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“What NOT to say to a Caregiver/Spouse of one with PTSD”

“What NOT to say to a Caregiver/Spouse of one with PTSD”

A few weeks ago we went over things not to say to ones with PTSD. Now here is a twist, what about the one who cares for them? People do not realize in many cases what a spouse/caregiver of one with PTSD go through from day to day. And just as with the one who suffers from PTSD, there are also things NOT to say to the spouse/caregiver.

* “It must be nice to be able to stay at home.” 

We went over this one yesterday for those that may not have seen it. This is one of the worst things you could say or even “do” to a spouse! Their “choice” when it comes to PTSD is not the comfort of staying at home, it’s a choice normally between life and death of their loved one. Many of the spouses/caregivers are the reason that person is still able to make it from day to day. PTSD needs support and many times someone to help full time. To see more detailed information on this phrase please check out the posting on this phrase. You might be shocked with what comes with it!

* “You need to leave him/her!”

Those are pretty much fighting words, or words that could push the person you are saying them to away from you. When a spouse/caregiver confides in you things that they go through, they are turning to you as someone they trust and for support. If you do not live with the person who has PTSD, you really are not in the position to be telling a spouse what to do regarding their relationship. By saying these words you are not helping! Yes, by all means life with PTSD is different, and to many outsiders it can seem scary, however there can still be life and family with PTSD. Don’t cut someone who is seeking support off at the knee caps by telling them to just give up and walk away. In fact, it may very well be you they walk away from!

* “You need to get a job.”

Many times when PTSD is involved, it’s just not possible for a spouse to work. They are already in a position that IS a full time job! Caring for their loved one! It is more then a go to and come home from a 40 hour week, it is a job that is 24/7! By saying this to them, all you are doing is adding more stress to their situation, damaging their self-esteem, and not supporting the fact of the sacrifices they are actually making for their loved one.

* “Are you going to live off the government your whole life?”

Ouch! Sounds like you don’t know how the system works very well. The truth is, many families do not qualify for state or govt aid/assistance. And in reality, especially if the one with PTSD is still in the benefits process (which can take years mind you), they are actually between the criteria to qualify, a little too much but not enough to live on. Even ones who are getting some sort of assistance sure don’t get it because they want to, it’s because they have no other options! Especially if they have children to think about along with their disabled spouse! It’s actually very humiliating in many cases because these are people who have worked their entire lives, and many have lost everything due to a disability that is out of their control. It takes swallowing a lot of pride to ask for help. And if they are ones that are not on govt assistance but get medical benefits, those are earned benefits, not a hand out! I can guarantee you they would rather be working then having to cope with the disability before them.

* “Your husband/wife is faking.”

Let me tell you something up front. Anyone who fakes PTSD does have a mental problem and needs to be seriously put away somewhere. PTSD is no joke, and most likely, you as an outsider to the household will only see one with PTSD on a good day. You are not seeing what PTSD actually brings to one, you are seeing the fake smile on their face of trying to be normal, or fit in, or do something for their spouse/children that is actually very much out of PTSD’s comfort zone. How about giving some credit that they are able to actually be around others when they can? That takes a lot and once they get back home you can pretty much bet they are going to be drained and not be able to do anything else the rest of the day. Telling someone their spouse is faking PTSD is like sucker punching them in the face… now would you do that to someone you care about? Nope, you sure wouldn’t, so stay away from those words.

* “I can take better care of him/her then you can.”

PTSD bring a lot of stress already, and many things that if you one that speaks these words you probably don’t really understand PTSD. Parents, we all love you, but you are normally the ones guilty of saying this phrase. Your son/daughter’s spouse is the one that truly knows them the best. I know you raised your child, however I also know the spouse is the one that has been there since PTSD, the one your son/daughter trusts or they wouldn’t have them in their life. PTSD causes a huge lack in trust, so if your son/daughter trusts their spouse, then it might be wise for you to trust your child’s judgement and decision on this one. You need to be supportive of their spouse. PTSD brings a lot on the family and that spouse needs your support, not a lashing and conflict from you. Work together! If you want to be helpful to your son/daughter, give the spouse a break to do the shopping, or attend a school event, or time to handle finances, ask to have the kids for a weekend or over night. Your child and their spouse need you… BOTH of them do! The best thing you can do for your child, is not to try to take over, which is a parental instinct, but to just let them know you are there to help both of them!

