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PTSD, trauma likely to recur

(16 Posts)
AnxiousCarer Sun 09-Oct-16 21:45:17

Really struggling at the moment. CPN thinks I have PTSD related to my husband becoming suddenly unwell. The difficulty is he has a long term condition and realisticly there is a high chance of furthur relapses in the future. Not really sure how to cope with this.

GP has started me on antidepressants, seeing CPN and councellor regularly, doing meditation and regular exercise. But the anxiety is just horrible and its wearing me away.

lifeaintblackandwhite Sun 09-Oct-16 23:44:12

hi! that sounds horrible. Also have PTSD but mine is Complex kind and i kind of grew up with trauma. I can relate a little regarding the anxiety. I don't really have advice but just wanted to let you know someone cares

erinaceus Mon 10-Oct-16 07:11:42

Sending flowers AnxiousCarer. It sounds as if you are in an anxiety-provoking situation. I do not have any answers to do with how to cope either. Maybe one thing you could try is a support group for carers? There are some around, depending on your location. I do not think it matters whether your DH is well or unwell at the moment, if the chance of further relapses in the future is high and you are feeling anxious. You might find other people who have been in a similar situation who have strategies for managing their own anxiety that they could share with you, or just be understanding maybe.

Fortnum Mon 10-Oct-16 07:23:59

Is your Husband still unwell ? or is it the worry that he may become unwell again at some point in the future ? I only ask because the constant fear of reoccurrence of your trauma maybe the thing holding you back so to speak.

When I returned from Afghanistan the second time around, I was the Supermarket with my kids, a child in the same aisle had a balloon which popped and I ended up on the floor next in the fresh produce section, it was very embarrassing, but it occurred to me as I got up that it wasn't going to happen again, I had resigned from the forces at that point. I told myself I wouldn't be in that situation again and it hasn't bothered me since.

Fortnum Mon 10-Oct-16 07:26:04

sorry I re-read the question and see he has a long term condition, look at it this way, the surprise wont be as traumatic in the future - he is receiving care and the condition is being managed, you know how to react this time.

Emeralda Mon 10-Oct-16 07:50:33

I'm sending flowers too. It sounds like you've been through a lot lately.
It also sounds like you've put a lot of support in place for yourself, which is great.
I don't know how long ago DH became unwell or what happened, so I am sorry if I've got this all wrong. A traumatic reaction is more likely if , for example, he collapsed suddenly and you feared for his life in that moment. You're more likely to still be feeling it if it was within the last month or two. You could say that it's not likely to happen again though - even if something happens again, it's not going to be as sudden and shocking as the first time. You are getting help with how you feel, and PTSD can be helped. Are you able to talk to your counsellor about all of this?
Were you anxious before this happened?
I agree about the carers support groups too - that's a good suggestion.
You're doing the right things - just keep doing them, one day at a time.

AnxiousCarer Mon 10-Oct-16 10:37:44

Thanks guys. DH suffers episodes of psychosis and this is not the first time, I'm definately better at dealing with the practical side of getting help. He had been stable for a few years so this was a massive shock, especially as I didn't see it coming. It's not even the poorliest he's been, but this time has hit me really hard emotionally. It was really scary and I didn't feel safe, and resulted in his detention by the police which was unpleasant and traumatic for both of us.

He is much better now but as he has got better I have struggled more and more. I've never had anxiety problems before. The supermarket does seem particularly challenging, a man yelled at his kids the otherday and that escallated a pannic attack, though I was struggling before that happened. Work is also challenging I think the pressure of the busy pace, which I normally find stimulating is now just overwhelming. I can't concentrate and when I'm in charge I feel pannicky, especially when everyone wants me to sort out all their problems.

I used to go to a carers group but it stopped due to lack of time/funding, and I don't have any details of the people who went as it was arranged through another organisation.

I've only just started seeing the councellor so I'm hoping she will help. I just struggle to see how when my fears of it happening again are quite rational.

erinaceus Mon 10-Oct-16 16:31:12

That does sound hard. My DH nearly left me, and I "only" had a severe depressive episode. He is massively on edge in case it happens again.

Does your DH know that you are anxious? I do everything in my power to stay well, for DH's sake as well as my own. We have also had one session together as a couple with a counsellor, separate from my or his support - we both have it - which helped us as well. It felt important to me that we saw someone as a couple and not in the context of MH problems - neitherhis nor mine.

erinaceus Mon 10-Oct-16 16:35:33

Sorry hit post too soon. Sorry to hear that carers' group closed. There may be other resources for carers in your area. You could contact Mind in your capacity as your DH carer and ask them if there is anything local? Sometimes I find support that is separate from statutory services (NHS/Social Services/Police/whatever) to be more helpful than that offered by statutory services. It sort of depends. You may have tried all of this already.

