Nurse Encourages Patients To Seek Care for PTSD Triggered by Mesothelioma Diagnosis

woman offering comfort

Many people who have been diagnosed with a serious illness, including mesothelioma, will experience PTSD. Post traumatic stress disorder is triggered by a traumatic event. It can be described as a kind of anxiety. The person or patient who experiences this can experience a feeling of helplessness, fear or shock. Many who have experienced a traumatic event will heal with time and through healthy coping methods.

According to the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, 40% of sufferers develop PTSD after a loved one dies suddenly. The most common symptoms of PTSD are nightmares, frightening thoughts, sweating, shaking , refusal to discuss the event, reduced interest in life and feeling numb emotionally and mentally.

A life threatening illness like mesothelioma can cause PTSD. Many medical professionals  are becoming aware of this phenomenon and are setting up support groups for patients and caregivers. The symptoms usually develop within three months of the event. It can occur several months later or even years later.

If you are experiencing PTSD symptoms that last more than one month, you should seek medical attention. Patients need to seek PTSD care because their stress and anxiety could inhibit them from getting proper mesothelioma treatment or follow up care. The more intensive the treatment plan for mesothelioma, the higher the risk patients have of developing PTSD.

One of the top mesothelioma centers in the U.S. is in the process of setting up a support group and a clinic specifically for patients who need support for this type of PTSD. Often treatment includes psychotherapy. There are counselors who specialize in helping patients and their caregivers dealing with cancer.

Counselors cannot always solve the issues, but they can provide a safe place for people to discuss their issues. Depression, relationship issues, financial and emotional concern, and managing cancer symptoms and side effects, such as pain and fatigue, are some of the real concerns that can be discussed.

The key is to get treatment for your mesothelioma, but to also take care of your whole self. Living with cancer is a big challenge, and often a few conversations with a counselor can be helpful.

CNN Goes “Full Retard” Trying To Blame Baton Rouge Terrorist’s Actions on PTSD

From the very beginning, CNN has been deeply invested in crafting the fictional narratives driving the Black Lives Matter movement. Now that domestic terrorists aligned with the movement have carried out murderous ambushes of police officers in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and at at least a half-dozen other cities in recent weeks, the cable news channel is clearly looking to provide a smokescreen for their political allies.

CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Joshua Berlinger are clearly desperate to exonerate Black Lives Matter, and have attempted to concoct a laughable defense of Black Lives Matter terrorism as they flippantly damn generations of honorable combat veterans.

G___ L___*, the man who shot six law enforcement officers Sunday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana — killing three — suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, a source involved in the investigation told CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

Long joined the Marine Corps in 2005 and worked as a data network specialist, according to the U.S. military.

full retard

Ladies and gentlemen, this Black Lives Matter terrorist in Baton Rouge was a military computer geek. While he did serve a brief stint in Iraq, he never went on a single combat patrol, and never saw the horrors of war. Those who served would recognize him as a “fobbit.” He never saw anything remotely approaching combat.

What did he do in the Marines? This:

Cyber Network Operator is the latest term for what the Marine Corps formerly called data network specialists. These marines are responsible for the installation, configuration, and management of data network or cyber systems in both a stand-alone and client-server environments, including MS Exchange, Defense Message Systems, and other authorized data network systems.

There I was, configuring email systems. The things I’ve seen…

I’m not going to say Coumo and Berlinger are lying about their source, but let’s be honest: journalists can find anonymous sources and “experts” of dubious credibility to provide quotes to fit any predetermined narratives, something that CNN knows quite well.

After all, that’s how they generated the fiction that attempted cop killer Michael Brown was shot in the back running away, when he was shot in the hand attempting to kill Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson with Wilson’s gun in an unprovoked attack, and who finally fell at Wilson’s feet with a shot to the top of his head as he was bull-rushing the officer.
CNN Newsroom-HandsUpDontShoot-Dec13-b

Here’s your reality check.

The Black Lives Matter domestic terrorist* who murdered three Baton Rouge police officers and wounded three more Sunday morning left behind an amazing body of work that revealed the inner workings of his mind in both video and print forms.

His Twitter feed routinely referenced and conversed with radical black nationalists and promoted violence against law enforcement. His YouTube channel is a stunning mix of New Age mumbo jumbo, paranoia, African supremacy rhetoric, and disdain for other races and for the police. He even published several bizarre self-help books.

The terrorists who stalked and killed Dallas and Baton Rouge police officers was clearly spurred on by reporting in the mainstream media that dishonestly asserted that Baton Rouge resident Alton Sterling was “just selling CDs” when police officers attacked him as he “did nothing” and then “executed him for no reason.”

The emerging reality, of course, was that serial felon Sterling had threatened a homeless man with a handgun that he illegally acquired just the night before, and the Baton Rouge police responded to that homeless man’s call for help after he was threatened with that revolver from the 300+ pound Sterling. 24 hours after the “execution” narrative was pushed by cable and network television news channels that have made hundreds of millions of dollars pushing an anti-cop narrative, a high resolution video emerged that showed Sterling—a sex offender with a long history of arrests for violence and weapons charges—was struggling with officers when his gun was discovered, and that Sterling was shot after attempting to buck off an officer trying to control him while reaching towards the revolver in his right front pocket.

This apparent reality has been downplayed. Telling the truth instead of stoking the narrative with outrage doesn’t drive ratings and pay salaries.

Like the fictional narratives that an innocent Trayvon Martin was “stalked” by George Zimmerman, and that Michael Brown was shot in the back as he ran away with his hands up from Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, the story of Alston Sterling being “executed” appears to be an abject lie.

None of that matters to a national news media drunk on the money they’re making selling the lie that law enforcement officers execute minorities merely because of the color of their skin. None of that matters to those viewers who already hate police and are simply looking for an excuse to commit violence against them.

CNN’s biased coverage helped create the Black Lives Matter movement. The cable news network made tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars selling dishonest racial narratives that divided a nation and targeted those who dedicate their lives to defending people of all races from crimes both petty and incredibly violent.

Chris Cuomo and Joshua Berlinger aren’t looking to find what drove these domestic terrorists. What drove them is self-evident.

All these CNN “journalists” are doing is providing coverage for their network, their political allies, and maybe blame-shift away any guilt they feel for helping create such monsters.

Asserting that PTSD is to blame—and slurring the good names of hundreds of thousands to millions of combat veterans who actually do suffer the effects of coping with the actual horrors of war beyond working with Microsoft products—is reprehensible, but not unexpected.

After all, “this is CNN.”

 

* Bearing Arms does not publish the names of mass or spree killers.

When Your Child Is Your PTSD Trigger

When I became a new mother, I was prepared for a lot—but nobody told me that parenting when you have experienced childhood abuse can feel like walking back into a war zone as a soldier with PTSD.

Before becoming a mother, I could physically re-shift focus away from what was triggering me—take a walk, journal, call a friend, distract myself with music. Once a parent, I could no longer rely on old methods, no matter how effective. I couldn’t run away from, drown out, or excuse myself from the trigger.

You can’t eliminate or avoid the trigger, when the trigger is your child.

***

I purposely waited to have children until I felt like I had “dealt with” being sexually abused. By the age of 28, I had undergone countless hours of therapy, convinced myself to take my antidepressant even when I “felt fine,” and acquired a toolbox full of coping skills. I also hoped that becoming a mother would move me even further along in my recovery, by providing me the chance to end the dysfunctional and abusive cycles that had diseased my family tree.

“You can’t avoid your PTSD trigger, when the trigger is your child.”_

Instead, once I became a mother, I was thrown into mental and physical chaos marked by a near constant state of anxiety. And as I started paying more attention to what exactly was triggering me, I came to the realization that it was the most basic acts of parenting—nurturing and protecting—that were causing my pain.

Kissing my kids at night before bed made me question if I was violating their personal space. Diapering, dressing, and bathing them made me question if I was engaging in inappropriate touching. Showing too much affection made me feel sick, and showing not enough love made me feel like a horrible mother.

