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The Unspoken Thoughts of PTSD: Suicidal Thoughts

The Unspoken Thoughts of PTSD: Suicidal Thoughts

I am not writing this to place fear into anyone, but I do want to bring awareness to reality, when life does include ‪‎PTSD‬. I personally do not know of even one person with PTSD that has not had at least a slip through the mind thought of “this world would be a better place without me” or “I just can’t do this anymore”. The thought of suicide is very real.

The number of reported cases of suicide related to PTSD is not a secret. ONLY United States Veteran reported cases of suicide is an unthinkable number of 22 suicides per day. Now, that is only reported cases, that does not include those who have not been diagnosed, were not seeking treatment, the homeless, those wearing other uniforms, civilians, or world wide numbers. I could not even fathom what a true number would be if there were the possibility of a whole, accurate number. I can only state it would be unimaginably high.

Does this reality of suicide numbers reported reflect that everyone with PTSD will lose the battle PTSD brings? Absolutely not! But that does not mean that the thoughts are not real or experienced. It also does not mean the thoughts of suicide should go dismissed.

I believe in order to understand why these thoughts come, you have to understand what PTSD causes one. A person with PTSD has survived some type of life changing, severe trauma, where symptoms last for more than a few months. These symptoms are not ones that a person can just suck up, get over, or forget about. Their trauma has in ways altered the brain, the way it processes or relates to things, people, events, etc. and the way it functions.

If you are one that is unfamiliar with what PTSD is or the symptoms list for PTSD you can find them on my page “A Spouse’s Story PTSD”, or any psychology, neuropsychology, or neuroscience page or website, the information is readily available in many locations world wide.

PTSD comes with re-living their trauma over and over through nightmares or terrors, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts that are or can be triggered by just one reminder of their trauma. PTSD can cause anxiety, fear, fight or flight, avoidance, sleep issues, anger, frustration, disconnection and lack of interest in things/people one used to enjoy, dissociative symptoms, negative changes in thoughts of one’s self, others, or at times the world. PTSD also has many mental and physical health conditions that can co-occur with it. And it does come with suicidal thoughts or acts of. That is a short list of what one with PTSD may experience.

When you really look at what PTSD brings or causes, you can clearly see why one would have the thoughts of suicide.

Those with PTSD live a battle every single day of their lives. They can have better days where they can keep symptoms at bay and they can experience what we call “rock bottom” days where that fight becomes an extremely heavy weight to bear.

It is my personal belief that those with PTSD are some of the strongest people I have ever known or lived beside in my lifetime. Why? Because even after their trauma, and their brain reaching the point it says “Hey you, I’m full, I can’t push through that trauma any longer” and PTSD develops, many do make it to see tomorrow even with everything that PTSD brings to their lives, they fight the battle, and they push themselves to be the best possible people they can be, and they are known for providing support to others even while experiencing their own battle with PTSD. You will never convince me that is not a strong and strong minded person.

The suicidal thoughts are very real with what they battle day in and day out. To add to that, many feel alone in their battle… which are real thoughts even when they have people right beside them, then many do not have a positive support system to help them or listen to them, and even if one does have those things, those thoughts can still come. Many feel that they are now a burden to others, that life is unfair… especially to those that they care about because life changed, they as a person changed due to PTSD. The real symptom of negative changes in thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

How could one not have those thoughts, they are only human.

But there is another part to this. Many only experience the thoughts of suicide, many will not act upon those thoughts, many do or will get professional help, talk to others or ones they can trust, many will look for what can or may help them, they will go through trial and error to find what works best for them and their symptoms, and they will fight those thoughts with every ounce of energy and will power they have.

Which leads me to this…

Suicidal thoughts can not go dismissed. Those thoughts are not ones to brush under a rug or turn your back to. Not every suicide can or will be prevented, there’s just no humanly possible way of preventing all of them, and the numbers of reported cases are evidence of that fact. But that does not mean we can’t try. All of us and each of us.

* If you do not know the signs of suicide, learn them.