* “You are why he/she is acting this way”

Actually, unless it’s an oddball of a case, they are NOT why the one with PTSD is acting this way, they are not the reason for the changes. PTSD is! The spouse just happens to be the one there when PTSD came to life or became worse in some cases. It does not mean the spouse is the one to blame. Everyone likes to have a reason for changes in a person, and pointing the finger at the person the one with PTSD is closest to is the easiest thing to do, it’s what makes sense, right? Well, you are wrong! PTSD is the reason and the cause, the trauma the person experienced, nothing more. The best thing you can do for one with PTSD is to stop pointing fingers and start providing support, again, to BOTH of them. The fastest way to tear a whole family apart is to blame the spouse. The one with PTSD is not going to go for that very well, and most likely they will pull away from you for doing so. They trust their spouse, you need to trust their opinion in this and stop the finger pointing. PTSD causes so many changes, but it all links back to the trauma, not the person that’s closest to them.

* “You sleep too much.” or “Your not a child, why are you napping?”

This one gets old to hear. If you take the time to educate yourself on what PTSD is and it’s symptoms, you will find that it only makes sense to take naps. One with PTSD has nightmares/terrors, when these occur the spouse is not going to get much if any sleep, just a fact to it. I even heard things like “sleep in another room”. Well that’s an awesome idea, however why would I want to sleep in a room away from my husband and what happens when he comes up from his nightmares/terrors and no one is there to ground him from them? What happens when he is disoriented from his surroundings and I’m again not there to ground him? With PTSD, we take sleep when we can get it. Many times that is with napping during the day. We need sleep, it’s the only way we can continue to function not only for taking care of others, but also a way to take care of ourselves. There is no such thing as too much sleep when a person is up most nights. Our sleep hours are different then those that sleep all night then can be awake all day, we don’t get that option. So, no we are not a child, we are one who takes care of someone else. It’s the same thing as if a parent is up with a sick child all night, you can bet you are going to be exhausted the following day. With PTSD it’s the same thing, except our nights equal many nights, some even every night.

* “I’m upset because you keep cancelling our plans. If you don’t want to go just say so!”

Actually it has nothing to do with not wanting to go somewhere or not wanting to join in. Fact is we would LOVE to! But the other fact to it is PTSD. PTSD comes with anxiety of gathering, crowds, anxiety over something bad might happen, or feeling of being unsafe, and many more things. It also comes with not being able to keep very good schedules. You never know when PTSD might flair up causing you not to be able to attend something. Many times if one who cares for one with PTSD can attend something, it’s a last minute thing “oh I can make it”. You have to have patience with one that has PTSD therefore you also have to have patience with the one who takes care of them. Wouldn’t it be much nicer to say something like “I really hate that you can’t make it, we would love for you to come, but we understand.” How about “I understand, how about we do that some other time when he/she is having a better day”. By saying “you don’t want to…” just adds a negative stress to someone when it’s not needed, it can also cause great damage to them wanting to be around you if you won’t take the time to understand their situation.

* “Just leave him/her at home and you go.”

This is something that is not always possible! Yes, there are ones who can leave their spouse for a certain amount of time, but there are also one’s that can not. Many times in order for the spouse to go out, they have to arrange for someone else to be there with the one with PTSD. And that is not as easy as it sounds! They have to have someone that understands PTSD and how to care for that person, which includes knowing how to handle them if a trigger happens, knowing how to ground them from a flashback, know when they need to take their medications, and a long list of things. Not just anyone is willing to say “hey I’ll run right over so you can go do something” lol… it doesn’t happen! Caring for someone else does not allow for the freedom so to speak that many others have. And when we can go somewhere, you can bet your money we will!

* “Wow you are snappy today, what’s your problem?”

Well, consideration is needed on this one. To start with, there’s the chance without thinking you said one of the phrases mentioned in this and that’s where the attitude towards you is coming form. The other things that it could be is maybe it’s been a stressful day, maybe they didn’t get much if any sleep last night, maybe there has been extra weight added to their shoulders. In stead of pointing out in a negative way how snappy they are at you, try saying something along the lines of “You aren’t acting your joyful self today, do you want to talk?” Or maybe “You seemed stressed, is there anything I can help with?” Or maybe “hey I can stick around for a little while and hang out, why don’t you go catch a nap and I ‘ll hold down the fort for you.” WOW! Now don’t those make more sense? If someone is being snappy there’s probably a good reason for it, find the reason and see if there is any way you can help out, it might just be lending an ear to listen.

