Hope For Healing.Org
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
What is PTSD?
experience such as rape, war, natural disaster.) that is outside of a person's normal life experiences.
Why should I learn about
Who is likely to suffer
Symptoms may include:
- Avoiding anything that reminds the survivor of the incident
- Recurrent memories, or flashbacks of the trauma
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing
- Feeling numb
- Hyper-vigilance (feeling "on guard" all the time)
- Survivor guilt
- Lack of interest in family, friends or hobbies
- Jumpiness (especially at loud or sudden noises)
- They may also suffer from depression, blame themselves or become suicidal
- Overwhelming emotions
- Feeling as though they are "going crazy"
- Fear "something bad" will happen
- Difficulty sleeping
Recovery from PTSD Takes Time
Survivors recover in stages. They may start with one stage, go to another, and go back.
Each person processes the event his or her own way.
Here are some stages a survivor may go through:
1. Denial that the rape had any effect on their lives.
2. Fear it will happen again.
3. Feel sad because of a loss of their ability to trust in people, or places.
4. Anger at what happened.
5. Anxiety over the nightmares or flashbacks that may intrude on the life of the survivor.
6. Feel as if a part of themselves died during the rape attack.
Survivors are not to blame for the crime committed to them by another person.
We cannot control the actions of another person.
Survivors need a safe environment to work through their fears. You can help provide that
environment by reading all you can on PTSD, and allowing the survivor space and time to
recover. If you are someone close to a survivor you also may want to check into counseling
or find someone you can talk to.
Rape is a crime that does affect the entire family or support system. By reading as much
as you can it will help you recognize when a survivor needs extra help or if you do.
The info above is from the following urls.
|National Center for PTSD
|Gift From Within
|Trauma Treatment Manual by Ed Schmookler, Phd.
|National Mental Health Association Anxiety Disorders - Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Waiting For The Explosion:
Living With Someone Suffering From P.T.S.D.
a Survivor’s Partner
Living with a person who is dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can be a real challenge. My wife, Gayle, was brutally raped and beaten in January 1995. The echoes of that night still reverberate through our marriage. While I can only speak of my experiences in our marriage, the messages I’ve seen on the Secondary Survivors email circle and the guestbook for partners, seem to indicate that our experience is not unique.
Waiting and anxiety are recurring themes in a relationship with a PTSD survivor. Waiting for the next explosion to come, dreading it and faintly hoping that maybe, finally the storm will be over. Waiting for life to return to “normal” (and what was “normal” anyway?) and fearing that the present darkness would be with us forever. Wanting to remind her that I have valid needs too. Waiting to be told yet again, “You don’t understand.”---You’re right, I don’t. I try, the Lord knows I try but I simply do not have any experience to relate this to. I’m sorry, I am struggling to see, to process, and to empathize.
We are waiting for closure, for something to be finished. In our case, nothing about the rape had been finished. No arrests, no job (they denied the whole thing happened), no bills being paid (since the company denies it happened even though she was at work and on the clock, Workman’s Compensation has not paid any of the $60k medical and therapy bills) (Update: In August 1999 we were able to put an end to the worker's compensation end of this nightmare. We finally received settlement and covered the medical expenses. It was a long day in coming.) It is hard to look ahead when what is behind you still needs attention. Gayle is fighting a battle towards healing and wellness.
A very long, brave and heroic battle. Sometimes when she is fighting the world or herself, she may miss what she’s aiming at and hit off on me instead. I’m glad she doesn’t exhibit violent behavior and never has, but she, like everyone else dealing with PTSD, does often have a short temper, an irritable disposition or a suspicious air.
These are little things, but over a long time can add a real stress to a relationship. Stress that only professional counseling (individual and joint) will heal. These past two years have been hard on her, on me and on our family. I am confident, however, that with time, counseling, and the Grace of God, our marriage will be healed and we'll emerge stronger than ever. We will never be the same people we were before the attack, but we pray that we will be wiser and more compassionate towards others and to ourselves. I wish I could say the bomb squad can rush in and defuse the bomb we all are waiting on, but it doesn’t happen that way.
My feeling is that the explosions will get smaller and less frequent as time goes on. We may very well may have the occasional “pop” for the rest of our lives. I think and pray that I can live with that. You can too. Keep working for the best in your marriage, even if it means getting help to do it. It isn’t easy to live with the PTSD but, we know that it too, can be overcome.
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