Being able to recognize when one is having suicidal thoughts or showing the signs of suicide can help in many cases prevent one from following through and help can be reached for. Unfortunately, there are some cases where there are no signs, so I do not want to dismiss that fact, but majority of people do experience some level of signs. Learn them.

* Do NOT dismiss any signs or words that are spoken of thoughts.

There is nothing more heartbreaking to me personally than hearing after the fact someone say, “I did not think they were serious” or “I did not listen to what they told me/someone else, now they are gone.” It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to suicidal thoughts or signs.

* Be honest with your loved ones.

This is a golden rule for us personally. When the thoughts come they are talked about openly with a support person and/or doctor, and listened to. Many times when one can simply voice their thoughts and have someone honestly and openly listen to them, it can help the one with the thoughts work through them.

* Positive Support.

A support person’s words can in many cases mean everything! Listening and hearing what one is saying, can mean everything. Putting one down or telling them they should not be having those thoughts or telling them to get over them, is NOT positive support, and saying things such as those could very well push one right through those thoughts leading them to actions, those words are basically telling a person what they are experiencing is not real, when in reality it is! No one wants that to happen. If you cannot or are in a position due to your personal or negative thoughts, to where you are not capable of providing positive support, which does happen especially if you do not understand PTSD to some level or are going through your own personal issues, then PLEASE find someone for your loved one that can provide them with positive support.

* Reach for professional help

There is NOTHING wrong with reaching for professional help so the one with PTSD, as well as their loved ones or support people, can learn the tools to manage symptoms the best possible. Staying on top of the symptoms and learning how to manage and cope through them can help decrease or prevent suicidal thoughts. YOU ARE WORTH THAT REACH!

Spouses/partners, that goes for you too! You are only one person and at times in this life beside them, you are not going to be able to tackle everything on your own. This is not the time to try to be a superhero, make sure you have help and positive support for yourself too. It is a fact that spouses/partners can experience becoming overwhelmed, develop depression, anxiety, and/or have suicidal thoughts as well. Make sure you are taking care of yourself, and reach for help for yourself and/or both of you. Your PTSD loved one needs you, whether they voice that or not, and they need you healthy, please take care of yourself.

* Personal Space.

I will admit, if I see signs or know suicidal thoughts are at hand, I’m known as a “watchdog”. I do not take suicidal thoughts of any level lightly. However, I don’t and you cannot smother a person. Those with PTSD do require their personal space at times, they need it! There has to be a balance of keeping a watchful eye, being there if one needs to talk or needs help, and providing a person’s personal space when they need it. If you smother one with PTSD or treat them like a child, you have the other symptoms that are or will in many cases step into play, and they will pull away from you, which is not what is needed when one is experiencing suicidal thoughts.

One can experience suicidal thoughts and have absolutely no intention of following through on those thoughts. Over time you can learn the signs and body language which can be in majority of cases pretty accurate to how one is feeling or their symptoms at hand.

This is where communication and honesty HAS to be at hand, by both of you. If you are the one having the thoughts, be honest with your partner/support person, let them know if it is honestly PTSD just giving you a difficult time at the moment and you are overwhelmed causing those thoughts and do not intend on following through with them, or if you honestly need help to get through them.

Speaking as a spouse of one with PTSD, I will tell you right now with all honesty and heart, being honest with your partner about how you are feeling or thoughts you are experiencing is the best thing you can do for them, they would not be there if they did not care about you and want to be with you, and would be lost without you. They choose to be there with you and for you, that is a choice they have made, please allow them to be.

PTSD is going to cause you to think or feel all sorts of negative things that your partner does not view you as or feel about you. Please give them that chance to be there for you and help you through the thoughts in whatever way is needed. PTSD is going to push you to close them out, this is the time to fight that as hard as you can and include them. It can also help prevent overreacting, over worrying, and help the two of you work through this together.

Partners/Support person: A watchful eye, “watchdog” as I call it, where you keep an eye on them, are there for them, but at the same time allow them the space to cope, is possible to do and is helpful for many. When you overreact, over worry, or are up their rear-ends for lack of better wording (and that was being lady like), you chance making whatever their thoughts or symptoms are at that moment, to become worse and their feeling of being a burden to increase. You have to find a healthy balance for both of you. There is nothing wrong with having a watchful eye, but there has to be a balance.

