Thursday, September 29, 2011

Partners in PTSD

Here’s the third and final segment in our short series on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. You can read more about our experiences surviving PTSD HERE and HERE.

Kyle said he wanted me to write about my experience as the wife of a child-abuse survivor who suffers from Complex PTSD. I decided to jot down a few things I have been learning. They’re good reminders for me and maybe for other care-givers/family/partners out there.


I need to remember that…

1. I can  identify/anticipate potential anxiety triggers like certain environments, sounds, smells, topics, or situations but it’s unrealistic (and unhealthy) to think I can avoid every trigger that could possibly affect Kyle.

2. Taking care of my partner means taking care of myself. Caregivers are notoriously bad at this but Secondary Trauma Syndrome is a real thing. I need give myself time to rest and heal, too, whatever that means for me today.

3. A partner, spouse, or loved one should be a crucial part of a support system not the ENTIRE support system. I am not Kyle’s therapist or doctor or paid professional. I’m his wife. And I don’t have to figure this out alone.

4. PTSD is not an excuse or waiver for bad behavior, rudeness, aggression or abuse. I will never keep myself in a situation where I am not emotionally or physically safe. This is also something Kyle has insisted we agree on.

5. I can help “ground” or re-focus Kyle by asking simple questions that deal with the immediate space and sensations (ie. where are we right now? what day is it? what city do we live in? what does this jacket feel like? what color is my shirt?). I’ve also discovered that sometimes familiar songs sung loudly can halt the progression of a panic attack. “I’m a Little Tea Pot” works really well (I do all the motions).

6. I can rely on God to continue to heal Kyle’s heart, little by little, day by day.

love, elizabeth

PS: One more day to enter to win the coziest, softest autumn scarf you ever did meet!


Janet @ Made For This said...

Oh Baby Girl. So good. Love, Mama

Daryl said...

I hold so much respect for you and your husband as you deal with this day by day. I honestly had no idea about PTSD (other than knowing what it stood for) before reading this series, so I am incredibly appreciative of your really opened my eyes to this!

Thoughts and Prayers.


ashley @ A Recipe for Sanity said...

This is really wonderful. Thank you both again for sharing, and may God continue to heal Kyle's heart.

Alana said...

Sorry I'm just catching up! I'm almost sad that this is the last post, but thank you for sharing this with us! I know how hard it is to share the less-than-perfect parts of life. This sounds like great advice for people with loved ones suffering from PTSD. Your husband is so lucky to have you!

Kate&Garrett said...

I did not know that "I'm a Little Tea Pot" could be so important :) I love this. Your courage, your strength, and your LOVE for each other shine through this as in all things. Love you both ~K

Courtney said...

Kyle is wise in asking you to write from your perspective on here. Both of you are affected by what he goes through on a daily basis. By the way, has Kyle heard of EMDR? If not, he should. It has changed my life…completely.

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