I read a blog post just the other day and was struck by the message.
The content was something that I could relate to.
The message was tugging at me after I reread it a second time.
I realized, there were four letters that came into my vocabulary and world prior to Sam, but that at the time I only knew them from textbooks, stories, and videos.
Those letters are part of my vocabulary and something that I tend to think about on a daily basis.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The blog post read like this:
“Well before I knew anything about PTSD and relationships, there was a time in my life when PTSD were just four innocent letters of the alphabet.”
And then I thought on that phrase “innocent letters.”
I didn’t like that. I don’t like that.
I don’t think PTSD is innocent at all.
Psychological injuries with “signs” or symptoms like depression, anxiety, nightmares, hypervigiliance, substance abuse, unwanted memories, just to name a few.
No one wants, asks for, or hopes to have these symptoms or diagnosis. At least no one that I have met.
And when the diagnosis comes, or rather falls into ones lap, what you don’t get from a medical book or a sheet of symptoms are things like isolating behaviors–avoiding people, family, friends, and crowds; explosive anger and yelling; sleepless nights because your partner cannot seem to find rest; unpredictable behaviors: happy and fine one minute and the next wanting to retreat and sleep.
PTSD does not discriminate. While some may think it is easy to spot someone with PTSD, I can tell you it is not. A veteran, a doctor, a paramedic, a fire fighter, domestic abuse survivor, as Lea (a blogger I follow) puts it (and I would agree with this) “it will rain down on anyone, anytime.”
We live with PTSD in our home. As a spouse, caregiver, and parent, I worry. I wouldn’t say we walk on eggshells, but I know for some, they do, and that weight is a heavy one to bear alone.
What I hope you know is that you are not alone.
While our journeys might be different, and the experiences too, PTSD impacts my family. It has impacted my family more than some of you may know. And, I want you all to know that you are not alone.
If you are looking for answers, know that we are too. We aren’t sure of what some of the triggers might be for Sam, but we try to pin point them. It could be a day at work, a ride in the car, or a movie on TV.
Some of your friends and family may not understand. Colleagues may not get it. You might be searching for answers and I am here to tell you there are many organizations, groups, and people who are right there with you: fighting the fight against four little letters.
Where do you start when you feel lost?
For me, it was reading and educating myself as much as I could. The internet is FULL of information (sometimes useful and not so useful), but I’ll tell you what I read about by sharing a few links:
And for those of you who may not know if you are a caregiver or know what to do caring for a loved one with PTSD, you can visit some of these links to learn more about help for you–connecting with others who may have a similar story as you.
Caregivers on the Homefront: Their Mission:
The mission of Caregivers on the Homefront Inc. is to provide caregivers of our nation’s veterans and first responders with hopefulness, a sense of togetherness, and a firm foundation of resiliency. With your help we can make a difference.
Remember, PTSD is just a few letters strung together. Those letters do not define you, your loved one, your family, or your life. They have taught us to be stronger. They have taught us we are not alone.