Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition in which an individual who has been put through grueling circumstances is incapable or has difficulty adjusting to regular activities. People with this condition range from war veterans to rape victims. Our brain captures bad memories better than good ones and the bad memories last longer and are replayed more often in our head. PTSD symptoms include depression, anti-social behaviors, lack of anger control, nightmares, migraines, anxiety, suicidal and homicidal tendencies, and more.
My husband is a native of Miami. As healthy as he looks, he has PTSD, which is the biggest challenge for our family. Ever since his discharge from the military in 2007, he has been on close to 300 different types of medications including Oxycodone, Xanax and Prozac. But they have only a short effect, if any, on his condition.
The Dept. of Veterans Affairs thought it was smart to put a bunch of PTSD sufferers in one small room for group therapy. My husband went once, and as one woman who was a veteran was telling her story, she stood up, picked up her chair and threw it across the room within an inch of my husband’s head. Believe me, when someone suffers from PTSD, the last thing they want to hear is another’s story of their after-war experiences.
So how does my husband’s PTSD affect our family’s life? Shall I list?
• He hates, and often refuses, to go out in public. It gives him anxiety attacks — and not mini ones, they’re big. I’d rather just stay home and avoid it altogether. With that said, my social life is now nil.
• With bad memories, come bad nightmares. He constantly grinds his teeth at night, and now all his teeth surfaces are flat. His dreams often get physical with punches and kicks, and he makes grappling, choking and shooting motions. If you could see this, you’d feel like you were watching a war movie.
• My husband doesn’t necessarily have suicidal tendencies, but he once said, “I can’t wait until I die, so I don’t have to deal with this anymore.” To hear that from him was heart-wrenching.
Although I’m able to get the general idea of what he’s going through, I can’t imagine having that daily stress. I thank the VA so much for letting my husband receive compensation for his condition.
The people who suffer from PTSD have a hard time living life in general. Just because he isn’t in a wheelchair, or doesn’t have missing arms and legs, doesn’t mean he isn’t suffering. He isn’t getting any better. When we lived in Miami, one of the psychiatrists from the VA Medical Center there once said, “Just be prepared, it will only get worse from here on out.”
He wasn’t lying.
Novita Arianti Guerra,
Las Vegas, Nev.