I personal can say up front to Craig, “I love you and can see what you are going through right now. I am here for you and yes I’m in watchdog mode today, but it’s because I do love you and value you as a part of my life and as a person.” Then I will do my little projects or things inside the house to give him space but yet at the same time I am close if needed or he wants to talk. When he wants to talk, I sit, make eye contact, and I listen. Suicidal thoughts that are clearly stated will not be acted upon, are not the times to be telling one what they need to be doing or what they need to be thinking. Sometimes we will watch movies during those times, whatever he is comfortable with or helps him through those times. So, there can be a healthy balance and each person/couple has to find what is best for them when those thoughts come. Learn to work together, I will say it again as I always do, “The battle is PTSD, not each other”.

PTSD comes with suicidal thoughts at times, it is a part of what this life contains. Learn the signs and learn what each of you can do to manage and battle them. This life IS worth living, you keep trying new things, you keep learning how to work together and communicate, you keep reaching for help, and you can re-learn how to live life even with PTSD being a part of it. Yes, life has changed. No, there’s no getting your old life back. But that does not mean you can not turn the page to a new chapter and start living a new life. Fight those suicidal thoughts when they come, you ARE worth that fight.

PTSD does change and takes away or masks parts of yourself and your old life, it changes life. Suicidal thoughts will come at times, but they can also slip away. PTSD does not have to take your life, battle it, don’t allow it to win.

“Facts on the table”

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD : Facebook page

The unfortunate passing of Robin Williams…

I did not want to address this, but there is no choice.
Too many are struggling right now.

I was planning on letting this pass, a time for silence so to speak, out of respect for the family and friends, and to try to prevent any triggers or other symptoms from rising for those with PTSD and/or Depression, as well as other mental health conditions, but with as many as I am hearing from and of, I think and hope the family and friends would understand me writing this. 

I know that the news of Robin Williams passing has been a devastation for many. People idolize him for the person he was and the talents he shared with all of us.

I know the details of the news is extremely difficult for many. I know there are many comments being made that are way out of line, not everyone understands the struggles that do in reality come with mental health conditions. I do not think it has been taken into consideration what the details of his passing as well as some of the things being said, are doing to others who suffer from depression, as well as PTSD, and other mental health conditions.

Mr. Williams was a wonderful person, a real person, that struggled through things just as many others do. Even though I never had the opportunity to personally meet him, I know many of you have and this has hit you hard. He had a kind heart, he believed in our military and did what he could to be there for them and let them know they were not alone. He also had a heart for animals and helped out making sure animals had a fair chance at life. He helped many in his lifetime. I do not know much about him personally, but I do know that he touched my life and many lives through his role as an actor. As an actor, yes he was in the spot light and his talents were beyond magnificent. But, he was still a real person and that needs to be kept in mind.

We know that suicide is very real with depression, other mental health conditions, as well as with physical disabilities. Not everyone finds that path of surviving even though they work hard every day to make it to the next.

I had a comment come to me that I could not allow to pass. I realized I cannot remain silent, I have to say something.

I heard, “If someone as famous as Robin Williams resorted to suicide (allegedly based on news) , how am I, a nobody, who’s not rich or have unlimited access to things, suppose to make it?” Unfortunately, I have heard that many people are hearing this same type of comment from a loved one.

The only thing that comes from my heart that I can say, is MAYBE Mr. Williams did not have quite the same things in life as you have or there’s more to it than we are being told (NOT implying anything negative about his family, friends, or support system)… Each and every one of us that come together each day to make sure each other does make it to see tomorrow. A place where you can take that “mask” off and talk about real life as well as the struggles it brings, and find ways together to help each other. Maybe he felt like he had to wear that “mask” too often for too many. I really do not know, and none of us will ever know. Robin Williams will never be forgotten. 

