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The following has been playing on my mind a lot lately…Let’s call this…Therapy

A few weeks ago I heard news of a shooting on a military base in Texas – Fort Hood.

I didn’t know anyone involved or even anyone living nearby but it affected me massively.

The shooter was a military man, he had a wife and kid(s) and he killed -I believe- 3 people, injured around 14 others and then killed himself.

Apparently this man was suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) or something similar… he was troubled in one way or another and to be honest I feel for him. I’ve been in dark places before, thankfully not dark enough to harm others but the thought of harming myself…well it wasn’t out of the question. Looking back I shudder at some of the things I used to think, It actually embarrasses me thinking about it but ultimately I got help, things got better and the only times I look back is to remind myself how far I have come.

I realise that we are never safe, there are bad people out there who will hurt us randomly, we will be in the wrong place at the wrong time…stuff like this happens. To be associated with or linked to a military base always holds that worry of attacks, they are obvious targets and perhaps one reason why I wouldn’t choose to live on the base itself but to have someone FROM the INSIDE do something like this is absolutely terrifying.

I’m sure you can see where the PTSD links have affected me. I know there are different levels of it, different versions even and of course different causes; I know that not everyone with PTSD will end up shooting a bunch of people but the fact that this happened…I don’t know.

What about the people injured, the people who witnessed friends and colleagues die…the family and friends of those people… think of the affect it will have on them. Therapy, Some form of PTSD, alcoholism, drug abuse…you know, things to ease the pain. The anger, the hurt…the breakdown of communication between loved ones. Think how many people would be changed by that day and who would then change their relationships at home. The ripple effect of repercussions is terrifying! Where and how does it end?

I suppose this incident has shown me one extreme outcome but all I keep thinking (apart from about the families of those involved) is ‘his poor wife!’

Did she know he was at this point? Were there signs? What were they? How exactly would you ever assume – or believe- that the person you love would actually do something like this?…and what happens to her now? What on earth is going through her mind? Apparently this woman discovered that the shooter was in fact her husband because they said it on the news! How terrible! They had children, how do you explain to a child why daddy isn’t coming home and why these people are looking at them strangely? How does that family move on from this?

This incident has scared me, for the first time since being married, since finding out everything about my husband… the thought of not really knowing your partner – or what they are capable of- has hit home. I don’t for one minute believe he would do anything like this, or that I would let it get to that point… but I’m sure the Fort Hood shooters wife thought the same thing about her husband.

How do you get past this?

xBx

 

 

 

 
 

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#13 As sick as your secrets

**Continuing on from my last post (here) ***

Number 9 Sign

Number 9 Sign (Photo credit: tedeytan)

In order for this to make as much sense as possible, its probably a good idea to read back (if you haven’t already) about our rating scale technique – posted here.

After telling me how he knows he can trust me and explaining that its hard to tell me the things he WANTS to tell me let alone the things he’s not ready to talk about yet…he then said something which made my heart stop.

“I’m really tempted to tell you my 10…but I don’t feel like it’s right yet…

so are you ready for a 9?”

Of course I wont go into detail of it here but that 9 of his was shocking…and not in the way you would assume. what took me by surprise was how NORMAL his 9 was…this massive secret which he was too scared to say to anyone for his entire life…this 9 out of 10 on the scale of difficulty…was something so…common that had I not known it was a ‘9’ for him i probably wouldn’t have batted an eyelid if he told me.

I’ll give you what I think would be a (fictional of course) comparison of this ‘9’ of his…

  • ‘I wet the bed till I was 11’
  • ‘I still cry at Disney films’
  • ‘I’m afraid of the dark’

Of course the content was a relief…you would assume something as hard to disclose as that would automatically mean it’s something bad but -like she said before- it’s not always the content that is hard to tell…it’s just that its something of his. What has blown my mind repeatedly in all of this is how little he has ‘Googled’ about this stuff…because if he had then he may have worked out by now that he is not weird…or that other people go through this stuff too. Regardless, because I knew how hard it was to tell me- BEFORE he told me, I was able to react in an encouraging way. Instead of shrugging it off i thanked him for letting me in, instead of giggling or making an inappropriate joke i was able to take it seriously and actually listen to what he was telling me but most importantly i was able to reassure him that he is not a freak…that he shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed and that this thing is more common than he realises…I was able to put his mind at ease -so in that sense the rating scale saved the day as without it i probably wouldn’t have reacted – or appreciated it – the same way.

