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Topic: Partner with PTSD need help

25 posts, 0 answered
  1. Bethie
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    10 December 2017

    Hi

    My partner has PTSD and was ok in till a recent accident cause him to get amnesia. As his memory is starting to come back so has his PTSD. I didn' even know he saw active duty untill August this year. It seems that he kept being infantry in East Timour a secrect. I'e had to get the ambulance and police to take him to hospital a few times now dye to the fact that when he' been asleep he starts reliving everything he saw and did under orders and has grabbed ahold of me a few times thinking I was the enemy. On some level he still knows it' me and doesn' hurt me. I didn' know untill recently that for over 20 years he had used a very very small amount of marihuana a day to help. He told me he's tried everything else including hypmo theropy and acupuncture after he got out but nothing worked long term. He' now taking very small amounts of smoke again but is on anti anxiety/anti depressants meds. It' been a week today since his last attack but I'm really scared. I suffer chronic anxiety and depression myself and at times totally break down. We have a 14 year old son who thank God gets people to talk to about his Dad via Army Cadets which helps.

    If anyone has been through anything like this please please I need advice. Most of the guys my partner served with have passed away now. The last one only a few months ago. My partner feels he should have been there for him. Reality is the guy suffered a brain tumour and died suddenly at 48. It was nothing to do with his military service but since he saved my partners life and vise versa my parter has taken it very hard. I' struggling. Part of me hates the Army so bad and seeing my son hell bent on going into infantry when he' 17 breaks my heart. I want to wrap my partner in cotton wool and never take my eyes of him. If I could I'd take his pain away and bear it myself. But I can't. We talked today and he wants me to get help but I'm scared. So much I learnt is highly classfied and I don't want to open things better left buried for good reason. How do people handle this sort of thing?

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  2. Just Sara
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    10 December 2017 in reply to Bethie

    Hi Beth and welcome to our caring community;

    Your story sounds tragic, not only for you, but your partner and son. I really feel for you and hope I can help to ease your burden.

    I suffer PTSD from sexual assault in childhood, as a young adult and in maturity. So I know the devastation of trauma down the track and for those connected to me.

    I think your husband made a good point asking you to seek support for yourself. To help our loved ones, we need to be at our best. Therapy's a positive way to air your fears and confusion, and find coping strategies that serve your best interests as well as your husband and son.

    Transference occurs when we take on the pain of others as if it were our own. Therapy can help you distance yourself. If you hurt for your husband, he'll see this and feel at fault adding to the load he carry's.

    Truly understanding the 'idea' and effects of PTSD is another way to support your husband. Could you imagine being on high alert every moment of the day for months or even yrs, waiting for conflict or horror?

    Our bodies/brains are trained to respond via adrenaline and cortisol pumped out during fight/flight/freeze events, especially when they're ongoing. When the threat has passed and we haven't dealt with it, our minds remain vigilant. Any abrupt noise for example can throw us into automatic fear or defensive responses.

    I lived on adrenaline nearly my whole life until I had a massive breakdown and was diagnosed, which helped me understand why I behaved the way I did. I researched PTSD, read many relevant books, got a great psych and began my recovery process. It was slow and painful, but I'm here to tell the story and suffer minimal effects. There's hope..

    Your husband doesn't need sympathy, he needs specific support that compliments his own Mental Health management plan. To learn how to do this, you need to first treat your own pain, find a healthy distance from his pain, educate yourself and formulate a crisis management action plan. This can be done with the support of your GP's, psych's and each other.

    Being the best person you can be will improve both your lives for the better. Do you realise, one of the most important things you can give your husband is a beautiful smile? It's not a miracle cure, but it can uplift him in ways you can't imagine.

    Knowing you're happy and thriving makes his role as a husband easier, which in turn reduces his stress levels and keeps adrenaline low.

    I'd love to hear back from you ok.