MH "episodes" can come on with no warning, and frighten both people in a couple, well, it did in DH and my case, anyway, both ways around, actually. We do what we can to not go down together in terms of MH, something which I dread happening in the future. It is hard though, for both of us, separately as well as together.

AnxiousCarer Mon 10-Oct-16 23:20:39

DH knows about the PTSD and the anxiety. He feels really guilty about how his illness has affected me. He told me yesterday he felt that he had let me down by getting ill again. I told him he's being ridiculous I don't blame him. He hadn't been looking after himself and following advice from CPN and I really need to know he's doing this in the future. He's still struggling to do this at the moment. My CPN wants to do some joint work with DH and his CPN and possibly refer us for family therapy. Trying to talk DH round to this too. He thinks I should be able to just talk to him about things and sort it out between ourselves, but when I try to talk to him he changes the subject and trys to distract me or cheer me up. Got home yesterday and told him about pannic attack in supermarket, he said "why are you feeling anxious, I've done the washing up, you need to relax more" he is trying but hes not getting it, and I don't want to put more pressure on him when he's dealing with so much already. Luckily DHs team are very good at carer support, they recognise that if I go under he does too. Mind don't have anything for carers locally, I have found a local group for MH carers online. Feel a bit nervous about going though, and not sure DH will like it. He already feels threatened by me talking to CPN and councellor. And he definately doesn't think of me as his carer. He's struggling to accept that this has happened again too, and struggling to accept that he has a condition that he needs to manage.

Anxiety so bad last few days :-(

erinaceus Mon 10-Oct-16 23:33:00

Sending flowers AnxiousCarer.

My DH taking charge of his self care was a wake-up call for me. If your DH will not like your attending a carers group, does this matter? It sounds as if Interdisciplinary working with your two CPNs could be helpful. Does DH see himself as your carer in the way that you see yourself as his? (Or maybe you don't see yourself as his carer, but from your posts it sounds as if you do.)

It is so, so hard. I really feel for you.

AnxiousCarer Tue 11-Oct-16 15:49:32

No, I don't think DH sees himself as my carer,neither do I. Over the last few years I have reluctantly accepted that I am a carer. I don't especially like the term carer, I prefer the term wife! But I have realised that the support I give is more than the average emotional and psychological support, aaccepting thay I'm a carer opens up more support to me from my work place and other sources too. I don't think he sees me as his carer, I think he associates a carer wiyth a physical type of assistance. I think he'd be reluctant to accept he'd need a carer.

I know it shouldn't stop me accessing the carers group, I suppose its a bit of me being scared to pubicly accept myself as a carer too. The last group called itself a friend and family support group, which felt better.

erinaceus Wed 12-Oct-16 04:46:55

My DH and I do not want to be each other's carers, either. We would prefer to be partners, I think. OTOH a lot of people end up in the role of carer whether they like it or not, such as children of disabled parents or children of elderly parents. Accepting the label of "carer" can be a sort-of "ticket" through the system in the same way that a psychiatric diagnosis can serve this purpose. In my DH and my case, I found that thinking about it as, well, we are husband and wife, and we care about each other, and that makes us each other's carers, was a useful way to reframe it, but it might be semantics. I can see that "Friend and Family support group" sounds better for the people who attend it. It puts you in the role of family and friends and not just someone who orbits someone else's illness as the word "carer" implies.

It does sound difficult especially if your DH does not see that his symptoms are provoking your anxiety, when they sound anxiety-provoking to me. It is so, so, hard and in a relationship as close as a marriage it is easy to bring each other down, in our experience anyway.

AnxiousCarer Wed 12-Oct-16 10:39:00

Thanks, I agree accepting the carer label opens doors in the system, thats why I've reluctantly accepted it.

I think we will get there, I think its a lot for him to get his head arround at the moment. Firstly that he has a condition he needs to manage long term (hes only just accepting that he's been poorly again this time), secondly that it affects me too. I think he knows this but finds it hard to accept as he feels guilty. He is starting to open up and talk to me more again, which is great.

The other day I said to him that I don't want to take over and take control of his mental health (hes said he thinks I have too much control over it when he was unwell) but that there are times when he can't be in control and I have to be when he's unwell. Yesterday he said to me that he's there to look after me when I can't look after myself. So I think thats a start.

erinaceus Thu 13-Oct-16 06:02:05

AnxiousCarer sending flowers I hope that things continue to improve for you and DH. The whole thing is devilishly difficult, IME.

AnxiousCarer Fri 14-Oct-16 21:24:50

Thanks, definately fiendishly tricky, but sure we will get there in the end.

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