His therapist had explained to me how he should be telling himself ‘its ok…nothing bad happened’ at any times when he does something which he sees as a ‘fuck up’ – for example spilling a drink like I explained in the post about the oxygen mask…OR when he tells me something of his. So again I was able to remind him of that once he told me his 9- literally by telling him ‘see…nothing bad has happened…its ok’ and then physically by keeping my body language the same, by kissing him etc -My health and social care teacher would be proud lol…those A levels are really paying off now ha ha.

He allowed me to ask questions so I started slow and eventually (a handful of questions later) we got to a point where he didn’t want to talk about it anymore so I let it go and we carried on as normal (see…nothing happened!) I thought it only fair to share one of my higher numbers with him to even the score but again, seeing as I’m probably a bit too open all i could find was a 5/6…that being a poem I had written on the Community Storyboard about cuddling him in bed (here) The reason that was a 5/6 was because its my true feelings about us and its MY blog but I shared that with him (whilst hiding behind a pillow) and he liked it so I think we both felt a little lighter after that- and closer to each other too.

For me to find a 5/6 is pretty rare…there’s not a lot that i wouldn’t tell him or share with him…or not much that i would find difficult anyway… but there was ONE other 5 that I let him into and that was meeting BeetleyPete a few weeks ago. For me meeting Pete (and Mrs Pete) was important to ME. It involved going somewhere I usually go by myself…one of my happy places I suppose (which I don’t have many of now I live here) and introducing my husband to THE blogging legend himself. It was something I was looking forward to and I was almost a little bit protective of…something I didn’t want to be tainted by anything or anyone…something for me…which I allowed him into…something I shared with him. THAT was hard for me to do…but I did it…and nothing bad happened 🙂

Another thing his therapist had explained during that session was what he would feel like after divulging something of his; and so with this information and knowing how big this secret was for him I was prepared for what happened next. I knew how shit he would be feeling…and it was obvious that he was; He said he felt physically sick and that night he asked me NOT to cuddle him in bed (and apologised for asking lol) But i understood why he was being that way so did whatever I could to make him see that no matter what I was still here for him and that this secret had not and would not change anything. For the next few days he was a little bit ‘off’ but I was able to let him ride the wave without giving him too much shit for being in a mood and keep reassuring him without actually making a big deal out of it.

Its been a while since his 9…and he’s back to normal as far as the aftermath of it goes but he’s still not ready for his 10…and I am not pushing for it. Its good to know he felt safe enough to open up to me – and that I knew how to handle it once he did; I think – for us- this was a major breakthrough, I feel closer to him – almost smug actually lol- and I hope he feels closer to me too…but most importantly I hope I have shown him that it IS ok to let me in…because nothing bad happens when he does 🙂

xBx

 

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…

Deep Breath

Deep Breath (Photo credit: kagey_b)

So having had a few weeks of “should I stay or go?” I was no closer to a decision. I had felt bad for even thinking about leaving… Not just bad for him but bad for us… For how we could be and for considering throwing in the towel when really – like my counsellor had pointed out- we WERE still moving forward. I think it was panic mode resurfacing, can I do this? Am I strong enough? Will things ever get better… CAN WE EVER BE NORMAL??

I felt even more guilty for thinking all of that without telling him any of it. Usually I would say SOMETHING but every time I was close he would surprise me with a new insight or a positive move so I kept it to myself for weeks. BUT the revelation of keeping his eyes open and banishing demons (posted here) gave us the positive boost we needed- it gave me more hope… A massive point to add to the list of pros and cons building in my mind. I felt good… WE felt good.

However, I had noticed that he has stopped doing things, he doesn’t speak to anyone apart from me really, he doesn’t socialise much. I realise that this seems like a random tangent but trust me…it will make sense shortly…anyway- Last week he came home and told me about a game of paintball with some workmates but he immediately said he didn’t want to go, I questioned it, telling him it sounded fun, he should have some time off doing something fun… That I didn’t mind and would enjoy some me time etc but still he said no. I asked if he had noticed that he had stopped going out and he said he hadn’t until I pointed it out and agreed that maybe he should do something. I went shopping over the weekend and suggested he and a friend did something… He was up for that but on the day didn’t see any plans through. He never used to be like this and I’ve recognised the signs from experience- depression, lack of interest, almost hibernating because its easier.