    Kind thoughts;

    Sez

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  3. Croix
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    10 December 2017 in reply to Bethie

    Dear Bethie~

    I'd like to welcome you here and understand a fair bit of what you are going though because my wife had to deal with a similar situation - though not involving the military.

    I was a policeman and was invalided out with PTSD, anxiety and bouts of depression. One of the things that really worried me what coming out of a mental state involving the past was how I would react. I was always frightened I'd lash out and hurt my wife. This never happened. The worst was jumping up and shouting a few times. Although I was not a real threat I felt I could have been, you do need to exercise care as you partner may not recognize you for a moment or two

    For me with therapy, medication and some hospitalization I reached a very much improved state, able to live a pretty much normal life, though still under treatment. I too had hypnotherapy which was not effective. Like you I'm sure my wife would have liked to take the hurt away, however it's simply not possible.

    From the sound of it your partner has additional complications dealing with the military side of things, and also the recent accident plus self-medicating. I've no real knowledge of the interaction of cannabis and regular medication other than to think he really needs to be very straight with his doctor.

    Your own situation is very concerning. While you are naturally concentrating on you partner you have to realize that his welfare is a joint effort with medical support being a huge part, you are not going to make him better by yourself. The condition will take a long time to lessen, and that is very hard on you.

    Your partner has asked you to get help, and I would think in that he is quite right. Chronic anxiety and depression are illnesses that really do need treating. Treatment has made mine a whole lot better, and they, plus coping techniques have them mostly under control. Not getting medical help means your life is in a constant state of anxiety or depression, no way to live, and does not allow you the calm and perspective needed to cope with the things you face.

    All your post seems to concentrate on supporting others. Do you have anyone to support you? When at my worst I was little support for my partner. Do you have parents, family or friends to care for and support you? Even being able to talk frankly makes huge difference.

    There is another section in the Forum PTSD & Trauma, you may find others with similar situations.

    Please talk about things here as much as you would like.

    Croix

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  4. Bethie
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    10 December 2017 in reply to Just Sara

    Thanks Sex

    Your words really helped. Most days I feel like I should be handling things better than I since my mum is a Phyc sister who specialised in mind management theropy and my Dad hold a counseling degree and has worked with relationships Australia before he retired. They're both in their mid 80s now and live on oppsite sides of the country from each other. They've kinda given up on me now.i know one of my biggest problems is projecting into the future. With 17 years sobriety it feels like I'm just expected to know how to handle everything....but some days it all gets to much even though I'm on anti axiety/anti depressant meds myself.

    Thanks so much for being here

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  5. Bethie
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    10 December 2017 in reply to Croix

    I've kept most of my family safe from all this. My closest sister has a very bad memory from years of drug abuse. I'e read and re-read reports from my partner done by the Phyc at hospital. In each instance medications were recommended but never prescribed as the hospital takes forever to send information to his GP. Luckiy due to my own condition I had medication on hand and after his last outburst asked straight up if they would have calmed him down yes or no. With pressure they said yes they would. I really wish a follow through had happened 6 months ago. If it had chances are I'd still be working instead of the constant battle with Centerlink to get carers payment.

    IM sorry but sometimes I slip into 12 step program mode.

    Step 1. I've admitted I'm powerless and need help.

    step 2. Have sort help

    Step 3. Have become willing to accept help.

    So sorry but it's how my crazy brain works.

    Heres paying that this weekend there wount be another trip to the Phyc ward under the mental health act. The local police here are so helpful and understanding of everything. They have shown that even the biggest cities can have the biggest hearts.

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  6. Just Sara
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    10 December 2017 in reply to Bethie

    Thanks for getting back to us Beth;

    Congrat's on 17 yrs sobriety btw! This tells me you have strength, determination and a will to succeed.

    Croix's post (above) also gives plenty of info on effects of PTSD within the family unit and how a positive outcome's possible. Please re-read it because there's pearls of wisdom in his words.

