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Anyone out there with PTSD? I need advice...

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posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 06:26 PM
Long story short my husband is a mess. He served in the US Army for 22 yrs and retired in 2010. He did multiple tours in Iraq and Afghnistan (the first in Desert Storm.) His last tour in Afghanistan in 2008 he saw some bad stuf. Had to do some stuff he didnt want to do like pick up the pieces of his best friend after a roadside bomb obliterated their uparmoured SUV. (He was Personell Security and spent his tour mapping out routes for VIPS when they came for their photo ops).

He spent 90 days in a psych hospital upon his return, he couldnt adjust to normal life. He was still "over there". He has battled drug addiction (vicodin) and went to rehab. He is not using any more but he is miserable.

Since then, he has tried many medications, but still suffers from dreams where he wakes up crying , he gets horrible migraines (he has a mild Traumatic Brain injury from the blast that killed his friend) and he spends every moment he can asleep.

I love him so much but I cant help him. I try. He goes to therapy every week with a PTSD specialist. He has tried the light therapy to no avail. Some blinking light bar thing?

Anyway, what can I do to help his quality of life? All he wants to do is sleep or watch TV. He is missing out on is daughter's senior year of high school. He is very absent in her life. He is a spectator parent.

He gives in to her because it is easier for him than fighting with her. (17 yr old girls are a challenge!)



And please dont tell me how horrible he is for spending his life in the Army. Being a soldier is all he ever wanted to do.

I cant live like this. He deserves a good life. This isnt living...

I am so sad.

posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 06:40 PM
reply to post by k21968

You're going to have to get him into treatment. It's a complicated thing, but it's going to take some painful growth for him to pull himself free - and, while you can help and can be part of the solution - he's going to see you as the bad guy if you take the initiative solely upon yourself. You are going to need a doctor, or professional, to "be the bad guy" and then you can help while using the professionals guidelines as a buffer...

Honey, I know you don't feel like getting up and going outside, but the doctor says you have to...

Trust me, this is the voice of experience.


posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 06:47 PM
reply to post by Hefficide

Heff,, great advice, I am not allowed in the therapy sessions because they at the VA and group sessions and confidentiality. I think he snows the doctors. I think he tells them what they want to hear collects his prescriptions and comes home.

He has been in therapy for over 2 yrs. Shouldnt it be helping by now? The VA seems to give him a lot of antipsychotic meds..currently he is on Elavil, Abilify, Prozac, and Effexor. The effexor is supposed to give him energy and keep him from sleeping. Its not working. The side effects of all of these are drowsiness. I think he sleeps because these meds numb his brain to non functioning.

I have begged him to stop all of them to see if he feels better. That is a scary thought. he was suicidal when he got home. Which led to the 90 day stay at club VA Psych.

Our lives are so different than they were when he left in 2007. We were happy. We were great parents. We lived life. Not so much. He acts like is 90 not 43. It breaks my heart.

I will make more of an effort to not B&tch at him to do stuff and try to gently coax him into doing things. He likes guns...we used to go to the gun range every weekend and spend all day blowing the heck out of targets for fun.

Since his return from Afghanistan he has acquired 12 new guns. He got his concealed carry permit. I frankly dont think he should have them. He is not stable. IT scares me.

posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 07:06 PM
reply to post by k21968

I think that guns are a bad idea personally.

When my breakdown happened and I "circled the wagons" ( became antisocial and withdrawn ) my ex did what any logical person would try to do. She played "Mommy". She got strong and tried to make me get up and do something. I resented her deeply for it for awhile. Sadly, once my therapist told me that my ex was right, and convinced me to listen to her - she'd already had enough and had given up. My resentment had driven her away.

The doctors cannot tell you anything - due to confidentiality ( BTW, the VA may be different, but at a regular doctor your husband could easily wave this right and allow you to be involved ) - but that doesn't mean that you cannot talk to his doctor. Just say "I know you cannot tell me anything, but I think that it is important to my husbands treatment that you are made aware of...."

Than ask if there is anything you can do at home to help.

As far as the medications you listed. I personally had a very bad time with that class of drugs. They did not help and they made me very sick to boot. The one medication that made me feel better was Klonopin. It is a narcotic anti anxiety med. I would take a very small dose at night and the next day, I'd feel 100% better. This, I am told, is common. So it's worth thinking about and possibly bringing up with the doctor.