* “You have to do this”

AVOID this!!! Don’t be pushy or demanding to one that has PTSD or the one who cares for one with PTSD, if you are, you are most likely going to hit a huge roadblock! This person already has enough to handle in everyday life, then their regular things such as children, housework, cooking… that when you demand something, it is very doubtful you are going to get what you are wanting or wanting them to do. And don’t keep harassing them, especially about events that are coming up! This is just going to effect the one with PTSD which in return will roll to the spouse/caregiver. Things like “we hope you will be able to attend” is a nice reminder but never state “you have to be there” or “we are counting on you to be there” or “you will be there no matter what”. Those are pretty much shutdown words to PTSD and a spouse caring for them.

* ” He/She is fine, he/she doesn’t need all of those medications, look at him/her, he’s/she’s fine.”

Well, let me let you in on something. That person with PTSD is acting better because of those meds! If they were to drop or you push them to stop taking their meds, you can almost bet they are going to have a huge setback! The meds are one thing that makes them seem “normal” to you. No, the meds are not a cure, but they can help with the symptoms of PTSD. In many cases of PTSD, without the meds you have a case of completely out of control PTSD, and just trust me on this one, you don’t want to see that part of it! Medications can bring a sense of balance to one with PTSD, which helps them find a state to which they can learn to cope. Sure eventually some of the medications might no longer be needed, and when that time comes leave it up to the doctor along with the one with PTSD to decide together! Doctors keep track of what helps, what doesn’t help, and how one is responding, leave being a doctor to the doctor on this one. Don’t tell a spouse medications are not needed, they are the one who knows what the person was like without those medications and I can bet you because of that will make sure the one with PTSD gets the help they need.

* “You should be thankful he/she made it home alive!” ~Shanny C.

Well, see here is the issue with that, yes by all means we are thankful, however to that person with PTSD they don’t view it that way which leads to many issues (survivor’s guilt) that can arise when they have guilt of making it home when someone else didn’t. This leads to suicidal tendencies or actions. Things change life with PTSD, we are thankful for them still being with us by all means however it is a constant battle every day to keep them here.

* “God doesn’t give you more then you can handle.” ~Shanny C.

I have been guilty of saying this myself, to myself… followed by “I know you won’t give me more then I can handle, but how much more do you really think I can take?” A person caring for one with PTSD does not want to hear this, many times they are at there own brink and have to regroup to keep going. It takes a lot of strength to care for one with PTSD and it all depends on you, not God, to what you do with it. This is just not something that is positive to say to someone in a caregiver role.

* “You are too controlling” ~Amanda L.

“I have to be. If I didn’t manage the finances, the doctor apts, the household, parenting boundaries, etc…. it wouldn’t happen.” ~Amanda L.

The fact is, with PTSD it is not as much as being controlled as it is to making sure things get done. Many with PTSD have a very difficult time with decision making, and many times things if not everything is left on the spouse to decide. One with PTSD may feel they might make the wrong decision, might feel their anger will get in the way (like with disciplining children), they may also have memory issues which prevent them from being able to recall what has or has not taken place. This leaves things up to the spouse to make sure everything is taken care of and life moves forward as smoothly as possible.

*  “You can’t be mad at him. He can’t control his actions” ~Amanda L.

He can’t control PTSD. It may explain his behavior but it doesn’t excuse it. He still has to be held accountable so that he knows what the boundaries are. ~ Amanda L.

This is very much true. One can’t control PTSD, however they can learn to control what they do and do not do. It does take time however to get to this point of learning. A spouse is still human and has human feelings and responses. You can not expect them to never get upset or mad, it’s not going to happen. When these things do happen, it takes many coping skills to address the issues at hand and for both of them to move forward to a better place and understanding.

* “You’re his trigger. You just need to separate for awhile.” ~Amanda L.

I’m a person. I can’t be his trigger. Maybe there’s something I’m doing or something coming from his end that he feels vulnerable enough with me to let out…. but we can’t figure that out and move forward with treatment if he’s not here! ~Amanda L.

