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What We’d Like Our Family To Know About Living With PTSD

I’ve talked about it some in the past, but I don’t bring up my husband’s PTSD much. It’s our issue to deal with. And yes, I say our. He and I both live with the effects of it. He does his best to deal with it all, but I also have to learn how to deal with his triggers and moods. It’s not easy. I never thought much of what the loved ones of those with PTSD go through before I had to deal with it. There are days when everything is fine, then there are days when something will trigger him or it’ll be an anniversary of someone’s death and I’ve found that it’s best to leave him alone. On anniversary days, I was all chit chatting away about things and he’s looking at me, just wanting me to stop talking already because he just wants to be alone to deal with it. We’ve gotten better and he now tells me these things so I will respect his mood. It’s a huge learning process and we still have tons to learn for what works for us. I only want to help him and be his cheerleader, but I don’t always go about it the best way.

He brought this home for me and I thought I would share.

What We’d Like Our Family Members and Friends To Know About Living With PTSD
Suggestions from Veterans who were involved in combat in the Vietnam War
Oklahoma City VA Medical Center, Spring 200

1. Give me space when I need to alone – don’t overwhelm me with questions. I’ll come and talk to you when I’m ready.
2. Get away from me if I am out of control, threatening, or violent.
3. Be patient with me, especially if I am irritable.
4. Don’t personalize my behavior when I explode or get quiet.
5. Learn and rehearse a time out process.
6. Don’t patronize me or tell me what to do. Treat me with respect and include me in conversations and decision making.
7. Don’t pity me.
8. Don’t say “I understand” when there are some things that you cannot understand.
9. Realize that I have unpredictable highs and lows – good and bad days.
10. Anticipate my anniversary dates – recognize that these could be tough times.
11. I’d like to share my traumatic experiences with you, but I fear overwhelming and losing you.
12. I want to be close to you and share my feelings, but I’m afraid to and sometimes I don’t know how to express my emotions.
13. I also fear your judgement.
14. Know that I still love you and care about you, even if I act like a jerk sometimes.
15. Don’t ask me to go to crowded or noisy places because I’m uncomfortable in those settings.

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