I was never warned that living with PTSD would be something else I would have to learn to manage when I became a new mom. My primary care doctor and OBGYN both took a social history from me at my initial visits, and my chart held the secret that from the age of 6 to the age of 14, I was sexually abused. My records briefly outlined the domestic violence I witnessed and the abandonment I experienced from both of my biological parents. Yet that is where my secrets stayed; it never came up in any of the discussions I had with these providers as I entered parenthood.

I don’t think it ever occurred to the lactation specialist to ask me whether or not I have a history of sexual abuse, when I cried in her office because I was struggling to breastfeed my child. She was puzzled that the perfect latch and adequate supply of milk was not enough to make this second nature for me, and surprised by my complaint that every time I nursed, I became nauseous and my body ached with stiffness. I wasn’t brave enough to tell her that flashbacks of my abuser violating my breasts is what I experienced every time I attached my child to my breast.

“Every time I attached my child to my breast, I experienced flashbacks of my abuser violating me.”_

She told me I just needed to relax, and once she witnessed the baby swallowing my milk, she was satisfied that I was “better.” I wasn’t—but I didn’t tell her that. I just became more convinced that I needed to work harder to distract myself from what I was feeling.

I didn’t just hide my pain from my doctors; I was too ashamed to talk to even those closest to me about what was happening. I was afraid friends would judge me, my husband would doubt me, and my therapist would have to report my inability to be a “good” parent to authorities. I never felt so alone in my life. But I carried on, leaving clues for no one that inside, I was crumbling.

I mothered through the physical pain, mental anguish, and a broken spirit until, finally, I heard a whisper in my head that would help me begin to confront what I was feeling, and heal:

“You can’t be the only survivor experiencing parenting this way.”

***

The Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) study teaches us that exposure to trauma during critical times of development encodes trauma in the brain, leaving a person to react when triggered. Doesn’t it make sense, then, that even if a person has learned to manage her PTSD and live a “functioning” life, becoming a parent will expose her to triggers she hasn’t yet experienced, possibly initiating a whole new cycle of disproportionate reactions?

“Becoming a parent exposes people to triggers not yet experienced.”_

For children, giving and receiving affection is paramount, and disciplining is necessary. For a survivor who was denied such basic care as a child, or who only knows of such acts in association with abuse, these Parenting 101 tasks can provoke anxiety, depression, addiction, hypervigilance, chronic pain, and suicidal ideations.

A parent experiencing frequent triggers, without assistance in connecting the trigger (the child or acts of parenting) with PTSD, may revert back to methods that kept them safe and in control when they were younger—fight, flight, and freeze. These coping mechanisms that helped keep the survivor alive while enduring the abuse may now lead to unhealthy behaviors such as such as addictions, re-victimization, or poor parent/child attachment.

More and more—though not nearly enough—people are starting to address this issue. Slowly, authors are adding this chapter to their parenting books, those who work with parents are being trained to support those experiencing PTSD, and groups are forming to offer support to parents who are abuse survivors.

This change can’t come soon enough; providers equipped with the knowledge and tools to help parents manage potential triggers can profoundly change not only the parent’s life, but the lives of their children. It could make the difference between healthy and non-healthy parenting—breaking cycles instead of enabling them to endure.

***

As for me, I no longer experience triggers on a daily basis, though I do occasionally still come face to face with them. My children are now 7 and 4, and as they grow, my triggers look and feel different. The difference between now and three years ago is that I am prepared for them. There is no longer any confusion when my mind and body react in irrational ways to what I am doing to or for my child.

I know that if triggered, there is a reason for it—and I now see it as an opportunity to run right toward the trigger in order to heal, rather than running away out of fear. With the help of a therapist, I’ve been willing to go to the dark places necessary to identify what was so profoundly affecting me. In the process, I’ve been given a second chance at motherhood.

***

PTSD Differences Among Men and Women

Men and women are different. A few decades ago, that idea made the cover of major news magazines. But researchers are frequently confronted with differences between the sexes. A recent study on the mental health condition known as Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) suggests that gender differences may play a role in who is most vulnerable to developing the condition.

National surveys and statistical models which predict PTSD cases say that women are far more likely than men to experience PTSD. Some experts suggest that women are as much as two times more likely to develop the condition. This could be because so many women undergo trauma. One survey says that as many as one half of women can expect to live through a serious trauma at one point during their lifetime. Since PTSD is an outgrowth of experienced trauma, researchers wondered about the links between gender and PTSD development.

In reality, men are more apt than women to experience a traumatic life event. During a given year, 60 percent of men will live through a traumatic event while just 51 percent of women will do so. Nevertheless, fewer than four percent of all who experience trauma will go on to develop PTSD. All of which highlights the fact that undergoing trauma does not guarantee that a person will experience a disordered response to trauma.

Since women experience fewer traumatic events but have a higher risk of developing PTSD, researchers looked for what could explain the gender gap. They found that women who had lived through violent traumas such as sexual assault, injury-causing trauma or trauma which was perceived as life-threatening, were more prone to developing PTSD. Other risk factors which affected whether a woman developed PTSD included subsequent stress events, inadequate support networks following the trauma and a history of mental illness. Emory University research further suggests that a chemical factor could help explain female susceptibility to the disorder. A hormone known as pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) could be responsible for women succumbing to PTSD more often than men. That hormone showed up in significantly higher levels among women who manifested symptoms of PTSD during the study.

Another reason why women may be more liable to developing PTSD is their emotional make-up. Women are known to be more prone to anxiety and depressive disorders in general. Unlike men, women tend to take personal responsibility for their victim status. These tendencies can make it harder for them to avoid cycling into other disordered emotional responses to trauma.

On the upside, women tend to be more open about how they are feeling than men. In addition, they are more willing to seek out help when they realize they are struggling emotionally. Women also do better at creating support networks to help them sustain recovery after therapy has given them a healthy re-start. So while women are more vulnerable to developing PTSD, they are also more equipped to seek out and sustain recovery.

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16 Things To Remember If Your Loved Ones Suffer From Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after you have been through some form of trauma. A trauma is an emotional or physical shock to the body that you see or experience. During this type of event, you think that your life or the lives of others are in danger, leaving you feeling afraid, helpless, or out of control.

Many people, young and old, have gone through traumatic experiences and PTSD can be caused by a myriad of different things such as:

  • Witnessing an act of violence
  • Witnessing 911 or losing a loved one to 911
  • Serving in military combat zones
  • Being the victim of domestic violence
  • Surviving a severe accident
  • Bullying
  • Natural disasters such as floods, fires, tornados or hurricanes

Experiencing trauma is not rare. An estimated six of every 10 (or 60%) of men and five of every 10 (or 50%) of women experience at least one trauma in their lives. Women are more likely to experience sexual assault and sexual abuse as a child. Men are more likely to experience accidents, physical assault, combat, disaster, or to witness death or injury.

Going through a trauma however, does not mean you’ll get PTSD. Even though over half of us go through some type of trauma, only a small percent develop PTSD. It’s estimated that 7.8 percent of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives, with women (10.4%) twice as likely as men (5%) to develop PTSD.

The timeframe of the actual traumatic experience may be short or prolonged, however the affect of that experience on a person can go on for many, many years. That is what makes Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) so challenging.

Additionally, it may not present itself right after the event. Sometimes, it takes years before the signs and symptoms of PTSD show up in someone’s behavior.

For some people, these experiences negatively change the way they perceive the world and their place in it, leaving them to learn how to cope with moving through the world in new, positive ways.

According to MakeTheConnection.net, a website for veterans, there are a wide variety of signs and symptoms that can be shown by someone suffering from PTSD:

  • Feeling upset by things that remind you of what happened
  • Having nightmares, vivid memories, or flashbacks of the event that make you feel like it’s happening all over again
  • Feeling emotionally cut off from others
  • Feeling numb or losing interest in things you used to care about
  • Becoming depressed
  • Thinking that you are always in danger
  • Feeling anxious, jittery, or irritated
  • Experiencing a sense of panic that something bad is about to happen
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Having trouble keeping your mind on one thing
  • Having a hard time relating to and getting along with your spouse, family, or friends

Here are just a few well-known folks who are coping with the effects of PTSD:

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  • Whoopi Goldberg – Actress: witnessed two planes crashing in midair as a child and has an intense fear of flying.
  • Alan Cummings – Actor: was submitted to severe physical and emotional abuse as a child.
  • Oprah Winfrey – TV show host: was raped at age 9 by a family member and abused for a number of years.
  • Major General John Cantwell – Australian Arm General: hid his PTSD for 20 years in the army and was promoted to Deputy Chief of the Australian Army.
  • Audie Murphy – Combat Soldier: Is the most decorated soldier of WWII and was awarded the Medal of Honor and several purple hearts.

