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Helping my husband with PTSD
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Helping my husband with PTSD

My husband has recently been medically retired and placed on 100% dissability for his PTSD. I have been with him through everything, and I continue to stay by his side despite some ill effects. Although my husband has Never laid a hand on me at any point in time, he has anger outbursts that seem uncontrollable. He tends to punch things and throw things, and say things that he doesn't really mean.

Im wondering how I as his wife be able to confront him better when there is a family issue or concearn. He seems to have no fuse whatsoever and the simplest request or concearn can set him off. He as been doing better with his symptoms while he is in treatment via the VA. But I want to know what I can do to help him, and help the healing process. I know my husband loves me, and I want to show him that I want to be jus as much apart of his illness and healing as he is.

We also have 2 small children both boys ages 4 and 2, and we also have another baby on the way. Is there anyone else out there going through this or have gone through this? I would like to help my husband the best I can.
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354604_tn?1328555666
You may need to be the primary parent with the PTSD being in a chronic or acute phase? It's tough, but my experience has been that when my husband's PTSD is active, it's generally not a good time to be too confrontational, even when it may be blatantly called for. I think unconditional love goes a long way... people with PTSD don't trust, and may ultimately think that anyone and everyone will eventually abandon us anyway... so there may be some subconscious testing going on there, I don't know. My man gets pretty angry, and prone to outbursts also. But with PTSD the road through healing may not be recognizable to him as the symptoms rage on. It sounds like you're pretty patient ~ and that's one of the best things to be! Generally things will level out!!! PTSD symptoms by their very nature, tend to ebb, and flow. Over the years you may come to recognize patterns during different times of the year, or around different events, or types of events. There's such a plethora of symptoms. I give myself permission to just do the best I can on any given day, and try to avoid perfectionistic thinking/expectations.
My man also just detests it when I get all sappy and smoochy around his PTSD, or if we've had some kind of a break through with an awareness, or anniversary or something... Dang! He served 30 years ago and I'd bet I'm the first woman he's ever done any healing through his PTSD or ANY type of recovery work with. It's not for the weak or timid. It takes what it takes. If it weren't for how our Vietnam Veterans were treated for decades, they still wouldn't have even the foggiest of ideas of how to treat PTSD!! (which totally angers me... but that's another thing!)
He may not want you to be part of this condition. I'm assuming your husband is a Combat Veteran, or has served overseas during a time of conflict? I love our Veterans So Much ~ try not to take it personally if he doesn't invite you in to his healing journer... As much as I love our Veterans, I've not served. I know from years of experience that no one can help a Veteran as well as another Veteran. Support him in whatever resources he feels is appropriate for him. Wow ~ blessings on your journey! What a tremendous gift your love and support is to him!!! Humans always strike out the worst with those that are closest to them. My man, deep down inside, doesn't feel loveable, doesn't think he's deserving of love and support; that's real common, even if it's subconscious, with Combat Veterans. Thanks for letting me talk your ear off... I need the support too! ~ W.
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LZFreedom- Thank you so much! The thing with my husband is that he totally relies on me to try and help him, moreso than the VA. He wants me apart of his healing 100%, unless it has to do with rethinking the combat he went through. He says his doesn't want to scare me with the thoughts he has sometimes about how he could have done things differently in iraq. I know he also has an issue with his self esteem, he doesn't feel like he deserves my love or help because of what he has put me through. I will have to finish this tomorrow as a horrible storm as set of tornado warnings and must take shelter.
