Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Beastie Boy PTSD

I have a friend over on the Veterans Benefits Network who is a Vietnam Veteran and has lived with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) for many years. He's a sweetheart and someone I often think about when our household is having a particularly bad PTSD day. One of his "pet" names for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is "Beastie Boy PTSD".

When I was still new to this whole world, I didn't quite understand that nickname... but a few years later, after many bad days (or weeks or months) as the wife of a Veteran with PTSD, I SO get it.

Living with someone who has PTSD is like living with two people. I know its not technically a split personality disorder, but it might as well be.

One day I am enjoying life with my darling husband... my high school sweetheart... the father of my child... one of the best men I know. And the next, Beastie Boy PTSD rears its ugly head, and I feel trapped with a thing I hate... that makes me miserable... that makes me want to cry and scream and hit and RUN.

I've learned to cope (sort of) with those days by simply shutting my emotions off and getting through the day. It's probably not a strategy encouraged by most mental health professionals, but for the most part, it works for me. Of course, this is also one of the parts of living with a Veteran who has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that is thought to cause Secondary PTSD.

Living with a hero who struggles with PTSD is no easy task. There's no debate about that. The "in sickness and in health" part of our marriage vows require A LOT of effort to honor on days where Beastie Boy PTSD is throwing its weight around.

I guess my best advice to those reading this post and feeling like you're reading about your own life, is to HANG IN THERE and KNOW YOU'RE NOT ALONE. Sometimes PTSD world really sucks but loving a hero is worth the effort.

Big hugs,

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