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PTSD - should we listen to his therapist

(61 Posts)
IvyBush123 Tue 14-Jan-20 07:27:46

Dh was diagnosed with ptsd. He is processing this in therapy and got much better.

Dh had the habit of making other people remove things that trigger him because he didn’t want to see them or even touch them. His therapist was very much opposed to that and told him to tell his loved ones not to do him the favour.
Dh has found better ways to cope with most of his triggers.

Now I accidentally bought a little thing that triggered him. Basically because he sent me to buy something similar that does not trigger him and I accidentally bought the thing that triggers him.

He is quite stressed by that little thing, avoids looking at it, is afraid to touch it. This has been going on for weeks now. He has asked me to throw it away. That would be easy for me but I know that his therapist would not want me to do this.


Plumbus Tue 14-Jan-20 07:31:39

I would have thought that part of dealing with PTSD is to develop coping strategies to deal with triggers.

Of course the 'easiest' course of action is to remove the trigger completely. I suppose it depends how much stress/anxiety it is causing him at the moment. Has a strategy been established for dealing with triggers?

I would be guided by the therapist tbh.

puds11 Tue 14-Jan-20 07:37:04

His therapist said not to do dont. He needs to develop the coping strategies to deal with the things that set him off.

I think it would be ok to move it if it were in the bedroom say, to a less prominent place in the house but he should still know it’s there.

puds11 Tue 14-Jan-20 07:37:34

So don’t not do dont

Noeuf Tue 14-Jan-20 07:39:30

What type of therapy? Until dc has the coping strategies we were 'allowed' to throw things out. 6 months in and he can tolerate them in the same room or being mentioned but won't use them.

It's a slow process (it feels) and I doubt you will get it wrong provided you keep working towards a common goal.

IvyBush123 Tue 14-Jan-20 07:42:09

Yes, indeed. He is doing CBT and one of the most important things is learning how to cope with his triggers. In fact he was exposed to his triggers (other triggers, not this one) in therapy on purpose.

But this trigger seems to make him unhappy... and it is nothing we need. Basically it is just a can of energy drink. He loves energy drinks, he asked me to buy some for him, but he realized he is triggered by this one which is camouflage. He has no problem with energy drinks, he has no problem with camouflage in most cases, he has no problem with other camouflage energy drinks - but he cannot look at this one.
Throwing it away would be easy for me and it costs nearly nothing.

He seems to be very afraid to touch it and has the need to wash his hands when he was next to it.

IvyBush123 Tue 14-Jan-20 07:43:26

@Noeuf CBT with exposure therapy.

73Sunglasslover Tue 14-Jan-20 07:46:26

Poor thing. I'd ask his therapist directly. You sometimes need to increase exposure gradually and this seems like a step he's not yet quite ready for. I wonder whether you have an option of hiding it (with his knowledge) until he's ready to get it back out again.

baileys6904 Tue 14-Jan-20 07:46:36

This is a basic exposure therapy, long used and proven in the psychological world, based on the premise that fear and relaxation can not co exist and humans can not stick at the same level of heightened feelings indefinitely. Sounds a bit mumbo jumbo perhaps but it's been long used although more in the time where the research was more relaxed in terms of well being. Its used a lot with soldiers with ptsd and is said to be the most effective but the most ethically challenging.
Anyway, I would try and follow the therapists advice, but maybe try introducing it gently. Ie. It's in the house somewhere, then it's in the kitchen somewhere etc. Or failing that, ask the therapist their opinion

Hope that helps a bit

OhYouBadBadKitten Tue 14-Jan-20 07:46:57

Is his therapist a PTSD expert?

IvyBush123 Tue 14-Jan-20 07:58:41

@73sunglasslover I already know the therapist opinion. She thinks that he should under no conditions ever make somebody throw away things for him. She thinks that this is much worse then him throwing the things away himself. I asked dh if he wanted to throw it away. It was cheap and we do not really need it. He actually plans to throw it away but he does not want to touch it. He is very stressed by the idea of having to touch it. He doesn’t even want to be near it because he is afraid to accidentally touch it and the idea h might have touched it freaks him out.

Do all CBT therapists see it like this? Do you know?

Interestedwoman Tue 14-Jan-20 07:59:43

'He has no problem with energy drinks, he has no problem with camouflage in most cases, he has no problem with other camouflage energy drinks - but he cannot look at this one.
Throwing it away would be easy for me and it costs nearly nothing.

He seems to be very afraid to touch it and has the need to wash his hands when he was next to it.'