PTSD symptoms can cause a person to act in ways that may be hard for family members to understand. As friends or loved ones, we may see these symptoms in someone we care about but we might not know how to help or be of support.

Those who are coping with PTSD will tell you that it is challenging on many levels. Here are 16 things they would like you to be mindful of as you support them in their healing process:

1. Get Educated. If you see the signs and symptoms of PTSD in someone you care about, learn more about what PTSD is, and what it isn’t, as it relates to your loved one’s experience.

2. PTSD: a Chronic or Curable Condition? According to the National Institute of Mental Health, PTSD is a chronic condition that can be managed through various modalities of treatment. With treatment, the effects of PTSD can be reduced and even eliminated, however, memories of the event cannot be erased.

Treatment can help someone regain control over their life from the symptoms of PTSD. It can also help reduce the extent to which symptoms of PTSD interfere with a number of different areas in their life such as work, school, or relationships. That said, it is important to remember that symptoms of PTSD can come back again. Once a person has successfully completed treatment, it does not mean the work is done. It is important that they continue to practice the healthy coping skills they learned in treatment.

3. PTSD is not a choice. Just like other mental illnesses or addictions, it is not something that you “choose” to have or to do to yourself. Use kindness and compassion when someone you know is coping with the PTSD.

4. Let the professionals treat your loved ones. Mental health experts are trained and equipped to handle mental illnesses such as PTSD. They will be able to talk with your loved one with an objective perspective and can utilize the best tools at hand for treating their PTSD. Your job is simply to love them best you can each day.

5. You can’t push, coax, or cajole someone into treatment. This is especially hard for those who are watching folks who are dealing with PTSD. While you can make a suggestion to get treatment or even help them find the resources they need, they have to seek treatment for themselves. We’ve all heard the saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink…”

6. Understand your loved one’s symptoms and the impact of those symptoms on his or her behavior. What might not seem like a “big deal” to you could be a trigger for your loved one. The more you know about these triggers, the more effectively you can modify routines and avoid them.

7. Recognize if they’re having trouble sleeping. Those trauma survivors who get PTSD are even more likely to suffer from insomnia and nightmares. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, of those coping with PTSD, 71% to 96% may have nightmares. If your loved one experiences insomnia or bad dreams, reduce the feelings of stress they experience especially before bed (ex. don’t watch the news before going to bed), reduce or eliminate caffeine in the late afternoon and evening, don’t eat too much before going to bed, and create an environment in which they can sleep well and feel safe.

8. Consider getting a therapy dog. A therapy dog can provide a sense of security, calming effects, and physical exercise that can make a positive difference in the life of those that suffer with PTSD. A therapy dog can also help them  sleep better, as the dog can be on guard for them, and wake them up if there is a problem.

9. Don’t ask insensitive questions. Questions about their trauma such as what happened, why it happened or how it happened, can trigger unwanted memories. If a friend or loved one wants to share the experience with you, he or she will do so when the time is right.

10. Honor individual choices. It is important to understand that your loved one’s behavior does not necessarily indicate his or her true feelings. That is, he may want to go out with friends and family but he is too afraid of bringing up upsetting thoughts and memories. If your loved one says no to participating in some event or going somewhere, honor this answer.

11. Anxiety has many faces. Especially for kids, but also for adults, anxiety can look like irritability, and it’s much harder to see it for what it is when that happens, according to Dr. Ruth Hoffman. Rather than responding to their crabbiness with “Where are your manners?” or “You don’t have to be such a grouch about it…” try taking a more compassionate route such as, “Wow, you really seem unsettled, is there something I can do?”

12. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not real. Each person deals with trauma in their his or her own unique way. Let go of your judgment, and reach for compassion instead as you never know what someone has been through or what they’re dealing with on the inside.

13. Meet them where they are. A person with PTSD still has a range of feelings, she just may not be expressed in the same way or fashion as she did before the traumatic experience. This may look like utilizing different coping mechanisms to operate effectively in the world, mechanisms which aren’t as familiar to you. When you can meet her where she is and rather than “where she used to be,” you can lower your stress and hers.

14. Let them be in control of their choices as much as possible. i.e. Don’t make all the choices for them. Conversely, asking them, “What do you want for dinner?” or “What do you want to wear?” (for kids) etc., can be overwhelming because it presents too many choices to think about.   If there is an obvious thing, like wanting to wear the same outfit over and over (some clothes feel safer than others), or wanting to sleep in the other room, etc., those are not things to argue about. Another approach might be “What can you wear that will feel safe enough, while I wash this other favorite outfit you’ve had on for three days?”

15. Get the support you need. Support groups and/or couples counseling may be a good way to learn how to communicate with your loved one, as well as cope with his or her PTSD symptoms. They may also help you find the best way to encourage your loved one to get help if he hasn’t already.

16. Treat them normally. If your family member or loved one is getting the treatment she needs, great. The best way you can support her as she goes through the healing process is to treat her normally, i.e. don’t walk on eggshells around her or use PTSD as an excuse to coddle her. Listen and love her as she learn how to effectively manage symptoms of PTSD.

Dealing with the effects a friend or loved one with PTSD can bring many tests and trials to even the best of relationships.  It requires learning new things and making changes to old patterns and habits.

The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to offer emotional support, understanding, patience and encouragement to your loved one on his or her road to recovery.

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You Can Get PTSD From Staying In An Emotionally And Sexually Abusive Relationship

 

I wanted to leave, but I didn’t know how…

Stop. Just stop asking why a woman is so stupid and so weak when she stays in an abusive relationship. There’s no answer you can possibly understand.

Your judgment only further shames abused women. It shames women like me.

There was no punch on the very first date with my ex-husband. That’s not normally how abusive marriages start. In fact, my first date was probably pretty similar to yours: he was charming, he paid attention to me, and he flattered me.

Of course, the red flags were there in the beginning of my relationship. But I was young and naïve, probably much like you were in the beginning of your relationship.

Except my marriage took a different turn than yours.

Emotional abuse in a relationship takes time to build. It’s slow and methodical and incessant, much like a dripping kitchen faucet.

It begins like a little drip you don’t even notice — an off-hand remark that is “just a joke.” I’m told I’m too sensitive and the remark was no big deal. It seems so small and insignificant at the time. I probably am a little too sensitive.

DRIP, DRIP.

I occasionally notice the drip but it’s no big deal. A public joke made at my expense is just my partner being the usual life of the party. When he asks if I’m wearing this dress out or whom I’m going with, it only means he loves me and cares about me.

When he tells me he doesn’t like my new friend, I agree. Yes, I can see where she can be bossy. My husband is more important than a friend, so I pull away and don’t continue the friendship.

DRIP, DRIP.

The drip is getting annoying, but you don’t sell your house over a leaky faucet.

When a playful push was a little more than playful, I tell myself he didn’t really mean it.

He forgets he’s stronger than me. When I confront him in yet another lie he’s told, he tells me I’m crazy for not believing him. Maybe I’m crazy … I’m beginning to feel a little crazy.

I begin to compensate for the drips in my marriage. I’ll be better. I’ll be a better wife. I’ll make sure the house is clean and dinner is always prepared. And when he doesn’t even come home for dinner, I’ll keep it wrapped and warmed in the oven for him.

On a night I’m feeling feisty, I feed his dinner to the dog before he comes home. I’m not feeling quite as smug well after midnight when he does show up. I quickly get out of bed and go to the kitchen as he yells at me to make him dinner.

Waking me from sleep becomes a regular occurrence. I no longer allow myself deep, restful sleep. I’m always listening and waiting.

In the morning, I’ll shush the kids to keep them quiet so they don’t wake up daddy. We all begin to walk on eggshells around him.

DRIP, DRIP.

