«Self-care» and «mindfulness» are definitely the modern answers to everything, especially if you are a caregiver of a veteran with PTSD: «If you can’t change the situation, change your perspective».
Brilliant. Wise. Profound. Philosophical. Easy as ABC:
A) Identify what’s bothering you/getting on your nerves;
B) Understand the problematic using a new angle;
C) Learn to shut up until you are convinced that the new angle is better than the old one.
Within a few seconds, you don’t change the situation AND you have a brand new perspective that allows you to continue to fulfill your mission with a smile on your face.
Easy as ABC. Everyone knows that.
What? Easier said than done, you’re telling me?
You don’t know your ABC, you can’t change your perspective overnight and feel happiness within 24 hours after you read words of wisdom??
Oh, I see.
Don’t ask yourself why: you are a caregiver of a veteran with PTSD. By definition, the rest of the world wants you happy, productive, available, understanding, supporting, and independent but they get tired of falsely listening to the same stories and twisted situations because you obviously don’t understand that happiness is all around you.
In other words, to them, you are an angry and a non-resilient lost soul: In some cases, you will be reminded that you are crazy for staying there, in others, that you are the one enabling him. they see you either as victim, either as a control freak. If you want to leave, you should be staying; If you want to stay, you should be leaving.
It’s kind of difficult to «change a perspective» with the help of others and at one point, it is the only thing left to do. But it is a survival instinct.
You are the creator of your own garden. So what the Hell are you waiting for before you dive into the world of «selfcare» and «mindfulness»?
Find your true personality through art therapy; watch Food Channel and try a new vegetable a day; smell a flower for 15 seconds and connect your soul to the Supreme Power; dance naked under the rain..hug, kiss and lick a tree 3 times a day for 6 months, have a conversation with Mother Nature.
Use Google to find the answers you need, Angry Caregiver.
«If you are angry, it comes from you. If you remain angry, it is your choice. All you have to do is change your perspective».
LOL. That’s nice. Thank you for the reality check.
When you understand the notion of «changing your perspective» in a healthy way, it makes A LOT of sense. Although I use sarcasm to talk about the importance of «self-care» and mindfulness, I feel like it is an ideal to achieve.
It just that before it starts making sense – in a positive and meaningful way- , you will want to scream: «BULLSHIT!! I will not change my perspective –because I’m not the one who is wounded- and most of all, there is nothing I can’t change. I can handle this shit! When there is a will, there is way!»
Sometimes, it will be expressed consciously, sometimes not. In my case, it was both. I was raised to be an independent woman; my mother reminded me to always have my financial independence, my father taught me to fight and to never give up: failure never was an option. I ain't no Weak Girl.
I never felt like I needed help.
It is true that when it comes to living with someone wounded with PTSD, an emotional distance becomes necessary for that selfcare and mindfulness to take place. But before I was capable of creating that distance –not out of anger but part as a «team work» with my husband as part of a process- I tried everything I could to control the situation..my life..our «image». My world was made of conflicts: Help my husband while constantly fighting with him; be a present mother while protecting the children as much as I instinctively could; be as open as possible to the world while closing the doors of our fortress from inside..
For years, I refused the fact that I had to accept and work with my husband's PTSD. As much as I was dealing with it within the walls of our fortress, unconsciously, I expected him to be able to hide it from the rest of the world.
In other words, I resisted as much as I could. To the rest of the world, I was «angry» and «non-resilient. Anti-social too. To my husband, I was his «Everything». To the family, «The Pillar».. To me, I was a combative wife who lost herself because she didn’t know the meaning of self-care.
I was my own enemy by continuously thinking that I could handle his PTSD for him.
At one point, I realized that his service made him tougher than me, that his PTSD was bigger than me and most of all, he was drowning right in front of my face .
I remember when, into a profound state of depression where he would once again express the fact that it was «unfair», I realized that he had a choice, himself.
«Listen! I am here.. you have your psychiatrist, your psychologist.. there are services...You are hiding into your damn trenches, everybody is willing to help you.. but you don't want to help yourself!»
«I can't change the situation» made suddenly so much sense. It hit me like a wall: he has his own responsibility. He makes his own choices too. My perspective had to change when I finally accepted that I was a caregiver, allowing me to see and deal with PTSD on a new different level.
«If you can't change the situation, change your perspective» is the answer, I know that now. Looking back, if I could have a coffee with the old me...this is what I would like to tell myself, spontaneously:
- You’re a stubborn for refusing to emotionally step away from your situation. At one point, you will have to realize that you are a caregiver, either you like it or not. Either you want it or not. Either you’re ready or not. You are the wife of a man who acts differently because of his wounds. You are the wife who must learn how to be a caregiver.
- Pray God if you want but don’t expect miracles: don’t expect him to become M. Prince Charming within 3 weeks. Let’s be honest: anger can be physical and emotional. It will be expressed through various forms of addictions: from impulsive purchases, porn, drugs, alcohol, video games. Get ready for an emotional ride that will last years. Determine your line of what’s acceptable (or not) .. and RESPECT it.
- YOU ARE TRIGGERING HIM by the way you talk to him, by the way you respond to him and his PTSD, by the way YOU make him feel INSIDE.
- Accept the help that makes SENSE to you. Accept help because it’s HELPING.. not because it’s helping others manage your life instead…
- STOP wasting time with those who don’t deserve it! STOP trying to please everybody! If they are causing more stress and damage into the fortress.. it’s OUT! And DON’T FEEL Guilt!
- You’re not the one who will decide for him. You can only help him see the way an you will have to use all kinds of strategies to do so.
- YES, he is wounded, NO, you are not crazy.
- YES, you are RIGHT but you don’t have to be right all the time: learn to shut up. Is it so important for you to have «the last word»? Choose your battles wisely and strategically, instead.
- When it comes to fighting for him.. when you will talk on his behalf..don’t be afraid to become a warrior yourself. Know the system; know the meds; know the benefits and services that should be available to him, to you and the family…know who you are AND STAND UP for him, you and your family. Don't let them control your life.
- You are not a bad person…
- …but you do act like a bitch sometimes. You’re not perfect yourself, you know.
- One battle at the time, One day at the time.
- E-Du-Ca-TE yourself. USE the services. Knock on doors. NEVER accept the unacceptable.
- Yes, I promise it will be worth it. Every single tear, every ounce of guilt and exhaustion ..every minute of worries.. of anger.. of hatred. For every scream, every secret.. every broken glasses..it will be worth it.
- He loves you more than you realize.
- You love him more than you realize.
Never the less, if you don't know how, it's only a question of time.
By changing your perspective, you are not changing the situation but you are allowing the situation to change.
Easy as ABC.