A trigger is something linked to the actual trauma that took place. If the spouse was not a part of that trauma or caused the trauma, then there is no way of the spouse being a trigger. This goes back to the blame game, people feel the need to blame someone actually when they don’t have answers. The blame is actually the trauma itself which caused PTSD to develop. Separating is only really needed in physical abuse cases, where the one with PTSD is physically harming the spouse. Amanda is right on with the fact that if the PTSD person is not there, then it makes it extremely difficult to face what is before you and move forward with getting help and learning to cope, and for both of you. It is really something that needs to be handled together. On the norm, when one with PTSD leaves, there is a huge break in communication which makes it harder to work through things. It also causes the one with PTSD to have the feelings which PTSD can bring, that the other person is better off without them which in many cases is not true.

 

To say the least, there are many more statements I could add to this list, but this will give you a good start to learning about and why these things should not be said to a spouse/caregiver. A spouse/caregiver has taken the time to really put their heart, time, and energy to help the one they care about. Don’t disregard that fact. There is a lot that comes with the “job” that many do not think about. Take time to learn, understand the best you can without being in their shoes, and be supportive of them! They are there because they want to be. PTSD is tough and not something everyone can handle, so when someone does, be supportive of them! They sure don’t need extra negative comments added to their life, think before you speak please.

Take time to educate yourself and be supportive to anyone that is there for one with PTSD. That person is greatly needed!

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

PTSD and Naps

PTSD and Naps

Morning. Another long night… but you all know what that’s like. Just means we will be needing a nap today. Yep, a nap.

People find it odd when I say “oh we were napping” or “we took a nap”, but in reality with PTSD, naps are many times needed.

Some doctors will say naps interfere with night time sleep others say the opposite. They say that if napping helps you, as well as helps you when PTSD gets really off balance then by all means take one and when you wake up start on a new foot. It can be viewed as a way of coping, just don’t over-do it to the point it’s all you are doing. 😉

So, I would say it all really goes back to what you need, makes you feel better, and is the healthiest for you and the way you feel.

Taking a nap during the day:

* Can give you and your body rest/sleep after a night of little or no sleep.

* Can help during rough PTSD days. It in a way gives you the chance to start the day over and could very well start over on a better foot.

* Can be a way of coping with anger. No one wants to take anger out on others and sometimes when you feel angry, napping could be a form of coping, then starting the day over.

* Can lead to more energy that you might be drained of from the day so far.

Making sure you get sufficient sleep is very important!

Something you might want to try, that we personally have found alters sleep in a positive way. Try napping in a different place or position then you sleep at night. Even if it’s just having your head at the foot of the bed, or nap on the couch, or in your favorite chair. With doing this it seems to bring a different form of sleep and a difference between night time and napping during the day.

Another thing we have found helpful is the napping on the couch. His back to the back of the couch and myself laying in front of him (spooning… as many know it). It seems to bring a sense of “guarding” to him. He naps better with less if any nightmares/terrors during that time, and I also get to cuddle 😉 which is something that is hard to do at night. So in a way it can bring a sense of closeness to a relationship also.

These are just a few things that could help. Whatever you choose is right for you, just make sure you get the rest you and your body needs. 😉

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

“My PTSD is not as important as his/her’s.”…Really?

There is something that I hear a lot from actually many people and I want to address it openly.

“I didn’t go through what so and so did, my PTSD isn’t important.”
Or other comments along those same lines.

Well! I’m here to say something about that. PTSD is PTSD, period! PTSD is caused by many different reasons/traumas, but in the end of it, it is still caused by a trauma that effected you no matter if you view it as something large or not. Everything effects people in different ways, just because one person went through the same thing so to speak and may not have developed PTSD does not mean it is the same for everyone.

PTSD also does NOT mean you are weak, in fact it means you are one of the strong ones. “Best of the best” as I say it. The one that held it together, maybe dealt with your trauma alone and would not open up to others, the one that said no big deal I shouldn’t have issues with what happened, etc. The one that held it all in and kept going to the point your brain said “Hey you! Stop, you’ve had enough, I can’t take anymore in, I’m full.” Oh yes… it effects the strong ones! The ones that are the super heroes of handling stress and keep on going.