A few days later came back from his next solo therapy session and I casually asked how it went. He was vague and didn’t really say much other than that they spoke about some “stuff” we had all talked about. I let it slide figuring he would tell me more when he was ready and when had got his head around it -like usual- but later he showed no signs of opening up. So I asked if they had spoken about the masturbating/porn. I knew they had because it was the first she had heard about any of it when I went so it was bound to have been a main topic.

stress

stress (Photo credit: bottled_void)

He eyed me suspiciously and asked how I knew so I told him the above. He then said that they had talked about it but I wouldn’t like it so…. This got my back up. I don’t like it when people assume I can’t handle something and more importantly it winds me up that something crucial for us has been discussed without giving me any insight. Obviously I know it’s his session etc but if SHE had an insight which could have helped me understand it better… then I don’t understand why she didn’t bring it up there and then -when I told her in our session. Plus this is exactly what HE does… Tell me bits which make it sound terrible and then I worry and eventually I find out that it wasn’t that bad… It drags it out, it stresses me out, it prolongs the agony.

I didn’t push him for it because … Well it’s not right to do that but I got angry (inside) and that massive pro quickly dissolved (and then some) tipping the scales back the other way and making me wonder what the fucking point was. Later still he asked if I really wanted to know (erm duh) and so he told me…

“Ok… She told me to masturbate – without you- and I said no. She asked why and I said that I didn’t need or want to because what we do works, that you wouldn’t be ok with that… and i wouldn’t either. She pushed me and tried to persuade me but I still said no and told her we would have to think of something else… She said I should because its something for me… For myself and that I shouldn’t feel guilty for doing something for me”

*Deep breath…Adopt calm voice and…*

“Firstly thank you for telling me and thank you for saying no. she’s right – you shouldn’t feel guilty for doing something for yourself but you but it’s more about the lying about it, hiding it and affecting others in such a negative way that is not ok. Also for her to suggest that makes me doubt that the extent of you doing it was discussed between you truthfully as I don’t think she would suggest that if she knew… So what happens now? Is this you telling me that someone else has suggested it so now you’re considering it or…?

He said no, he wasn’t going to do it and he had told her about the paintball etc he hugged me tight and asked what I thought about it all. Reluctant to say anything damaging I mulled it over and considered her point. Yes it’s good for him to do things for himself but ultimately it’s  his actions before now that have added to the issue surrounding it. Now she’s suggested it its added the paranoia that had faded drastically back into the mix, it actually makes me feel sick thinking about going against everything I feel is right and crushing myself further for the sake of a quick release… If I were to consider her point about the oxygen mask (posted here) then saying that any of this was ok would be the opposite of what she had suggested. Is this what he needs? Am I wrong to be so against it? Am I preventing him from getting better? Am I fuck!

And so I told him

“Again, it’s good that you said no but do you agree with it? Do you think it would help? (No) Honestly i don’t know if i can do this… do you know I’ve been thinking about leaving? (no…for how long?) for a few weeks now but every time I’ve been on the edge something good has happened and we have moved forward. The other night I turned you down because I couldn’t take it anymore, because all this shit about sex and wanking makes me feel sick and I don’t have the mental energy to pretend I’m ok with it every time but then we had a breakthrough and it felt great but now it’s back to square one.

What she has suggested puts the paranoia back because you’ve been given the go ahead by one person so surely that plants that fucking seed again? We had been making progress in the bedroom and it was working for us but now I’m going to be worried about saying no again in case you do it yourself out of spite (I wouldn’t do that… Is that what you think?) yes! And now even more so. I mean am I supposed to sit downstairs and be ok with it? (No because its not going to happen) you already get to do that for you the difference is that I’m with you… you’re still the one doing it! that’s a compromise we have established and i thought that was good for both if us (it is… i like that you’re with me) It’s already enough that we have to do that together – me being there is the only way I can get intimacy from it and I’m sorry but there are others things to do for you… You could go out, you can do what you want (i know and that’s what i told her) I don’t turn you down and then go and have a wank to suit myself.

