Domestic Abuse and PTSD

I had a conversation with a family member the other day that was very angry about all the talk about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with military individuals.  He referred to it as a, “Post Traumatic Stupid Disorder.”  I felt rather offended by his statement because his blanket statement could also have included me.  I actually found myself engaging in an argument with him over it.  I had to stop myself and accept he has strong feelings for his personal reasons as I have mine for my own personal reasons.

When I left my domestic abuse relationship, I experienced the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Looking back now I realize leaving my ex-husband resulted in extreme anxiety and panic attacks.  Oftentimes I had difficulty falling asleep, disruption in sleep or very vivid nightmares.  The anxiety attacks would trigger heart palpitations, headaches and extreme sweating.  Once these feelings started it seemed like it was difficult to stop them.  When I first left the symptoms were more frequent and lasted longer and over time they became less frequent with as shorter duration.  My doctor prescribed me with anxiety medication about 4 months after leaving my ex-husband and they helped me when the feelings would start.  My ex-husband was a big trigger for me and I had to continue to work on ways to not allow him to make me feel that way.

His personal frustrations were the reason for his comment.  His belief was that they only recently began saying military men and women suffer from PTSD but in the past they just said they were crazy or whatever.   My father claims he has PTSD from when he was in the military over 30 years ago.  Could my father have something really wrong with him that directly resulted from being in the military?  Perhaps, however he also claims to have a back injury which keep him from working.  All my life he has refused to work and was always looking for some Get Rich Quick Scheme.  His back injury claim helped him increase his military benefit pay for life.  My father is always extremely over-weight and out of shape.  So could his back injuries be a result of his own mismanagement of his body, perhaps.

Okay, so why did the stupid comment above bother me so much?  It was not because my father says he has it because that really doesn’t pertain to me.  It bothered me because I was able to put my mind at ease when I found out that might have been what I was going through when I first left my ex-husband.

When I first left my ex-husband, was in my own house and should have felt safe… I didn’t.  Some days I felt great and ‘normal’ and other days I felt I was losing my mind.  I remember keeping my garage door closed at all times.  I kept my blinds closed and was afraid every-time the doorbell rang.  Some nights I had nightmares and other times I had a hard time feeling safe enough just to fall asleep.  It seemed nighttime was the worst time for me.  This went on for at least 3-4 months very strongly and then I think it gradually eased up over time.

Today, I no longer have to deal with my ex-husband as much as I use to and I noticed that was when I really began to feel better.  However, when I found out I might have been experiencing PTSD it made me feel less crazy.  It made me feel there was a reason I felt the way I did and so much of the information I read seemed to indicate I could get past it and over it.


One thought on “Domestic Abuse and PTSD

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  1. I suppose it’s like anything that someone hasn’t experienced, they have trouble believing it is real. I also am recovering from PTSD and it has been scary. I finally sought help and have continued to receive help for the past 2 years. PTSD is real, and getting help and assistance is so very important. If someone doesn’t think it is real I would congratulate them for being fortunate enough to not have suffered from it.

    I still have minor anxiety when checking the email that I have assigned to the abuser (so that I can avoid it on a daily basis), and anxiety when it is time for my to drop off or pick up my children. I have always insisted on meeting at a central, safe, well-lit, public location and I do not speak to him, acknowledge him or even look in his direction, but I still have a nagging anxiety now and again. I can say it has gotten much better with time.


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