My PTSD wife’s panic attacks & paranoia / fear of losing our children.

Sunday, 08 January 2012 1am.

Tonight / early this morning, my wife had a minor Panic Attack at the end of us watching Hereafter (A drama centered on three people touched by death in different ways, by Clint Eastwood) – incidentally, a great film that she does not regret watching.

My wife’s minor panic attack this time was only a series of rapid short breaths lasting around 5 minutes. I say ‘only’ as I can say from firsthand experience her panic attacks usually mean her hands contracting & cramping up and the attack lasting around 15 – 30mins. I eventually managed to calm her down, limiting her panic attack – I sometimes wonder how long panic attacks can last for without assistance? (please comment if you know).

She opened up telling me a few truths and thoughts that she experiences on an almost daily basis; largely due to her PTSD, but partly due to the birth trauma experiences we’ve suffered via our son & daughter. Though in my opinion, her thoughts (that I also share albeit less frequently) are simply because her traumatic births make us less able to take our kids lives (and ours) for granted compared to the majority of other parents.

Having both shed tears and tight loving hugs, my wife explained how she often wonders if our daughter is ours – rather, she worries almost daily that someone’s going to prove her 16month old daughter is not hers??!!  Having collectively spent days over the last year researching PTSD via both forums and professional sessions, I believe my wife’s paranoia to be a typical PTSD symptom:

HELPING THAT SOMEONE YOU KNOW WITH PTSD
(& depression in general actually) …

I’ve researched what words I can use (and which to refrain from using) to support my wife with her PTSD disorder. Click to read up on Some Good Things to Say to the Clinically Depressed.

 

Help a PTSD sufferer Habitualise their trauma.

HELPING THAT SOMEONE YOU KNOW WITH PTSD
(& depression in general actually) …

I’ve researched what words I can use (and which to refrain from using) to support my wife with her PTSD disorder.

Good Things to Say to the Clinically Depressed…

Consider whether your sentence, ‘what you often say’ or ‘are about to say’, displays whether you care or not, by applying the following simple criteria…

  1. Show: You believe they’ve a disorder
    …many disbelieve unless they’ve experienced it themselves.
  2. Show: That you’re open to listening
    …the majority can’t be bothered, and actually discourage the sufferers ‘moaning & groaning’ – listening actually encourages the clinically advised habitualisation of memories & feelings.
  3. ‘Get over it’, ‘Cheer up’ or ‘Look on the bright side – does not help them get over their spout of PTSD or Depression!
    INSTEAD:
    Rather than insinuate there’s a simple way around their feelings (actually, their mental state) – try the above points instead, ask them to chat, listen to them, ask them to go for a Tea or a Coffee.
    DID YOU KNOW… Getting the person (the sufferer) to habitualise by ‘speaking about’ actually scientifically helps them deal with their condition. So by contrast, getting the person to dismiss their current mental state worsens i.e.prevents their ability to habitualise and process; hence ‘deal with it’.

THINK OF THE SUFFERER’S CHILDREN / FAMILY…

Our 1yr old & 3yr old kids (and I) would be much better off and have an easier time, if, others around my wife were more accepting of her clinically diagnosed disorder…

Acceptance + Discussion = Support.

‘HABITUALISATION’ – THE KEY PTSD HEALING TOOL…

It is my belief I’ve witnessed, that others do not understand my wife’s disorder as I do.

I’ve been in her sessions, read PTSD books & participate in such forums, hence, they do not support her anywhere near the extent that I do/can.

In fact, I’d guestimate in relation to my level of support, others give 5% (some even inadvertently into minus figures).  Simply because something called habitualisation isn’t facilitated to occur.  Allowing a depression sufferer or PTSD sufferer to repeatedly discuss or even moan; facilitates habitualisation – a key PTSD healing tool, don’t take my word for it, if you doubt me ask any specialist(NHS link?)

EVERYDAY STRESSES DEFINED…

Onlookers often mistakenly assume that PTSD sufferers are simply dramatising the everyday stresses that ‘the rest of us’ suffer. Not so, I believe everyday stresses are known as  Generalised Anxiety Disorder.

 

“PTSD is a real illness.
You can get PTSD after living through
or seeing a dangerous event, such as war, a hurricane, or bad accident.
PTSD makes you feel stressed
and afraid after the danger is over.
PTSD affects your life and the people around you.

If you have PTSD, you can get treatment and feel better.”

Some light reading perhaps…

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-easy-to-read/index.shtml