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.

 

1st time tonight @ Fathers Reaching Out.

Tonight will be my first time to ever go to a support group for myself.

I’ve always pursued helping my wife…

Strange as it sounds, 4 years of my wife’s traumatic events has only seen me help my wife.

I’ve bought her a book on PTSD, setup this website about Birth Trauma PTSD, attended her groups with her in order to contribute ideas on setting up a ‘Mum’s Birth Experience Support Group’.

Helping myself: What makes me tick; or not tick more importantly?

My mindset always demands detail.  I’d love to know

  1. if & how the last 4 years may have affected me,
  2. does it contribute to some current flaws in my character and/or day to day living?
  3. Is it holding me back? When I get tough days are they just tough as in General Anxiety issues or is there a more acute form of depression contributing to my ‘tough day’ at times?
  4. Will speaking to others tonight highlight the above for me?  We shall see.

Tonight’s Support Group:

  • 2nd Tuesday of the Month 6-7pm
  • Cwmbwrla Day Centre, Swansea, SA5 8LD. (Centre only: 01792 652101)
  • Support Tel. 07400 78 55 58 – www.FathersReachingOut.com

 

UPDATE…

I will update this post to let you know how I got on!

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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

CBT how it helps

I went to CBT therapy yesterday 15 months on and still struggling but getting on with it. For those who are interested its one to one therapy where you talk about what happenned and how to cope daily. I never thought that every day I would have flash backs but I do ! how long will they last who knows? But I can saye great coping mecanisms and they work for me and I am glad I have had the opportunity through PRAMS to access this treatment . My work mates have been great and understanding by me going off to hospital every week and I am grateful to them. So, if you have been offered this help and are hesitant to take up the offer do it, it helps x

HI Everyone I havent posted for a while . Feeling ok still getting big wobbles though when I go to CBT therapy but managing ok. I finally managed to go for my smear after putting it off 3 times, now the waiting game for the result but hope all will be ok. I am still on meds and wonder will I be forever because without them I think life would be full of anxiety. Amelia is forever growing and a real beautiful little girl x. My mum is ill so this makes my anxiety worse but I am coping and you all can too just take a day at a time x hoping to meet up with other mums too, coping mechanisms helping try them ! x

Amanda Holden-placenta previa

So very sad to see the news about Amanda Holden today who has apparently suffered major blood loss following the birth of her daughter on Monday.

She also reportedly had placenta previa during her first pregnancy.

At such a precious time it is terrifying to wake up in intensive care and equally upsetting and frightening for family and friends around you.

I hope that Amanda in time feels able to speak out about this to raise further awareness of birth tauma and its impact.

Wishing her and her baby daughter a speedy recovery. x

Happy New Year!

We have lots of plans in 2012 for ‘Birth Trauma PTSD’.

We really hope to raise awareness of PTSD after birth trauma and use facebook and twitter alongside the site. In addition we are working with a wonderful lady called Anne Marie to hopefully formally turn our group into a charity and start support groups across South Wales to give other Mums the support and help we have which proved to be invaluable!

We are also working on the ‘Dad’ section as we recognise that Dads also need support and help.

We really hope we can make these aims a reality!

How alcohol affects my PTSD.

A few weeks ago was my works xmas doo and like everyone there I got merry and enjoyed! I danced all night and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

However, the next day I felt awful…..I know that alcohol can induce feelings of paranoia but this was horrible.

I sat in Macdonalds(the classic hangover cure) with my husband and children and physically shook. I felt scared and anxious.

I became convinced that someone was going to burst through the door with a gun and shoot us all.

The slightest noise was making me jump and I desperately needed to leave.

All of this I know sounds like complete madness but I wanted to share this so you know that this is quite normal when you have PTSD.

You catastrophise.

You have a heightened startle response.

You have extreme anxiety.

 

And if I’m honest alcohol won’t help with any of this, particularly if like me you are also on medication for your PTSD. I’m certainly not saying don’t drink but do it wth caution and be aware of how it may make your symptoms worse.

I was lucky I had my husband with me that day. I explained how I was feeling and he talked to me calmly and  took me home to where I felt safe. For me this is my bedroom. The feelings were still there but nowhere near as bad.

I got into bed with my baba’s, cuddled up and tried to control my breathing.

Please let us know if you have had similar experiences and what you have done to try and help yourself.