Well, yes you are a Hero by all means, but I hate to break the news to you but you are still human and no super powers there to keep PTSD from happening. 😉

PTSD is not something you can keep from happening, and when the brain has reached that limit, you might end up with PTSD. There’s no shame in that though! It’s just a new battle of a different kind.

PTSD can develop from war/military, what a First Responder/police have witnessed or experienced, from a severe car accident, sexual trauma/rape, home invasion, an attack, death of someone close to you, a natural disaster, ones death that was out of your control, or even a death that you were in the line of duty to cause, a dog attack/mauling, the list is endless. It all goes back to whatever the cause is for PTSD, it was a trauma that effected you.

There is no trauma that is greater then another. Facts on the table it may seem or feel that way to you, but in reality PTSD is PTSD. No matter what the cause is, the symptoms are pretty much the same… the stories of “why” are just different.

I have come across many that feel shamed of why they have PTSD. There is nothing to be ashamed about, PTSD happens and can happen to anyone that has experienced a severe trauma of whatever magnitude. PTSD does not, as I have always said, does not choose one nation, color, man or woman, young or elder, sick or healthy, rich or poor, and it sure does not care if you are a mother or father, brother or sister, friend or foe, and it sure doesn’t care about what morals you have or don’t have or religious beliefs. PTSD is just PTSD and can affect anyone.

A huge key to battling PTSD is accepting it, accepting it has happened to you, and getting help for it. The reported suicide rate among veterans/military (only the reported numbers and cases) is up to 22 per day! Only reported cases? Could you even begin to imagine what a true number would really be if all cases military, civilian, world wide were included? I can’t!

None of you are alone in this battle, and no one’s PTSD is greater or less then the next. There is no reason for the suicide numbers we are seeing, reach for help, place the shame to the side and help yourself or the one you love. Each of you are extremely important and I don’t take that lightly!

If you have PTSD or think you might, reach out your hand and ask for help, you are worth it!!! And to those of you that do not suffer from PTSD, take the time to learn about it, let others know about it, educate… you might just save a life and sometimes without even knowing. Ones with PTSD need support! And even if it’s just spreading awareness or learning for the day you run into someone who has it, what a change you can make in another person’s life!

PTSD is PTSD my friends. Don’t put yourself down because of why you have it. Do what you can to battle it, and know you are never alone!

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

PTSD and Other thing to help First Responders…

Yesterday we talked about medical id and bracelets etc. But what more can we do?

When emergency responders enter a home, they really need to know there is someone with PTSD in the home. It will save them and the one with PTSD from any grief or extra issues. As well as being alerted that one in the home might need to be handled differently such as in a case where instead of restraining one, if you talk calmly to them it is less likely to cause a PTSD outburst.

Things you can do:

* Stop by your local police department and request that they add a note to your address stating there is one with PTSD in the home, their name, and any special instructions on how to approach them.

* You can also have it attached to an address to which hospital the person with PTSD is to be taken if it is a medical need for their PTSD and if it’s not a need to take them to the closest hospital.

* You can post a sticker or sign for “Attention/Alert: PTSD”.

* If you know and trust your neighbors, ask them in case emergency teams show up to let emergency crews know upon arrival that someone in the home has PTSD.

* Educate your local emergency crews about PTSD. Some actually do not understand it or are not educated on it. Letting them know there are ones who suffer from PTSD in their call area could help!

* If your area has a medical alert system in place, use it!

* Use the “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) code in your cell phone to be used for contacting relatives or emergency contacts in the event you are unconscious or can not give emergency teams information.

* Keep the medical ID cards with you at all times as we talked about yesterday. They contain info that is needed right then to help you!

To say the least these are just a few of the many possibilities that can come in handy in case of an emergency situation. First responders really need to know information ahead of time so they know how to help you the best and quickest. Especially in the case of medication need to knows, flashbacks, disassociation, and if you are one that could be a threat to others or yourself at these times.

Help them help you! 😉

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

PTSD Awareness Cards…

 

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

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

~Bec

PTSD and Medical ID…

PTSD and Medical ID

There is something that I have found most valuable to ones with PTSD that a lot of people don’t think about doing. Medical ID cards or jewelry!