    You've said you're on med's and that's good, but are you willing to compliment this with regular therapy? Having parents with MH training isn't the same as a psych who's not emotionally connected; they're not involved which is more ideal.

    Projecting the future can't be effective at all. There are too many variables to consider, and it only serves to create panic and worry. Living in the moment and only dealing with what's in front of you is best practice yeah?

    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

    Sorry to lecture. It does sound though, you may be experiencing your own PTSD symptoms. This isn't a diagnosis ok; it's an observation. I'm not a professional. I really feel you need to address what's going on with a psych asap. That's my advice..

    Please keep writing as it's not only healthy, it's getting out the pain and frustration and helping others who read that might be in a similar situation.

    I really admire your courage Beth. Please get back to us soon ok..

    Sez

    (Not Sex as you've written :-D ah ha ha, it's only one key stroke away...all good)

  7. Just Sara
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    10 December 2017 in reply to Bethie

    Sorry Beth;

    I didn't see your response to Croix. We must've posted at the same time. Hope I haven't crossed any lines.

    My best..

    Sez

  8. Bethie
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    10 December 2017 in reply to Just Sara

    I've not intense theropy before when I was pregnant to deal with prenatal depression. 2 sessions a day for months.needed to deal with abandonment issues from childhood trauma. And yes I know I have PTSD ( Thanks alot 2011 floods) nearly everyone in my suburb does. You where correct.

    I'l do whatever it takes provided I know my partner is safe to get well

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  9. Bethie
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    11 December 2017 in reply to Just Sara

    Well finally some good things are starting to happen. I'm so thankful you wonderful people here have been able to calm me down. Gratitude seems not big enough to describe how you've all made me feel.

    Finally my carer payment came through after 6 months. Now I don't have to put pressure on my son to help.

    It's only a week in but my partner is responding well to his medication and even starting to remember small things about the lead up to hitting his head and break down.

    IT seems he had been taking medication but was going off it because our son didn' like it and we where both doing 14 hour days 6 days a week and 4 hour traveling time a day.

    IM sleeping way better now and had a phone session today with a phycolgist. She arranged for me to be contacted weekly to see how I am and is looking into support groups that are just a bunch of like minded people meeting for a coffee and chat. Most likely my partner will be starting in a mens support group to learn how to express feelings and emotions .

    Without taking the first step here and admitting I wasn't coping i honestly don't think most of this would have happened because I'd just hide with my head in the sand and pretend that I was ok and was dealing with everything.

    Thank you all here so so very much💚💛💚

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  10. Croix
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    11 December 2017 in reply to Bethie

    Dear Bethie~

    I was gladdened to hear of your news. Things do look brighter, both because they really are, but just as importantly because you have changed a bit from the person that first posted.

    There are a couple of things that might help from my life:

    Firstly you are allowed to make mistakes. My wife had a pretty steep learning curve with me, and no experience to guide her. So she pushed when she should not, offered impractical solutions at times, left me alone when it would have been better if she had stayed, stayed when she might have been better not to and so on.

    She let the car run out of oil. Other things. Actually I feel a bit mean bringing them up as she was incredible, but I wanted you to get the idea you do not have to have superwoman standards. It will work out.

    None of that learning was in the least important. She was there for me, loved me and was a constant in my life. It really helped, gave me a mental 'home'.

    Secondly you said "I've kept most of my family safe from all this"

    Perhaps you might be deciding too much on their behalf. Both your parents are used to strife in one form or another. Most parents and family feel better if they can help. My wife had her mum, and it made an awful lot of difference to her, both emotionally and practically too, we ate a lot of cakes made with vegetables - her specialty.

    As Sez says, please return and say how things are going (good and bad)

    Croix

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  11. Bethie
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    11 December 2017 in reply to Croix

    Thank guys

    I hope you don' mind me using this as a bit of a kinda journal most days but it helps reading back.

    Day 2 since my partners last melt down.our son started his first job yesterday afternoon and has started ridding with his mates again after breaking his collar bone 4 months ago.