What I do know is we have each other! We have the ability to share the good as well as the bad things that life with mental health conditions does bring. We have the ability to share those things with others who understand and may be facing the same struggles. We have the ability to openly talk about life. And, we have the ability to let others know they are not alone. There are many in this world that do suffer from some sort of mental illness or disorder.

When I call this page a “family”, I mean it. That is exactly what this little space on the internet is, it’s a loving and caring family that is world wide. It’s a place that stigma does not exist and we turn to each other and lean on each other.

YOU have something that not everyone with mental health conditions has found yet… others that can relate and do know what this life is like firsthand. Too many out there are still silent and trying to manage things on their own (not saying this is the case with Mr. Williams, just speaking in general), they need to know they don’t have to walk through this life alone.

Through the struggles that you may be having this week, PLEASE remember that you are NOT alone! PLEASE reach for help, use a crisis hotline number if you need someone to help you through this time. PLEASE contact your doctor. PLEASE use your support system and those that are there for you!

We all lost a wonderful person this week that has touched many of our lives in different wonderful ways. Let’s work together to make sure no more wonderful people are lost. YOU ARE IMPORTANT!!! And YOU ARE SOMEONE! Someone that does matter!

To those of you who do not understand mental health conditions, I hope you take the time to learn and learn what real life with these conditions are like, to the best as possible. People with mental illnesses or disorders really are not weak. They are the ones that struggle through each day to become a survivor, and work hard to make life the best it can be. YOU can help save a life, just simply by learning and helping reduce stigma, and by just simply being there for others.

Much love to each and every single one of you. And our thoughts go out to Mr. Williams family and all who personally knew him.

Love,
Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD :FaceBook

A Spouse’s Story PTSD :Website

To start the day off, I want to share some GOOD news!

To start the day off, I want to share some GOOD news!

A few days ago I asked all of you for back-up help, for one with PTSD that was really struggling that reached out to me, and I wanted to show her that she was not alone and there were many people here for her.

I received a message last night, and wanted to share this with you. I was told that with my intervention (not giving up on her and talking as long as it took) and all of the support she got from the “family” here, saved her life. I was told that if it had not been for all of us, she would not be here alive today.

BUT, she’s not here with us right now… She did contact her doctor and has accepted inpatient treatment. She was able to get one message to me, thanking all of us for honestly saving her life. She sounded very positive!  And said she will miss us while she is away, and miss our coffee time in the mornings, but she will be back once she gets out of the hospital.

So, I want to thank ALL of you for helping out and being here for each other. TOGETHER we are stronger! You proved that this past week. THANK YOU! YOU helped save one of our own! 🙂

 Love, Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

I was asked “With Craig being a veteran, why I do not focus only on military related PTSD?”

I was asked “With Craig being a veteran, why I do not focus only on military related PTSD?”

It’s a rather simple answer, at least to me. Because there are many people effected by PTSD rather they are military or civilian, wear a different uniform, and even spouses/partners can develop PTSD or secondary PTSD… and all of them are equally important when it comes to learning as well as having support. I don’t think it would be very fair to leave anyone behind just because their trauma was different then another person’s. PTSD is still PTSD and even though the traumas might be different, the symptoms and how to manage them are still much alike.

The following is a small “study” for lack of better words, that I did last August right here among this page. It shows how many different traumas people do experience, all leading to PTSD.

Real Life Facts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of only 172 people and only traumas reported: (Please note <3 is a heart symbol)

Military Sexual Trauma (MST)…03
Military Combat ……………………79   <3 <3
Military (non-combat)…………….05 <3
Childhood Abuse……………………24
Childhood Sexual Abuse…………22
Rape……………………..……………12
Assault…………………..……………09
Adult Abuse…………………….……16
Loss of life of someone close…..17
Medical Procedure/illness/
Injury (non-military)………………14
Witnessed a death or
Experienced Attempted
Murder (non-military)…………….09
Effected by one with PTSD………10
Religious trauma…………………..02
Police, Emergency, Contractor,
Prison Guard line of work……….14 <3
Genetic…………………..………….01
Accident………………….………….12
Shooting………………….…………02
Home Invasion………………….…03
Kidnapping/Hostage
(non-military)…………….…………03
Natural Disaster……………………02
Terrorism (non-military)………..02
Non-detailed cause………………. <3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

A Perspective of what PTSD is like…

comparison of ptsd

Many times, in order to learn how to understand something better, you have to have something to compare it to that can bring an understanding.

