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PTSD And Marriage

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What is generally normal with PTSD, is that often whilst a person actually got PTSD from a trauma/s, they can then create more fictional traumas within their mind. The mind is the most powerful thing that is yet to be fully understood. What is often reported by counsellors and physicians doctrinally, is that we create more traumas to sometime mask those that are real, ie. masking a severe trauma like rape, with something less severe, though just as impacting upon our lives. Not everyone with PTSD does it, but those who are generally untreated will develop them over time, and not even realise what is real and what is not anymore. EMDR is good at determining those type of aspects, because its rate of success with minor trauma recovery often reveals the real trauma, hence why it is also so dangerous, because a person can go into the initial sessions outlining what is actually their fictional trauma, and in turn the physician suddenly discovers a mask over a more severe trauma, which once discovered in that method, can often have very severe impact on the person in a negative sense. This is why those who perform EMDR are often quite careful, and very precise with previous counselling first to hopefully ensure that no underpinning trauma exists off such a serious nature that could result in dire consequences for the patient. The physician would not be at fault if they did everything they could reasonably do to first discover exact trauma and underpinning issues. Everything has its pro's and con's.

Nam, I have a funny feeling that you have more often actually just gotten through with denial, because it does actually work to a certain point in life if you believe that. Again, the mind is more powerful than we presume, and if we believe something enough, then our mind can carry that belief. Usually, our mind will open up at some point though, and the actual trauma and fear comes through.

What you haven't really done here Nam, is gotten your trauma out on the table. That is the most therapeudic way in which to get past PTSD. What often happens when one starts getting their trauma out, is you will add too it the more times you read it, because each time you will often remember something else, regardless how small the detail, and when you actually read it and can no longer add too it, that trauma is out. Then you need to read it, read it and read it some more, until such a time that when you read it, it no longer affects you in a symtamatic way, ie. no symptoms evolve from reading it now. That is trauma therapy 101. It is hard, it is involved, it opens a persons vunerabilities up, it has short term consequences and bouts of symptoms that generally go hand in hand with it, but it works.

Trauma therapy generally consists off continuous counselling once per week, or two weeks, and each time you continue going over the same things, same trauma, same issues, until each and every trauma you have is out of your system, and lies out in the open for you to see realistically. Severe trauma is often regurgitated to provide a huge symptom shutdown and basically some of the worst PTSD bouts you can have, but then suddenly you start to come out the other side so much lighter, and its like your brain has finally smashed the concrete weight that is holding it down from achieving some sort of normality.

I went through all this, and I am speaking from experience. It hurts, it has huge impacts on you, your family, your life, but it works, and over a year or so, you see positive results in your life, you feel like you can literally do new things, though you will also continue to find new bounds that will upset you, thus you must recognise them and remain within them. For example, I can go to a shopping center and go shopping all day long if need be now, but I can't do it on a weekend when it is heavily crowded, nor late night shopping because of the huge numbers of people, but during general work hours, I can remain in one without suffering any symptoms. As soon as the shopping center become crowded, bam... I have to escape and anxiety overwhelms me. This is just one example, but I recognise it as a boundary of mine, and I always try and remain within it so I can enjoy that part of life, though I just can't do it any time of the week, just during certain low peak times. I will never be able to live in Townsville again, or Darwin, because they are two large military towns, with helicopters flying on the roof tops, military vehicles, armoured vehicles, uniforms, etc etc all the time, and it impacts me greatly, so I live in Melbourne instead now, where whilst military still exist, you would never know it.

There is never an end to PTSD, well... not yet anyway, and even though I am on the other side for the most part, I still have definate restrictions on my life with do's and don'ts, but I accept them, know them, and live with those knowing that if I remain within them, my life is pretty normal than I have previously been during the worst of PTSD. Ignorance is just not bliss at all with PTSD... I learnt that the hard way.
Knowing things is one thing, accepting them is another, kinda like the actual therapy of all trauma, is to just accept it and move with it and control, not push against it and be controlled.

What we perceive we know about ourselves, and what is actual fact, can often be two different things. Lets be realistic here, we have suffered trauma. Now, you can do two things with that. Firstly, you can say, ok, I suffered trauma, but it plays little role in my life, or life now, and I will continue on (denial), or two, you can admit that you have suffered trauma, exactly what that trauma is, and that it has happened and is playing a role within your life.

The first example basically is still allowing the trauma to control you, because whilst you know you suffered it, you don't fully accept that it impacts your life, your decisions and your general well being, hence trauma is actually secretively running your life for you. The second, is where you are actually in control and are actively managing your trauma, and not it managing you, as in the first instance.

I personally used to be at the first, but am most certainly at the second now. That does not mean that my trauma has no impact on me, be it most certainly does. Just from reading through the backlog of PTSD related news the other day to sift and post important pieces here, that knocked me on my arse for a good day with symptoms overwhelming me. I felt like crap, I knew it was PTSD, hence something had to cause it. What did I do in the last couple of days or what is coming up? Nothing coming up, but I will admit that reading some of those news stories kinda hit me at an emotional level in regard to their trauma and mine. Bingo, that was it. Now, what was I going to do about it? I could deny anything was wrong and continue on being grumpy and sultry, trying to do everything I normally do and get more and more stressed, or I could admit that this has affected me, tell my wife I need some cover and help for the next day or so, and just plod along in my own time, resting, sleeping a little extra, getting out for some me time to work through my concerns and issues, and bam, here I am again just over 24hrs later find and dandy once more.

