This is one spouse’s perspective, on our 3 and a half year PTSD Journey. My husband has had 4 different therapists, 3 different types of therapy and was medicated until we found the therapist and therapy that worked for him. I had my own therapist as well. I attended some of my husband’s therapy appointments for support, my own understanding, to express concerns on recovery or to talk about other treatment options. Some of my husband’s most prominent PTSD symptoms were avoidance, emotional numbing and withdrawal.
I stated very clearly from the beginning I needed for him to rejoin our life. We have young children at home, but he was never excused from parenting or family activities even when it was beyond difficult for him to do so. We talked about events (ie going to a family barbeque at friend’s house) before and after. We talked about some of the difficulties attending and had a game plan to deal with them. After we would talk about where we stumbled and our learning ect. As he progressed in his recovery he took over more and more of the parenting at the suggestion of my therapist to show me he was back and reconnected to us. He took over my position as our youngest daughters schools hot lunch coordinator, arranged their appointments, playdates and basically became mister mom. He was even able to, part way into his recovery, volunteer as the assistant coach for our youngest daughters Ringette team and thrived in doing so. In the beginning he did these things out of obligation but as he returned to himself it was out of joy. He is off this morning with our 9 year old daughter fishing for the first time together! This might not seem huge but it is when you consider 4 years ago it would have been a feat to just get him to acknowledge she was speaking to him. Before PTSD came to live with us his greatest love in life was being a dad and husband. We did carve out time in our lives for him to do his therapy homework, to exercise& run and he took the time to do mindfulness exercises when he was struggling etc.
He was taken off all medication last fall with no side effects and was determined to be in remission from PTSD.
About a year or so ago I apologised to him for being so demanding and expecting so much of him throughout this journey, especially in the early days. He told me I didn’t need to apologise because he saw them not as demands but as what saved him and what didn’t allow him to completely slip away. He said that if I had changed our lives to revolve around his PTSD symptoms our life would have become about coping not healing and living again.
This is just a bit of our journey and everyone’s is different so take of it what you will.
Founder of Families of the RCMP for PTSD Awareness