I was trying to come up with a description or comparison of what PTSD is like, especially when the fight or flight and other symptoms are high. There is only one example I could think of off the top of my head that I think fits and helps explain what it’s like for one with PTSD, and at times even their spouse/partner…

It’s like when a bird flies into a room, through an open door or window, it does not matter how it entered, it’s still, so to speak, closed in the room, and it’s desperately trying to get back outside, but can’t find the way without a lot of effort, struggle, and help.

Picture that in your mind. How the bird acts, the way it flies around the room, it panics and struggles to desperately find an exit, to escape from. Some birds will hit the walls or windows of the room trying to find an exit. Other birds will shut down, fall to the floor, seem almost dead but are actually in a panic stage and it takes time for them to recover from that stage. Then sadly, others hit the walls so many times, so hard, that their life actually ends… in essence, they lose their own life in the process of trying to escape what happened to them.

I imagine that those of you that know PTSD are agreeing with me right now. But maybe this will bring a little better understanding to those of you that do not understand or have a lot of knowledge of PTSD yet.

No one knows why the bird flew through the window or door, maybe that opening was just on their flight path, maybe it was a direction they were forced to go and had no other option, we don’t know… it just happened. PTSD is no different. It’s something traumatic that a person experienced, whatever the path or reason was, it still lead to the same place… what happened to them.

It happened, the bird is there, it flew into a room. Now it’s trying hard to find the exit, the solution of how to get out. It flies around in a panic and fears for it’s life. PTSD is the result of a real life, extreme trauma that caused one to fear for their own life or that of another. It causes a person to feel trapped, really no different than the bird.

Where as the bird makes that quick response of “have to find exit now” and everything it experiences happens quickly in time frame, take that experience and multiply it. PTSD drags the experiences out, they last for more then a month in memory and can last a lifetime. Repeating that same experience of the trauma over and over again in their brain, through flashbacks, nightmares, triggers, anxiety, and many more symptoms.

Can you yell at a bird and say, “Hey bird! Stop flying around, stop and look for the window or door“? You can yell all you want to, but that bird is not going to hear you or listen, it’s a bird. The fear has it in a panic, fight or flight, and it can not slow down, it’s fighting for it’s life.

PTSD is no different. Sometimes it just can’t hear one’s voice because of the results of the experience being there, replaying itself. Voices and reasoning are just static noise compared to a real life trauma replaying itself through the brain, in many cases much of the time.

At times the bird will wear out, find a safe place to perch as it regroups to fly, try to find that exit again. PTSD does the same thing. There can be outbursts, anger, frustration, fear, panic, then the brain and body get tired, worn out, and one just retreats to a safe place, away from everything and everyone.

What happens next? The bird has perched for whatever amount of time, long or short, then starts the same things over again trying to find an exit. Again, PTSD does the same things.

At times that bird will find an exit. After the struggle and fear it finds an open window and flies away. Other times, maybe a human that saw the bird trapped stepped in and helped it get out of the room safely. Other times the bird falls in a panic and it takes time to recover in order to start flying again.

These things the bird experienced can be compared to PTSD. Some people push themselves through their trauma, it does not make the trauma go away, they won’t forget it, but they learn coping skills, they reach for help, they allow others to help them, they find ways not to escape, but to live with PTSD. They learn how to manage it even though it is a constant “bird trapped in a room” feeling that is very real. They learn how to survive and live with PTSD being a part of their life.

Then sadly, there is the bird that flew so much, hit the wall so many times, and just could not find that open window or door, that it died. It happens, it’s real life. There are 22 Veterans per day that commit suicide. Now that’s only veterans of reported cases in the United States, that does not include civilians, unreported cases, or world wide numbers.

