Well, how do you think I feel? Part 1

You would think a person dealing with PTSD has enough on their plate to keep them occupied as they sort out their feelings and try to build a better life.  You would think their feelings and experiences in life are enough for any one person to manage.  And you would think the many different approaches we use to stay focused are enough to help stay in the right mental “space”. Yet, it seems there is always something new (or recurring) we have to manage.

And, did you ever consider how a person feels knowing their PTSD – and their PTSD related actions – creates duress and oftentimes major problems in how they experience their immediate relationships.

I raise these questions because I began to wonder about how my wife feels having to deal with my PTSD.  I wondered how my actions have caused her to change how she engages with me, and how that impacts our relationship.

This got me thinking about perpetually being upset, holding on to anger, sadness, and frustration.  I realized (again) my wife has had to deal with quite a bit of my PTSD moments through the years.

There are many aspects of PTSD that makes it a very unappealing challenge to face, and having to struggle with my own feelings can sometimes feel like more than I can manage. When I get caught up in the frustrations that come with knowing how my issues with PTSD impact my wife, a minor issues can easily become a major problem – because I can get so caught up in my thoughts and feelings.  When this happens my ability to connect with my wife is reduced (even blocked), my desire to engage with others is virtually gone, and my interest in things falters.

The walls we build around us becomes the very prison that keeps us away from those we want to be with.  For sure, we are protecting ourselves from a perceived threat or unwanted harm.  For sure we are doing our best to safeguard our relationship from a harm we are the originators of, and, for sure if we are not careful our desire to protect loved ones will overload us and we end up pushing away our champions.

It’s not fair, nor can it be, so getting caught up in that line of thinking only makes a bad situation worse.  What’s important is our awareness.  The more we become aware of what we are thinking and how those thoughts inform our actions, the more we are likely to move through our PTSD moments and return back to ourselves.

It’s that moment when we can “see” from our own eyes what we are doing and where we are mentally that helps move us forward (to who we really are).  These moments can be leveraged to help develop the habit of getting past the perceived threat.  Each time we exercise our ability to think past the emotional pull of PTSD we build our ability to sort through the muck and molasses that sucks the light from us.  

Yes, it can be challenging and it is something that can take a long while to come to terms with but I would offer that you consider how much more in control you will be when you take the initiative and learn to manage PTSD.  How might that feel?