Since Craig has been on medications, something I have done is use the free online printable medical id cards. I print 2 of them and laminate them so they are protected, one for him to carry and one for myself to carry since I am his caregiver. These cards contain his information as well as his medications, any special instructions, allergies, medications he can not have, doctor information, important instructions (such as service dog and dog’s name when he was using one, “Do not restrain PTSD Veteran, talk to calmly”, or anything else that could be needed), etc.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, you never know when an emergency might come up or something happen. Having medical id information on you at all times might just save you a lot of grief.

Times they could be useful:

* Any accident where no one else can provide your information.

* Being pulled over while driving. Especially if your PTSD gets set off or anxiety, it helps the officer know you have PTSD and handing that card with your drivers license could be of huge help to avoid a bad situation… not saying you will get out of a ticket of course 😉 but could help an officer understand you have anxiety could help them from thinking you are hiding something, acting unwell or in a verbal or violent manner, or even avoid a vehicle search if you are not acting “right” to them.

* When you have a flashback or are unsure of your surroundings. Sometimes when this happens medical attention could be called to you and that card or jewelry could be much needed. Disorientation does come to many with PTSD and this could be your ticket to where you should be.

* Supplies your medical list when you might forget what medications you are on during the need for medical attention. As well as what medications you can not have! Such as nitrates or others that would interfere with the medications you are taking.

These are just a few examples, but you get the point of how urgent having just a little card on you could be. There are many free printable medical id cards available online, take the time to print them and always have them with you!! PTSD brings a lot of things that are out of the normal for others, these cards or jewelry could be of much use to helping you!

Here is a link to “Medical IDs“, one that I have found is really good and they also offer ID jewelry!

 

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

What can I do to help?…

What can I do to help my partner with PTSD or myself feel normal?

This is a question I hear a lot! We know what PTSD does and how it makes you feel, sometimes it takes you away from the reality of what is actually right in front of you. It makes it difficult on the one with PTSD, their partner, as well as other family members in the home. So what can you do? Here are a few things that I have found can help…

* Wall Calendars: I know I say this a lot! It’s because I mean it. Wall calendars are a great way to keep track of things, remind you what day it is, when your appointments are, you can note on them how your day was, how your meds seemed to work each day, birthdays or special occasions, etc. I prefer wall calendars over dry erase boards… why? Because you can’t erase! It gives you a way to keep track and be able to flip back through things that have already happened as well as to flip forward to what is coming.

* Photos: Oh what photos can do for you!!! Putting photos of happy times, smiling faces, togetherness, up around the house brings attention to how you feel or feel about someone. I like everyday snap shots, the real life not posed for photos. They show you life and a sense of what life really is and are great reminders of the true self which sometimes gets lost in PTSD. And wow can they be some great conversation pieces! I have some up of Craig and I together when we were teenagers, one of where he and I both have huge smiles on our faces and he’s bear hugging me with my feet off of the ground, one of the kids being goofy together lol… you get my point! 😉 Use those memories to help you get through the rough or un-grounded days that come with PTSD. They are NOT meant to dwell on what is lost, fact is they are there to remind you of the good in you that is just masked by PTSD.

* Speak Positively: I know things get tough when you have a loved one with PTSD, that’s normal for it. BUT when you point out the good things, talk about positive things and don’t dwell on the negative so much, that flows over to the one with PTSD. It helps keep them from worrying so much and let’s them focus on good things and not what they might view as “let you down”. Even if they don’t appear to worry about you, trust me they do! Keep things positive and it will roll over to them and helps self esteem for both of you. “Look to the good” as a always say it.

* Smile: One of the hardest things to do huh? Did you know the fact is it takes less muscles to smile then frown? And that the expression on your face can be very contagious? Seriously! If you are upset or sad all of the time, what do you think that will do to someone with PTSD? It won’t be good I can sure tell you that! If you are smiling then that lifts stress off of the shoulders of one with PTSD, by human nature it turns to “why are they so happy, what did I miss?” Smiles are contagious… use them! 🙂

* Get Outside: PTSD will try it’s hardest to hide one away inside, away from everyone and everything… don’t let it! Fresh air is good for you, sunshine is good for you, the exercise of a simple walk or venture outside is good for you. Don’t let the sun pass across the sky each day without seeing it. It helps remind you that life is there. Feel the breeze blow across your face, hear the sound of the leaves or the birds chirping, take it all in and let it help remind you that you are a part of life!