Folks, these are those “birds” that did not make it out of that room they were trapped in. They are the ones that did not have enough or any help, they are the ones that tried and tried and just could not find that exit to safety. This HAS to change!

You just watched that bird in that closed room fly around and around, hitting the walls, struggling to find that exit. Did you help it? Or did you sit back and watch?

If you see or know anyone that is struggling, lend that hand, open that window to help… open your ears and listen, even if you don’t “get it”. You cannot make PTSD go away, but you can help by learning and caring about others. Understand that PTSD is not something they can just get over, it’s VERY real and what they experience every single day is real. Do not be the one to sit back and just watch, or you might be the one to watch that final “bird” scene when you could have been the one to help save them. Open that window, be there for them, take the time to care. PTSD is not just a personal issue or problem, it effects everyone and it needs EVERYONE in order for the one who suffers from it, as well as those around them, to survive and learn how to live again. Please do NOT be that person who just sits back and watches the “bird” trapped in a room, be the one who does something, be the one who helps save another person’s life or loved one.

Whether you know someone who suffers from PTSD or not, odds are you actually do. Take the time to learn, take the time to care. Others need to understand and the only way to get awareness out there… is to spread it!

Please share if you care!

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD : Website

A Spouse’s Story PTSD : FaceBook Page

Valentine’s Day and Every day…

Let me tell you a story…

(and don’t worry, I’m getting somewhere with this PTSD related)

I grew up celebrating every holiday that card companies put on the calendar lol, as many people view it. 😉 Oh it was fun! It was an all out holiday no matter what it was. I carried on the traditions of decorating the house, buying gifts, special foods or baking, etc. Today is what I refer to as the hearts and love holiday.

Yesterday I took my daughter to the store, she has a boyfriend she wanted to buy something for. 😉 WOW, kids grow up too fast. Anyway, as she was looking at things and figuring out what was perfect for him, she told me he loves chocolate and loves dogs… so picked out a box of chocolates and a stuffed animal.

I stood by the shopping cart and looked around at all of the people who were there. The two Valentine’s sections of the store were packed with people! I watched them gathering heart shaped boxes of chocolates, roses, stuffed animals, or jewelry. The card isle was full of people picking through cards to find the one with the perfect saying. All of the things that in a materialistic way show on this day you care about someone. You know me, I probably over observe people lol.

But as I watched, and realized that all of these holidays just don’t carry the heavy expectations as they use to, to me. Don’t get me wrong, I still love them, but my expectations changed. Sure, I had a blast watching my daughter as she picked things out, the smile on her face, and her silly giggle. I saw the joy she had and how excited she is about today, same with everyone else that was at the store shopping. Things I use to do!

Why wasn’t I there among everyone else looking for things to buy? When did my views change? What changed?

These changes are by no means bad to me. And I sure do not judge others for their holiday traditions! Have at it and enjoy it, LOL! Craig and I will be grilling steaks here at home today, something simple.

What changed with me was a day when I saw with my own eyes just how valuable life really is, everyday. How precious every breath a person takes is. The day I felt fear flow through my soul. Fear that my special someone would not have even one more day with me.

That day was many years ago now, but it has never left my mind. I sat in our bathroom, on the floor beside the bathtub. The tub that he was sitting in, crying, speaking the words that he could not do this any longer, no one was helping him, no one cared, no one was fixing him, how he could not remember things and it was destroying him, how the migraines were unbearable, how he had lost everything to an illness that he could not manage another day through… he wanted to die.

It was the longest day of my life as I talked him through what he was feeling, the words he was speaking, what he was thinking, and showing him photos and telling him the reasons he HAD to live! I reminded him of all of the things that we had made it through so far, and how I will not let him give up. How we would find help and he will get better then he was at that moment.

My heart sank that day, my fear was at the highest level it had ever been, and I kept talking. I knew something had a hold on him, what we now know as PTSD , depression , and survivor’s guilt had consumed him. I was faced with the reality of what these illnesses can do to a person, something that he would NEVER had allowed to even cross his mind before, and I was not about to give up on him.