    Even our 2 dogs are calming down. My Staffy still sleeps curled around my legs and our border collie wount leave my partners side when he' out in the garden.

    Yesterday I went into the garden where my old dog is buried and even though it' been 13 years sat down next to his grave and talked to him and cried. I was given him as a pup when going through bad prenatal depression. It was really healing.

    I know things take time and the anxiety attacks may come and go dispite meds but taking positive actions to reclaim me as a person not just a carer are helping us both.

    Heco I even found a little boat hull for free on gumtree because I tend to run a bit ruff leading up to the anniversary of 2011 here in Brisbane. My neighbour said she gets the same fears and is happy we now have a way out instead of being trapped again.

    My mantra for today....Good things happen when you admit your not infalable

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  12. Croix
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    13 December 2017 in reply to Bethie

    Dear Bethie~

    I really like the fact you went and found that boat hull. It is both a practical step to take if water ever comes back, but just as importantly is you taking charge and not being held hostage by that experience.

    The love you have for that dog is a real blessing, even if sad. Talking does help. I'm glad you have another dog now, they make the world of difference, my partner says pets turn a house into a home.

    Croix

  13. Bethie
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    13 December 2017 in reply to Croix

    Today was a bit ruff. My son went back to the indoor skate park for his first ride since breaking his collar bone 3 months ago doing stunts with mates that take part in the X games. Went out and brought a generator because we've lost power a few time lately and i tend to freak out. Let my partner go to the servo just 2 blocks from home on his own since he had the accident where he hit his head and got amnesia 6 months ago. I thought I'd be ok but he found me on the front veranda only 10min after leaving home rocking, shaking and crying. He told me he saw one of our neighbours there and caught up for a few min.

    I suppose it's 3 steps forward 2 back sometimes.

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  14. Croix
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    13 December 2017 in reply to Bethie

    Dear Bethie~

    I think it is more like 3 forward, only 1 back. You are writing about something that happens. I've been frozen with the mind exploring every possible bad alternative to the extent I've not known where I was and been brought out of it by my partner.

    To start with I did not realize what was happening and simply lived the experience. As time went on I became more aware until I knew I was in a state, this was comforting and allowed me to work towards getting out of it (it helps to be a bit stubborn). I try to think of something not related.

    A horrible experience for you, your husband does sound better now

    Croix

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  15. Bethie
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    15 December 2017 in reply to Croix

    Maybe I should be on here tonight.I'm kinda running a bit ruff after being so positive for a few days.

    I decided to sell my car and get 1 with more room since well teenage boys grow super fast and my son needs extra leg room in the back now. Anyway I put it on gumtree at a well below list price and 1 guy came around to buy it. I don' handle that type of thing very well so because my partner was having a good day decided to let him handle the sale.

    The guy wanted to take it on a long test drive through peak hour traffic on his own. I can see a major freeway from my house that's a parking lot Friday afternoons with more nose to tail accidents than dogs at the dog park so my partner said no sorry but I can come with you to drive around the block. The guy abused my partner calling him extremely rude. Like hello my partner had just taken his meds and was in a totally relaxed frame of mind.

    Then while I was typing this my best friend and neighbour came over to ask for help because her cat had passed away and she couldn't bring herself to look at him or move him from her lounge room tiles. Poor thing. He was sick last night and we tried everything to get fluids into him.

    So basically I'm ranting and letting out emotions atm sorry guys to just dump everything here.

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  16. Croix
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    15 December 2017 in reply to Bethie

    Dear Bethie~

    I think your partner was spot-on, even if you are insured the hassles and out of pocket expenses if he has an accident would be a real hassle. I hope your partner was not too affected by this rudeness. Let's hope you get someone else interested.

    Losing a pet is a terrible thing, so I can quite understand your friend needed help - it was lucky you were there for her.

    So telling it all here is good. You have to be able to talk.

