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Hello - I Have PTSD But More Worried About My Friend With PTSD

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Jet, Oct 14, 2006.

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  1. Jet

    Jet Well-Known Member


    My name is Jet. I was diagnosed with PTSD, Depresion and Anxiety in 1999. I am very low income and have no insurence so at the moment therapy is probably not in the cards (although I am looking into one possibilty on Monday). I have had some in the past and have done a lot of reading.

    Not that that helps a lot. Most of the time I feel completely wrecked. My sleep is horrible. I probably manage 2-3 hours a night and when I do I have nightmares. This morning I woke up with bad neck pain and a horrible headache. Memories of an old injury.

    I used to think that my PTSD came from the DV relationships I have found myself in (it was after the last one that I was diagnosed and because of the circumstances that was what was focused on). It took a long time for me to realize that those relationships were simply a symptom of the original PTSD (although they have certainly not helped the situation).

    What can I say about my childhood. Not a whole lot. My dad died when I was 10 after a long battle with Emphysema (I have almost no memory of him ever being well-but from the time I was 4 he was bed-ridden). My mother was an alcholic/drug addict. It was pretty disfunctional. Although I sometimes wonder what was actually so bad that I can't remember (based on what I do). My brothers are the same way but they always thought the memory loss was from their own drug/alcohal use.

    However, the reason I was looking for information (and ended up finding this site) is not because of me. Or at least not entirely.

    About a year ago we had a new neighbor move into the apt downstairs. Although we were friendly I did not get to know him well until a month or so ago.

    I was visiting with my brother one day when he walked up and started talking to me. He asked if I would stop by on my way home to talk for a while. He had been drinking (by the way he lives with his mom and toddler who were both home) but was not "drunk". He just did not seem to be doing well.

    I have since visited with him several times and have listened to him describe everything from his bad marriage to his military/combat experience, to the childhood abuse he suffered at the hands of his alcohalic father.

    He said to me that "they say I have PTSD". The way he said it made me ask "what makes you think you don't" The VA gave him sleeping pills and at some point other meds but I have no idea what. I can tell you that every night he comes home from work and drinks himself into oblivian.

    This is my dilema. He has asked that I be honest with him. Even if said honesty is painful. But I do not know how to do this.

    I am very worried about him. I see him sinking. He hides it well and I don't think most people even notice. I also see this affecting his child (who I am very close to).

    The other day I was over visiting and we had talked about some painful stuff. When I was getting ready to leave I asked him if he would be ok. I did not want to leave him hanging with a bunch of crap running through his head. Anyway when I asked him that he immediatly got angry and said "what do you think I am planning to commit suicide or something"?

    He was really feaked out and upset. I eventually had to take his face in my hands and tell him that I was his friend and I worry for him. I was not accusing him of anything.

    To be honest that thought did not occur to me until I got that reaction. Now I am really scared for him but I have no idea what to say. And I feel like by just sitting there listening and not saying anything I am just enabling him. But I do not want to make things worse. Any ideas?

    I am also wondering about protecting myself. Since we have become friends I have found myself "feeling" more. It is not the talking. I have told the story a million times. It is an energy thing.

    I do not know how to explain it. I just know that even if I do not talk to him on most of the nights when my sleep/nightmares are really bad it turns out his were too (his bedroom is right below mine).

    Any thoughts are welcome.

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  3. Boo-Damphir

    Boo-Damphir Active Member

    Hi Jet!
    First of all, thanks for finding this group and jumping in with your introduction. It sounds like from your discussion that you already know the answer... you can't be an enabler for your friend (or anyone else for that matter) AND when it's to the point where his mood is affecting yours, you may want to think about pulling back and taking care of yourself.

    It may sound harsh and selfish, especially if you aren't used to putting yourself first above everyone else. But here's the reality, misery loves company. As his mood spirals yours downward, yours will spiral his down even further. And, if you get to the point where you are so sick you have to be hospitalized and he has become so dependent on you for his moral support - he'll be totally lost. You're really not doing him any favors at this point.

    Prescription drugs, alcohol, you know the routine so I'll save you that speech. Yes there is a child involved and no one likes to see a child in a bad situation but is there anything right now that you can do to help the child? No - it is their child.

    I would really like to see you stick around this group FOR YOU! Think of yourself and all other people around you as candles: you can't light someone elses' candle if yours isn't lit. Right now it sounds like you are living in a pretty dark and dreary mental place.

    So think of us as candles, hopefully you'll find some tools that will spark you. Then when your candle is burning strongly and brightly you will find the strength and clarity to turn and light someone elses!

    anthony likes this.
  4. wildfirewildone

    wildfirewildone Well-Known Member

    WELCOME to our community!!!!!!