The drip is flowing pretty strong now. I’m afraid to put a bucket under it and see how much water I’m really losing. Denial is setting in.

If I hadn’t said what I did, he wouldn’t have gotten so mad. It’s my fault; I need to just keep quiet. I should know better than to confront him when he’s been drinking.

He’s right — I really am an ungrateful bitch. He goes to work every day so I can stay home with the kids. Of course he needs time to himself on the way home from work each day.

On the rare occasion I do meet with my friends, I rush to be home before him. I never ask him to watch the kids so I can do something in the evening. I mustn’t inconvenience him.

We attempt marriage counseling. Although neither of us is totally honest about why we are there, the counselors are open with us about their concerns.

We never spend more than one session with a counselor.

DRIP, DRIP.

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I’m working so hard to be the perfect wife and have the perfect family that I don’t take the time to notice there’s water spilling on to the floor.

I know what will make this better. I’ll get really active outside the home but of course, I’ll still take care of everything in the home and never burden him. And I’ll never dare ask for help.

I’m now the perfect fourth-grade room mother. My church mentors tell me to read books and listen to lectures on praying for my husband and understanding his needs.

I work very hard to present the front of a perfectly happy family. My kids are involved in multiple activities that I, of course, solely organize and am responsible for.

I’ve begun to drop subtle hints to the other moms but when they confront me I adamantly deny it. No, everything is great, I insist. I point to all the happy family photos I post to Facebook as evidence.

I’m not sure which scares me more: the fear that others will find out my secret, or that my husband will find out I told the truth about our marriage. I realize I’m now afraid of him.

DRIP, DRIP.

And then one day, I wake up and realize the house is flooding. My head bobs under the water. I’m scared.

I also see the fear in my children’s eyes. Oh dear God, what have I done? How did we get here? Who have I become?

The night he throws his cell phone at me and narrowly misses my head, I want to pack the kids in the car and leave. The evening at the dinner table when he stands up and throws a fork at me in front of the kids, I want to leave.

Where would I possibly go? And if I do go somewhere, what will I do? How will I afford living on my own?

He’s right — I have no skills to survive on my own. I need his money.

“What, you want to leave and go whore around?” he yells to me. “I always knew you were a slut.”

He’s a master at deflection. His actions are no longer the focus; I’m the one on trial now.

I’m no longer the woman I was on our first date. I’ve become timid and weak in front of him. I feel defeated. I chose this man and I gave birth to these children. It’s my fault.

With every breath I take, it’s my duty to keep these kids safe and keep my life together. It’s the only life I’ve known for 20 years. At this point, I don’t know how to do anything else.

I stay.

DRIP, DRIP.

The flood continues. My head bobs under a second time.

On a typical anger-filled evening, I say enough is enough and I decide to fight back. But even in his stumbling drunken stupor, he’s stronger than I am.

I see the look in his eye as he hovers over me. He has biologically been given the ability to kill. That look in his eye terrifies me.

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“Go ahead and leave,” he sneers to me. “But the kids stay here.”

My retreat that night is all it takes to turn the faucet on all the way and force me to tread water, if not for my life, then at the very least for my sanity.

Despite my best attempts, my secret has been exposed. I can’t just up and leave like well-meaning friends tell me to. It’s not that easy.

I have no money. In fact, he found my secret stash I’d been working on for almost a year. I thought I was so careful that no bank records would come to the house. He must have broken in to my email.

I should’ve known better. He always kept close tabs on me. He hated when I accused him of spying on me, so I just let him snoop.

He made me feel so guilty and ashamed when I handed over my secret savings to him. I wonder what he did with the money? I know it didn’t get used for the kids needs. I assume he drank it or gambled it or used it to impress another woman.

I’m stuck. I stay.

DRIP DRIP

Dear God, please don’t let me go under a third time. My family is beyond rescue, but please save me and save my kids.

…..

I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m no longer in the marriage, yet my scars run deep.

Abuse doesn’t always manifest as a black eye or a bloody wound. The effects of psychological abuse are just as damaging.

I entered counseling and was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. The psychological abuse kept me fearful, the depression and anxiety left me incapable of taking the steps necessary to get out.

Although I initially thought PTSD was a bit extreme, it’s been almost three years and certain noises or situations still trigger difficult memories for me.

When my male boss was angry and yelling at the staff one day, I became physically sick. I felt like I was right back where I was years ago, sitting and cowering on the garage floor, trying to placate the anger of a man towering over me.

I worry that not only have my daughters witnessed a man mistreat a woman, but that my sons have had a poor example to follow of what it means to be a real man.

I stayed for the sake of my children. Now, I blame myself for the effects staying may possibly have on them.

Why did I stay? I stayed because I was isolated; I was financially dependent on him; I was sleep deprived; I was told and I believed I was worthless; I was worn down from constantly being on guard for the next attack.

I stayed because I was more afraid to leave.

IF YOU LIKE THIS POST PLEASE LIKE THIS PAGE Live With PTSD .”

You Can Get PTSD From Staying In A Sexually Abusive Relationship

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ex

His sins have been following me for too long.

I was half asleep when my relationship really began to fall apart.

We had just gotten into bed 10 minutes prior. I felt a hand slightly brush up against my thigh, lifting my nightgown. That was strange all its own, since we never had a particularly sexual relationship.

He took the role of the hyper-stereotypical uninterested man, always complaining it was too hot, or he had a headache, or he was just tired.

I’d found out eventually his lack of interest was because of his cheating with a girl named Kristen. Sometime during the lengthy forgiveness process I lost all semblance of physical attraction or affection for him.

At that point, the thought of him touching me was so disgusting that I shooed him away. I said I was tired, had a stressful day and just wanted to sleep.

I snuggled back down into my pillow and pulled the blanket up to my shoulders. He got out of bed.

I’d just begun to doze when I heard him quietly come back into the room. He yanked the covers off the bed and I rolled over to look up at him.

“What are you do—”

And then, suddenly, there he was, furious and in my face.

He grabbed my wrists hard and held me down onto the bed, climbing over my smaller body, never letting his raging eyes leave my face and never untwisting his mouth from the horrible grimace it settled into.

He pushed his leg down across both of mine so I couldn’t move and jammed his mouth against my lips, forcing his tongue into my mouth.

I woke up out of my sleepy daze into a flurry of struggling, trying to wrench my arms from his grasp and yelling at him to stop. I attempted to push him off me by arching my back up and over to the side of the bed. No luck.

Again, I yelled at him to stop. This was too rough, and I didn’t want it.

He looked me square in the face and growled at me:

“You’re going to f*ck me. Whether you want to or not.”

And then I really panicked. It was two-fold.

Half my brain asked if I was required to submit because we were in a committed relationship. The other half was screaming for help, fueling my furiously beating heart, not wanting to become another statistic in the litany of raped women who never get any relief from their struggle.

When I get really scared, my vocal cords don’t work. I opened my mouth to scream right into his ear, hoping for a momentary startle so I could weave my way out from under his control. But it didn’t work; I only managed a weak, breathy wheeze with no sound but the air rushing through my teeth.

He used his elbow to push me back down onto the bed, then rearranged his arms for a better grip with only one hand. His other snaked up under my nightgown, groping at my chest then heading down to his intended target.

And then, he lost control. The weight of his leg lifted slightly, just enough for me to quickly slip one of mine out from under him.

His hand was still following his mind’s lead, so he didn’t expect it when my knee came up hard into his crotch with an anxiety- and fear-fueled force that I think may have left permanent damage.

He rolled over in pain, and I rolled off the bed and ran out of the house.

We met up the next day, and I confronted him.

“What was that? That was too rough.”

He looked genuinely hurt.

“I’m sorry. But we’re together, and it’s my right.”

“No, it isn’t. I’m not OK with that.”

He relented, apologized again, said it wouldn’t happen anymore. But the damage had been done. A month later we split up, at my request.

I couldn’t let the fear go from that night. It didn’t make sense to try and patch things up; between the cheating and the near-rape, I couldn’t take any more.

A few years later I was at a bar, dancing in a dark corner with a guy I’d just met. He turned so his back was to me and danced up against me, moving slowly back until I was tucked into the corner.

I tried to calm my mounting panic — we were just dancing, he’s a nice guy, nothing to worry about.