Aside from that she’s now made me think I’m wrong, its made me question whether or not i am actually helping or adding to all of this and its made me doubt my own morals. I’m sorry but I can’t go along with something that will make me feel even worse than I already do… So if YOU want to do it then do it… I will understand and i don’t want to be the one hindering your progress…But I will not be here anymore. THAT by the way was a 10 on the scale of difficulty”

WELCOME TO MY WORLD

WELCOME TO MY WORLD (Photo credit: FUNKYAH)

He kissed me and thanked me for my 10. He reassured me that I am NOT hindering anything, that he wasn’t going to do anything and that “if it wasn’t for you god knows where I would be right now… You’re the reason I’m trying to get better so I can be a better person for me and a better husband for you… Because I do not want to lose you” he told me I should talk to him when I feel like leaving and asked how to make it better. I told him I understood how hard it is for him and that I’m never going to force him to tell me anything – its not like j could if i wanted to!- but I just need to be let in and feel PART of his world … Just like I let him into mine…

And that’s when it happened…

To be continued

xBx

 
 

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Therapy : The Oxygen Mask

Concepts in Eric Berne's Transactional Analysis

Concepts in Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently met my husbands therapist for the first time. We ended up staying for an extra hour and in those 2 hours I learned so much. There’s a lot of ‘she said’ and numbers involved in this post so apologies if I lose a few of you – a few times throughout lol.

Let me say that due to the nature of this post, this topic…this situation… I’m obviously not going to go into detail of anything that isn’t mine to share so any examples used are purely fabricated for the purpose of… Well giving an example basically lol

The first thing she did was explain all the transactional analysis stuff – which I’ve posted about here– but explained it so it made sense and was relevant to us. The bottom line is that my husband is REALLY hard on himself, maybe not out loud but he is nonetheless. I realised he had low self esteem on some level but I never knew quite the extent of it. For example spilling a drink… To me that’s nothing but for him he hates himself for it – all due to childhood.

She explained that he knows he NEEDS to change but some things he doesn’t necessarily WANT to… Not yet anyway. The reason he NEEDS to change… the reason he wants to WANT to change is to stay with me. He’s doing this for us because he knows that I cant live like this forever. (sounds like I’m a bitch but I need to look out for me too and basically he doesn’t want to lose me) She told me that it would be a long road but he has made so much progress already and I should be proud (I am) and that the trick is to make HIM feel proud of himself too.

She told me that some of his secrets, the things he doesn’t tell me aren’t necessarily BAD, it’s more that he finds hard to tell me because he’s kept them close for years, they’re his good memories and he wants to keep them and needs to learn that he CAN tell them without bad repercussions. I suppose in childhood he learnt (subconsciously) that if he didn’t tell then he couldn’t get in trouble etc so instead he kept everything to himself.

She then used the example of rating each “secret” on a scale of difficulty, 1 being ‘without MUCH effort’ (though for him that’s still a lot) and 10 being ‘wouldn’t tell a soul’. She asked me to give examples of a 1 – which I found difficult in itself as there’s not much I DONT find easy to disclose. So Instead I chose a 2… ‘My mum and dad split when I was nine and he has lived in America ever since’ That statement – for me- has been said so often that now it’s just another fact. I don’t LIKE that fact, I don’t LIKE the ‘awwws’ and the questions that follow but I find it relatively easy to tell. On my husbands scale that would be a ‘7’.

I was then asked to give an example (not necessarily true) of a 10 in my mind. I honestly could not think of anything of my own bad enough to be rated a 10. I mean telling someone their family member just died etc that’s pretty hard but that’s not MY secret is it? The therapist stepped in and said she would find it quite hard to think of one too but maybe if she had cheated on her husband then telling him would be a 10. I have to be honest here…I disagree…and that’s made me question whether I’m just too brutal/blunt/open….THAT for me would be a ‘7’ yes it would be hard but surely if I had cheated in the first place I wouldn’t find it that hard to hurt him anyway.

ANYWAY, seeing as my 2 (pretty easy) was the equivalent of his 7 (really hard) hopefully I haven’t lost you and you see the difference – AND my point. They explained the consequences of telling me (or anyone) anything over a 2, he feels physically sick the higher the number, he berates himself, he panics, he worries….and these symptoms or repercussions can last for days afterwards so basically whenever he reveals things I need to soothe him and thank him etc and at the same time try not to react too much either way -basically don’t make a big deal out of it but don’t ignore the fact he’s opening up…to me.

