General Please Help - Girlfriend Has PTSD

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Kerrie-ann and anthony,

Hi again, and sorry to basically use this thread as my own personal chat line, but it is very nice to be able to do. So, this time i need your opinions on something. Aside from chatting here, whenever i'd feel overwhelmed with thoughts i couldn't talk about with my spouse, i did the writing method to "get'm out". Now, awhile back i was talking to a friend who suggested using that and writing a very carefully thought out letter to my spouse. Since the confrontational feelings with talking face to face are so much, she figured the letter route could be calming enough to at least let my spouse know what's going on in my mind. And, if she didn't like what she was reading, she could put the letter down and walk away, and not deal with someone infront of her, caught up in the passion of a thought. Unfortunately, i know that she (currently) doesn't really "care" (she does but it's not on the top of her list of things on her mind) what is going on in my world. She's in HER world dealing/hiding from things in her way. Also, if she even read the letter, i'm sure it'd upset her since almost all if not all of the things i want to convey to her, she doesn't want to deal with. That's the reason i opted not to write her so far. Lately though, i've been wondering if maybe some of the things i can say/write might possibly help her find some sort of comfort, or path she's been looking for. You know? Heck, i was even thinking of suggesting us seeking therapy if i were to write too. I dont know, maybe i'll just write one and hide it away. Well, what do you two think of it? Coming from both sides of the spectrum (spouse and sufferer), i'd really like to know what you both think. Especially since you have been taking classes and such. Thanks again! Till next time, take care!

I have to admit that title always gives me a little bit of smile as I often feel that way, today being one of those days. You will understand if you go to Anthony's last post. He returned from post course 'catch up' worse and nastier than I have seen him in a long while. Even the kids and the cats are avoiding him. He is REALLY p##!@d off!!

Anyhow to your question about the letter, not a bad idea, I don't think to vent your feelings on paper but if you intend writing a letter it is probably better done while you are calm. I say this from personal experience of sending my husband emails when he won't talk, I have even resorted to this tactic when we are in the same house. I always get a much nicer and positive response when I am careful about what I say, even though it is extremely tempting to tell him what an asshole he can be sometimes. I would give it a whirl,although I am not guaranteeing a response of any sort but you may feel better letting her know in a positive light how you feel and as you have identified it is less confronting. At the end of the day, those with PTSD have to accept that it is their responsibility (as it is ours) to function to their best capacity in any relationship. Partners have a right to be heard and have some respect. Anyhow, relationships are not a one way street .........sometimes I would like to hammer that point home to Anthony.

I can't begin to guess Anthony's response to your suggestion but I imagine he will be online tomorrow. He is sleeping now and boy do I hope sleeps some of his Townsville adventure away!! I am sure the rest of the household would agree.
Well... I would write the letter actually and give it to her. I don't know personally whether it is a good idea or not, but in actual fact, when I was really really bad, kerrie-ann used to do exactly that, email me. She knew I would read it, and then I could take it in at my own pace, or just disregard as I did sometimes... even though she was right, and I really didn't respect her thoughts at that stage... so it is really much of a muchness from my side of things.

The face to face was always too much for me, and quite honestly, the letter method was much better for me personally, as I didn't have to deal with the extra personal emotions when I couldn't cope, though again, I read the letters, though often didn't really take much notice of them. (Maybe slip in the same topics, jumbled around every few letters!)

Now one thing that you must always remember, is that I am on the male side of the sufferers, and females are more emotional than males, so you would actually have more chance of her taking some notice with a letter. My advice though, don't feed her too much in one letter, cause if she is really struggling at present, too much will simply get ignored...

Hey, if you don't try, you don't know. Only you would know whether there is a chance or not that she would read it, but I do know from experience, if she is struggling, I would opt for many letters, say one a week, and kept very short, ie. one or two points only, and backup what you say really well, really simple... as PTSD in full flight tends to cloud alot of basic senses, which includes concentration and attention.
Thanks anthony, i didn't think much about putting to much at once. I've got tons of papers with scribbles and paragraphs on them that i was going to refine, so i'll do that but a little at a time. Actually she knows now that i'll be writing and she was planning on doing the same. Had a big fight the other night and in the aftermath she mentioned she was going to have written me what we had argued about and more, so i confessed to wanting to do the same, so we decided to pass notes :) So, thanks for your advice as i was going to have just made a huge letter, but i'll change it now to a bunch of little ones. Take care!
I have a suggestion of a method I used once... and it was really helpful using it to communicate when lines of communication with your partner just aren't possible.

We used to keep a journal. It wasn't a private one, it was expressly for the partner to pick up & read when they felt like. No pressure of having to read letters or emails. In the journal we wrote how we delt with each day, things that annoyed us, things we had to work out, etc,etc. We would write when we read each others journal, and how we felt when reading it.

It gave a more relaxed way of communicating with each other... which took another stress off us. (and we can all use less of that!)
That sounds like a good idea camry, even less confrontational than the letter idea. I wish we could use something like that but seriously doubt it'd be used. She's got a journal she uses but it's gatherd alot of dust over the past month. (it hasn't moved from where she keeps it and literally has dust on it) As for my end, i despise writing unless i have no choice, so i'd use it but it wouldn't be pretty when i did. Maybe later on down the road we can try something like that though, so i'll definately keep it in mind.
That is a great idea Camry... a use that I certainly hadn't heard before.

Witsend... not sure if its something you want to put off... I would atleast give it a good strong go first, and if it doesn't work, try other things, not the other way round. Even though you don't like writing, and you don't think she will use it, you just never never know if you don't give it a go first!!! Stranger things have happened, especially with us PTSD sufferers. Your right, we do struggle to play by the rules, but when we are forced to atleast give something a try, we tend too most of the time.
Well Camry, I must say thank god that I am sitting down. I liked your idea of journals but thought that Anthony would not even consider it. Perhaps we should try least then the kids don't have to listen to us squabble, although we try and keep that to a minimum with them around. After all they really don't understand and they are 'adult' issues anyway. I will admit Anthony has certainly been testing me since he returned from Townsville. He says that he is not going to go back for the last round of the PTSD Course and I am glad of it. In fact I have told him that me and the kids are off to my Mum's for a week if he decides to go. That will give him a couple of days to wind down before we get home. Even the boys were unsettled.
I found that the one thing I always have trouble with, in translating verbally what is in my head. Sometimes it feels like a busy intersection without traffic lights. So if I had trouble giving it some kind of direction, how was I going to relay it to my partner. But if I wrote them down (or in my case typed them out), what didnt make sense to me today, might make sense to me next week... but how could my partner take that week of not knowing? He couldnt. It was that walk on egg shells routine & not fair to them, and not fair to me.

However, if I wrote down what was going on in my head today, my partner could see the turmoil I was going thru, but didn't have to live with the turmoil as much, as he had at least a vague idea of where I was at. Then in maybe a weeks time when things had slotted into some kind of order, my partner could see if I was either still struggling, or coming to grips with it.

I always find that communication is the hardest component for both PTSD suffers & their partners. How can we communicate, what we are having problems with ourselves? How can a partner understand if we dont? I found an open journal was a bit like a road map for my partner... it helped him navigate the muddy waters I was travelling through.
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