And then I felt his hands on my legs, sliding up and lifting the hem of my dress. No one could see, and the speaker was next to us so he couldn’t hear me telling him to stop, again in my fear-induced breathlessness.

As he reached the inside of my upper thigh, I began to hyperventilate. With every ounce of strength, I shoved him hard in the back, toward the crowd and away from me. I ran out of the bar.

In that moment, he looked so confused. And I was confused, too. Had I misinterpreted his actions? Was my mind creating a sensation that wasn’t actually happening? I doubt it, but it’s still hard to tell.

The backlash from what happened with my ex haunted me then and it still haunts me to this day. I don’t know if I’ll ever escape it.

Attempted rape is a misdemeanor offense. I don’t care if you’re in a relationship or not. Rape is rape. And it has an inescapable effect, regardless of whether it was successful.

IF YOU LIKE THIS POST PLEASE LIKE THIS PAGE Live With PTSD .”

22 Ways to Support Someone With PTSD, From People Who Have It

Unless you live with post-traumatic stress disorder, it can be hard to understand why an event from the past can still affect someone now. You may wonder why they just can’t “forget about it,” or get confused when seemingly low-stress situations evoke a strong reaction.

But for people with post-traumatic stress disorder, their brain actually changes. They don’t need to be told to forget about their trauma — what they need is support and understanding. To find out what else people with PTSD need from their loved ones, weasked people in our community who have PTSD what their family members or friends can do to support them.

Here’s what they had to say:

1.Don’t assume because I have PTSD I’m mentally weak. I’m actually strong. I have survived.” 

2. “Just because I haven’t been to war, doesn’t mean I can’t still have PTSD. Keep that in mind.” — Melinda Michelle Tegarden

3. “Respect my space when I decline to do something with you I think will trigger me.” — Ashley Laverdiere

4. “Understand that boundaries are important to me.” — Ashley Brown

5. “Help me make new memories. Focus on the present and finding joy, while being understanding of your symptoms of PTSD.” — Chrissy Borzon Thompson

6. “Help me ground. Speak softly. If I ask, don’t touch me. I’m trying to get control of it, but PTSD is a normal reaction to an abnormal trauma.” — Nita Daniel

7. “Understand this type of thing doesn’t find a solution overnight.” — Aris Corvin

8. “I’m accepting this as my reality. I’m trying to learn how to work with it instead of against it. Please try to do the same.” — Miranda Tymoschuk

9. “Understand when I don’t want to open up about the trauma I’ve experienced, that doesn’t mean I’m not suffering.” — Emily Waryck

10. “Learn about my triggers. Sit with me without opinions or suggestions. Let me cry on your shoulder. Validate my feelings.” — Claire Leedy

11. “Try not to minimize my feelings or symptoms. They’re indeed real and not imagined.” — Lili Rae

12. “Educate yourself about it.” — Stephanie Funke

13. “Simply listen.” — Kimberly Castro Moreno

14. “My PTSD affects every single part of my life. It has changed me and the way I view everything. Support, comfort and compassion is vital.” — Melissa Davis

15. “Allow me to talk about my past without saying, ‘Stop living in the past.’ A listening ear for the moment is all I need.” — Tatauq Helena Muma

16. “I had a new friend ask me what my triggers were so she could avoid them. She didn’t ask about my traumas out of curiosity, she actually cared and wanted to make sure she doesn’t do or say anything to accidentally trigger me. It was awesome.” — Holly Cooper McNeal

17. “If you don’t understand what it means, please take 10 minutes and look up what it is. Just because my scars aren’t visible doesn’t mean they aren’t there.” — Erin Nichole

IF YOU LIKE THIS POST PLEASE LIKE THIS PAGE Live With PTSD .”

 

18. “Don’t tell me my coping mechanisms are silly or irrational. If I need to sleep with the lights on to avoid flashbacks, let me. If I need to lay on the floor, don’t question me. Allow me to be the judge of what I need. Let me take the lead on where and how I want your support. It may not makes any sense to you, but for me, it’s everything.” — Tori Summerhill Fox

19. “Understand that some situations are scary. I cannot tell you why. It’s just a feeling. If I am emotionally uncomfortable and need to bail, I am not being a baby.” — Marie Duke

20. “Don’t be afraid to talk to me. My fears and panic attacks aren’t contagious. Just simply be there for me.” — Mandy Ree

21. “Understand that my reactions to you or situations may have nothing to do with what’s going on in the present and everything to do with what happened in my past.” — Kristen Rubart

22. “Believe me.” — Tish Patricia Phillips

IF YOU LIKE THIS POST PLEASE LIKE THIS PAGE Live With PTSD .”

Shares SHARES Share More Some Important Information About PTSD

PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a severe incapacitating condition that mainly manifests itself in crippling anxiety, depression, fits of anger and irritability, sleep disorders, and psychosomatic pain. As is implied by its name, it appears in people who have suffered severe trauma — the most common group are veteran soldiers who have been in active combat. However, there are probably many more people with PTSD around you than you may think — there are no telltale signs that one has it, and its sufferers usually don’t advertise their condition. That’s why knowing more about PTSD is probably more important than you imagine, especially if someone close to you is suffering from it.

1. Not every traumatic event causes PTSD.

Having undergone a traumatic experience doesn’t equal having PTSD. Different people react to trauma differently, and different experiences cause trauma of different intensity. It’s no use telling a person with PTSD to just get over it just like somebody else did. PTSD is a much more visceral experience than just tragic memories — it hijacks one’s body chemistry which makes controlling its symptoms all the more difficult.

2. Cannabis is a viable treatment.

Medical marijuana is just one of numerous treatment methods of PTSD. Others include anti-depressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, sleeping pills, narcotic pain medication, beta-blockers, and many others. The range of medications alone suggests that PTSD isn’t a very well understood syndrome and the medications are mostly chosen on a hit-and-miss basis. Latest studies, however, show that cannabis is quite promising when compared to the majority of conventional methods. It is hard to say to what degree it can improve PTSD symptoms, but it is more likely to do so, and less likely to worsen them. That is why those suffering from PTSD can do themselves a world of good by finding marijuana dispensaries in their localities.

3. Social support is as important as medication.

If not more. Social support plays crucial role in prevention of PTSD development after trauma and can considerably alleviate its symptoms once it is developed. It doesn’t matter how old the trauma is — it is of course always better to get help early on, but it is never too late.

4. PTSD has a wide range of symptoms.

PTSD is not homogenous, and different persons may develop different symptoms. There are four major types of them:

  • Re-experiencing (reliving the event, flashbacks, nightmares)
  • Avoiding situations that remind of the traumatic event (sometimes people with PTSD tend to even avoid talking or thinking about things, people and situations that remind them of traumatic experience)
  • Hyperarousal (nervousness, alertness and feeling that one should be always on the lookout for danger, difficulty concentrating)
  • Changes in beliefs and feelings (people with PTSD often feel fear, shame, guilt and hopelessness, lose interest in their favorite activities).

5. Full recovery is possible.

Given proper treatment and support, many people are capable of fully recovering from PTSD. It needn’t be something that affects their entire lives. Of course, it is better to start early, but even advanced cases can be treated. And it is better to do so, especially because of this next point.

6. Left unattended, PTSD has a tendency to spread.

Neglected cases tend to completely hijack a person’s personality and subject them to never-ending cycles of reliving the traumatic event and entering downward spiral. People with PTSD have much greater risks of substance use disorders, suicide, and numerous health problems not seemingly connected with PTSD. They have trouble adjusting to everyday life and communicating with other people — all the same desperately needing their support.

We hope this article will help you understand people with PTSD a little bit better. Remember: if you suffer from it, getting help is not the sign of weakness. And if you know somebody with PTSD, you shouldn’t be discouraged and try to help them nonetheless.

42 Things People With PTSD Want You to Understand

11 Things

1. You don’t have to be a veteran to have PTSD.

The disorder can develop after a traumatic event, like witnessing or experiencing sexual assault, violence or death. It is estimated that 60 percent of men and 50 percent of women will experience one traumatic event at some point in their lives, although that doesn’t necessarily mean they will develop PTSD.