As I stated in your prior thread on this topic. the answers will not be quick or easy. It's going to take a lot of patience and a lot of work.


posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 07:10 PM
reply to post by Hefficide

THanks Heff. I really appreciate your insight. I dont want to walk can only get you through so much. I want him to get better. That is all. The rest we can solve in time. '

I just feel like he has given up. Just gave up on life. I dont understand. Life aint always beautiful...but it is a beautiful ride. I just want him to see that. My heart is really broken. The man I married and love never returned from war.

Pity party for one...happening now.

posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 07:11 PM
My son is going to be starting a new treatment for PTSD. Not sure what it's called.

Electrodes hooked up to the head, reliving the traumatic experience and "pushing the buttons" held in the left and right hands. Supposed to train the left and right side of the brain to "file" away the traumatic experiences in the back of the brain where they belong, instead of carrying them around in the front of the brain where they are continually present.

I'll try to get the name of the treatment for you.

What a trauma he must have experienced. I'm sorry for all of you.
edit on 4-11-2012 by tinker9917 because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 07:12 PM
reply to post by tinker9917

Tinker that is what he is doing now!! It is a row of blinking lights on a bar..remotes in each hand...he thinks it is pointless and stupid.

What are your son's symptoms? IS he improving?

posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 07:17 PM
reply to post by k21968

He will be starting this week, so I don;t know yet what the outcome will be. But we can always have hope!

Apparently you haven't seen any improvement yet?

posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 07:18 PM
reply to post by Hefficide

Sorry I keep posting about the same old crap. My life. This is my life. It is all I know right now.

posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 07:19 PM
This blinking light thing is something I have not experienced, but it sounds a bit like biofeedback, which I have had. If so, the success is limited. It can help to control severe panic attacks, but only partially.

Self hypnosis is also another partially effective technique. Literally creating a happy place. This helps with daily stresses - being able to deep breathe and refocus.


posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 07:22 PM
Been living with a husband with PTSD for six years. He comes from a marine family and has served more then he should have. His younger brother died in 2006 while serving and that seemed to have been the major factor in this mess;he feels like it should have been him. I have talked to many vets that feel the same way and all are on tremendous amounts of drugs, so was my husband. I finally sat him down, it was painful but I knew it was time to called a spade a spade. For years I had feared his outrage and anger but finally I had had enough someone had to save him if it wasn't me then who. I had rehearsed, I waited after a few beers then laid it out, this life isn't for you, its not your fault, I love you, the kids need you, you are worth it, whats done is done lets move foreward together. That of course is a seasame street version because we cried, we wept, he smashed a few things and came clean about his feelings and experiences. It is part of the process he needs to feel safe and loved that is the only way to proceed.

posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 07:23 PM
Hi OP,

I may be able to help just a little but I need a starting point so two questions for you.

1. What do you think PTSD is. How does it work. (If you do not understand, you are unable to help)

2. Before he left, was he the cuddly type, as in did he give or return cuddles.


posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 07:27 PM
reply to post by BrieBird

Your post made me cry. It gave me hope. Tequila gives me courage. will buy a bottle and rehearse my come to Jesus. IT cant hurt.

Thank you!

posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 07:35 PM
reply to post by k21968

do it I swear it was our turning point, it hurt, but it was needed to get past that hurdle, silence only worsens it, he has to know that you accept him for every thing he has done. Believe me it changed our lives, much love, I have been there and know your pain. Don't give up on him he needs you more now then ever.

posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 07:38 PM
reply to post by pheonix358

Well I can tell you what I have read about PTSD and what I know from living with my husband.

I know PTSD is the mind's inability to come to terms with some traumatic event or events.

I know it presents with symptoms that vary from person to person. My husband is withdrawn, very anti social now, he prefers to be alone. He seems happiest when he is left alone to sleep all day and not forced to interact with me or our daughter in any way. He hates crowds of people. he gets very tense and anxious and has to leave to escape the impending doom he feels that I cannot feel nor understand. He goes from being very quiet to being very angry. The slightest thing will set him off and he will be mashing his fist into walls throwing things...basically having a temper tamptrum. He has never hit me but came close. In one of his fits of rage I got in his face and tried to make him realize what he was doing but instead of hitting me he knocked a huge hole in our drywall.

He hasnt exploded since that day. Now he rarely says anything.

He says little of what happened over there and when he was hospitalized they told me not to ask for I dont. I know he has wicked dreams where he wakes up screaming and crying.