* Support: Support is urgent with PTSD! This is not a battle to take on alone, you wouldn’t take on any battle by yourself without backup so why would you try to take this one on by yourself? Rather you are the one with PTSD or the partner, support, someone to talk to is much needed. By having someone or a group of people to talk to it gives you different points of views… other ways to look at things that you might not have thought of, gives you a chance to vent when needed, gives you a chance to share good things, and gives you a sense of belonging! Belonging, humm, strong word there isn’t it! There is a lot of different forms of support in this world, use them, they do help!

* Take care of yourself: This is something that any good parent taught their child growing up. You have to take care of yourself! Make sure you do the things you have always done, eat right, take a shower, shave, do your hair and makeup, brush your teeth, and take time to relax when you need to, find a hobby, and get sleep! House work is not going anywhere and will sure be there when you get back to it. Take care of yourself and do things that make you feel good. It will also help keep your self esteem up and the way you view yourself. And don’t ever say “I don’t have time” if you have time to text, be on the computer, etc then you can make time to take care of yourself too. 😉

* Except the here and now: Don’t let the “what if’s” weigh on you! They can really bring you down and you aren’t even sure what you think will happen will indeed happen. Live today, in the here and now, and enjoy it! There are going to be rough or bad days, that’s all a part of PTSD and what it brings, but make an effort to enjoy things. Say it to yourself “Right NOW I’m going to enjoy or do …”. It might be something as simple as sitting down to have a cup of coffee, kissing your partner on the forehead, working in the garden, or I feel good today let’s get out of the house. The here and now is endless, one day at a time and one step at a time… but you can do it!

To say the least these are just a few things that can help both you and someone you love that has PTSD. Try them! Use them! Let them help bring a sense of life back and remind you that there IS still good in all of this we are all going through! “Look to the good” and let it work for you!!

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story…PTSD

PTSD vs Finding Solutions…

PTSD vs Finding Solutions

You will be shocked at some of the things PTSD will throw at you. I mean, you know and have read all of the standard symptoms that come with PTSD, but accepting them and the things that come that are not on that symptoms list, but so many seem to have in common as a result of PTSD, is sometimes, many times difficult.

The first step with anything is accepting that there is now PTSD in your life or in the life of one you love. I mean REALLY accept it! Until you face that, it’s going to be very difficult to move forward, for you or your loved one.

I know it’s hard to accept at times, and even those that do accept it will have difficulty at times, especially new things or increased changes. You know, like when you finally adjust to what is there in order for things to be better or the best they can be, then something else gets added to the mix or changes. You have to accept in order to adapt again.

I personally have heard ones say things such as:

* But this is not like him/her.
* But if I/we do that such and such could happen.
* But what about what people think or say?
* But that won’t work for us.
* But I/we tried that before and it didn’t work so why try?
* But he/she should not act that way.
* But he/she did this or that.
* But if I/we contact this person or that person…this or that will come of it
* But I have tried
* I understand PTSD but…

Do you see something here? I do. The word “but”, but what?? But it might lead you to a worse place then you are now? Really, how would you know for a fact? You don’t because that word “but” is standing in your way!

The word “but” used in the same sentence with anything related to PTSD equals an excuse. Some excuse not to try something. The word “but” equals fear of the unknown.

When you take the word “but” out of the sentence you can step forward to finding solutions.

This is when you put those facts on the table as I say it, you move forward, you take the “but” away and you work on finding a solution to whatever is going on or you are facing.

I can not begin to tell you how many times I have heard of or experienced myself someone reaching for my or someone else’s help and all I hear in return is the word “but”. Here’s one for you… “But nothing”. Stop the “buts” and start trying, try new things that could lead you to a solution of a symptom. That symptom is not going away, but you don’t stop living life because of it, you adapt and find a solution. You might even find what didn’t work well before might work now.

If you want the best, then you have to try your best. You have to accept what is before you, rather you like it or not, and find a solution to making things better. Don’t give up and don’t use the word “but” as a way around trying. Goes back to an old saying “You never know until you try”. I mean really, we are talking about PTSD here. Anything you really try can’t be a failure, even if it doesn’t work and you have to try something else. Don’t let the word “but” cut your options, solutions, and yourself or your loved one short of what could be. You and/or your loved one is better then that!

Take the “but” out and find a solution. You and/or your loved one deserves it! “Best of the Best”… that’s YOU my friend!