The condition is most commonly linked with war veterans, who while active were likely surrounded by scarring situations quite regularly. It is expected that between11 and 20 percent of vets who served in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom suffer from PTSD in a given year.

2. The time it takes for the condition to develop varies.

Sometimes symptoms don’t show up right away. There are two types of PTSD, according to researchers. There’s short-term or acute, from which a person can recover after a few months, and chronic or ongoing, where symptoms tend to persist throughout a longer period of time.

3. At its worst, PTSD can lead to suicide.

One of the horrible side effects of any mental illness is a risk for harmful or suicidal thoughts. It is believed that both deployed and non-deployed veterans have a higher risk for suicide than the general U.S. population.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Outside of the U.S., visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of international resources.

4. It’s not totally unheard of to have PTSD.

Nearly 8 million American adults suffer from PTSD in a given year, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Additionally, about 8 percent of the population will experience PTSD at some point in their lives.

5. The symptoms are all-consuming.

The effects of PTSD aren’t just emotional. The condition been associated with physical issues, like poor cardiovascular health and gastrointestinal problems. It’s also classified by paralyzing episodes of fear, avoidance of situations that trigger those fears and mood changes like extreme guilt, worry or loss of motivation.

6. There’s a huge stigma surrounding the condition.

Like most mental illnesses, people with PTSD are often plagued by negative stereotypes. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, only 25 percent of people with mental illness feel like others are understanding about their condition. This is a huge problem since stigma often prevents people from seeking proper treatment.

7. It’s not a punchline.

Using mental illnesses in a colloquial manner or as a joke only perpetuates incorrect perceptions. Think twice before you claim a stressful day at work or an uncomfortable argument “gave you PTSD.”

8. Remedies for PTSD vary depending on the person.

Mental illness isn’t one-size-fits-all, and neither is the treatment. People with PTSD will likely have to try different therapies, medications or other techniques in order to find what works best for them.

9. It’s not “all in their head.”

The mind is the most complex organ in the body, and related illnesses should be treated as such. Research shows that traumatic stress impacts regions in the brain. In other words, the condition is not something a person can just “get over” or an attitude they adopt just to seek attention.

10. The triggers aren’t universal.

Because PTSD stems from different traumatic experiences, the triggers that aggravate the condition and prompt flashbacks to the event aren’t going to be the same for everyone. While the condition is manageable, there’s always a chance that a person on the street, a sound in the grocery store or even a comment from a relative can provoke a paralyzing fear. It’s a hard reality to deal with on a regular basis.

11. It’s possible to live a healthy, productive life with PTSD.

Just because someone has PTSD doesn’t mean they’re unable to function or live fulfilling lives. Once again, the right treatment is necessary. Like cancer or the flu, an illness is just an aspect of someone’s reality; a piece to a whole puzzle. Their illness does not define them — and that’s the most important thing to remember.

 

16 Things

1. Get Educated. If you see the signs and symptoms of PTSD in someone you care about, learn more about what PTSD is, and what it isn’t, as it relates to your loved one’s experience.

2. PTSD: a Chronic or Curable Condition? According to the National Institute of Mental Health, PTSD is a chronic condition that can be managed through various modalities of treatment. With treatment, the effects of PTSD can be reduced and even eliminated, however, memories of the event cannot be erased.

Treatment can help someone regain control over their life from the symptoms of PTSD. It can also help reduce the extent to which symptoms of PTSD interfere with a number of different areas in their life such as work, school, or relationships. That said, it is important to remember that symptoms of PTSD can come back again. Once a person has successfully completed treatment, it does not mean the work is done. It is important that they continue to practice the healthy coping skills they learned in treatment.

3. PTSD is not a choice. Just like other mental illnesses or addictions, it is not something that you “choose” to have or to do to yourself. Use kindness and compassion when someone you know is coping with the PTSD.

4. Let the professionals treat your loved ones. Mental health experts are trained and equipped to handle mental illnesses such as PTSD. They will be able to talk with your loved one with an objective perspective and can utilize the best tools at hand for treating their PTSD. Your job is simply to love them best you can each day.

5. You can’t push, coax, or cajole someone into treatment. This is especially hard for those who are watching folks who are dealing with PTSD. While you can make a suggestion to get treatment or even help them find the resources they need, they have to seek treatment for themselves. We’ve all heard the saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink…”

6. Understand your loved one’s symptoms and the impact of those symptoms on his or her behavior. What might not seem like a “big deal” to you could be a trigger for your loved one. The more you know about these triggers, the more effectively you can modify routines and avoid them.

7. Recognize if they’re having trouble sleeping. Those trauma survivors who get PTSD are even more likely to suffer from insomnia and nightmares. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, of those coping with PTSD, 71% to 96% may have nightmares. If your loved one experiences insomnia or bad dreams, reduce the feelings of stress they experience especially before bed (ex. don’t watch the news before going to bed), reduce or eliminate caffeine in the late afternoon and evening, don’t eat too much before going to bed, and create an environment in which they can sleep well and feel safe.

8. Consider getting a therapy dog. A therapy dog can provide a sense of security, calming effects, and physical exercise that can make a positive difference in the life of those that suffer with PTSD. A therapy dog can also help them  sleep better, as the dog can be on guard for them, and wake them up if there is a problem.

9. Don’t ask insensitive questions. Questions about their trauma such as what happened, why it happened or how it happened, can trigger unwanted memories. If a friend or loved one wants to share the experience with you, he or she will do so when the time is right.

10. Honor individual choices. It is important to understand that your loved one’s behavior does not necessarily indicate his or her true feelings. That is, he may want to go out with friends and family but he is too afraid of bringing up upsetting thoughts and memories. If your loved one says no to participating in some event or going somewhere, honor this answer.

11. Anxiety has many faces. Especially for kids, but also for adults, anxiety can look like irritability, and it’s much harder to see it for what it is when that happens, according to Dr. Ruth Hoffman. Rather than responding to their crabbiness with “Where are your manners?” or “You don’t have to be such a grouch about it…” try taking a more compassionate route such as, “Wow, you really seem unsettled, is there something I can do?”

12. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not real. Each person deals with trauma in their his or her own unique way. Let go of your judgment, and reach for compassion instead as you never know what someone has been through or what they’re dealing with on the inside.

13. Meet them where they are. A person with PTSD still has a range of feelings, she just may not be expressed in the same way or fashion as she did before the traumatic experience. This may look like utilizing different coping mechanisms to operate effectively in the world, mechanisms which aren’t as familiar to you. When you can meet her where she is and rather than “where she used to be,” you can lower your stress and hers.

14. Let them be in control of their choices as much as possible. i.e. Don’t make all the choices for them. Conversely, asking them, “What do you want for dinner?” or “What do you want to wear?” (for kids) etc., can be overwhelming because it presents too many choices to think about.   If there is an obvious thing, like wanting to wear the same outfit over and over (some clothes feel safer than others), or wanting to sleep in the other room, etc., those are not things to argue about. Another approach might be “What can you wear that will feel safe enough, while I wash this other favorite outfit you’ve had on for three days?”

15. Get the support you need. Support groups and/or couples counseling may be a good way to learn how to communicate with your loved one, as well as cope with his or her PTSD symptoms. They may also help you find the best way to encourage your loved one to get help if he hasn’t already.

16. Treat them normally. If your family member or loved one is getting the treatment she needs, great. The best way you can support her as she goes through the healing process is to treat her normally, i.e. don’t walk on eggshells around her or use PTSD as an excuse to coddle her. Listen and love her as she learn how to effectively manage symptoms of PTSD.

Dealing with the effects a friend or loved one with PTSD can bring many tests and trials to even the best of relationships.  It requires learning new things and making changes to old patterns and habits.

The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to offer emotional support, understanding, patience and encouragement to your loved one on his or her road to recovery.

5 Things

5

Civilians Don’t Understand What PTSD Really Is

Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images

So you probably want the exciting story of how Warren got injured in Iraq. A big firefight? A roadside bomb? The restless spirits of an ancient tomb? Well, he … uh … fell off a wall. Yeah, he’s probably not getting a dramatic action movie about his experiences.