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It brings me to tears to know of another generation suffering through the hells of war....
It saddens me deeply; I've found some great groups on the web for support too. I just got an invite for the Wives of Veterans support group on Yahoo this week; I think it's going to be another great avenue to connect, and support. In fact, a lady here invited me.
Mark was a medic in Vietnam, and every Memorial Day (when he was still drinking, back 12 years ago) he would have 24 shots. Over the years, I knew they were for people who didn't make it home from Vietnam, but this year, b/c other friends have shots in their honor now... and I asked him gingerly, if they were for the people who died when he tried to help them, and he said yes. Enough said.
I'm glad for you that your husband wants you to be a part of his healing! Such a gift! and such an incredible responsibility!! Know that you're going to have secondary trauma ~ you'll have similar 'let downs' after being immersed in the ptsd itself, even when the details of the experiences aren't shared. It's an additional responsibility for you b/c you'll be watching, and paying such close attention to his journey... you have that much more to absorb, just as we do when caring for anyone we love.
Bless his sweet heart for worrying about what he could've done differently! He followed orders. Period. Even when you're in command, there are always superiors above you. You do what needs to be done, you follow orders, get in, and get out! The vietnamese used women and children to carry explosives, alot. After awhile of that, oh my heck, after just one time, I'd be blasting anyone that came around me!!! Come on! Anyone that wants to criticize what's happened in Iraq ~ has never been in a fire fight! I've been taught to obey the laws of the land, obey our government. I've also been fed a crock of information, etc. But my point is, the commander in chief is in D.C. It's on his head and no one else's!!! Elder Veterans may be able to talk to your husband at some point... they understand about war in a way we never could, even with just a look. Peer support, at least some, may be really good for him.
I'm going to switch over to CNN and see if I can tell what's going on with the tornadoes.
Send me a pm and let me know where you're at in the state, okay?
I'm getting ready for my Veterans meeting this morning, so I've got to go for now.
I want to hear if you're alright! You're in my prayers! ~ Woshi
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the last I knew, the VA offers help to wives/significant partners and family of people who been diagnosed with PTSD.  Please check with your local VA.  Hope this helps.  I am 100% service connected for trauma that I went through when I was in service, but mine is due to assault not war.
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Avatar_n_tn
My Husband deals with alot of the same stuff as well. although they say its PTSD, they are chaptering him out on a chapter 5-17.  Now well. no medical no nothing basically. he has been in 4 years and has been deployed to iraq twice. Sometimes he wants me to help but others he doesn't. he sleeps on the couch and wants no part of me at times. Now we are pregnant and things just seem to get worse. He wants to get out so he should be happy.. you would figure. He says he doesn't know what he wants, doesn't know if he wants me here. And its hard to love some one so much and just sit and watch them feel like there dieing inside. he told me he doesn't feel like he should be here.. I try to stick by his side knowing in time it will get better. but the medicine he is prescribed he doesn't take.. i'm worried now that is getting out there is nothing and no help. the va is another thing. my mom deals with them as a 100% disabled marine.
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Avatar_m_tn
You answered very well LZ, yuo wives are teh best help anf bout only help US combat vets get.
pointman
recon Ist,Inf .125th 3rd PT.
and welome home  to your husband
sniper a day keeps enemy away
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Thank you Pointman ~ I'm very touched by your acknowledgement. And that's as good as it gets ~ A Thank you from someone that's been there!