I accepted it, acknowledged its existence, and didn't attempt to work against what has happening, instead worked with it.
I accepted it, acknowledged its existence, and didn't attempt to work against what has happening, instead worked with it.

That is such a loaded statement! It is much harder than it seems. I did really well today. I stayed busy, although the house is still a mess, and I'm looking forward to sleep. Thank you, thank you....
It comes with years of education and hard work training yourself to be cognisant of everything PTSD in relation to yourself. It doesn't matter at the end of the day how someone else deals with their PTSD, just yourself. Whilst you may learn bits and pieces that do work for you, try different things, read about symptoms that are really hitting you personally, and if recommendations and others experience don't work, think about what would possibly work for you, and give it a shot. If it fails the first time, that is not cause to stop, instead techniques need to be tried for a good week to month, before you could realistically write them off and move to another. Even get others opinions, because often we may not see positive changes within ourselves, but others do. You need honest people to assess you, ie. spouses or family, someone who isn't afraid to upset you if your getting worse. This is how the game goes, and this is how each person needs to play it to work out what is best for them.

Denial is such a great aspect of life, but it only lasts so long and everything WILL catchup with one.
Hi Nam/Anthony

I am not able to accept that this is lifelong, as in I will suffer it permanently. It sounds hopeless...that symptoms can come back from triggers, other stress can make sense, but I also think if the stressor is not permanently present in my life I can beat it. I think I have to take a positive outlook for a positive outcome.

I still feel uncomfortable around new people/situations but am coming out of my shell. I feel that medication for many is not the solution, and a good source of psychotherapy/CBT can be the best way forward.

Learning what affects you is also important- I have realised it can be easier for me to write than to talk. It is not good to discuss from beginning to end the stressors/events with new people as you have to relive them and we do that enough on our own without any assistance at times. It is better to say (for me) that there were simply a combination of things and that combination was too much. It is frustrating that some think I am weak, but many will not understand or get it, however long I talk anyway, so it seems a defeating task and a waste of the energy that I have. Many simply don't really want to know and prefer a head in the sand approach to other's problems.

I am trying to focus on what has happened, why, and how I need to look at how I react to situations in my new life. What has happened in the past cannot be changed.

I also need to learn that it is not going to be better tomorrow, but that tomorrow is coming. I have to believe that or I will go downhill again.

Regarding medication, for many they need to find the right one, some can be made worse by medication that is wrong for them. I am convinced I cannot take Prozac, for example. You may want to read through the leaflet with your pills and think how you felt before and after taking them closely. Before making any changes it is vital to speak to your doctor though, but driving any points you have home to him/her.

Think about what works for you, and make sure that your hubby has read about what PTSD is if he hasn't. You may want to let him know the effects it has on you and you may find this easier to write down, rather than tell him directly. Find and do what works best for you.
My poor husband! Let me explain. I work in the medical field, so I knew that information was my friend. I'm also proactive in my approach to healing. I checked out every book from the library that contained to stress. I bought ten books from the book store ranging from repressed memories to workbooks on anxiety. Not only did I read them, but I read them to my husband. So, he's fairly versed in it. He's not so sure about me being on this forum. I think he's more concerned about my privacy more than anything, but he also wants me to be able to talk with others that understand. I thought about support groups but I feel that being "faceless" is a much better approach for me. I, too, express better in words through writing than talking. I have a more objective view.

Before I came onto this forum, I thought ptsd was curable, but I think I was going through my days without realizing the daily effects of ptsd. I tried to blame it on other things, because I refused to believe that even though it started only two years ago, I'm through with it now. I'm healed! But the more I answered polls like "Is Ptsd curable?", I realized that I've changed my whole life in order to function and to be comfortable. I will never be as outgoing as I was before. I will never be as comfortable around people as before. And I'm certainly less trusting of people. There are also physical changes: I've lost weight, my apetite is smaller, I get headaches more often, I'm fatigued easily, and depressed more often and with more severity. Understanding where it all stems from makes it possible to prevent those symptoms the next time.

Drugs is another huge part of my healing in ptsd. Prozac also made me feel horrible, but it was before I gave the full month to take effect so it's hard to tell if I felt that bad because of the ptsd or from the prozac. I don't think I'll ever take it again. I do have depression that comes and goes and most of my symptoms are physical. I'm very tired but not necessarily sad. I'm still trying to find out the perfect drug for that. I've come to terms that I may be on drugs for the rest of my life to control my depression. I know that I need help to control my symptoms because I feel like I have no control over when they come, but I hope that changes some day. I also do it for the sake of my family. I'm am much more consistant when I'm on medication and my children deserve to have a mom everyday. When I think that my stress levels are down and my responsibilities are less, then I may try to wean, but not for a long time.

I'm thankful that the most horrible parts of ptsd do NOT last forever, but just because the worst part is over doesn't mean it's gone. I beleive for me, ptsd will be there for a while, hiding out.
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