November 5, 2011

To the Combat PTSD Caregiver

Reach out to other spouses in your area or online to help educate and support one another. There are many benefits you can apply for today such as the Caregiver Benefit of service-connected veterans. An organization I highly recommend is Family of a Vet, you can find their link on the upper right hand of this blog.

When things between you two become confusing it is due to his perception of reality has been profoundly shaken. Everything he thought of himself has been shattered to the core including his spirit. I often speak of coming home in body starting as we disembark the aircraft to our home soil. Coming home in mind is a completely different experience and mine happened when I was able to be present all day without dissociating or loosing time to spacing out. This happened in 2010 twenty years after my combat experience. I still loose time, in the last several months my stress level has risen and remained constant and my dissociative features of Combat PTSD have been kicking.

Know that when his reality has been high-jacked, you are the means of his reality testing. When this other reality bleeds over into yours, it is real in his mind. Knowing this will help you communicate with him, his comments or behavior can give you clues to his mental state and in what reality his mind thinks its in.

When my kids where around and I was having hallucinations I included them sometimes as combat operations. To them they were playing war with dad, to me the intensity was dulled. I was able to tether myself to my kids and not succumb to the all encompassing flashbacks where the reality of today disappears as the horror of yesteryear rains.

He is in there and will come home in mind when he is ready, his mind trying to sort out the absurdity and brutality of war. It is a long process. I want to thank you for your spirit and knowledge seeking to understand your veteran, you are important to him if he doesn't say it. That's that part of him that cannot reconcile war, killing and the sacrifices your family experiences daily. This part of him is broken, how can we use something effectually rendered inoperable? You are in my prayers.

7 comments:

  1. I've only recently started finding out more and appreciating more the huge impact PTSD has on people. Most of this was gained through following the twitter and facebook (and now helping out in a small way with his support team) of an amazing man called Simon Buckden. Simon is an ex-soldier who was discharged from the British Army, suffering PTSD. He is running 100 marathons in 100 weeks to try and raise awareness of PTSD and raise money for Help for Heroes.

    I've posted a link to your blog on his facebook site so others following him can read your story.

    Is there any way you could provide a link to his website http://www.raceto100.co.uk so people can find out more about his challenge.

    Thank you so much, and I wish you well. Sharon (part of Team 100)

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  2. As a fulltime caregiver for my husband who was diagnosed with severe/guarded PTSD, mTBI and other health problems its wonderful to find others in our postion..keep up the amazing work

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  3. I never knew until this past Veterans Day that he was in pain & I've been with him for 7 years. He's recently been hired by a battle torn exMarine that is an adulterer and a drunk and it scares the shit out of me that since then he's been deteriorating. I hope to find answers here & reading your post is the first good thing I've seen in 2 months. I dare call it hope? Thank you. I love my husband. I am now thinking about the abuse I had to handle from my father who too was a soul ravaged by not one, but two brutal wars. Perhaps I can heal as well....thank you

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  4. Thank you for continuing this site.

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  5. InfantryWife, the Combat PTSD Home needs a "Sargent" who has been there to help guide them through the detritus of war. Keep seeking others and look in your community, we are there too.

    Anony, some of us turn our pain, anger and rage inward in a attempt to negate or minimize the fallout. Others find it a "weapon" to keep people at a distance, this can manifest in abusive behavior. I hope you seek help in how your past influences you today.

    The abuse from your father was possibly his way of "letting" it out. For 14 years I sought chaos to feel the powerful and addictive surge that chaos would bring and living on the edge. In my early to mid 20's when this rage would start to bubble over, I would seek out some kind of chaos to quell the anger. I would get the most release from a fist fight with the biggest guy I could find. After I could relax and my body would be able to let go. Meditation and prayer ease my mind and body today. When I transgress upon my loved ones presently, I seek acknowledgement and humility in reconciliation.

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  6. Dear scott,
    I am a caregiver for my son. We have been seeking help for his tbi and his ptsd. Our county has three combat veterans. The other two are nam era who did not have ptsd.. The more I reach out for help the overwhelming response is WOW your situation sounds intense, or we don't have any combat veterans. My son is trying to cope. He is not into drugs or drink. He is finding as I have they just don't know what to do with a real live one here. so far the best we have is doing things to distract him, however with his brain damage this is often difficult for him. He was trying to help with repairs and ended up in the ER needing a lot of stiches.
    I tried all the usual places caregivers, wounded warriors, even the local VFW. All they do is ask for money. or say they do not know how to help us. or send us to online classes. We even contacted a state senator and the secty there was all about get him inhouse, But in house there is not treatment- I talked to a psychiatrist and he confirmed the in patient is a hold and observe not a treatment. This is a thoughtful and intellectual young man with brain damage and severe ptsd. He is trying everything to help himself because the VA wont.
    My question to you is Are there any treatments or therapies that can help with intrusive thoughts, nightmares and how to live with what you poor brave guys had to do under orders that violated every part of your moral code?
    It is my job to help him, he did his part and came home to me and I intend to get him the help he needs and is asking for in a thoughtful and quiet way.

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  7. I can help with the Veterans' PTSD Project's free online support forums, we run them for vets, combat vets, spouses and family members. In the groups we have many vets and caregivers to help with information of benefits for both vets and caregivers (you can be paid a nice income to be his caregiver). We can also help with getting better care at the VA. Armed with the right information your veteran can get good/great care at the VA. I'm troubled by the statement "I talked to a psychiatrist and he confirmed the in patient is a hold and observe not a treatment." You need to run very fast away from this psychiatrist/doctor, they have no idea what they are talking about. I've been to an inpatient PTSD program in Memphis, TN and it was a great program. In the 6 weeks I was there I experienced the most healing I had ever. I've been in therapy for 8 years. Please join the group, tell them where you came from and ask a million questions if you need too, you should get a response quick as we have many vets with great exp with the VA and benefits that are ready to talk to you. This is all offered for free, we also have writing workshops to work through war trauma and a host of other services and support.

    Our main support forum for vets and family members:

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/VeteransPTSDprojectSupport/

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Please share your comments, stories and information. Thank you. ~ Scott Lee