We agreed to state the rating whenever anything new has been discussed as some of them – to me- are so ‘normal’ i.e. ‘one time this guy at work….’ = ‘4’… that I often don’t realise that it was anything other than small talk.

To put it into perspective once more she asked him the following questions:

How many people have you told a ‘1’ ? – one or two (being me and her)
How many people have you told a ‘5’? – one (me)
How many people have you told a ’10’? one (me again)

Bottom line is...I am the one he trusts, I am the one he is opening up to and I am the one he wants to talk to and be himself with. It suddenly dawned on me that when we first started dating he would often say ‘god I’ve never told anyone that before’ about things which – again- didn’t seem like a big deal to me… well now it does. I asked if that’s the reason he married me – ‘I guess so’

She did ask me how it (our situation) affects me day to day etc but I will leave that for another post so I can pour my heart out a little without taking away from the stuff in this one as all of the above really did open my eyes to exactly what we are going through – and that’s the focus here.

When wrapping up our session she asked if I had any questions….

‘What would you say were the 3 things I CAN to do help….and what 3 things should I steer clear of?’

Oxygen mask made in NY

Oxygen mask made in NY (Photo credit: K. Todd Storch)

To help:

  • He’s already critical of everything so ease off – don’t ignore issues when they arise but think about wording and calming before exploding etc – basically give him a shit sandwich where you give a positive then the negative and follow it with another positive.
  • Thank him when he opens up – its really fucking hard for him to do so
  • Appreciate that he’s trying– for US

As for things to avoid she gave the example of the oxygen mask dropping when a plane is going down….

Who do you put the mask on first? (I said the kids lol) WRONG!
You put it on yourself and THEN help others because how can you help others if you’re not strong enough? Basically I need to take care of myself too otherwise I wont be any good to anyone, take a break, have some fun, treat myself… because I need to be strong for him…just like he is using therapy as his oxygen mask….so that he can be strong for me too.

xBx

 
 

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Guest Post – The Other Side of the Glass: The Cave

The next Instalment from our mystery blogger:

cave troll

cave troll (Photo credit: matthewb)

This is the fourth post in the series The Other Side of the Glass, where I explain in detail what it feels like to live with PTSD. I’m writing this series to give Beth, and anyone else that has a loved one with PTSD, an understanding of what it is like to live without emotions or to be emotionally numb. Each person suffering from PTSD has their own trauma, their own symptoms, and their own circumstances, but I’m just trying to give you a glimpse of what it is like to live with this horrible disorder.

What does it feel like? is the first in the series. If you have not already read that post, it would be best to start at the beginning.

In our first three posts we examined what if physically feels like to lose your emotions, how that alters your daily life, and how damaging it is to your relationships.

So what does a person with PTSD do next? For a man, we go to our caves.

As I mentioned in one of the other posts, men do not like to talk about our problems. We like to go to a nice quiet place and think and come up with solutions. We want to fix what is broken.

Personally, I could see my world was crumbling down around me. My relationship with my ex was obviously destroyed, and I could no longer relate to friends and family around me. Due to the abuse, I was too humiliated and embarrassed to speak about it with anyone. For the two or three people that I did reveal what was happening, I started to avoid them as I could see the pity in their eyes. I quickly grew tired of the, “How are you?” questions. I just wanted to be normal again and since I couldn’t figure out how to be normal, I became more and more secluded.

Even in a group I would isolate myself. I would stand off to the side and not get involved with the conversations that were going on around me. I didn’t want to reveal too much about what was happening behind closed doors. I didn’t want to explain how I missed Monday Night Football because I was being punched in the face by a woman.

There was also a certain level of envy that would creep in. I didn’t want to see all the other couples that were in love. I didn’t want to see all the laughter and happiness. I didn’t want to pretend to laugh, force myself to smile, or feign joy.

Along the way, I discovered that my PTSD had triggers. “Triggers” were certain situations that would cause me to become more “blank” or they would cause The Void to increase within me.

For example, I made the mistake of going to a romantic comedy at one point. As I watched the characters on screen fall in love, I could feel my insides become more and more vacant. Watching them kiss made The Void take over to such an extreme that it physically hurt. To explain what it felt like, I can only liken it to extreme grief. My soul was empty and in pain. I realized I could not watch another love story until I was stronger. The trigger was just too painful.

