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Journaling should be a relaxing and stress-free way to set goals, write about your day, and get things off your chest that is difficult for many to handle. Journaling is used by therapists and counselors treating their patients. Below you will find my way of journaling and some great tips to help you with it.
1- Make sure you buy a journal that is used by the highschoolers for school. Right now you can find them on the shelves for less than a $1. I suggest you buy as many as you can now because the price is excellent. Back to school items are out there so buy them now. Also, pens, color pencils if you want for doodling in your journal.
2-When you're going to journal you want to go into a separate room from other people and away from distractions. Go into a quiet room and close the door. If you wish to play some relaxing music to set the mood do so.
3-Start journaling. Note you do not have to write a book or a couple pages. Write down what comes naturally. You may want to write down what is bothering you and put it down on paper. Get it out and off your chest.
Another thing about writing in a journal, you may want to pretend you are speaking to someone. ( When I journal I pretend I am speaking to my mother. She knew me the best and always had the right words to help me out. Writing this way makes it easier for me to communicate my feelings and get it out)
This type of writing may be of assistance. You can also bullet journal. Or just write a paragraph and then you're done.
4- After you finish make sure you place your journal where no other eyes can see it. Do not go back and read it. And then go on with your day.
5-Make time each day at the same time of the day to journal and enjoy it.
Spouse with CPTSD or PTSD
Spouse with CPTSD or PTSD
- If you are not in therapy please find a local therapist who specializes in trauma. It cannot be expressed enough just how crucial treatment is for PTSD and marriage, let alone PTSD.
- If there is any substance abuse present, find help. When you are interviewing potential therapists ask if they are qualified to treat both trauma and substance abuse. In addition, do not be embarrassed. It is not uncommon to find PTSD and alcohol or drug abuse paired together.
- Research often to find relative articles to read with information about PTSD. There are so many wonderful resources online, like NAMI, with content including techniques to self-manage your symptoms. Then, try a few of them. But, try the techniques a few times. Because consequently, trying anything new can feel uncomfortable at first. Soon enough you will have your own personally selected grounding and calming tools in your arsenal.
- On the good days that PTSD symptoms are not active, do something thoughtful for your spouse. By all means, your genuine acts of love and kindness will nurture your marriage. With this intention you will reinforce the love, safety, and security that your spouse needs to feel.
- Process through any guilt you hold onto pertaining to your PTSD and marriage. After you experience a PTSD episode you may have feelings of guilt or shame. In spite of these feelings, holding onto any guilt distracts from your relationship. If you remain in this “head-space” you will furthermore miss out on precious time living “in the moment” with your spouse.
- Don’t worry about past events or anything in the future. Think only about the current day and how you can enrich the next 24 hours spent with your partner. In the same fashion it is very healing for you to be centered and in the moment as often as possible.
- Get involved with PTSD support groups. Facebook has several groups for this facing PTSD. Additionally, these groups offer encouragement, privacy, and a large support system. Some of my favorites are PTSD Buddies, Women With PTSD United and Complex PTSD Recovery.
Spouse without PTSD or CPTSD
- Help your spouse find a good therapist that has experience with trauma victims. They will be able to teach your spouse the tools that they need. Hence, PTSD or CPTSD symptom management. Of course, when your loved one is able to manage their symptoms, your relationship will take a turn for the better. There are self-guided practices that they can do to reduce the symptoms’ severity. And the same thing goes for minimizing an episode’s duration. Educate yourself on these practices so that you can help them out of their PTSD episode so long as it is safe for you to do so.
- Build a support system for yourself. Due to caring for a spouse who suffers from PTSD and marriage challenges, it is equally important for you to find enrichment. Perhaps you can make a new friend. There are few online platforms for the spouses of those facing PTSD. With that being said, here is a couple that are helpful and designed with YOU in mind. Furthermore, these Facebook groups provide a private place where you can get advice, connect with others in your situation, and find encouragement: Spouses and Family Members PTSD Support Group, PTSD Spouses/Family Support, Spouses Living With Military PTSD/TBI.
- Take time to take care of yourself. Equally important is nurturing yourself in order to keep a positive mindset and peaceful heart. Naturally, you most likely have taken on the role of “Caregiver” for your spouse. With that being said, a caregiver’s role is never easy. Moreover, it is easy to lose yourself and end up on auto pilot as your spouse’s caregiver. If you do not take care of you first, then you can’t really care for anyone else the way that you want to.
- Let go of any resentment towards your spouse. You may not even realize that you harbor feelings like this. Because of your spouse’s condition and symptoms you may be angry or hurt. But, please keep in mind that they did not ask to develop PTSD or CPTSD. The person they become during “PTSD mode” is not their true selves. That person is someone who temporarily took over your spouse’s mind and body. Contrary to this though, it is especially relevant that your spouse learns to take ownership of their symptoms. Meaning, acknowledging that PTSD and CPTSD symptoms are vicious and that they can be managed. When managed appropriately, there will be less of an effect on you.
- Familiarize yourself with your spouse’s triggers. By doing so, you will be able to help prevention of a PTSD episode. Talk about the triggers with them. Find out why someone, or something, a specific behavior, or sensation is triggering. By all means, keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to speak about the traumatic event or series of traumas unless your spouse requests to. But, you simply want to help avoid or work through a trigger with your spouse so that it can be eliminated.
- Educate yourself on best case scenarios, and, worst case scenarios. Do not wait until something tragic or until their symptoms get so out of control to start researching all things PTSD. Learn now, and continue to educate yourself so that you can always be prepared. Learn what signs to look for regarding suicide and self-harm. Additionally, having tips to show support in the front of mind will ensure that you remain supportive. Consequently, your partner will feel secure and comforted causing symptoms of anxiety to subside.
- Whenever possible, express your love and appreciation for your spouse in an unbridled way. Remind them that they are wonderful and that you love them. Due to their depression that accompanies PTSD and CPTSD their self-esteem has plummeted and they need reminders that they are needed, wanted, and admired.
- Read, “The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Relationship” by Diane England (available on Amazon as a free download). Reading this book will give you a new perspective and act as a pivotal turning point in your role of your spouse’s PTSD and marriage.