I sat by that tub for about 8 hours straight. I did not freak out, I did not get angry or lash harsh words out because of his actions or words, I was in survival mode of seriousness, calmness, helping him through every step or word that came.

When he finally spoke in calmness to me, and he told me “Thank you for loving me and being here for me.”, and he got up out of that tub… Those were the most precious words my ears had ever heard. I took a deep breath and told him we will make it through this, and we will make it together, I promise you. And we have done just that.

I know to many today is a day of love and expectations, chocolate, flowers, fine dinners, etc. But those things hold nothing to the fact that your loved one is still here with you, that each day holds a new day of life, and you do have the chance to say “I love you”.

If I can give you any thread of advice for today… Don’t allow expectations of things or what a “normal” holiday should be like mess up your day. Cherish the fact that you have that person with you today. Whatever the day holds or does not hold, make the best of it. Every single day of life is a special day.

To those of you that may not have a special someone in your life right now, know that you are loved and there are people who care about you! And, just because there is not a special someone today, does not mean one won’t come along tomorrow. 😉 YOU are special and sooner or later another special person who understands you and excepts you, will come along. Until then, know you ARE loved!

I send each and every one of you much love today! You have become a huge part of our family, and I could not imagine it being any other way!  <3

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Quote to help…

“Learning to look beyond yourself, seeing the signs and hearing the words of the cry for help could very well be what saves them. Look, hear, listen, and do something.”

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

One Phrase…

One phrase. There is one phrase that could very well send someone who suffers from an unseen disability such as PTSD over the edge, and I don’t mean just upset, or angry, I mean to the point of wanting to end their life. Yes, I’m being pretty blunt and straight to the point of the urgency on this one. So to all of you that don’t have PTSD or don’t understand it, even to those that say you do understand it but really don’t… Let’s have a little talk!

“There’s nothing wrong with you… see you are fine.”

This is a comment that is well known by those that suffer from PTSD, it’s also the one that cuts the deepest of many… especially if it came from a loved one, or family member, or close friend.

“Unseen disability”. That’s a disability that does not have a physical characteristic that is seen such as a missing leg or limp or scars that show. It’s something that is on the inside that can be more damaging to one then a physical impairment.

Just because you can’t see the disability does not mean it’s not real, does not mean it does not exist, it means you yourself do not understand what it is or what one who suffers from this goes through. And I have thousands of doctors of many different backgrounds that will back me on this one, along with thousands upon millions of people military or civilian!

People who suffer from PTSD have their good days and they have many bad days, and I can almost guarantee you, that you won’t see them on their bad days unless you live with them. Because people with PTSD want you to view them as you always have, they don’t want you judging them, they don’t want you to think they are crazy… and they are not crazy, ask any doctor that specializes in this! They suffer from something that is very real that causes them much pain that they work hard to live through every day of their lives.

The hardest, most belittling thing to a person with PTSD is taking that reach for help. PTSD hits what I call “the best of the best”, the ones that have stood tall and taken in everything life’s traumas has dished out to the point where they can’t take anymore. Their brain starts locking the traumas away, pieces of what has happened to them or what they have experienced. Reaching for help and accepting something is wrong is the hardest thing to do for this type of person who is known for their strength. I think the fact of the military related… now to be honest the numbers are not even close to correct if you add in civilian and unreported case… a suicide rate that is now up to 22 veterans and 1 military person per DAY! PER DAY! I was personally told of 3 cases this past week of suicides among our heroes. Three, that’s a large number to come to me, I’m only one little hole on the internet. Do you know how many that is, do you realize how many people are taking their own lives, and you wonder why?

Well let me tell you why. Because in their battle people have turned their backs to them, these people are trying to get the help they truly need and backs are being turned. And it’s not doctors that are turning their backs… it’s family members, friends, co-workers, and the general public.

Unless you suffer from PTSD, live with it, or are one that treats it, you probably are not going to truly understand it unless you take the time to educate yourself on it. Even then, true understanding is going to be difficult, but education will help.

