples of SDiT) at work, exercising tasks correctly, and not just people telling about their SD or advertising for someone… was a difficult task. But I found some. 🙂

Just to note: Myself, this page, and my website are in no way affiliated to any of the following people, trainers, or organizations. I have not personally seen these dogs in action or met their handlers, and have not visited any facilities which may be linked to the following videos. They are NOT in any specific order. The videos just show the quality of what I look for to be in a true service dog. 😉 that I wanted you to be able to see.

Tribute to an Assistance Dog

David and Saint skills“- Canines for Service

Psychiatric Service Dog Tasks (pressure)“- Rebecca Potenberg

Block/Cover Training“- ServiceDog Vlog
… And let me tell you, this young lady has done a great job! So you may learn a lot from her other videos too. (please note this is a fully trained service dog which is being re-trained from wheelchair work to chutches, so learning a new position for this task)

Canines for Service Skills Demo“- Canines For Service

How to train a one way alert to service dogs (hearing and medical alert dogs)“- Donna Hill
…This is another great trainer to watch even if you are not self-training. By watching Donna’s videos, they give you a good idea of what is involved with training a service dog, as well as seeing the quality results.

Service Dogs and Public Etiquette” (Bad and Good etiquette examples)

So today as we enjoy AND appreciate Alex being such a huge part of our lives, and Craig’s life… even though he does NOT carry the title service dog, I hope those of you that have been curious and asking questions about service dogs enjoy the videos I found. 😉

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD : Facebook page

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If you will be having a Guest with PTSD at an event/gathering.

I have had a question come to me from a different angle then I normally write about. Normally, I share what one with PTSD can do for themselves, or what a spouse/partner can do to help with symptoms when going to events or gatherings…

But what about when you are not the one with PTSD, but you are having someone over or inviting someone to an event/gathering that does have PTSD? What do you need to know and how can you help make their outing a little more comfortable?

* ASK! Talk to the one with PTSD… BEFORE the day of the event.

Ones with PTSD pretty much know what pre-cautions, of sorts, they need to take when going out of their normal safe sense of environment. They are a person just like you are, they have just been through a trauma that has caused them to respond/react to certain things differently than one who does not have PTSD.

Talk to them and ask them “ahead of time” if there is anything you can do to make their visit a little easier. Emphasize that you would like to help out if possible, so they can stay at the event as long as possible.

You also need to have understanding if while at the event they need to leave or step away from others from time to time. When one steps away off and on, it’s just a way of having space to cope away from others/crowds, noises, etc. It is common for one with PTSD to do this. You do not need to follow them! If they would like for someone to accompany them, they will ask. 

* Seating arrangements will most likely be the largest key to helping!

Ones with PTSD do not normally like others noticing if they must take a break from an event. They also do not like drawing attention to themselves or interrupting an event because they must get up from their seat.

Seating near an exit door seems to be a good choice for many. If there are rows of seats, a seat on the end of the row, closest to the wall or an isle, is normally a preferred choice. If there are tables set up, a table near a wall or where their back can be to a wall can help. It keeps one with PTSD from constantly having to look behind them and helps keep anxiety and hypervigilance down as much as possible. (To the one with PTSD, if you have someone you know at the event and seating is rows of seats, have that person sit behind you. This prevents you from always getting back row seating at events.)

* If there will be loud music playing.

Ask if they would like to be closer or further away from the speaker area. Some with PTSD have an issue with loud sounds, others actual use the loud sounds/music as a means for coping over voices. Each person is going to be different to how things may effect them, just ask.

Some with PTSD may be able to cope just fine anywhere they sit, the best thing to do is ASK them before the day of the event.

* If there will be a buffet food line.

Ask if they would like to go first or last so they are not having to stand in a line with crowds of people or strangers. Majority of the time you will probably hear the answer “last”, so people do not notice them or stare at them while they are getting their food. If serving plates is available, that is also another option.

* If you are in a place where there are extra rooms available.

Offer a room they can retreat to if needed. This allows the one with PTSD a place to use coping skills in a quiet area, and once they are coping better they can return to the event. This can help one stay at events longer, instead of having to leave early in some cases.

Letting one know where a quiet area outside is, can also helpful.

* There are many who have PTSD that do use service dogs.

LEARN service dog laws before the event so there are not any issues to arise due to a dog being present. Let any staff that may be working an event know as well that the service dog is allowed to be there. If it is an event where there is speaking, an introduction, or a toast, here’s an easy way of handling the guests if a service dog is present… Introduce the dog! Not in a way that it would embarrass the one with PTSD, but in a way that it just let’s the guests know that the dog is a service dog and has a job it’s doing. This can help keep other guests from talking or staring, wondering why a dog is there.

Example: “While I am introducing people, I would like to welcome a special guest we have with us tonight. The handsome [breed] you may notice tonight is [dog’s name] which is a service dog and is busy working, so please do not pet him/her so he/she can continue to do his/her job without interruptions. We are happy to see that [name] and [dog’s name] are able to be with us tonight for this event.” Then move on with your introductions or speech.

A service dog handler is responsible for their service dog and it’s needs, as well as it’s behavior while attending. Many people will not even realize a well trained service dog is present unless it happens to walk past them, is sitting beside them, or it is working (such as a “lap up” to help calm anxiety). A well trained service dog should not bring any attention or issues, except for people wondering why it is there. You do NOT have to tell people a person has PTSD or what their disability is. A simple response of “it’s a service dog and is working” is a sufficient response if someone/a guest asks. Just note, people are curious. 

However, if you would like to make them feel a little more at home, you can always have a water bowl and water available for the dog. Or ask it’s handler if there is anything you can do to accommodate the service dog while there. Also, let the handler know where a good area is to use if the service dog needs to relieve itself (go to the bathroom).