    Croix

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  17. Bethie
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    16 December 2017 in reply to Croix

    Today I'm just flat. 7 months of battling and everything has finally finished. The new cars sitting in the drive and getting a RWC and rego tomorrow. The old ones gone. Christmas is all ready. Still got a little bit in the bank. Not much but a few hundred in case more drama happens. My husband I'm finally able to not worry so much about. He suffers retrograde amnesia atm as well as PTSD so best anyone can say is now he's less stressed his memory will return more as his mind can cope.

    It feels strange to not have any dramas going on. It' just not me.

    Picked up alcohol at 12 to stop the pain because of my parents breaking up. Got married at 19 to a guy I just met to get away from a violent step Dad but ended up involved with really bad people for a very long time. Left that marrige to get sober. Met my partner. Had a baby. Died for close to a minute in child birth. Then between my family being in bushfires and floods it' never really stopped.

    Seems like finally I'm getting a break and it' the strangest feeling to not have to look after anything or anyone.

    Its just not the me I know.

    My oldest sister allways says she does not have control issues. She doesn't have issues with her control. Maybe that's me.

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  18. Croix
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    17 December 2017 in reply to Bethie

    Dear Bethie~

    "now he's less stressed his memory will return more as his mind can cope."

    That is exactly what my psych says and it is - at least in my case - correct. Memories I'd either put to one side or else were 'intellectual knowledge only' wiht no emotion have been coming back over (a very long) time. Frankly it has been a good way to do things -if one can say that:). The reactions have been much less and a lot easier to deal with.

    As for no dramas - great! Maybe you will have a decent Christmas. You certainly deserve it, as does your partner.

    Croix

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  19. Bethie
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    17 December 2017 in reply to Croix

    Thank Croix

    At first I did everything including peppermint oil to open his nural pathways and sure it worked but as my husband described it one day the memoris came back so fast it felt like he was being hit in the head by a freight train. The migrane would leave him screaming in pain.

    Thats how his PTSD was triggered again. I found old platoon photos and details of a investigation into what had happened. Without meaning to I reversed memory replacement theropy.

    Kinda suxs here I am with a mum who was one of the top psychiatric sisters in the country before retiring and pioneerd mind management/ meditation for drug and alcohl treatment. A sister who worked for a neurologist for over a decade and heck even Dad sat on the board for relationships Australia and I go and do something stupid like reversing my partners work because he was never able to tell me truth.

    Luckly it's been 2 weeks now and he thinks once again he learnt to cook in the Army and did martial arts as a kid to explain how much he can do.

    He's started training again just mild on the punching bag and doing Kata a few times a day. It clears his mind he tells me.

    I suppose that's good. With everything I don't know if I'll ever drop my guard for warning signs but because of how much I love him I can live with that.

  20. Croix
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    18 December 2017 in reply to Bethie

    Dear Bethie~

    You are not floundering in the dark, your background gives you insight into how PTSD works and helps you get things right. So there are mistakes, they are allowed. If your husband had been able to confide in you it would have been different, but he could not, so this was an unfortunate by-product.

    It gives you more understanding and I would expect brings the two of you closer together -not all bad.

    Does not matter if you keep your guard up, from my experience triggers will pop up unanticipated, coping is the best one can plan and hope for, and as I said before it gets a lot better as time goes on.

    Croix

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  21. Bethie
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    21 December 2017 in reply to Croix

    Hi

    Well all told things are starting to get back to normal at last. We have both started helping at the local neighbour hood centre so are talking to new people and making friends.

    Today our son found a crack in the frame of his BMX. I freaked. A $700 bike less than 12 months old was nolonger say.

    My partner calmed me down for once. He told me to take my own medicine and look at solutions not the problem.

    Llke most money's a bit tight atm but one of the guys where our son rides is sponsored by some big name brands and was able to get him a better frame than his original for $250 and we can pay it off to him.