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

Avoidance? Oh that couldn’t be it… but is it?

Avoidance? Oh that couldn’t be it… but is it?

It’s Monday lol! Coffee in hand, okay second cup 😉 and thinking about getting this day started. I have this to do and that to do, and don’t forget that other thing. Oh yes… it’s the sit and “think about it”. Does that sound familiar?

PTSD brings many things, and that sure can be one of them. You think about everything before you do it, you over think at times about what good or bad could come from it if you do it, you wonder how it will effect you, will it set off a trigger, will it effect someone else, what if I fail, what if it doesn’t turn out like it is suppose to, then comes the maybe I shouldn’t do it.

Avoidance. A huge part of PTSD that is extremely difficult to get past. So many questions, so many possibilities of the outcome. Many times things get over analyzed or basing our decision on one episode! To the point we think we are better off by avoiding things.

It might be going out, going to an event, saying something, acting a certain way, or even being intimate with someone… In reality it can happen with anything!

Then there is the old standby. Remember that Popeye cartoon? Wimpy would always say, “I’d gladly pay you next Tuesday for a hamburger today”? Isn’t that kind of what PTSD does to you? You will put off something that really needs to be done today. Then you might have trouble when that day comes and the quote comes back into play again.

Avoidance. It can sure play a toll on you. Then what happens? You feel bad, or you feel like you let someone down, you feel like you are not worthy, it plays on your self esteem of not being able to accomplish things, etc. Now you are in even a worse frame of mind about yourself, that’s not good!

Sometimes, you just have to take that step. Try. You might be surprised what you can actually accomplish. There is something that works really well that a doctor told us once. Take a sheet of paper. Write down what it is, rather it’s a fear, something you want to do, etc. Then make 2 rows. In one row write what would be positive or accomplished…the facts of the situation. In the second row write the negative or the facts that could lead to a negative outcome… the facts. Everything is based on the facts. For example, “I don’t want to go on a cruise because the ship will sink.” Okay, that might very well be true, but what are the odds? Take the facts and numbers of how many incidents have in reality happened and weigh them against the unlikeliness of it happening. Odds are, you are more apt to have a good time and enjoy your trip then the likeliness of the ship sinking. You can use this method for viewing the reality on paper which can lead you past the fear to try. No, I’m not saying the fear will just disappear, we know it doesn’t, but it gives you a factually based guideline to help you do something that you would normally avoid.

Avoidance is going to be there, it’s all a part of PTSD and what you have been through and I’m by no means saying it’s not. However, sometimes in some situations looking at the facts can help you get through the avoiding feelings and help you get a little piece of life back that you thought or feel is gone. You might just find out that you are stronger then a lot of those avoiding feelings. Again, it won’t happen every time, so don’t view yourself as a failure if something doesn’t work out, but trying will make you stronger and help you find new boundaries to your limits of avoidance… as well as the limits you thought were there that you can step past, even if it’s just a small step.

Try! You might just impress yourself! 😉

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”

Make sure others know they are NOT alone…

My “family”, it always pulls on my heart strings when I hear of another person losing the battle of PTSD. By the VA’s numbers there are now 22 soldiers/veterans per day losing this battle. Those are very hard numbers to swallow, and as I’ve mentioned before on here that does not include the civilian population or those that go unreported. Many of these people and their family members do not know about the support that is out there for them.

Many others are touched by the stigma that it could bring if they reached for help. This is the very reason why I have this page open to everyone, in hopes it will help. I see the numbers that don’t show up to all of you, I know how many this page touches each day, and it’s still not nearly enough compared to how many as well as how many families are out there suffering.

Families need to learn what PTSD is, what comes with it, and what can possibly help. Ones with PTSD need to know they are not alone in their battle. This little hole on the internet has turned into something very special… it’s turned into a family! We get to know each other, learn from each other, help each other, and most of all… we have each other’s backs!

We have got to help the others who are not here yet!!! So if you do not mind, share the link to this website, my journal, or the page on Face Book. It’s not about the number of “likes” to me, it’s about helping others and saving lives! We have got to let the others know they are NOT alone and there is a huge “family” here for them. It might be what is needed to help save a life or a family.

Thank you with much love to all of you!

~Bec
“A Spouse’s Story…PTSD”