Dealing With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Advice from a Military Wife
“Don’t worry, I’ve never been shot at.”
Although he meant it to be reassuring, my husband’s recent offhanded remark to family about his deployment experiences stayed with me. What if he had been shot at while he was overseas? He has never returned home with an injury, but, as many military families know, some battle scars are invisible to the naked eye.
It’s not uncommon for veterans to experience stress-related reactions after a traumatic event like combat. When those reactions don’t go away or get worse, however, it may be Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
According to The National Center for PTSD, there are four types of symptoms of PTSD:
1. Reliving the event (including nightmares or flashbacks)
2. Avoiding situations that remind you of the event
3. Feeling numb (including losing interest in activities you once enjoyed and having a hard time expressing your feelings)
4. Hyperarousal (including feeling keyed up or jittery or always being on the lookout for danger)
When I’m feeling depressed, my mood and behavior definitely impact my family, even if my sadness only lasts one day. I can’t even imagine how hard it must be for a family when a loved one is dealing with PTSD. If your spouse has PTSD, here are some ways you can help:
1. Educate yourself on PTSD so you can better understand what your husband or wife is going through.
2. Track your spouse’s symptoms. Offer to accompany him or her to doctor’s appointments and help keep track of medications.
3. Offer your listening ear but don’t pressure your spouse to talk.
4. Plan family activities like dinner or game night.
5. Exercise with your spouse.
6. Encourage your husband or wife to connect with friends and family.
Of course, I’m not a medical professional, so if you think your spouse is experiencing symptoms of PTSD, it’s important to talk to your family doctor. Also, I think it’s worth noting that PTSD is not solely related to combat and does not only affect members of our military services. PTSD can occur after any type of traumatic event like abuse, a serious car accident, or a natural disaster.
Any wife would want to make sure her husband stays physically healthy, but we military wives also need to make sure our husbands stay mentally healthy, too – especially after a deployment.
Has your loved one experienced PTSD as a result of military combat?
Watch superstar Jennifer Hudson take on PTSD in Call Me Crazy a Five Film, premiering Saturday, April 20 at 8/7c. on Lifetime.