PTSD: A Spouse’s Role
During the initial visit, my doctor asked questions about my particular symptoms and took some basic background information. The hour went by very quickly – and was relatively painless! When he scheduled me for another appointment the following week, I didn’t protest as vigorously as before.
In the weeks to come, he allowed me to talk about whatever was bothering me. Gradually, from one visit to the next, it became easier for me to open up. As I spoke of different traumatic incidents I recalled from my 23 years on the department I felt somehow less burdened by their memories.
I remember thinking that if talking about it was therapeutic; writing it down on paper might be additionally beneficial. Without even realizing it at the time, that’s when I began writing my book. As I would write down my thoughts on an incident (or series of incidents), I would ask Nancy to read them.
She would sit and read, and cry. She’d then ask me questions about how I was feeling at the time it happened. “How do you feel about it now,” she’d then ask. We’d talk about the different aspects of the call, and she’d set me straight when I began blaming myself for the tragic outcome.
She wouldn’t allow me to say, “It was no big deal” or “You just wouldn’t understand”.
“Try me,” she’d say. She would poke and prod until I would tell her what I was really feeling. I believe that she had more to do with helping me back to a healthy state of mind than even the professional help of my doctor.
Once you begin to share your real feelings and fears with your spouse, it relieves you of the burden of always having to seem undaunted by the traumatic things we are exposed to from time to time. It allows you to strip down that wall of invulnerability at home, while still maintaining control while at work.
Home can then be your oasis – your safe haven to recharge your battery. We all need a place where we can drop that ‘tough guy’ persona for a while so we can rejuvenate.