My dear friend Patti wrote the following based on her own experiences as a wife of a wounded warrior. Her husband came home from Iraq with a TBI and PTSD. Patti is as practical and helpful as they come. I asked her if I could repost this here in full, and she gave me the thumbs up. I hope you find the information helpful.
Recently, I have had an influx of women sending emails to me asking if I have any information to help them cope with a husband who has PTSD.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Patti… my husband has PTSD.
PTSD is not something our men like to talk about. It’s not something we as wives want to think about either. But, the truth is there are many military men coming back from deployment only to face a mental war inside themselves.
First and foremost, let me say… PTSD is not something you should be ashamed of. If you think you have PTSD, or your husband has PTSD, it is very important that you go and find help. The military offers free counseling for those who need it.
I understand that some may not want to go on post for counseling. There’s another great resource out there… Give An Hour. Give An Hour is a private organization that offers not only free counseling, but confidential counseling.
Not only does PTSD effect our military men, but it effects families and can effect friendships. If you suspect your husband has PTSD and he will not admit it, you should still consider seeking guidance for yourself.
The more you know about PTSD, the better you will be able to cope with someone who has PTSD. Many military wives have secondary PTSD.
Pattis Top 10 on living with a combat injured, PTSD Vet:
1. Seek Godly counsel
2. Educate yourself on PTSD; you can visit CNN Health, they offer an array of information on PTSD. You can also GOOGLE PTSD and many results will pop up in the search engine.
3. Learn what your husbands “triggers” are and how to defuse situations (example: anniversaries of difficult situations; death of commrads, extreme firefights etc). If you know it’s the anniversary of something difficult your husband experienced while your husband was away, you may know why he’s having an exceptionally bad day, week or sometimes even month.
4. Take care of yourself. For the past couple of years, I have let myself go to take care of my husband and his injuries. I am finally getting back on task when it comes to taking care of myself. It’s been a long road, and if you can avoid going down the road I went down – trust me, it will be best for you! Exercise, eat right, try to sleep good. Its so easy to get wrapped up into worrying about your husband. If you don’t take care of yourself, you will eventually crumble.
5. If your husband is also suffering from other mental conditions such as depression or self harm, allow them to feel the way they do – BUT – watch for warning signals that things may be getting worse so that you can help them by alerting a mental health team or doctor.
6. Don’t be hard on yourself! Do not blame yourself for your husbands PTSD, do not think you “should have” done this or that. We all know that the horrific events of war are what caused your husbands PTSD, don’t start questioning yourself.
7. Keep a journal or have a mentor you can “vent” to. As women, most of us are external processors. This means, we need to release so many words to express our feelings and emotions. You will feel better after releasing these thoughts/words. You can either keep a journal or talk with a mentor. Sometimes, as women – we just need to “get it all out.”
8. Marriage counselling with someone who understands PTSD would be very benifical. I’m not saying this is going to “fix” your husbands PTSD, but it will hopefully allow you both an avenue to express yourselves on how you are both feeling, why you are feeling the way you do and what techniques may help you.
9. Find a PTSD support group in your area. If you cannot find a support group, maybe you will think about creating a support group yourself. There’s a very big need for PTSD support groups, and it’s always good to know you are not traveling down that road alone.
10. Don’t be afraid to admit that you need help. There are resources, organizations, support groups, books and so much more that are out there to help. We should be very thankful these resources are in place for us in todays day and age.
Resourses I have found helpful are:
Family Of A Vet