The problem is if someone can get like this about one thing, they can just get it about something else, so throwing the thing away won't make a difference- eventually he'll encounter something else he feels triggers him, so you won't have actually have done him any good by throwing the first thing away.

Is it stressful for you, not knowing what he's going to be like it about next? Sounds draining to me.

IvyBush123 Tue 14-Jan-20 08:08:01

@Interestedwoman Yes, he sometimes seems to be triggered by random things. He has some standard-triggers most people have (for example most people with ptsd I know are triggered by fireworks and having people stand behind him and he is to) and he has some odd triggers shared by nobody else - like this one. He often does not understand why they trigger him.

IvyBush123 Tue 14-Jan-20 08:20:03

@bayleys6904 We have been told that CBT with prolonged exposure was one of the gold-Standard things for ptsd. I do not question the therapy.
I think it works but has sometimes be very tough for him. My question is initiated is okay to be a bit more relaxed about it. Is it okay if I throw it away for him if I do it only once and do not tell his therapist or will that threaten the success of the therapy.

baileys6904 Tue 14-Jan-20 08:29:31

@ivybush123 exposure therapy is a behavioural therapy 'thing', and yes it can be tough, BUT is the therapy most likely to achieve results in a given timescale, usually offered for 12 weeks ish. I suppose the danger could be, if u do it once, then the precedent is there to do it again for him, and enforces the fear ('oh it must be bad if my loved one is protecting me by throwing it away') kind of thing.
It must be tough seeing your DH go through this, but that's the type of therapy. There are other types such as person centred or NLP that are a much softer approach, but not as effective, can go on for years and are more based on the individual 'fixing' themselves.
In an answer to your question, helping is not going to kill him but could harm the therapy or do a one step forward, two steps back kind of thing. But there's only you living the situation x

IvyBush123 Tue 14-Jan-20 08:34:33

I think I see what you saying. Do you mean to say that if he gets help with a trigger the trigger gets worse for him? Because he feels that it so horrible he cannot cope with it on his own and this is bad for him?

I wonder if anybody has done this and what the result has been. I know we have many individuals with ptsd on mn.

Finfintytint Tue 14-Jan-20 08:41:34

Ask about trying EMDR. CBT didn’t help at all but EMDR was successful.

Findumdum1 Tue 14-Jan-20 08:47:21

Can you use the energy drink out on a run or something so that it just got used up rather that you moving it for him counter to his therapy?

Seems unnecessary to keep it in the poor guys house longterm if it is causing him so much stress.

IvyBush123 Tue 14-Jan-20 08:56:03

I typically don’t drink them, he does and he had asked me to buy some for him. His favourite variant was sold out so I bought home variety of others including the horrible one. If I had known it causes him so much stress I wouldn’t have done this. I knew he sometimes struggles with camouflage but in most cases he is fine with camouflage items.

Of course I could drinking but wouldn’t that be exactly the same as throwing it away when he knows I typically do not drink them.

BrigidSt Tue 14-Jan-20 08:58:30

I start EMDR today, for complex ptsd, after having had specific trauma CBT. One of the things therapy raised for me is avoidance. In the end you can avoid EVERYTHING that might set you off, by never going out and controlling your environment that way. It's not healthy and makes your ptsd worse. Of course some triggers are worse than others, some you can't necessarily get away from, involving others in avoidance is also unhealthy, creating dependancy. Don't enable him. Be confident not to go along with what he wants, the hard work in recovery is his and he is creating his own barriers to recovery.

IvyBush123 Tue 14-Jan-20 09:00:03

I thought that this (struggling with some camouflage things) was already much better or I would have bought it. We do have other camouflage things in the house.
I didn’t want to trigger him I just didn’t think for a minute.

IvyBush123 Tue 14-Jan-20 09:04:54

@BrigidSt Best of Look. Will you tell us how it goes?

Avoidance is one bid problem for dh, the other big problem is repeating behaviour that give him comfort over and over when he is triggered. His therapist wants him to stop both.

IvyBush123 Tue 14-Jan-20 09:06:27

*Best of LUCK

Ginbauble Tue 14-Jan-20 09:10:45

I cannot recommend EMDR enough if he can get access to it. I work with people who have had it and it's really helped them.

SmileyClare Tue 14-Jan-20 09:15:20

I'd just throw it out. It seems perverse to torture himself with an object that is so triggering. Particularly such a useless item.

Sounds like it's early days with the therapy. There will be plenty of other triggers to practice his techniques on. This is a can of drink that no one in your house wants. Are you planning to keep it forever? confused

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