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PTSD Stress and the Family Environment

Discussion in 'Supporter Discussion' started by permban0008, Aug 24, 2006.

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  1. permban0008

    permban0008 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Do others out there worry about the potential long-term impact of the stress created in our households, on their own health and the children? I wonder myself sometimes and I can say that I have become very vigilant about the amount of stress that my little one is exposed to. Naturally, you have the stress of two parents with differing opinions - I guess that is normal for a marriage but I wonder when this balance is tipped in the favour of excessive stress with potential for long-term effect. I always have in the back of my head the higher rates of depression and depressive types of illness with the children of Vietnam Vets and wonder if our children will end up the same.

    I guess it is more a concern on how to manage this rather than a worry. What do others do to manage this situation so the most vulnerable in our home environments are protected? Do other spouses notice themselves becoming more vigilant about their children? Does this alone create additional conflict in your home environment?
     
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  3. jods

    jods Well-Known Member

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    Hi Kerrie-Anne

    I had a conversation with my doc back in the early stages after hubbys accident.
    My concern was that I felt that we ( hubby & myself) are now a part of the mental health system as a result & I was fearful that our 3yo & possibly hubbys girls (9 & 14) may need to seek help themselves in the future.
    He couldnt give me a yes they will/will not be adversely affected by hubbys illness answer.
    The only thing that I have learnt so far is that if it is at all possible when I feel I need to give us all a break, I let our son go for a "holiday" to his nana & pa. (It's normally for a night or weekend)
    At first I was worried about Ayden upsetting Dad but in a weird way I think because he is so young it hasnt affected him yet, Thats just the way Dad is.
     
  4. desert4now

    desert4now Active Member

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    Hi All,
    I always hear about how resilient (sp?) kids are and how flexible they can be in tough times. I used to believe that until my daughter, who just turned 13, began having her own panic/anxiety issues and problems with sleeping. What I believe has happened is that at the time life with my ex-hubby (her father) became confusing, scary, unstable, and full of changes due to the alcohol abuse...she was too young to assimilate what was happening in her own mind. I think some where in her little head ( she was 7 when major changes started) she moved whatever she was feeling to a place she didn't have to deal with it. Now, that place in her head where she placed those scary feelings has been opened. Not sure why or how it happened. Now she is trying to deal with things she remembers and what has happened with the divorce, drinking, etc. Keep in mind, I tried to shield her from as much as possible but I know that kids hear more than you think they hear and they are processing it at some level.

    Bottom line....try like hell to protect them but reality is that no matter what you do, they do know what is going on. My daughter and I talk constantly now about what happened and how she feels about it. This helps her understand and process things. Honesty is good if it is done in a manner that doesn't cause alarm but when dealing with really young children don't be surprised if later on there will be issues that they still need to work through. I'm not sure this helps but this has been our experience.
     
  5. permban0008

    permban0008 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Jods and desert4now,

    Thanks for your responses. I am concerned that there will be issues in the future and right now I agree that his little mind is processing it. The last four nights in this house have not been stress free and being pregnant I can feel the impact directly as baby (in utero) becomes quite distressed as the tension levels rise. I only wish that my husband and teenage step-son could feel the real impact of their chest beating, testosterone competitions or take the bloody thing outside. I have certainly made my contributions to this environment over the years but am extremely conscious of it with pregnancy and the toddler.
     
  6. jods

    jods Well-Known Member

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    Hi Kerrie-Anne
    I like your punching bag idea. I personally have one of those tennis ball on the stick thing in the yard.( It was suppose to be for Ayden) but I find it works!
    I suppose the only we can do for our kids is to talk & listen to them. Since we now have an idea of the warning signs of depression etc we can steer them in the right direction & let them know that despite the stigma that is associated with mental health that it is OK & a good thing to ask for help if they need it.
     
  7. jods

    jods Well-Known Member

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    Hi desert4now

    Your daughter is lucky to have a wonderful mum like you to help her work through her issues.
     
  8. permban0008

    permban0008 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Yeah Jods,

    Fathers day is coming up. Might be a good thing for both of them I think. What is it with men or want to be men and their chest-beating thing? For gods sakes do they not think that PTSD tension alone is enough?? Sure beat your chests, just take the bloody rubbish outside away from women and children. Society has a lot to answer for with the way some males were raised and the good old military mindset just reinforces it. The sad irony in all of this is that 15 years later my step-son is almost as emotionally inept as my husband. Anyhow I tell them both on a regular basis that I absolutely refuse to raise my son to be emotionally guarded to the point of stupidity. He will get enough of that rubbish at school and other social environments. Talk about a challenge, to raise an emotionally strong and balanced boy......its like he is 21 months old and already I have to fight with the husband and teenager about what they say to him. God forbid we have male child who is allowed to experience the full range of emotions before society and his male role models (for want of a better term) convince him that it is necessary to lock some of it away. I can only imagine that this bs about locking productive emotions up, does someone attempting to heal from PTSD no good at all.
     