    :hello: I want to encourage you, Jet....As painful as it is to let go of a situation involving a child....you do need to take care of yourself first...I am frequently grieved about how people treat their precious children...Yet I know I am not strong enough now to do something about "saving" another person's child...I feel sad about that at times...So I say a prayer for the little ones and funnel my energy in recovering from my traumatic childhood...Please use our community for a support in dealing with your PTSD issues...feel free to rant.. rave...laugh...grow..with all of us....I think you are very courageous for posting on this forum:thumbs-up .....wildfirewildone....KEEPING THE PEACE
  5. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

    Welcome. I hope you find some help you need personally here for yourself, and just a thought. Give him the website address too.
  6. kimG

    kimG Well-Known Member

    Welcome Jet. I don't have much more to say than what's already been said. Take care of yourself and when you're better, you can help him. Until then, it's really not doing either one of you any good; in fact, I'd guess it's detrimental to both of you in so many ways.

    We're here for you.
  7. Jet

    Jet Well-Known Member

    Really I am not looking to "fix" him. I just worry about saying the wrong thing (particularly after the suicide conversation). I am not always the most tactful person in the world.

    I value his friendship. He is the first person who saw through the mask, the illusion. Talking with him has allowed me to look at parts of my life that were previously unavailable to me.

    I guess it just feels odd. I have not made feeling a priority. I have found I can deal with almost anything except the black inky pit where all of the demons are buried.

    As far as his daughter goes I am not worried about abuse anything like that. She is very cherished. His whole world.

    She is very important to me. I do not know exactly how to explain it. Six years ago I gave my three little girls up for adoption due to the extreme DV situation we were in. What little feeling I had was reserved for them. With them gone I shut down completely.

    There have been other children in my life who I love (my niece and nephew, my Goddess Children) but even with them there was alway the invisible wall. I could never get past it.

    Then this little girl crawled into my lap and wrapped my arms around her. I swear it was like being hit with a 2 by 4 (which hurts by the way). It was the first thing I had felt in years.

    I do not know if this firendship will be detrimental to my situation or not. I do know that while my PTSD symptoms have gotten somewhat worse(nightmares and such) my depression and anxiety are better.

    Also my spiritual path includes dreamwork and I do not necessarily consider the nighmares to be a bad thing. More like a learning tool... what are they trying to tell me? What am I supposed to learn?

    Last night I cried for my kids for the first time. And it did not break me.
  8. permban0008

    permban0008 Policy Enforcement Banned

    Hi Jet,

    Welcome to the forum. Sounds like you have plenty of your own healing to do which makes it almost impossible to support another. I guess if the situation is not making it worse for either of you, then the little comfort you can take from each other is a good thing. Just remember to keep your boundaries and try not to 'save' everyone. Perhaps you could point your friend in our direction, I am certain that this community can provide some support for both of you. As for the little one, that's tough from my perspective. I don't have PTSD and I am always concerned about little ones in environments like that. I guess you can take some comfort from the fact that she is so loved but there is no denying that living in a PTSD environment will impact on them. I have a toddler and my husband has PTSD so I speak with some experience here.......what involvement does the Mum have? Is she the childs mother or grandmother?

    As for your own children, it must have been the most difficult decision of your life. Perhaps this little one is a way (and they do have their ways) of helping you open your heart to heal and perhaps she takes some comfort from you too. Anthony and I often comment that a lot of people do not give credit to little ones for being smarter than we think they are. We see it often with ours.....in fact ours has a habit of patting you on the back while you are hugging him.

    Anyhow, stay with us, chat, vent, learn, heal if your ready to. Like I said it might also be a good environment for you friend. Take care.
  9. Jet

    Jet Well-Known Member

    I consider this baby to be a gift of the highest order. I do not know why she was sent to me but there she is.

    She is being raised by her Grandmother and her father. Her mother has her own issues due to childhood sexual abuse. She has very little contact (always supervised) with the little girl.

    Please do not misunderstand me. I love this child but I am not trying to replace her mom. I truly wish that they could have a real relationship.

    I am not trying to save him nor do I think I can (the funny thing is I tell him that about his wife a lot). But I very clearly remember how alone I felt with all of the crap running through my head and no one to talk to. I swear it made me more crazy. Never knew if I was coming or going, Hell, I did not even know what was real and what wasn't when it was all said and done. Talking to another person instead of myself or the mirror enabled me to think clearly. Never wanted someone to give me all the answers- I just wanted the thoughts to stop bouncing around my head for 5 minutes. I also remember what it was like to want to die. I can not turn my back on someone in that kind of pain.

    I don't lie to him. I tell him he is self-medicating. I tell him that he needs to get some type of help for this. I don't know if he hears me or not. If nothing else maybe he will remember my words when he is ready.

    For me this is all simply part of my path. Maybe it is longer and bumpier then some (but not others) but I have learned invaluable life lessons along the way. I can't even say I would change it because it is what it is.

    Giving up my girls was the hardest thing I have ever done. Yet I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. I know my babies are healthy and happy. I know that they run and play and do the things that little girls are supposed to do.

    I know women who visit their babies in graveyards. I don't have to do that.
  10. cookie

    cookie I'm a VIP

    hey jet, welcome. i can't add anything to what's already been said, except amen!
  11. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    Hi Jet, welcome to the forum.

    Ok, let me see if I have this correct.