When a person who suffers from PTSD does actually have a day they can make it out of their home, I can almost guarantee you it’s a good day. A day where they will mask PTSD with a smile, a day where they are not worn down from it and can physically function, a day where they just want to blend in and feel normal. People with PTSD do not like letting their PTSD show… it still comes with a stigma that haunts this world, a stigma because people have not taken the time to understand what it is… therefore are scared of it or refuse to believe it is real. “Stigma”, a fear of the unknown.

People are taking their own lives by their own hand because the battle became too much to handle. And I bet if I contacted the families of these very people and their friends, I bet a large percentage of them, not all of them, but a large percentage of them would say something like that phrase, “There was nothing wrong with him/her, I don’t know why they did this”. Well for that large percentage, right there is your answer.

My friends and family, PTSD is not going away. It is real. It’s a battle within. And if you were in their very shoes I guarantee you would want someone to understand or to help you! Anyone that says that can’t happen to me, let me tell you something, you are WRONG! PTSD can happen to anyone who has experienced a trauma that affected their life or even one that they love or are close to. It is not only military related! It can happen from a car accident, a natural disaster, a personal attack, rape, sexual trauma, a child or parent losing their life, someone’s death that was out of your control. It happens to doctors, nurses, police, paramedics, firefighters, and many more… it can form from any severe trauma that you encounter.

And your words could very well be the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. If you do not know or understand what someone is going through, especially if one has trusted in you that they have been diagnosed with PTSD, don’t ever say “There’s nothing wrong with you” to them! One, the damage you are doing to them by saying that is very seldom repairable. Two, you most likely just lost the trust that person had for you, when all they were doing is reaching out to you, and by saying those words you just turned your back on them! Three, this can also lead them to another battle which many times come with PTSD… Depression. Which leads their road to a much darker place.

A person with PTSD does still have a life. They can throw a great cook-out, they can laugh, they make great parents, they can be a great spouse, and to set the record straight… not everyone with PTSD is violent to others! I can’t emphasize that enough! They are not monsters and to be honest, many of them are the most caring and understanding people you will ever meet! They just have a harder time doing things then one who does not suffer from PTSD. They have to fight to survive, to battle PTSD to have the normal that comes so easy to one that does not have it, and they do it every day of their life.

PTSD is not something that is made up, my friends, it’s extremely real. Many of you, if not every single person that this might reach, probably knows someone who suffers, many times in silence, and you might not even know it. You might have that buddy or son or daughter that keeps cancelling things on you, have you ever stopped and asked why? Probably not, you probably just thought they were unreliable, blew you off, or made up an accuse not to go. You probably got frustrated with them or even angry, but did you ask the true reason why? I doubt it. And until you show that they can trust you, I mean show it, they most likely won’t share their deepest pains with you. Have respect for human beings, something that seems to be lost in this day and age. A simple “Hey, I’ve noticed you haven’t been getting out much, do you want to talk? This is not like you.” Show the concern and compassion, someone’s life might just count on it some day.

Reaching to get help for themselves is urgent with PTSD. There are many ways of learning to cope with it, medications that can help, and forms of therapy. Many times if it is treated early enough, the person can have a much more normal life then those that go untreated for years. When someone does make this step to saving themselves, don’t be the one to turn your back on them! Be there to support them, to help them move forward, but don’t EVER say “There’s nothing wrong with you”, you might find yourself as it being the last thing you were ever able to say to them.

Learn, educate others, there are many books out there worth reading so you can get the insight you need to what PTSD is and how it effects people, the internet is packed with information… it’s only a click away, and it might very well save a life of someone you love. Don’t blow it off until tomorrow, tomorrow might be too late. Learn now! And I’m not saying this because I am a spouse of someone who suffers from PTSD, I’m saying it because I see the truth of what is happening to people or by people every day.

If you choose to do nothing else, which I hope is not the case, please at least “share” this. The public needs to know the urgency of unseen disabilities and what they themselves can do to help someone else! Any human being can save a life, it’s only a click away.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Spouses-Story-PTSD/195448267154305