As mentioned yesterday I recently received an email from a fellow blogger. He told me he knew personally about the numbness of PTSD and wanted to give his perspective on the whole situation… ‘How I felt, what caused it, and most importantly, what you can do for your husband as he goes through this’
The emails went back and forth between us, we established that all experience of PTSD is different…every PERSON is different and that some situations or causes are more complex and deeper rooted than others… BUT regardless it was encouraging to read his account. It helped me to understand SOME of what my husband is going through and he’s also offered to write some guest posts for me to delve deeper and explain more about it so those posts will be up soon. For now…I want to share with you some of the points which struck a chord with me and hopefully help YOU to understand a little bit more too.
‘I want to try and explain this part clearly so you know what your husband is going through. I know this probably has to be the most confusing aspect of PTSD for you – I knew I had a heart because I could feel my pulse, but I could not FEEL any emotion whatsoever.
…as for your husband, I have no idea why he has PTSD so I cannot tell you what to avoid or how to specifically help him, but I can tell you what I would have liked as I was going through it…
- Love him – This part is going to SUCK, because you won’t get much love in return. Hold him. Kiss him…While his heart may not understand, his head will. When he finally awakens, you will have a stronger relationship.
- This one will be especially hard. Make love to him. Loveless sex may be difficult for you, but the intimacy would be appreciated by him. His sex drive may be lower right now. If so, it definitely isn’t you, so don’t put that blame on your own shoulders. With his brain in overdrive, the thoughts may not be focused on sex.
- Get him help – This is beyond your abilities to help him by yourself. PTSD is evil. Being a zombie is evil. Living that way feels awful. The sooner he can talk about it and deal with it, the better.
- Encourage him to write – It helps. Buy him a notebook and pens. If he is writing, don’t disturb him. If he asks that you not read the notebooks, respect his penned words and leave them alone. The words will only hurt you and it will break his trust.
- Encourage him to exercise and eat right. After fights with the ex, I would walk the city streets at 1-2 am. It was the only thing that helped calm me down. Look for a co-ed sport that you both can participate in. Talk walks together. If he wants to talk, let him talk. If he doesn’t, talk to him about ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE PTSD. Make walking and meal times PTSD free zones. Don’t let him eat fast food as it will only make him feel gross physically. Encourage him to eat right because he needs all the brain power he can get.
- Limit video games – I’m a gamer and I started playing A LOT. I didn’t have to think when I was playing. I didn’t have to feel when I was playing. I could get lost in the world I was playing in. While it can be a help at times, don’t let him go overboard. Men like to go to our “cave” when we are dealing with issues. Don’t let him get lost in his online cave.
- Don’t ask him how he feels. He doesn’t fucking know. Honestly. Pressuring him to answer that question or any other question about feelings is going to make it worse. In fact, try not to talk about emotions as much as possible. Yes, that is unnatural and completely foreign to you.
- Don’t take what he says personally – I remember saying some crazy shit during that period of time. Remember, he cannot feel, so statements he makes have no emotional motivation to them. They are just words. Conversely, try to remember that your husband is in a PTSD cocoon. He may want to tell you that he loves you…but he can’t feel it right now. When he does say the words, in whatever form he says them, cherish them. I’m sure it was hard for him to say them.
- Find a support system for yourself – You will not be getting the same kind of love from your husband as you are used to. Rely on family and friends. Treat yourself to a spa day once in a while and keep up your appearance. Go out with the girls and get drunk and dance your ass off. You deserve it. This is FUCKING HARD! It is perfectly OK to spoil yourself once in a while to recharge your batteries.
You two CAN DO THIS! You can win against EVIL. You can get your husband back. You can have an AMAZING marriage. It CAN BE DONE. Do not GIVE UP. Failure is NOT an option. I have faith in both of you.
I will do my best to help you understand what he is dealing with and I will give you as much insight as I can. Honestly, I lived with that shit for far too long. If I can help your husband get better, I will, because I know exactly how it DOESN’T feel.’
There IS hope
- Defeating PTSD: Living Life (forwardwalking.com)
- PTSD & Addiction (Part II) (bangordailynews.com)
- I have PTSD…I feel like a freak today!…I (amyleveringstillhere2008.wordpress.com)
- Dealing WIth Trauma (freepsycharticles.wordpress.com)
- The Thing About Sex (challies.com)
- Because Others Might Understand: P.T.S.D. (writingredbaron.wordpress.com)
- Hope for post traumatic stress syndrome? (southofheaven.typepad.com)
- A sad ending (notepadandlipstick.com)
- What is PTSD? (vocalizerva.wordpress.com)
- Numb, numb, numb… (healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.wordpress.com)