Stressful situations were also a trigger for me. Beth’s husband may have other triggers, but I would assume a stressful situation would be common among all PTSD sufferers.

Beth may already know that blank stare when her husband shuts down completely. Hopefully she can take notice of what caused it and help him to avoid those triggers.

Because I didn’t want to feel worse, I withdrew into my cave more and more. Because my options of entertainment were limited, I was drawn more and more to gaming and porn.

Xbox 360 buttons

Xbox 360 buttons (Photo credit: Alfred Hermida)

The ex complained to the therapist about my gaming. The therapist simply explained that I was playing so I didn’t have to think or feel. That made complete sense to me. When I played, I could get lost in my fake world and I didn’t have to think so much. I just acted on what was happening on the screen.

I started to play more and more. I played before work, during work, and after work. I was pleased when I could out-think the other players and I could beat them. It was also a great way to get get out some of my frustrations. My online cave was comfortable to me. I was a good player and others respected me.

There was one other thing in my cave. Masturbation, because it was a physiological level, felt good, so I kept it in my cave.

Let’s face it, men masturbate. It’s what we do. I’ve read that 91% of men masturbate, and the other 9% are pathological liars. We think nothing of it. Depending on our sex drive, we’ll rub our penises wherever and whenever we are inclined. Great sex doesn’t prevent masturbation, it just makes us masturbate more as we think about the great sex we are having!

Masturbation became part of my daily routine. I did it so that for those 15-30 seconds, I could feel GOOD. It was the only time I felt something good. It was the only time I felt ANYTHING. It was the only time I felt pleasure. Of course, it wasn’t emotional, but at the time I didn’t care. I only felt something that was pleasurable and enjoyable and that was a good thing.

The porn watching was just a means to an end. Quite often the porn was boring or gross or was so ridiculous that I hardly found it stimulating. I was just looking for something that would help me achieve the pleasurable part. It was like a needle for a heroin addict. I didn’t care about the needle (porn), I only wanted the high (orgasm).

I read Beth’s posts on her husbands porn watching and masturbation. On the one hand, I have to commend him for being honest with her. For years, I lied and hid all of my porn and masturbation. I denied it up and down when I was questioned about it. I learned to work “the system” and I knew when I could and couldn’t masturbate. I became increasingly adept at hiding the porn. In the end, no one ever found out about it. Ever.

On the other hand, I feel bad for her husband. She is trying to make him stop the one thing that feels good to him. She puts up blocks and barriers and chastises him as a mother would do to her child. She asks him who and what he thinks about when he masturbates! I cannot imagine how emasculating and embarrassing that would be.

Beth, let the man have his time alone in his cave. Let him have his thoughts. Let him have his fifteen seconds. I swear to you that there is no emotional connection to it. He just wants to feel SOMETHING.

I’m sorry that he is broken and he craves those those fifteen seconds of bliss out of the other 86,385 seconds of the day. I’m sorry some of your friends have great breasts or a nice butt, because it is just a means to an end and it means nothing to him. I’m sorry that he looks at porn because it really does nothing to his soul. It is only something for his eyes to focus on so he doesn’t have to think. I’m sorry that it hurts your feelings to know that he wants to do those things alone, and in private.

Maybe you can’t. Maybe there is a reason for your hatred of porn. Maybe your feelings about it are completely justified, I don’t know. All I can tell you is that if you continue to make this a big issue, he will continue to do it, but he will start to hide. Porn is everywhere. If he wants it bad enough, there are a million and one places to find it between your home and the office.

He is a good man. He is just broken. He is in his cave.

But my message is one of hope. I’m here to tell you that he won’t be in his cave forever. I was able to crack the glass case and escape. I will discuss that in my next post and hopefully you can take what I’ve learned and help your husband escape as well.