    As I get calmer inside myself my partner is less stressed. He still has along way to go but has accepted that it's ok. It's almost like his memories of good things are shutting out his PTSD once more.

    Between his meds and his natural medication I'm finally able to start truly relaxing.

  22. Bethie
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    21 December 2017 in reply to Bethie

    Sorry everyone but I need a break from BB.I've been trying so hard to look after my partner and son and help on here it's drained me.

    IT feels like I get empty. Financially atm I'd rather see money go to making my son be able to do things like his friends and be able to go grab a coffee with my partner and spend quality time together we both need so donating monthly here with only being on carers would mean that they would have to miss out.

    I can't do that to them.

    So thanks to everyone for all the help but sorry I'm on empty atm with nothing left to give

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  23. Croix
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    21 December 2017 in reply to Bethie

    Dear Bethie~

    I't's a stroke of luck that crack was fond before it failed, perhaps on the road.

    I must say your husband sounds better and supportive and you realizing the fact you need a break is sensible too. You have supported others here and given quite enough.

    I'd like to wish you the best for the holiday season and hope to hear how you are getting on at some later time.

    Croix

  24. Bethie
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    27 December 2017 in reply to Croix

    Hi

    It's been awhile since I posted here. Still trying to get my head around life. I've started letting my partner go a few doors up our street for coffee with a mate and my abandonmnt issues are acting up really bad. Only way I can explain is point form what has happened in my life. I've been on BB a while now so it probably about time everything came out.

    Mum walked out constantly untill I was 5. My eldest sister told me she would pack her bag and walk up the street with her passport away from Dad and 4 kids but Dad would drag her back.

    6 jumped of the monkey bars in prep broke my tail bone. It took 2 hours for mum to answer at work dispite being a nurse then I remember crawling to the car on my hands and knees. She didn't take me to hospital or doctor. My parents are both professionals so money was not a issue.

    6 turning 7...went to the UK and my parents told me that they wanted me to stay there with my grand dad. 3 other siblings where home in Australia because they where all at high school. I fought till Dad made mum agree I could return with them.

    13...appendix ready to burst. Rushed in for emergency surgery. By that time my parents where separated and Dad' gf refused to pass the message to him.

    14. Mum married a patient who was violent and a alcholic. In and out of ICU with being beaten up. I'd run to friends houses to escape seeing mum being bashed.

    15...started drinking to blackout to escape feeling.

    16 left home after stepdad nearly broke my knack. Got a good job and was doing ok untill mum begged me to come home.

    17 got involved with really bad people and spent 2 years between houses with guys with guns around me because my then bf was pretty high up and wanted me safe.

    19 met a gut higher up than the bf. Got engaged within a week and married within a year. Alot of high flyers and drug money around. Went through alot of meetings to be able to move states safely.

    29.. had 2 houses..yaught...everything on the outside but nothing inside left of me. Got out by signing everything over to the husband..

    30 got sober. Met my partner. 32 had our son.

    7 months ago. Partner had full breakdown. Went for walk.hit head.bye bye memory didn't even recognise me on the street.

    Current. His meds are working. No more PTSD symptom. Memory returning more everyday.

    My problem now...me.

  25. Croix
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    27 December 2017 in reply to Bethie

    Dear Bethie~

    A life that casts a long shadow, you have my earnest sympathy - but

    You are less of a problem than you think. You have intelligence, and see things as they are and have handled the current crisis. You know what is important. Fear lessens your perception of your qualities.

    In my past at times my anxiety, depression and PSTD have ruled, my perception distorted and my consequent decisions not good. You have passed all that. You are letting your husband go up the street for example, even though you know what your reaction will be. That's brave - and considerate.

    Of course it will take time to minimize your symptoms, but I'm confident you will get there - you are a strong person and are taking steps, the psychologist being one.

    While I have to say you might expect ups and down both with your husband and yourself I'm an example of a happy ending, and I'm not unique.

    Croix

    1 person found this helpful

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