The only thing I know is from media accounts...that his vehicle was hit by an ied and he suffered a concussion blast and spent hours retrieving pieces of his best friend. A foot and boot here and he searched endlessly for the man's wedding ring (so he could get it to the guy's wife). I know he went to TX to the funeral he escorted the body back and I know he thinks he should've died that day. He has serious guilt issues. I try to tell him he still has something magnificent left to do on this planet and it wasnt his time and all it does is p*ss him off.

I usually sleep on the couch because sleeping with him is exhausting. He thrashes around, screams, cries...and getting rest is impossible. I used to grab him and hold him as tight as I could when he did this and all it did was agitate him more.

Before 2008 he was a loving caring compassionate man. Full of life. His daughter was his world. He told me in letters from there that he missed our daughter horribly and they were so close when he left. Not any more. She tries. He pushes her away. we met at 17, got married at 21 and have been married now for almost 23 years.

So yes, he was an affectionate caring loving man. Now we are more like room mates. The war destroyed him.

I am open to any all advice you have...and thank you for your time.

posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 07:41 PM
reply to post by tinker9917

almost 5 years and NO improvement...he just keeps getting more and more meds

posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 07:49 PM
Stop the madness he doesnt need pills, I was in the same boat, you have to be serious and open to any and everything you hear, its all about safety believe me, get to that place, it has to come from the heart and don't do it unless it is he will know the difference. He needs you and your daughter beleive me he is in the dark and can't see the light right now and meds only prolong it.

posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 07:51 PM
You are the light he loves you and needs you more then ever don't over think it, this plea needs to be personal. Don't tell him he needs help that will only enrage him, never demasulize him but don't over indulge it either just speak from the heart.

posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 08:18 PM
reply to post by k21968

How disappointing.
I'd say it's time to try something else.
Is he on depression meds? mood stabilizers? anxiety meds? (If you don't mind me asking)

posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 08:20 PM
OK, thanks for that.

I am a counselor, I suffer from PTSD (with amnesia to complicate it) and to get mine controlled I had to give up on Western Psychology. I will tell you right now that I am not qualified (Don't have the right pieces of paper to deal with PTSD) In normal circumstances I would refer to a specialist. That is not working for you.

Most Western Psychology over complicates things just so the average person can not understand. PTSD needs two events, the primary and the trigger. The event you know about is one or the other, I suspect it is the trigger, and a very powerful trigger obviously.

To put PTSD in simple terms:

Our minds hold information in two distinct locations. The first is the memory of what factually happened. We got hit by an IED, my buddy died etc. The second is the emotional memory. How did I feel about that.

Rationalization occurs in the factual memory. IN PTSD the emotional memory has not been rationalized. As a result, raw destructive emotions rage through the mind unchecked. This is what you are seeing.

Medication suppresses this rage in the conscious mind. At night, the sub-conscious is in control, the emotions are played out over and over again. In the morning you are left with the memories of the emotions. It is like it just happened.

Since the normal approach is not working we need to take another approach. This will take a long time to have any affect. First, don't ask questions is more to protect the military than anything else. Ask away, but slowly, very slowly. You need try and get a grip on how he felt. Direct questions on how he felt will fail. Suggesting how you would feel in that situation may work.

He will most likely be rejecting cuddles and all those things that say 'I love you." They are critical! A small one second hug or a kiss on the cheek will send clear messages to his sub-conscious that he is loved. Your daughter can help. Keep them very short and of course the words 'I love you' should go along with each cuddle or kiss. Once or twice a day tell him you will never give up on him.

You seem to only know one event, there are more! Most Western soldiers can not come to grips with children getting shot. In other countries the age that a boy becomes a man is much, much lower that it is for you. Seeing a twelve year old that you just shot because he was shooting at you can unhinge many, usually the nicest of us.
He may never want you to know what the other event(s) is/are. If he cannot accept what he did / was ordered to do / what was done by others that he saw etc, then he will not believe that you or your daughter would understand let alone forgive.

Talk to the doctors and ask blunt questions. Is he improving, is he going to improve etc. As I understand this is been ongoing for five years. The medication is not working. It is not having the desired affect. It needs to be changed.

I think your insights are likely accurate. He is snowing his doctors. Don't be the one that tattles on him, get a relation to do it. Let him be mad at them.

That is the best I can do for now. U2U me if any of this helps him. It won't hurt him. Keep cuddles short, you want to disengage just before he rejects the cuddles. Surprise him with the kisses. Don't forget the I love you and adding truthful lines like "Nothing you can do or have done will ever change that." are good as well. You are hitting the emotional side. NEVER LAY A GUILT TRIP ON HIM! That would be a disaster.


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