Paris day 14: Living with PTSD

Today hasn’t been the greatest day. It started off with me panicking because Bug wanted to fly to Budapest for the weekend and the thought of getting on an airplane sent me over the edge. I’m not afraid to fly, so this caught me off guard.

To calm me down, we went for an extremely long walk, got caught in a downpour, and on our way home witnessed a scooter accident not even ten feet from us.

In case you don’t know, my husband was involved in a serious scooter accident in November 2010. This is why he has PTSD and a TBI. I immediately turned him away from the accident and pushed him into the throng of people rushing forward, but I left him to go out and help the scooterist because NO ONE was helping her. She was lying in the intersection where she’d dumped her bike. Thankfully, she wasn’t hit by a car or another scooter. She was hurt badly – bleeding and I think maybe broke her arm – but she wasn’t knocked out. I believe she’ll be physically okay.

When I found Bug, he was crouched next to the bridge railing, balled in on himself and crying. It took everything I had to pull him to his feet and drag him in the opposite direction. I didn’t know what to do – we had at least a 15 minute walk back to our apartment. So I looped my arm around him and dragged him, crying, through the crowds of people shopping. On the way back, another scooter skidded out, but didn’t dump, and it set him off. The sound was overwhelming and he began his whole “I should have died” mantra he goes into when things become particularly bad.

We finally got home and he collapsed on the bed. After crying for ten minutes he fell asleep, but kept startling awake and having those scary PTSD “seizures” that terrify me. As luck would have it, he had scheduled a phone call with his therapist for 6pm and it was 5:30.

He’s sleeping now even though it’s only 7:30. I wish I could say this was an unusual event, but since November – the anniversary of his accident – they’ve become more frequent. Today wasn’t so much a trigger, but a complete reenactment of what he went through. Over the past eight months, he’s started drinking heavily to deal with the guilt, anger, and pain left from the accident. During this time, he channeled his anger at me, telling me one moment he didn’t love me and is incapable of loving our kids; and the next, that I’m the only thing that matters to him; that I can never, ever leave him; that he doesn’t deserve me. This has been my life for eight months and it’s been like living with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. As each coping mechanism works less, he bounces to something else and, to be honest, it scares me. There are days when I don’t know what will be enough for him.

But I can’t worry about that now. I need to put one foot in front of the other and help him through today.

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One thought on “Paris day 14: Living with PTSD

  1. According to a pilot study published in the latest issue of the peer-reviewed International Journal of Healing and Caring, veterans with high levels of PTSD saw their PTSD levels drop to within normal limits after treatment. They reported that combat memories that had previously haunted them, including graphic details of deaths, mutilations, and firefights, dropped in intensity to the point where they no longer resulted in flashbacks, nightmares, and other symptoms of PTSD. The study involved veterans from Vietnam, as well as more recent conflicts. ^

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