Okay, there was more to it than that. Earlier, he had been around a few I.E.D.s when they lived up to the “E” part of the acronym (close enough to get concussed, but not maimed). He also managed to break both legs and an arm in basic training, and he got shot at a party when he and his friends intervened in a fight. But it was a wall that finally ended his tour — he took a nasty fall while climbing over it. And that’s it. Thanks to what sounds like a deleted scene from Larry the Cable Guy’s Delta Farce, Warren was sent home with a spinal brace. Add that to everything else he’s been through, along with the general stress of getting shot at for a living, and it’s not hard to see how Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder emerged.

PhongsakM/iStock/Getty ImagesTraumatic injury is enough to inspire PTSD for one in five people. So yes, this really is enough.

In the long term, PTSD tends to be self-correcting, because we wouldn’t be here today if our distant ancestors had huddled into balls and waited to die the first time a wolf tried to eat them. But 20 percent of traumatized people end up with long-term PTSD, and an inordinate number of them are soldiers. Unlike other traumatic experiences, soldiering produces mixed emotions. Unless the car that put you in a wheelchair for a year was driven by your future spouse, you generally simply want to put traumatic events behind you. But soldiers are usually proud of what they do, and they make good friends while they do it. So you have some of the best moments of your life melded with some of the worst; it’s not as simple as “moving on.”

Oh, and I should point out that soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are less likely to commit suicide than soldiers who never deployed. This is because, and this might shock you, the army tends to not deploy unstable people into stressful, gunfire-filled situations. (And the overall suicide rate for soldiers, while tragic, is generally no higher than the national average.) The real PTSD warning signs are pre-existing mental conditions, past trauma, being less educated, and having a vagina — women tend to be more susceptible than men.

Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty ImagesThey get to deal with more causes than gunfire.

So then why are violent, suicidal, male veterans such a cliche? Most of the sociopathic villains in the FX drama Justified are veterans, as are many of the violent bikers in Sons Of Anarchy. Even freaking Happy Tree Friends features Flippy, the soldier character who, wait for it, violently flips out at the slightest provocation. I could go on, but others already have. If you need a character to be ridiculously violent and emotionally unstable, then slap a service badge on him and call it a day.

Gramercy Pictures“Come on. Fuck it, man. Let’s go bowling to much-needed therapy sessions.”

So in some cases, PTSD is a self-fulfilling prophecy. We think soldiers with it are dangerous, so we don’t interact with them and invent creative ways to legally avoid hiring them. Then, shockingly, they start to believe that they’re worthless and will never recover (even though the research says otherwise). And then some of them kill themselves and we treat it as a mysterious tragedy. Well, it doesn’t seem that mysterious to me. We go from treating them as heroes to treating them as ticking time bombs.

Speaking of which …

4

Marriage Is Difficult (But Not In The Ways People Assume)

Luke Sharrett/Getty Images News/Getty Images

I love my husband, but even if your marriage is so strong that it makes the eternal love of Disney characters look like festering garbage, years of sporadically supported PTSD puts a serious strain on it. For starters, if you think sex is the most intimate physical act a couple can engage in, try being a small woman doing her best to prevent her gigantic husband from choking during a seizure while he loses control of his body and shits himself. While that does earn me a lot of relationship karma (“Oh, you don’t feel like doing the dishes tonight? Well maybe I won’t feel like keeping you from biting your tongue off”), I’d rather spend our nights watching Netflix.

Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty ImagesIdeally, something without shots or explosions.

What, you didn’t know that seizures could go hand-in-hand with PTSD? You’re not the only one. You can imagine our surprise. Other times, he doesn’t remember who I am. Sometimes he freaks out at imaginary mortar fire. Between the seizures and panic attacks, our constant frustration with the US government (more on that later), and the fact that we’ve moved more than bank robbers on the run from the FBI, our marriage is a tad more stressed than one in which the couple’s greatest concern is which bespoke diaper bag to buy. It’s not easy for Warren, either. He’s said that he wants a divorce several times — not because he no longer loves me, but because PTSD can put you in a place where you feel like nothing but a burden (he’s not, by a long shot).

He’s thrice tried to, let’s say, “unilaterally enact” a divorce with extreme prejudice. The first time, he tried to hang himself, and I was able to get him down. Then he tried to shoot himself but failed. Twice. Outsiders don’t see these challenges, so instead they make a very different assumption. Once, I was visiting Warren during his stay in the psych ward, and when I had to leave, I cried because I wanted more time. A nurse walked me to the elevator and said “I know what you’re going through. Abuse is very hard to deal with. If you ever need help, there’s a group for battered women like you.” In a moment of what I think is truly heroic self-restraint, I didn’t growl, “You want to see abuse?” before spin-kicking her down the elevator shaft.

alex_u/iStock/Getty Images“The fact that we’re on the first floor saved your life.”

Warren has never laid a finger on me, and I have no bruises to even suggest otherwise, but she’s far from the first person to have suggested it. Because that’s what traumatized soldiers do, right? They go home and beat their wives because violence has been fundamentally ingrained in them? Yeah, or they try to put a bullet in their own head specifically because they’re terrified of hurting the people they love.

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3

Even Other Soldiers Don’t Get It

Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Image

The way our society handles soldiers is … complicated. We revere them for their service, but sometimes we take it to the point where we barely view them as regular human beings. After all, movie action heroes can suffer literally hundreds of near-death experiences and still make glib one-liners about it hours, days, or years later. Even that movie in which Tom Cruise actually dies 300 times still ends with him giggling at the camera. If they’re ever shown as vulnerable, it’s always in a way that makes them even more dashing and heroic.

So it’s no surprise that mental illness is stigmatized within the military. It makes you look weak, and the lack of guaranteed confidentially with military therapists makes soldiers terrified that something they say will get them in trouble. Would you talk to a therapist if you knew there was a chance your boss would learn all the details?

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty ImagesAs we’ve noted before, the military isn’t always great at dealing with sensitive personnel matters.

Older veterans aren’t much help, either. Far from being sympathetic to their struggles, some older vets view today’s soldiers as having it way easier than they did when they were slogging through the jungles of Vietnam. Of course, Vietnam vets were looked down on by some WWII and Korea vets, the WWI vets thought fighting fascism sounded like a vacation, and so on down the line to some caveman telling a young caveman that back in his day, bashing in the skulls of rival tribesmen was a real struggle because they didn’t get hunks of wood to attach their sharp rocks to.

jarino47/iStock/Getty Images“Rocks!? That must have been nice.” — Early Neanderthal

10 Things

What People with PTSD Want You to Understand about PTSD

  1. We are not weak. Suffering from PTSD as a result of trauma is not a mental weaknessor moral failing. Rather, it is a result of some traumatic thing that happened to us. The fact that some people develop PTSD after a traumatic event, and some people don’t, really has no correlation to the person’s physical, mental, or emotional strength.
  2. We are not all combat veterans. PTSD can be caused by any type of trauma, not just the horrors of war. Physical, sexual, emotional, or any other kind of abuse, can cause it as well as things like car accidents, natural disasters, and illnesses. PTSD is hard to understand even when you have it. Learn some of the facts that PTSD sufferers would like for you to know about the disorder. Take a look.
  3. We don’t always look like the people with PTSD on TV and in movies. People with PTSD are often portrayed in TV and films as rage-filled, flashback-having, anxiety-riddled lunatics. While anger,flashbacks, and anxiety are certainly symptoms of PTSD, many of us have learned how to deal with those things through therapy, medication, and support.
  4. We did not ask for the trauma that caused our PTSD. Someone suffering from PTSD is not to blame for having the disorder. We were victims of trauma who developed the disorder as a result. The trauma wasn’t our fault, and having PTSD isn’t our fault either.
  5. We don’t always know what will trigger us and why. Because being triggered can be caused by just about anything — a sight, smell, sound, movie, television show, place, picture, and the list goes on — we don’t always know which things are going to have a negative effect on us. It is also true that something we encounter may trigger us one time, but not the next. At times, it’s like dodging bullets and you have no idea which direction they are coming from.
  6. We have scars, but they are often invisible. The scars left by PTSD-inducing trauma aren’t always observable. Many times the wounds left by trauma are emotional, spiritual, and mental. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.
  7. We know that sometimes our reactions and feelings are illogical, but knowing that doesn’t always help. Being triggered, anxious, or depressed as a result of PTSD is sometimes quite irrational in relation to the situation. Many times, we know this, intellectually. That knowledge, though, doesn’t make the irrational feelings go away.
  8. We cannot just “get over it.” PTSD has physical symptoms; it affects our bodies, not just our minds. Telling someone with PTSD to “get over it” is like telling someone with epilepsy to “get over” having seizures. It doesn’t work.
  9. We want you around, even when we don’t act like it. Sometimes we want to isolate and withdraw from daily life. That doesn’t always mean that we want to be alone, though. We may feel comforted by just being in the same room with you, even if there is no interaction.
  10. We need for you to believe in our recovery. Recovery from, or at least management of, PTSD is possible, but it doesn’t always feel that way to us. Having support from you and seeing that you believe we can recover is the best thing you can do for us.

