Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Those Four Letters That Now Shape My Life

P T S D. For those who have never had experience with it, then honestly, you will NEVER understand, unless of course you have it, or are living/caring/loving someone with it. It consumes your whole world. Anything you do or say can be a trigger and you don't even know it. Even in your dreams you are not safe. The nightmares can consume you. Just going to the grocery store can be a hassle in itself.  When someone in your family has it, you all are affected. Try as you might to pretend its not there, it really is the giant elephant in the room. Family outings can be completely cut short, because of something people can seem as so petty. But to that person with PTSD, it can feel like their world is crashing down on top of them. Better to get them home and in a controlled environment, then risk a total downward spiral.

It's an amazing thing the brain. But for someone with a brain injury or disorder, it makes their life a living hell. There is no simple cure, no one medicine that can make all the symptoms go away. Even after shoving a handful of meds down your throat three times a day, the symptoms of PTSD still rear their ugly head whenever they feel like it.  They don't care whose birthday party it is, or what event you might be attending. The come barreling through your body like some electric shock. 

To the caregiver (like myself) you feel helpless. They scream and yell profanity's at you, and most of the time you have no idea why.  It may have started off with something as small as a sock out of place... yes really that simple. And it is because of the constant walking on eggshells, and uncertainty of what to do and when, that secondary PTSD came into being. When you're living with a veteran who has it, you become his caretaker.  You slip into a role, without even noticing it, that has you constantly watching for people or circumstances that might become a trigger. You're trying to make sure everything stays in line, make sure that nothing aggravates or upsets him, that everything is perfect.  Despite it all your world can come to a screeching halt an upwards of four times day.  

Your spouse is not emotionally "there" for you.  When you're upset or happy, angry or sad, you have to deal with your emotions on your own.  You begin to feel ignored and unloved and start protecting yourself by treating others, especially your spouse, the same way.

You're also probably handling all household chores, childcare, financial management, etc.  You get no help (or very little) from your spouse.  You're the cook, chauffeur, secretary, accountant, yard guy, child care provider, laundry service, etc., etc., etc.  Everything in your family feels like it's up to you.  It is a 24x7 job that you can never win.  It's not humanly possible to do everything, or to prevent PTSD from creeping into your life almost every. single. day.

I wish to bring more awareness to PTSD and Secondary PTSD with the help of my followers. Unfortunately there is decent amount of (free) help available to veterans but not to the spouses, children, and caretakers of those veterans. Thankfully here in MA, we have The Home Base Program, and they are wonderful, but if you are not local to Boston (like me!) it is a bit of a hike. Slowly but surely it will get better... I hope.

Love always, Mandi


  1. I love the pic at the bottom.. so true! I also have PTSD and it royally SUCKS!!

  2. I pray everything gets better for you. My best friend dated a guy who had PTSD and I would hear the stories from her of him being at work and just flipping out on someone. He worked at Wright Pat Airforce Base and within minutes there was so much military there trying to corner him to calm him down and sedate him. You are a strong woman for handling this.