Husband has complex PTSD - feeling overwelmed

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
My husband suffers with complex PTSD and I am struggling to cope. I also suffer with depression and have done for a number of years. Can any one offer me any advice as I feel that I am not being included in his treatment or recovery. After almost two years of appointments I only found out what his diagnosis is because of a letter that was written to his employer.

Any advice offered would be gratefully received as I currently feel that I am fighting a loosing battle.
Marie, what strikes me is that it seems (do I have this right?) that your husband is not confiding in you, ie, you didn't know from him what his diagnosis was.

If so, why do you think this is? Why is he not sharing his diagnosis with you, so that you BOTH can seek to ameliorate its malign impact on your lives?

You say PTSD - is this derived from a 'single' trauma, or one that he experienced over time, or even in his youth, and if so, do you know what it might be?

Has it always been with him or has it only recently (ie, within his treatment window) emerged?

It sees a bit 'obvious' to me that you must, surely, be at the least aware of what is happening to him, and what he is getting for treatment. Does he not see it that way, and if that is so, then why?

Wishing you all the very best, and let's hope that with the other members here ( and the team of experts at Carers UK), we can give you some of the support you need.

Kind regards, Jenny
I think it is a common theme of how bad MH treatment in the UK actually is today.
The doctors keep everybody in the dark. Even if there are children, doctors seem to ignore the effects on them.

Quite frankly I do not understand why people think the NHS is so marvellous
Maybe it's time to make a stand? Tell your husband that he needs to open up to you so you can help. Otherwise is there any point in staying?
You still have a life to lead, the marriage vows aren't a one way street, whilst you clearly care for him, sticking with this for two years, he seems to be so tied up with his own issues that he's almost forgotten about you. What about his promise to love you in sickness and in health?!
Hi Marie I have just come across your post by accident and wondered if you have found help, there is very little out there for carers of CPTSD/PTSD sufferers. Sue x
Hello Marie.
I realise this is a rather old post and you may have dealt with this issue by now but if not I hope this somewhat helps.

I was diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder and was unable to leave the house for nearly 3 years. I was then diagnosed with a form of PTSD on top of the above. I was getting extremely bad flashbacks of what i'd call silly little things like being shouted at by somebody and blacking out for 5 minitues to half an hour etc. I would even randomly shout out when having these flashbacks, even when walking down the street. The amount of times i'd have to litrally bite my lips to stop the shouts etc.
It was an extremely lonely and scary place to be at because I thought "People will think i'm nuts!". I mainly thought this because I always believed PTSD was only for people who had been in the army, or seen extremely disturbing things that no human should ever seen. My flashbacks were about my parents screaming at me when I was a child or times when I was shamed. I felt pathetic, lonely and ashamed. So much so I couldn't confide in my friends or my partner of 10 years!

I ended up breaking up with her after 10 years and she had no idea about any of this and still doesn't. I ended up dating the most amazing girl who, like yourself, has depression. After about two years of dating she opened up about it and told me how dark, scary and lonely it can feel when a bout of it comes on which i'm sure you can understand. Even when she shared this and showed her vulnerable side to me I was still sat there thinking "I can't tell her this. She'll think of weird". One day, i don't know where the courage came from, but i told her. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, disgusted with myself and felt as if i was sat there telling her something so sickening about myself like I was child murder or something.

When i'm trying to say is maybe he's too scared to tell you. Maybe he feels just as ashamed or embarrassed as I and many people with PTSD feel when opening up about. Does he know that you know? If not maybe sit him down and guide him towards telling you and opening up about it. Maybe even make up a 'friend' who has PTSD and let him know how supportive you are of them.

if he knows you already know and just wont open up about it then maybe sit him down one evening, don't make a big thing about it but let him know you're worried about him and you'd like to maybe be included just so you know how he's doing. Us men often run away from problems like this because we feel it means we're somehow not 'men' so will just not talk about it with people who are close to us.Maybe he just needs reminding?:(

Either way, i hope if you do read this you and your partner are in much better place:( .
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42025345

Some cancer patients have PTSD years after diagnosis, study finds.
A fifth of cancer patients experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a Malaysian study has found.

About one-third of these still had consistent or worsening PTSD four years after diagnosis.

The researchers said PTSD needed to be identified, monitored and treated early.

Becki McGuinness, who was diagnosed with bone cancer, said the resulting PTSD and depression were the biggest challenges for her.

Becki was treated with chemotherapy after being diagnosed at the age of 21. When it didn't work, she was told she would need radiotherapy.

"By the time I'd finished radiotherapy, and a few months passed, my periods were stopping.

"It wasn't until I was 23 that I found out that I'd gone through the menopause and was infertile," she said.

'I could have saved your fertility'

Becki was devastated - even more so when she found out it could have been prevented.

"I was waiting a whole month for my treatment. I later saw a gynaecologist who said, 'If you'd only been sent to me I could have saved your fertility.'"

It left her with depression and PTSD, which she still lives with seven years on.

"I could take all the physical stuff. I could take even that I might die but when something's taken away and it's not your choice, that's what I find quite stressful.

"If you take that person's choice away, it's like saying you're not worth picking for yourself what you want for your future."

The team followed 469 patients with various types of cancer at one referral centre in Malaysia.

They tested them for PTSD after six months and then again four years after they'd been diagnosed. At six months, 21% had PTSD. This dropped to 6% four years on.

"Many cancer patients believe they need to adopt a 'warrior mentality', and remain positive and optimistic from diagnosis through treatment to stand a better chance of beating their cancer," said the study's lead author, Caryn Mei Hsien Chan.

"To these patients, seeking help for the emotional issues they face is akin to admitting weakness.

"There needs to be greater awareness that there is nothing wrong with getting help to manage the emotional upheaval - particularly depression, anxiety, and PTSD post-cancer."

While the association between PTSD and cancer hasn't been studied in the UK, government data shows one in five people with cancer report having moderate to severe mental health issues. Macmillan Cancer Support estimates this to be about 530,000 people with cancer in the UK.

Living in fear

Dr Chan also stressed that many patients lived in fear that their cancer may return.

The fear and depression can cause them to skip appointments as they trigger negative memories, which can be detrimental to their health.

The study also found patients with breast cancer - who received special dedicated support and counselling at the centre studied - were almost four times less likely to develop PTSD in the short term.

Dr Chan said: "We need psychological evaluation and support services for patients with cancer at an initial stage and at continued follow-ups because psychological well-being and mental health - and by extension, quality of life - are just as important as physical health."

Dany Bell from Macmillan Cancer Support said: "It is tragic, but sadly not surprising, that so many people with cancer suffer from PTSD.

"While a common perception is that people should feel 'lucky' to have survived cancer, we often hear from people who felt that the support they received 'dropped away' when their treatment ended. The health and care system has a long way to go in terms of supporting people after cancer treatment."

Campaigning

Becki couldn't agree more. She said her mental health support was inadequate and the consequences remain with her.

"You see children and you try and block it out but realise the depression is something that will keep popping up," she said.

Her cancer is now in remission but she stills lives in a lot of pain that prevents her from working.

She devotes time to campaigning for awareness for fertility preservation, to make sure others don't have to go through what she has.

Becki said: "That's given me the empowerment to deal with it a lot better than if I'd been sitting at home, thinking about it.

"I'll keep raising the issue to make sure young people get their needs met."


Merely an article but I trust it will provide some form of comfort to readers of this thread.