* Help with a Plan.

Ones with PTSD are pretty self-sufficient in knowing what to do when they are out in public and how to manage their symptoms. Talking to them and making a “plan”, working with them ahead of time for seating arrangements, exit points, etc. can be a huge help just in itself. It helps prepare them for what the event will be like ahead of time which can ease a lot of the questions PTSD can cause them to start thinking. If you have already made arrangements for them, share the details with them! Then, if anything needs to be changes it can be ahead of time instead of the day of the event.

Bottom line… Simply talking to one with PTSD ahead of time if you are unsure if you can do anything or what you can do to make their appearance more comfortable is really the best thing. Even if there is nothing they will need, simply asking them if you can help in any way shows that you care. 

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD :FaceBook

A Spouse’s Story PTSD :Website

Helping Spread PTSD Awareness! Plexidor Pet Doors

Thank You Plexidor Pet Doors for adding us to your article regarding service dogs and helping us spread awareness about PTSD!

~Bec

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

What to do when on a Service Dog waiting list…

The wait for a Service Dog.

I know I talk from time to time about the importance of finding the right place to obtain a service dog, what to look for, things to keep in mind, etc.

But what about once you are on a wait list?

This can actually be the most stressful time for one with PTSD. You have accepted the fact you need a service dog, you know where your dog will be coming from, but now there is the wait. In many cases the wait times can average between 2-4 years once you are on a wait list and going through which dog is compatible to/with you… a correct match.

During this time you have to find ways to stay positive! Here are some things that I have found will greatly help with the wait:

* Buy things your service dog will need gradually, over the time of the wait. Don’t go out and purchase everything at once.

* Find a special leash and collar and put up a hook that it will hang on, and hang it there. This will help remind you on those tough waiting days that it is still reality and the dog will be coming to you.

* Find a special bed for the service dog. Go ahead and figure out where you want the dog to sleep and place the bed there. Not only does this help with the wait time, but it also gives you time before the dog gets there to decide if that’s where you really want to it be as well as gives you time to move it around to find where it best suits you.

* Same thing with food/water bowels. The wait time allows you to shop and find a set that is special to you. I recommend raised bowels and not ones that sit on the floor for proper eating levels. Majority of service dogs are medium to larger dogs, so buying a raised bowel is a pretty safe guess.

* Toys. With toys I recommend waiting until a dog is matched to you just to add this in here. Many service dogs are trained with certain toys they are use to and sometimes will not accept other toys.

* Another good things to do is educated the places you like to go on service dogs. There are still many public places that do not understand what a service dog is and educating them ahead of time before you get your service dog, even if it’s just a simple printout explaining what a service dog is and ADA guidelines can be a huge help for once you get yours. I like saying “There are service dogs working in your area and I just wanted to help out by letting you know a little more about them”, managers and store owners normally welcome this information.

* Volunteer. Many organization that train service dogs will accept volunteers. This gives you time to learn the ins and outs of an organization, learn how service dogs work, and can make it easier to be matched because those within the organization have a chance to get to know you better therefore can make for an easier time when it comes to matching the correct dog to you and your needs… and in some cases the dog might find you. 😉 Just be careful not to over do it! Do not volunteer or feel you “have to” outside what you are comfortable with! Now, I do want to state with caution, if you find that an organization is not what you thought it would be or you don’t like what you are seeing, simply find another one and don’t get discouraged! This does or can happen in reality. But don’t give up on finding the right place for you.

These are a few examples of things that can be done while you are waiting for your service dog. The important time is to focus on the joy and life changes that will be coming and not so much on the time you will have to wait. Stay positive and don’t allow wait times to play a negative toll on you! That dog is for the service dog’s lifetime, it makes the wait well worth it! 😉

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

WELCOME!

I want to start this journal of mine by saying “Welcome” to everyone! My name is Rebecca also called “Becky or Bec” by my family and friends. This is my little part of the world where I can share what life is like living beside PTSD chronic, Depressive Disorder (formally diagnosed as Conversion Disorder), and other disabilities. I’m not a doctor or in any medical field, I’m “just” a spouse 😉 . No one ever expects life to turn out certain ways, especially when mental illnesses become a part of it, but my family is living proof that even with these illnesses involved life does NOT end. It takes learning, coping skills, educating, and adjusting …but life DOES still exist 😉

My husband served proudly for this country of red, white, and blue …and asked for nothing in return. The result…he suffers from these illnesses which effect his everyday life. You know what, he would do it all again for each and every one of us! I stand proud of him and always will. Together we chose to no longer remain in the shadows and silent. Instead, we do share our life story in hopes it will help another individual or family make it through another day and to even be able to carry a smile with it 🙂 NO ONE deserves to stand alone!

See, PTSD and other mental illnesses do not pick a nation, skin color, adult or child, they are not only military related, and do not choose an age. My belief is it does happen to what I call “the best of the best”, the strong ones. I have found that in the world of PTSD you will find the most understanding, compassionate, and caring people that would give you the shirt off their own back if they could. I find it sad that these very people are the ones judged and carrying the stigma that goes with mental illnesses/disorders. They didn’t ask for this to happen, just as a person fighting cancer or one whom has lost a leg did not ask for it, it just happens.

YOU being here and reading this is a huge step no matter where you stand on the subject. You might be the one suffering from it, the spouse/partner, the parent, the child, the relative, the friend, the one that is just curious, or even the one that does not believe it exists. Fact is, you are here and that means something to the world. TOGETHER each and every one of us CAN make it through life living with or beside PTSD… 🙂

I Welcome you to my story, our story… “A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”,

~Bec