Peer support subsequent to trauma contributes to full recovery

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Combat Ptsd + Isolation & Maybe Midlife Crisis.....

Discussion in 'Supporter Sufferers Symptoms' started by sisu, Aug 22, 2013.

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  1. sisu

    sisu Well-Known Member

    My (ex) boyfriend and I have been "broken up" for about 5 weeks now and its all because of his PTSD symptoms. He still responds to my texts, I have seen him a few times and we have spoken on the phone a few times too. But we aren't together. He is ____________, I'm not even sure what to call it exactly....I would say isolating. But its more than that, I think he is also doing a mini-midlife crisis thing. Yeah, fun times. He recently was medically retired from the Military and (I think) has lost his identity. When he was a little boy he dreamed of being in the military, in high school he dressed military and then joined ROTC in college. As soon as he graduated from college he went into the military as an officer. He has been in the regular military, national guard and reserves over the last 26 years. But the military has always been part of his identity, now it is part of his history and he doesn't need to put on the uniform or drill anymore. He said to me once a while ago (before he was retired), the next time he puts on his dress uniform will be for his funeral. Morbid thought.

    Anyway, he is kinda sorta isolating and says that there are all of these paths in front of him and he is confused as to which one to take. Its like he is at a standstill. Even though he still loves me, he feels guilty for having me involved in his confusion and doesn't even know where the paths lead. The reality is, his path is going to remain right where he is for at least 6-7 more years until his kids all graduate from high school. This path change isn't urgent, however the feeling is overwhelming him. I know a lot about PTSD, as much as one could know without having it. I don't know a lot about TBI (which he also has) or the male midlife crisis - except for what you see on TV and he is not doing that sort of stuff. He just seems more confused/restless about his future. I guess I would be too if I were in my mid-40's and retired. I really think he needs a few hobbies and some guy friends to hang with from time to time. He is happy about being medically retired as his mind and body cannot serve any longer. And that may be part of it too - he likes to help/serve others and in the military he did that in a major way for our country. Now he does not....or physically cannot.

    This is sort of a vent and sort of a ping to see if anyone is out there experiencing the same things with their sufferer. I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to do as a supporter. Continue to make contact? Leave him totally alone to figure out his path? {shrug}
    dms likes this.
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  3. Sweetpea76

    Sweetpea76 Semper ubi sub ubi.

    TBI and PTSD... what a fabulous cocktail :banghead:. My vet suffers from both and it seems they exacerbate each other. In fact the TBI can be contributing to the confusion and difficulty making decisions.

    I think a lot of retired military guys have problems like this. They have to figure out how to live in the civilian world, which is like a totally foreign culture to them. Add that together with trying to figure out what to do for the rest of their lives, and it can be depressing and stressful. It's like they have to mourn for their old life. My vet is Depressed about this too. He was disabled and medically retired from the Army. He can't work, but he wants to work. His therapist suggested he get a hobby, which he did, and it helped a lot. He needs things to do to keep from driving himself crazy. He is also looking into a service dog, just to give him something to take care of.

    Has your boyfriend tried going to the VFW? My vet finds a lot of comfort there.
    Court likes this.
  4. sisu

    sisu Well-Known Member

    He has not gone to the VFW much - if any. He doesn't really have any friends either, which sort of concerns me. He likes to garden a bit, but he can't do much because his back is a mess and it hurts him to bend over for very long. He has dogs, and I think that they are good for him as companions. Other than that his world revolves around his childrens lives - and I am not saying that is a bad thing at all. I think children need to be a top priority, especially in situations with single parents.

    He just needs to have an outlet for himself and his interests - I think it would make him much happier. Right now he shops, spends all his money, drinks and watches tv. I was his best friend and now that he has pushed me away, he doesn't have any confidants. He doesn't trust a lot of people and is afraid to let people into his life. But he doesn't need to have a lot of "really good" friends, he can have some that are just fun to hang out with from time to time. And he needs to figure out a hobby or two that he enjoys to take up some of his time. Like your vet, mine goes crazy if he doesn't have stuff to do. He gets up at 530am every morning and that can make for a long day if you don't have stuff to do.

    I'll try to talk to him again about hobbies - I've got a few in mind that I could suggest. Thanks Sweetpea!
  5. Sweetpea76

    Sweetpea76 Semper ubi sub ubi.

    The VFW is where my vet started to socialize again. It used to be the only place he could leave his house to go. I think it is because it is still somewhat of a military culture. Most of the guys there are older, but sometimes other OIF vets irritate him if they have PTSD or drinking problems they aren't taking care of.

    My vet enjoys working with his hands. I think the actual building and putting together of things helps him out... it's good cognitive exercise for the TBI.
  6. Nicolette

    Nicolette ♡ Supporter Admin ♡
    Supporter Admin

    Is the acronym for?
  7. Sweetpea76

    Sweetpea76 Semper ubi sub ubi.

    Oh... sorry, my acronyms got away with me! It's an American thing. It stands for Veterans of Foreign Wars. It's an organization that vets from all branches who have served overseas during times of War can join. They are involved in advocating for veterans issues, helping guys with VA (Veterans Administration) claims, and various community projects. Most areas have a VFW post that has a hall or a canteen (bar) where the guys can go and socialize. My vet feels really at home there among other Combat vets. Here is a link if anybody is interested in information or finding a post close to home.
    Nicolette likes this.
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