    You have PTSD. Your friend has PTSD. Your friend has a daughter who is raised by him and his mother (daughters grandmother). Your friend is pretty much down and and out, and your on your way too. You concerned for your friends daughter, as she is being neglected because of his PTSD controlling him, thus she is seeing an alcoholic father, stressed, etc etc. Not abusive, loves her to bits, but lets face it, failure mode to be a father figure at present with PTSD in control. Your looking for answers to help you, help your friend, ie. what too say, what not to say, try and give him some respite, etc etc.

    Did I miss anything? The answer is coming if I have this correct.
  12. Jet

    Jet Well-Known Member

    Pretty much.

    I have spent a lot of time and energy on my situation. I fully expect to spend a lot more.

    At the moment my nightmares/sleep issues are worse (although I expected this to some degree as I am making changes in my life and also dealing with stuff that I put off- so to speak).

    But there are other things that are better. My depression has lifted quite a bit and I find it easier to pull myself out of it when I do feel it coming on. On days that are triggers (such as babies B-days) I allow myself to feel depressed or sad until 12:00 am. No exceptions.

    I make it a point to get out of the house a lot. I take the dog out, visit friends, go fishing, etc... I am also working on going back to school. My friends all know about my issues and have no problem letting me know if I seem to be slipping.

    I don't think my methods are perfect but I have made significant improvement over the last couple of years, mostly on my own. Two years ago I would have never have been able to do any of this and rarely left the house. But I can always use more info and ideas.

    As far as my friend goes. Well... what can I say. He is a mess. I don't think he talks about this with others and I have know idea how it was that we connected.

    As I have said I do not want to fix him. Don't think I can. But I think that he needs info if nothing else (even if it does just get filed away for use at a later time). He does not have a computer (so he can not check out this site at he moment) and spends most of his time working. When he comes home he plays video games and drinks until he can fall asleep. Said that if he does not drink for a couple of days the nightmares come back.

    His suicide comment really scared me (particularly since it was so unexpected). I feel sort of bad for saying this because I understand his feelings and fears but to tell you the truth there are a lot of times when I want to shake him and say "what the F*** are you doing". Given the fact that he is a very direct person (who made me promise to always be honest with him) who frequently does not let me get away with avoiding stuff because it is easier I am not sure it would be out of line.

    But I do not want to say anything that would make the situation worse.

    I know he loves his kid a great deal. All a person has to do is see them together to know that. But we all know that an alcoholic parent, leading an alcoholic lifestyle will mess a kid up no matter how well intentioned they are. Not to mention the fact that this baby was born addicted to alcohol. What are her chances if she watches him drown his problems in booz every night.

    Anyway do I get to shake him or do I have to suger coat it? Even if it does no good at the moment I feel like I have to say something to him. I can not call myself his or his baby's friend if I don't. And no one else will.
  13. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    Ok, firstly... I think we both know that sugar coating anything for a person with PTSD is more insane, than sane. I see people come here saying they need tact, sympathy and gentleness, when in fact they just don't respond to it. I don't believe any of us do, because PTSD just doesn't work that way. If we can't get the information as short, sharp and too the point as possible, PTSD hinders the processing ability for us. Pull no punches I say.

    Now, my opinion of you both chating about your lifes traumas! Well, I think I need to expand a bit on Boo's version, a bit more how I perceive it. I believe that two people with PTSD actively talking about thier trauma/s is the best damn thing you could ever do, well done to you both. I think it has a lot to do with your improvements. However, this is not sufficient enough for you both IMHO, because whilst talking to one another about your trauma's is therapeudic to say the least, and you get that level of understanding on the receiving end, neither of you are getting the appropriate feedback from the other in regard to how to really fix the issues, or another way, how to implement effective strategies and resolve to your feelings.

    Yes, now that gets into what your asking really, however the problem with this, is that for you to really give him knowledge alone is useless to him, because his PTSD won't accept it. Giving him reading, giving him documents, etc etc... won't do anything, because his PTSD is far too much in control opposed to your own. Whilst your doing a great job with yourself, you will still not fully recover to be honest if your not getting the feedback you need in regard to emotions, understanding them, accepting them, self esteem, trauma associations and relationships.... we can heal ourselves and continue in society, but unless we get fundamental information fed back to us specific to our own issues, we will continue to relapse time and time again in rapid doses, ie. not every 10 years, more like two or three times a year, severe relapses.

    The best thing I guess you could to help him, not fix him as you say, is read as much information in this forum as possible, even go and get yourself two very helpful books in regard to PTSD, being "I Can't Get Over It" and "The PTSD Workbook", as these two books will give you meaning, understanding, self help exercises, all of which you can impart on him during your conversations, so not only are you now getting an understanding of what to do, and not do, in regard to resolving feelings, but you are then going to naturally bring these different aspects of thought and perception into your conversations with him, which means that he will begin seeing more realistic resolve to his daily concerns, opposed to the typical [DLMURL="http://www.ptsdforum.org/thread171.html"]negative thinking styles[/DLMURL] PTSD invokes upon us, "never" "can't" "what if" etc etc etc.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
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