PTSD: A FAMILY AFFAIR

I have a good friend who is a veteran and copes with PTSD every day. He avoids getting into any kind of situation where there might be a crowd. He is often depressed and keeps to himself when his wife would like him to do things with her. The flashbacks are the worst though as he relives the horror of his wartime experiences again and again. I was surprised then to learn that he was refusing to go to the VA or anywhere else for treatment of his PTSD. When I questioned him as to why he wouldn’t try to get some help, he told me it wasn’t something he wanted to take the time to do or to put the effort into. His final stance was that since it was his problem, he’d deal with it.

While it may ultimately be his problem, it does not affect just him. It also tears at his family, hurting his wife and children as they try to cope with “his” problem. The kids are disappointed because dad won’t go with them to any of the community events they attend. They have told me they’d love to go to a football game with their father or even be able to have friends sleep over once in a while, but that can’t happen because Dad might “blow up” in front of them. His wife would like to go out to dinner or a movie with her husband, but he tells her to go by herself. It makes her sad that he won’t go along, but worse is the fear that he’ll hurt her or their children when he’s having a flashback.

If you have PTSD, it does not affect just you. It touches every person in the family and often friends as well. If you won’t leave the house, how can you go to functions with your spouse and children? If you yell at the kids in front of their friends, then why would they bring anyone home with them? PTSD is not just your problem. It can and does respond to treatment, so please, if you won’t do it for yourself, get some help for your family’s sake. Don’t think for one minute that it’s your problem alone.

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2 thoughts on “PTSD: A FAMILY AFFAIR

  1. I suffer from PTSD, although from a personal tragedy, not a wartime tragedy (I am the survivor of an attempted murder-successful suicide by my late husband). I found it very hard to reach out and ask for help. Leaving the house is hard and asking for help is even harder. For vets, going to the VA to ask for help has to be HELL! The thing that triggers them most is surrounding them in a VA center/hospital. How tragic! There is an app that can be downloaded called “Doctor On Demand”. It takes insurance and you only pay your regular co-pay, as you would if you went to an actual doctor’s office, but this app allows you to talk face-to-face with a doctor for physical and emotional needs on your smart phone (kind of like Skype). You can see and hear them and they can see and hear you. This may be a good first step to get some help without having to face a VA center/hospital for vets in need. Just a suggestion.

    • It is a good suggestion! It can be extremely difficult for veterans to face going to a Vet Med Center. Imagine what it would be like for someone with PTSD brought on by military sexual trauma to have to face walking down the halls at one of the med centers. Pretty scary!

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