SkyPeople ~ 100% s.c. Vet's can apply for aid and attendance.
And many Veterans will not acknowledge assault as a causative factor for PTSD.
I'm connected with many assaulted while active duty through mySpace (LZ Freedom page) and have made some wonderful connections & made great friends! Blessed Be!

Adolin ~ There are so many bad side effects to many of the med's rx'd for PTSD & the VA is notorious for rx'ing a bunch of med's at once. How on earth can we figure out which ones work when we add so many at a time. Some take up to 90 days to really begin to tell if they're helping. And my experience with PTSD is that most of the med's just mask the symptoms and make the nightmares worse.
The only way through PTSD is through it. You can't go around it and expect it to go away. Think of it as a spiral... the spiral is really tight right now because the trauma's are so fresh. Over the years the spiral will become 'looser' and the major impacts of the trauma's will become less and less, fewer and further between.
Read anything you can get your hands on by Patience Mason, or any other Wives books like Vietnam Wives, Wounded Warriors-Chosen Lives, anything by Mitsakis (her books on PTSD are great too! Generally when we have more information about 'our dragons' they become less scarey.
I hope you'll hang in there! Call him on his suicidal ideations, encourage him to get connected with others that have served OIF/OEF or Combat! and get his application for comp & pen submitted asap.

BTS ~ Best wishes to you too! Hope to hear from you ~ we should all stay connected!

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Ptsd is breaking my down so much I just don't know how to be strong for my husband anylonger.  No he does not hit me or my children (his step children) but the words and ups and downs are just so heartbreaking.  He knows all of the hell I went through before I met him and all I did for me and my kiddos to leave the hell I was in.  I am living this same situation as you, although the VA is NOT helping at all, he has been in a mental ward 2x and a program through the VA where he was gone for 45 days and that was a joke as well.  It only made everything worse, worse, WORSE!!  I love him with everything I can give, I never know if he will leave me, he has even gotten divorce papers because he did not like that I didn't like what he said.  I do not know what to do!!!!  If anyone has help I would love it and appreciate it.  I don't know how to breathe anymore.......
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Dealing with a spouse sufferng wth PTSD hurts the whole family.  Being unable to know what to do to help your spouse hurts you inside also.  It is hard to try and suggest anything without sounding like I am seeking personal information.  Here is what I can offer:  you state the VA is not helping and put him in a ward two times.  Did any doctor speak with you as well as your husband?  Are you in a smaller or large town?  Is there another VA facility within driving distance?  Are you receiving a DAV magazine?  Through the DAV magazine you may be able to find someone who can help you.  I know your life is very stressed right now but can you write down the facts of your husband's treatment? what doctors he has seen, how often, medications, dates; anything of that nature.  There is the possibility of writing to your congressman and seeking help.  The Inspector General of the State may be able to open an investigation at to why treatment may be inadequate.  Is there a Patient Representative at the VA hospital and have you spoken with them first?  Keep notes of any conversation you have with them.  Ask about family counseling.  If you are not getting the correct treatment, it is possible to get the VA to pay for treatment by an outside source.  It is not easy and you have to have your information as I suggessted.  Contact a patient advocate office in a large city or some other VA hospital.  Try several until you get some answers.  You have to be prepared to present particulars of what your husband's beginning behavior was and how is has changed to what it is now.  This means explaining specific symptoms: anger, anxiety, fear, rage, crying, emotinal withdrawl (withdrawal), sexual function (hate the personal stuff), moodiness, activity or lack of activity, loss of interests or hobbies, inability to work, lessened abilities in any area, loss of humor, eating problems; any of these or what may be happening.  You have to slow down, get a notebook and start taking notes.  Start with the patient advocates and family counseling.  Ask what specific PTSD treatment is available or do they offer long term psychotherapy?  Is he being medicated?  Research the meds he is given.  Keep a record and if he takes them.  Can they prescribe antianxiety medication like lorazapam?  All I can offer are these steps.  I hope something helps.  I am the soldier with PTST and my husband has been with me all the way good and bad.  It always amazes me.  Stress in your letters or contacts the effect it has on the children as well.  Keep notes of everyone you talk to, the date and general conversation; especially what they tell you.  Do not let them hang up without giving you another individual or avenue to pursue.  If necessary, go to the head of the departments.  But I had to threaten a State Inspector General to get a doctor changed.  I never had to leave the advocates office before it was handled.  Also try the DAV and ask for assistance.  I really hope you and your husband get positive results.,  The burden is on you right now.  I am very sorry to say that.  I cannot imagine what your husband is suffering thru.  Does the VA have group therapy and is he willing to participate?  I understand him not wanting to frighten you with his experiences.  There is the chance he is afraid of his thoughts also and he might start reliving them.  But I have learned just this year that PTSD can only be treated effectively by talking about the actual event and there is a specific technique that has made it less invasive.  I hope you can find that also.  My thoughts are with you.  I will check back.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I forgot to mention Rapid Eye Movement Therapy.  It is effective.  See if this is available.  If not thru the VA they should pay for it.  Pursue this route if possible.  
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1889673_tn?1321040667
My Heart goes out to you! Thank you for your words :) You have touched my heart!
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