*****A note from Beth: I know many of you are going to ask about the porn and my opinions of it, I know most will more than likely agree that I should cut him some slack with regards to masturbation and porn and while I would agree- in a situation which wasn’t so messed up as mine- I do not agree in this case but I do apreciate the opinions and I do understand it. Let me first direct you to this post about our porn in our past (here), this one about progress after the revelations (here) and finally my outright opinion of porn in general (here). Now I will share what I replied to our mystery blogger when he emailed me and gave me the heads up that I probably wouldn’t like what I was about to read:

‘I’ve read it and I don’t mind – it’s another opinion And therefore I
welcome it – and thank you again for doing this. It will be posted as
is.
What I will say though is… No lol I’m sorry but I am not
going to encourage him to take the easy way out. I would enjoy sex alot
more with someone whom actually enjoyed it with me, I would prefer a
relationship which wasn’t so one sided but I don’t opt for those, I
stick it out and sacrifice a lot of my own happiness for him – for US
and this is the one thing that not only pushes us further away sexually
but also encourages lying and secrecy. I put up with that for the past
year and I am not going to do it again.

I encourage him to pleasure himself WITH me – the way a loving, committed marriage should be in my eyes and so far that seems to be itching that scratch. He gets to do it himself, I get to be part of that, he gets his release and I get another
day of not worrying about the lies. Does that make any sense? Again, I
get it, I understand it more from his (your) point of view but from our
history it’s crossed the line into borderline addiction and it’s
destroying us… I’m just not prepared to let that happen.’

xBx

 
7 Comments

Posted by on June 15, 2013 in Guest Post

 

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Guest Post – The Other Side of the Glass: What are relationships like without emotions?

The next instalment from our mystery blogger:

PTSD Nation

PTSD Nation (Photo credit: Truthout.org)

This is the third posts in the series The Other Side of the Glass, where I explain in detail what it feels like to live with PTSD. I’m writing this series to give Beth, and anyone else that has a loved one with PTSD, an understanding of what it is like to live without emotions or to be emotionally numb. Each person suffering from PTSD has their own trauma, their own symptoms, and their own circumstances, but I’m just trying to give you a glimpse of what it is like to live with this horrible disorder.

What does it feel like? is the first in the series. If you have not already read that post, it would be best to start at the beginning.

Now that you can see what daily life is like without emotions, now we will examine what it like to try and have relationships without emotions.

What are relationships like without emotions?

Naturally,the relationships with your family and friends no longer make sense.Why do you want to be around anyone if you cannot feel the love or bond of friendship that you feel for them?

I lost contact with a lot of my friends during this period in my life. I started to isolate myself more as I had little in common with anyone. I didn’t want to discuss my situation and I knew no one would be able to relate anyway. After all, none of my other friends talked about waking up a zombie. No one else was telling me how they felt The Void. No one had that blank stare in their eyes.

That reminds me, I once met a man who had just come back from Iraq. The same emptiness he had in his eyes is the emptiness that I had in mine when I looked in the mirror.

The eyes truly are the periscope to the heart. When a person’s heart is in the glass box, the eyes go blank. They are empty and cold. I wonder if Beth knows that look.

Since Beth is dealing with her husband, I will try to focus on that type of relationship.

Here enters the cycle of insanity – You should love the person you are with,but you do not have the ability to love, or feel anything for that matter. The person you are with desperately wants you to feel something
so they do not feel so hurt and alone, but your heart is in that glass box on the shelf.

I think this dynamic becomes more intense when the husband is the one with PTSD. A man thinks things through, but a woman is more prone to her feelings.

Since Beth’s husband cannot feel, Beth is hurt by it. Beth wants the security that her husband loves her and that their relationship is solid. Her husband is a blank man, a zombie, bringing insecurity and fear into the
relationship. Beth then gets angry because her feeling have been hurt by his lack of love. Beth’s husband can see the hurt he is causing and he logically reasons that he wants to fix it so that his wife will not be hurt as he know this causing tension in the home. Unfortunately, the one thing that Beth wants more than anything, his love, he cannot give even though he desperately wants to.

Welcome to hell on earth…

As one that was in the glass box, this is the most frustrating situation to be in. You see the cycle happening but you feel as if there is nothing you can do to stop it. My purgatory was waking up each day
knowing it was going to be like the last. It was going to be a fight from morning until night to make sense of the world and everything in it. It was going to be a struggle to find myself and to feel anything. I
would have to dodge the demon and try my best to not to fight her every night.

Thankfully,Beth’s husband has a wife that loves him and wants to help him in any way possible. This will definitely help in his recovery.

But what about all the things that he is doing to upset her? The porn and the masturbation. The sneaking around to masturbate?

When I read what her husband was doing, my only thought was, ”Well…that sounds familiar.”