I’m sure that those of you out there with PTSD can think of many more things that you would like others to understand about PTSD and the effects it has on you. I would love for you to share some of your ideas in the comments below.

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You Can Get PTSD From Staying In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

Stop. Just stop asking why a woman is so stupid and so weak when she stays in an abusive relationship. There’s no answer you can possibly understand.

Your judgment only further shames abused women. It shames women like me.

There was no punch on the very first date with my ex-husband. That’s not normally how abusive marriages start. In fact, my first date was probably pretty similar to yours: he was charming, he paid attention to me, and he flattered me.

Of course, the red flags were there in the beginning of my relationship. But I was young and naïve, probably much like you were in the beginning of your relationship.

Except my marriage took a different turn than yours.

An abusive marriage takes time to build. It’s slow and methodical and incessant, much like a dripping kitchen faucet.

It begins like a little drip you don’t even notice — an off-hand remark that is “just a joke.” I’m told I’m too sensitive and the remark was no big deal. It seems so small and insignificant at the time. I probably am a little too sensitive.

DRIP, DRIP.

I occasionally notice the drip but it’s no big deal. A public joke made at my expense is just my partner being the usual life of the party. When he asks if I’m wearing this dress out or whom I’m going with, it only means he loves me and cares about me.

When he tells me he doesn’t like my new friend, I agree. Yes, I can see where she can be bossy. My husband is more important than a friend, so I pull away and don’t continue the friendship.

DRIP, DRIP.

The drip is getting annoying, but you don’t sell your house over a leaky faucet.

When a playful push was a little more than playful, I tell myself he didn’t really mean it.

He forgets he’s stronger than me. When I confront him in yet another lie he’s told, he tells me I’m crazy for not believing him. Maybe I’m crazy … I’m beginning to feel a little crazy.

I begin to compensate for the drips in my marriage. I’ll be better. I’ll be a better wife. I’ll make sure the house is clean and dinner is always prepared. And when he doesn’t even come home for dinner, I’ll keep it wrapped and warmed in the oven for him.

On a night I’m feeling feisty, I feed his dinner to the dog before he comes home. I’m not feeling quite as smug well after midnight when he does show up. I quickly get out of bed and go to the kitchen as he yells at me to make him dinner.

Waking me from sleep becomes a regular occurrence. I no longer allow myself deep, restful sleep. I’m always listening and waiting.

In the morning, I’ll shush the kids to keep them quiet so they don’t wake up daddy. We all begin to walk on eggshells around him.

DRIP, DRIP.

The drip is flowing pretty strong now. I’m afraid to put a bucket under it and see how much water I’m really losing. Denial is setting in.

If I hadn’t said what I did, he wouldn’t have gotten so mad. It’s my fault; I need to just keep quiet. I should know better than to confront him when he’s been drinking.

He’s right — I really am an ungrateful bitch. He goes to work every day so I can stay home with the kids. Of course he needs time to himself on the way home from work each day.

On the rare occasion I do meet with my friends, I rush to be home before him. I never ask him to babysit so I can do something in the evening. I mustn’t inconvenience him.

We attempt marriage counseling. Although neither of us is totally honest about why we are there, the counselors are open with us about their concerns.

We never spend more than one session with a counselor.

DRIP, DRIP.

I’m working so hard to be the perfect wife and have the perfect family that I don’t take the time to notice there’s water spilling on to the floor.

I know what will make this better. I’ll get really active outside the home but of course, I’ll still take care of everything in the home and never burden him. And I’ll never dare ask for help.

I’m now the perfect fourth grade room mother. My church mentors tell me to read books and listen to lectures on praying for my husband and understanding his needs.

I work very hard to present the front of a perfectly happy family. My kids are involved in multiple activities that I, of course, solely organize and am responsible for.

I’ve begun to drop subtle hints to the other moms but when they confront me I adamantly deny it. No, everything is great, I insist. I point to all the happy family photos I post to Facebook as evidence.

I’m not sure which scares me more: the fear that others will find out my secret, or that my husband will find out I told the truth about our marriage. I realize I’m now afraid of him.

DRIP, DRIP.

And then one day, I wake up and realize the house is flooding. My head bobs under the water. I’m scared.

I also see the fear in my children’s eyes. Oh dear God, what have I done? How did we get here? Who have I become?

The night he throws his cell phone at me and narrowly misses my head, I want to pack the kids in the car and leave. The evening at the dinner table when he stands up and throws a fork at me in front of the kids, I want to leave.

Where would I possibly go? And if I do go somewhere, what will I do? How will I afford living on my own?

He’s right — I have no skills to survive on my own. I need his money.

“What, you want to leave and go whore around?” he yells to me. “I always knew you were a slut.”

He’s a master at deflection. His actions are no longer the focus; I’m the one on trial now.

I’m no longer the woman I was on our first date. I’ve become timid and weak in front of him. I feel defeated. I chose this man and I gave birth to these children. It’s my fault.

With every breath I take, it’s my duty to keep these kids safe and keep my life together. It’s the only life I’ve known for twenty years. At this point, I don’t know how to do anything else.

I stay.

DRIP, DRIP.

The flood continues. My head bobs under a second time.

On a typical anger-filled evening, I say enough is enough and I decide to fight back. But even in his stumbling drunken stupor, he’s stronger than I am.

I see the look in his eye as he hovers over me. He has biologically been given the ability to kill. That look in his eye terrifies me.

“Go ahead and leave,” he sneers to me. “But the kids stay here.”

My retreat that night is all it takes to turn the faucet on all the way and force me to tread water, if not for my life, then at the very least for my sanity.

Despite my best attempts, my secret has been exposed. I can’t just up and leave like well-meaning friends tell me to. It’s not that easy.

I have no money. In fact, he found my secret stash I’d been working on for almost a year. I thought I was so careful that no bank records would come to the house. He must have broken in to my email.

I should’ve known better. He always kept close tabs on me. He hated when I accused him of spying on me, so I just let him snoop.

He made me feel so guilty and ashamed when I handed over my secret savings to him. I wonder what he did with the money? I know it didn’t get used for the kids needs. I assume he drank it or gambled it or used it to impress another woman.

I’m stuck. I stay.

DRIP DRIP

Dear God, please don’t let me go under a third time. My family is beyond rescue, but please save me and save my kids.

…..

I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m no longer in the marriage, yet my scars run deep.

Abuse doesn’t always manifest as a black eye or a bloody wound. The effects of psychological abuse are just as damaging.

I entered counseling and was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. The psychological abuse kept me fearful, the depression and anxiety left me incapable of taking the steps necessary to get out.

Although I initially thought PTSD was a bit extreme, it’s been almost three years and certain noises or situations still trigger difficult memories for me.

When my male boss was angry and yelling at the staff one day, I became physically sick. I felt like I was right back where I was years ago, sitting and cowering on the garage floor, trying to placate the anger of a man towering over me.

I worry that not only have my daughters witnessed a man mistreat a woman, but that my sons have had a poor example to follow of what it means to be a real man.

I stayed for the sake of my children. Now, I blame myself for the effects staying may possibly have on them.

Why did I stay? I stayed because I was isolated; I was financially dependent on him; I was sleep deprived; I was told and I believed I was worthless; I was worn down from constantly being on guard for the next attack.

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