Wednesday, July 31, 2013


I've just downloaded the last two weeks of photos off my phone onto my computer. I'm so glad I have a  tendency to snap away a fair bit. I sometimes need to be reminded of all the lovely bits and pieces that fill my life. Photos do that for me.

I've been away with 3 lovely friends sharing time doing girly things. We walked in the bush, soaked in the outdoor spa, laughed, gossiped, ate, drank, soaked up the cool fresh mountain air, talked about stuff only girls can, ate chocolate, sat by the fire, laughed at each other in our pj's, took photos of the beauty that surrounded us, dreamed of travels, sang together and just recharged.

It takes me a while to relax these days. I'm often just too tired. Anxiety will do that to you. It was so lovely to just go with the flow and allow others to take care of arrangements.

I sometimes forget what it feels like just to 'take it as it comes'. No forward planning, no escape plans, no plan B, no potential for something totally innocent to change the mood, no eggshells, just going with the flow. It feels good.

Everyone needs to recharge but I think those of us living around PTSD probably need it more frequently than most.

Sometimes my recharging can be as simple as a really long sound sleep but a weekend with the girls' was just the tonic I needed this time around.

What do you do to recharge yourself? Do you find yourself feeling tired and worn out?

Monday, July 22, 2013

caring for self

'Me time' can be a foreign concept to many of us while our focus is firmly on caring for a loved one.

The weeks and months can often roll by and time taken to do something just for yourself can be easily pushed to the bottom of the list.

I know in the early days I found this almost impossible even though I know I would have benefited from taking some time out.

While the load was extra hard and heavy, my focus was on just getting through each day.

I now have a slightly different approach.

I have a couple of activities that I know give me some time to myself and also help in lifting my mood.

A walk on the beach by myself, a massage with no talking, time pottering in the garden and picking flowers, an early morning cuppa while my husband sleeps, reading a couple of my favourite affirmation cards, going to the movies alone and a quiet house with no tv all help me to take time out and relax.

I think many of us become quite used to living with very high levels of stress. Having some time for yourself without feeling guilty might be a strange concept at first.

For me it's now essential to have 'me time' factored into my week. I think those in my house all benefit.

What do you do to take some time for yourself? What do you do to relax?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

speaking the truth

This week I spoke in public for the first time about the impact PTSD and major depression have had on me.

The process of writing about what the last 5 years have been like was helpful but to then speak it made it real.

I felt calm but just a little nervous. This is after all my story so I wasn't looking for approval or confirmation. I hadn't given much thought to my expectations at all.

This is part of what I said.

"His war experience will never be truly known by me.

I can only see the deep, detrimental, life long impact that it has had on him and in turn on us.

I knew nothing about PTSD before he deployed. I presumed if he returned home and he needed help then help would be accessible and be forth coming, the Army would rally around him and look after one of their own. How wrong I was.

As his capacity has decreased my responsibilities have gone up ten fold.

It’s been important that I learn about PTSD and depression so as to understand what’s going on for my husband and learn ways of dealing with situations as they arise so I can also manage my reactions.

I’ve fought very hard to get appropriate treatment for him, sitting in on most of his early appointments when we were desperate to find answer and solutions to his ever worsening condition. I’ve insisted we keep trying until we find the right people with the right expertise to provide the best care. 

I’ve learnt much about myself, my strength, my courage and my ability to cope with a level of pressure I never even knew existed. I’m by no means perfect.

I still grieve for what has been lost and will never return.

I deal with, at times, an unhealthy level of anger and animosity towards a bureaucracy that should be helping and not hindering. I have been exhausted by their processes.

I'm now hyper vigalent when it comes to social situations or if we are out in public. I look for potential situations that I know my husband won't handle and try to intervene or remove us from them.

I am anxious and often fatigued.

I talk to only a few about my husband’s condition as there is still a high level of ignorance surrounding mental health issues and I don’t have the energy or patience to educate.

There have been periods when there has been no light at the end of the tunnel.

The impact on me has been life changing."

What have you learnt about yourself living with someone suffering from PTSD? Have you ever spoken publicly about your own situation?