Hi guys... I have to start the subject PTSD again.
Does anyone have a brother / husband / boyfriend who came home after Iraq, maybe even retired and now is struggling through PTSD issues???
He is working now, doing a lot off business travel, but having sleepless nights. If he gets some sleep then has nightmares. He tries to knock himself down with a drink just to get some sleep... He doesn't talk to close people but pushes them away, he feels like running away and not doing counselling... And that is a list quite generalized. I was told by him it's too bad to tell me the details, to get me involved in that, that he needs to get the things under control and then he would be able to get back to everyone he cares about... But I don't know how he thinks to get things under control with alcohol and running away from them and I can't see how the person I love more than anything in this world is just rolling down. The whole thing is more complicated because we are in different countries right now... The contact is only via email , seldom and only if I don't touch the subject health etc...
Has anyone any idea, maybe is there anyone out there with a degree / experience in Mental Health in general or worked /working with soldiers having a PTSD caused by military experiences; who could tell me what to do in such case??? I feel so helpless and it hurts to see how the person I care about can't get stable and harms himself. I'm seeing a psychotherapist by myself now... I got a PTSD as well... But my issue is nothing in comparison to his. Is there any trick/tactic to talk him in at least to start a counselling??? Please, any information is so much welcome!
Jun 17, '08
One of the hallmarks of PTSD is avoidance...of anything familiar with the trigger, in this case, war. But, it is exactly what the person needs to confront...that is why it is confronting him instead. But, walking towards it may be frightening, but must be done again in order to move forward. Sort of like embracing your fear in order to eventually let it go.
It is good that you are moving forward in your own PTSD and in your own progress. It would be nice if he could move forward in his own as well. Two folks working on their own unique stuff...but, not alone. Don't lose hope. Typically though, and don't lose heart, a man waits till he hits his lowest until he seeks or accepts help. Just keep the door open...let him witness in you that counseling does help...show him by your own progress and share it ever so often. Maybe, one way of helping him take a step forward would be having someone from the VA outreach to him...or better yet, come meet him. He needs to see that folks are generally accepting of his condition, respect him for his past service, and can feel safe in discussing how his PTSD impacts his life. Another way for him to help bridge his fear/avoidance is simply by sharing how PTSD impacts his daily life...how has it changed him...without getting into the nasty details. Work on the safe stuff first which is easiest not to avoid...then over time, at his own comfort, he can begin to move inward deeper towards the more disturbing.
There is hope.
An ex-PTSD survivor
Last edit by Thunderwolf on Jun 17, '08
Jun 18, '08
Thanks a lot for sharing your opinion and experience! It feels good to hear a supportive word.
Look, I do agree and I want to tell my boyfriend all about how counseling helps me, but like you said "avoidance...of anything familiar with the trigger".. and right now I'm afraid that anyone and anything what might remind him that he has a mentally issue is already a trigger for him. That is the dilemma: to share the experience of my own treatment - yes, but it means to touch the subject he doesn't maybe even want to hear about. I don't even know if he would read my email or would just delete it as soon as he sees where it goes.
But I did let him know that I'm here any time he needs me and that I'm giving him time and love him and want him doesn't matter what. Well, he didn't say any word back...but I assume he read it. I'm not sure he can really register now the words I write him... Maybe he doesn't believe that he could be loved and accepted so like he is, and it will only take time till he will see that it's the truth... I thought that going together 3 his deployments in Iraq, that it will be already a good sign for him that he can rely on me... Maybe I was wrong...
I'll try to call a VA and ask them if they can come and see him. But I guess I'll get the answer again "He should come here and register first". I called VA hospital and asked if they can "track" guys a bit, like invite them / make them to show up like at least once a year for a check up or something where they can be estimated if they need some counselling. I was told no. I was told they might do something, but he is not in the system. My boyfriend wrote me 4 months ago that he went to a hospital and was told that he is suffering from PTSD and that they wanted to put him on medication. Well, as far as I know he doesn't take any medication now. When I asked him what he does to get some sleep - some medicine, he said, no, just having a drink... So no medication and due to his job with a lot of travel -I suppose no counselling is possible either.Right? Well, altogether makes me think either he lied to me about going to the hospital or he went but didn't let them register him so really and didn't take any medication.
I don't know. I'm not giving up my hopes. But I'm so confused, not knowing what he thinks, what he does... so much confused by all that.
You is a PTSD survivor... How did you get out of it? Did people bring you to a counselor? What made you feel / think - now I have to take that step and get help??
Thanks for your help.
Hugs to you too, my friend.
Jun 20, '08
Your significant sounded alot like myself back then...complete avoidance...until the many outside stressors beyond my control overwhelmed me to the point in becoming full blown symptomatic (PTSD). At that time, I met most if not all the diagnostic criteria in the DSM. It was then and only then that I sought counseling and medication. Unlike your significant, my (then) wife denied I had PTSD and left me to crash and burn without emotional support...and I did. As a result, 2 hospital inpatient stays were required to reduce my triggers and to knock me down with medication. I was in counseling and on meds for 3 years till it finally resolved for me...and as you can imagine, our marriage ended as well. It was concluded in my counseling sessions that my wife and her family actually provoked many of my symptoms. Divorce became part of my treatment plan.
So, in a nutshell, I avoided PTSD as an issue for myself or the need for treatment until I could avoid no longer. In treatment, I had to learn how PTSD impacted my life, come to understand my triggers and embrace them in order to manage them/let some go, and had to make some major life changes in my life to reduce triggers known to provoke me.
There is life after the avalanche of PTSD. I have been symptom free, counselor free, doctor free, and med free for 5 years. And the great part about it...I can sleep easy at night once again.
Hugs to you and your man...you have my best.
Last edit by Thunderwolf on Jun 25, '08
Jun 20, '08
Oh, boy... I'm so sorry to hear about that you didn't get any support from your ex... and you were married not just like me girl/boyfriend... But especially after his deployments I hang on him so much as if I were a wife...
I'm asking myself what are the values of some people who just give up the person like that??? How can they sleep afterward??? That's sad.
How can the other party ever trust people again??? Sometimes human beings going through each other lives, breaking them and going away...
I'm happy for you that you did get help and manage to get out of it. It also gives me some hope.
I'm sorry if I with my asking about your experience made you fall back in the sad news and I hope it won't make you instabil. If it helps, know that you did help some other sole through sharing your experience. I wished I could make my boyfriend talk to you about it. Maybe hearing it from a man and someone he doesn't know would make him take that step earlier to get some help...
Thanks a lot again. I wish you the best and stay in touch.
Jun 24, '08
No problem. On very rare occasions, I tell my story if it helps another.
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