  9. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member

    I have two teenaged daughters (18 and 14 *15 in a few weeks*). I feel lucky, in a way, that they are old enough to understand and are people that I can talk to and who love me and are there for me. Right after my diagnosis, my husband ended up going out of town for five weeks (home on weekends) for work. Nothing like adding a little stressful fuel to the fire. LOL So the three of us girls were on our own for a while when it came to my 'falling apart' and the subsequent doctor visits, meds, etc. I remember one night my oldest laying in bed next to me until I fell asleep (it was at the end of a very bad day). So I have two mother hens who start checking me out (how was your day? how are you feeling? anything happen you need to talk about?) the minute I walk in the door at the end of the day. I think they've worked out a schedule between the two of them because they seem to alternate days. LOL Then, being normal teenagers, they do their disappearing act. *grin*

    The A-hole I talked about in another thread who gave me his 'tough love' routine told me that if I didn't 'snap out of it' I was going to hurt my girls. That about got him a punch in the chops! A very dear friend told me not long after everything started that by being honest and showing my girls that when life gives you problems, even if they get you down for a while, you deal with them and keep going. That if I tried to hide my symptoms, that wouldn't help anyone.

    I know it's different having a grown and almost grown child than having the little ones. Actually, my girls have handled this a whole lot better than I thought. And better than my husband who's still trying to wrap his brain around the fact that his wife has this problem that he can't fix. And I think it frustrates the hell out of him.
     
  10. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Ah yes... the male tendency to "fix" everything. That is just inbuilt too us genetically I'm afraid. It is really hard even for myself, when I had to really step back and learn that I cannot fix everything, everyone, or myself just like that, and I had to develop and equalibrium of both male and female approaches to really get the best out of healing PTSD. Sometimes I still try and just "fix" things though, and it kicks me in the arse generally very quick.

    It will take you husband as long to wrap his mind around it Marlene, as it will you to heal. Its really not easy for either party within a relationship. I must say though, that you are really astounding me with your approach to your PTSD, ie. refusing to suppress instead to deal with emotions and situations... all very positive and I have no doubt your mental perception of life and situations, has done you many favours in handling your PTSD. I think with your attitude helping guide your husband, you should both do very well to minimise the frustration and confusion from the relationship in regard to PTSD.
     
  11. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member

    I agree with you that your half of the species wants to fix everything!! LOL

    My hubby and I have had a couple of knock down, drag outs (verbal) about my PTSD. His frustration, my frustration, frustration with having to deal with it in general. But at least we're talking. I'd much rather have open lines of communication than strained silence. Our 20th anniversary is coming up next month, so we've had a lot of practice working on what's important to us (marriage and family) and how to keep it strong.

    I give 90% of the credit for a positive outlook on my support system (husband, family and friends). Without them giving me a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold and an occassional kick in the ass (as needed, of couse! LOL) I'd probably still be under the covers in bed crying and not wanting to deal with any of this. My husband has told me that he will hog tie me and drag me to the doctor's if that's what it takes to get better.

    I am a very fortunate person to have such caring people in my life.
     
  12. permban0008

    permban0008 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Anthony and I have been down that road and we haven't been married for nearly as long as you. We used to joke that the neighbours (on both sides) moved out because of our fights!!

    He may very well have to do just that sometimes Marlene but it stops you guys copping out on us, your families and yourselves.
     
  13. Rick

    Rick New Member

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    Unfortunately PTSD can really screw up others who are around those with PTSD, especially their children, and can contribute to the likelihood of PTSD in the child and spouse of the sufferer.

    Transgenerational PTSD is very real. There have been studies verifying the increased liklihood of getting PTSD if your parent(s) have it. Whether from nature or nurture I don't know. But "sigh" there have even been studies showing that it has in utero effects (lower cortisol levels in saliva of PTSD sufferers and their newborns than in "normals" ). See link for background. http://jcem.endojournals.org/cgi/content/full/90/7/4115

    There is also secondary PTSD which is where overidentification with the person with PTSD causes symptoms to develope in a spouse/care-giver or even a therapist.

    As a long-term sufferer of PTSD from transgenerational and direct sources, I consider my most important job in the world to be to have this crappy thing end with me. You are all Angels for helping your spouse/loved one though this. Just make sure you watch out for yourself and your kids FIRST.

    I have three daughters and a wife. All are doing well except my middle daughter, unfortunately, has issues with anxiety and I would say is "at risk" (the other two appear to have dodged this bullet). My middle daughter has seen a therapist who specializes in treating children with anxiety and, between that and the influence of my wife, it has helped tremendously. I also work very hard to be at my best around my family. I don't always succeed, but being conscious of it and working at it, definitely help.
     
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