Have you ever watched a man try to fix something around the house? We ste back and stare at it. We aren’t stupid or dumbfounded, we are thinking.We are running solution after solution through our minds to see what
will fix the problem.

When we have relationship or emotional problems, we do not discuss it with our guy friends, our parents, or our coworkers, we go into our man caves and we do our best to process it all, seeking out solutions to fix the
problem. We seek out isolation and try to work it out in our heads.

The only problem is that a person with PTSD cannot stop thinking.

I wanted to stop thinking and I wanted to feel something..anything. I did the only things that helped me to escape and feel. I watched porn. I played video games. I lied.

Sound familiar?

My next post will deal with The Cave.

 
15 Comments

Posted by on June 13, 2013 in Guest Post

 

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Guest Post – The Other Side of the Glass: What is Daily life like without Emotions

Thinking

Thinking (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

The second installment from our mystery blogger

This is the second posts in the series The Other Side of the Glass, where I explain in detail what it feels like to live with PTSD. I’m writing this series to give Beth, and anyone else that has a loved one with PTSD, an understanding of what it is like to live without emotions or to be emotionally numb. Each person suffering from PTSD has their own trauma, their own symptoms, and their own circumstances, but I’m just trying to give you a glimpse of what it is like to live with this horrible disorder.

What does it feel like? is the first in the series. If you have not already read that post, it would be best to start at the beginning. (Read here)

So now that you have an idea of what it feels like, we will explore what it is like to exist on a daily basis when you cannot feel any emotion.

What is daily life like without emotions?

“You don’t know what you have until it is gone.”

That statement really hit home when I started to deal with daily life without emotions. I never realized before how much of one’s life centers around how we feel. Even as a young man, I had a clear understanding that men think, while women feel. That idea made sense to me, but even as a man, I had no idea how much I relied on feelings for basics of life.

After The Void arrived, the first time someone asked me, “How are you feeling?” (A common greeting where I grew up.) I stood there dumbfounded. My reply was, “I don’t know.” I wasn’t being sarcastic of flippant. I really had no idea how I felt because I couldn’t feel my emotions anymore. With my heart in the glass box, even simple questions were now a challenge. That simple question had totally thrown me for a loop and I didn’t know how to respond. It was that very moment when I realized how badly damaged I was.

Soon afterward, I realized I could no longer listen to music. All the lyrics were talking about love, happiness, and all that other bullshit that no longer made any sense. I could only listen to jazz with no lyrics, and even then it really depended on the melody. If an emotional piece came on, the radio was changed to talk radio.

TV and Movies were completely out of the question. Most TV programs and movies try to invoke emotions out of their viewers, which means absolutely nothing to a person without emotions. TV and movies became bland and boring. There was no entertainment in anything anymore. I actually found little enjoyment in anything. There were a few things I enjoyed doing, but we will discuss that in another post.

When one loses one of their physical senses, the body compensates by heightening all of your other senses. If you lose your vision, your hearing improves, etc. When you lose your emotions, there is only one thing left to help you compensate.

You think. Constantly.

Once I could feel no emotions, it was as if I was thinking twice as fast, all day long. My brain tried to compensate to help me get through situations were my emotions would have normally handled the situation.
As I mentioned above, a simple question like, “How are you feeling?” was no longer an instinctive reaction of, “I’m fine,” or “I feel great!” Instead, I had to think about the answer and reply.

You don’t know this answer, just say you are fine.

Imagine how much you actually feel every day. When you walk out of your home and the sun warms your skin and the soft breeze caresses you, it makes you feel happy and comforted. It’s natural and seamless…until you can no longer feel your emotions. All of those feelings become thoughts.

The sun is bright today. There is a nice breeze. I think I like it.

There is no longer any rest. Your brain goes into overdrive and you think and think and THINK. Unfortunately, that has its own set of problems. When you cannot quiet the mind,  insomnia, and dull headaches are the main issues you must also battle.Sleep deprivation is evil, and it only adds to The Void.

All of that thinking leads to exhaustion. Your brain becomes mentally fatigued. There was one day I could not remember how to get home from work. I just kept driving as the things around me looked familiar, but I could not remember anything past my line of sight.

I remember another time when I looked into the mirror and I no longer recognized myself. I literally did not know who the person was that was looking back at me in the mirror. I would have been scared…had I had the ability to feel fear.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on June 11, 2013 in Guest Post

 

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