Hi everyone. My husband was diagnosed...ummm....I think 3 1/2 years ago with severe PTSD. His medical case is very complicated, as he first had physical issues to deal with, which later became full-blown health problems, along with depression and finally the diagnosis of PTSD, which he has been running from for years.
My husband is on medications for the depression, hallucinations, nightmares, etc. They help him to somewhat function. He has a psychiatrist who monitors the meds, and a therapist at the VA Hospital PTSD Center. He also goes to a group for PTSD suffers that the VA has. He has been through a 6-week out-patient PTSD clinic done by the VA, and has had NUMEROUS in-patient stays in the psych ward in the last 4 years. Right now, he is at a 3-month in-patient PTSD Clinic at another VA Hospital.
He is struggling to get his life back, as am I and our children. My questions to those of you who struggle with PTSD....
What could your spouse could do for you that would help you?
I also have complex ptsd from prolonged and repeated torture that involves mor than a few major phisical problems...bones broke fractures disclocations all left to heal on their own over time...not to mention multiple near death things, intentionally being left near dead but still breathing with no way to get myself to sources of help. I only tell these things to you so you understand that I understand the difference to complex (severe) ptsd.
I have no depression so I'm not sure if my answers will even apply to you and your husband...I really do not believe there is a 'standard' way to treat any of us major leagers. I know many of us, who like I - and a Vet who posted a very moving post in this - who came through, to different levels, of thier own accord. We do no persciptions and theripy. Actually, this is of no use in your case I feel safe to say, my sanity in this all came from will always come from surrounding myself by others like me...NOT at all in the sence of group therepy! there is never anything spoken of such..We just know each other - the ups and downs associated with this, it is the only refuge I need or want from this branded subconience of mine...We can tell when on is about to get caught up in it and just knowing that I am understood so completely is so important in mantaining stability...If I'm working in a bikeshop with others with ptsd and see the aggitating rising, I work on thier shoulders (I am a lady by the way!). When I go to feeling any of my billion different symptoms, I always know that if I start to waver, the people around me are right there beyong in empathy, simpathy, worry, ect. My calmness 99% of the time is restord in that these people can FEEL what I feel.
That is one of the most horrific, outside of what is felt inside that you have no conseption of the depth of- and I hope you never do!.., most horrific things we suffer from: being alone. This is only really comprehendable to those like us. People have way too many comarison in thier minds of ptsd to depression- that is totally out!!! Yes there are some overlaping symptom likenesses. The Medications are equally percribed for both, in alot of ways. And as that does work for some ptst victims, I obviosly do not need to tell you that us sever models aren't so easily dealt with!!!! I have never tried any perscribed 'solutions' ever.
I will write more soon, my roomate has the TV on and I cannot consentrate. Can't type so about now I am ready to fly off the handlene of my ptsd is a very short fuse, very..But I know this and know what I need to do to turn it around before someone gets the blunt of it...More later
I for one believe you are doing the best thing you could possibly do and that is being supportive of him. treat him like an everyday person not an infant. Be straight and honest with him. You already do the rest to understand that your husband din't ask for this illness and he is not weak for getting it.
I am assuming your husband has "combat" PTSD as he is being treated by the VA. I too am a combat vietnam veteran with PTSD. I had done a very good job of blocking out most of my vietnam, and all of my combat, experience for about 15 years. A phone call from someone from my vietnam past was the trigger that brought all those memories back. And with the memories came the flashbacks, the anxiety, the anger, the inability to concentrate, and a whole lot more. The next ten years were really hell - for both me and my wife. How she put up with me during that time is beyond me. The thing that saved our marriage, and probably my life, was actually getting diagnosed with PTSD - knowing that there was a reason for my behavior. I've been through psychiatric therapy, all kinds of anti-depressive and anti-anxiety medications at the Philadelphia VA hospital, and group therapy at one of the local Vet Centers. The group therapy - which I've been going to for about 7 years has been the most helpful. However, even though I my condition is much improved, the PTSD will never go away. I've been told that those of us that got our PTSD from combat experiences, have actually had permanent changes to our brain chemistry. This apparently is from being in traumatic situations day after day for such a long period of time. That's what keeps the PTSD from being able to be cured. But therapy can help us handle it a little better.
The thing that best helped my wife cope with me and my PTSD was the group therapy sessions offered by the VA hospital specifically for spouses (and significant others) of combat vets with PTSD. Being with other women that are in a similar situation really helped her gain a better undersatnding of PTSD and how it affects the whole family. If your local VA hospital offers such a program, I would urge you to attend. And if I can be of any help with information, let me know.