Maybe you have noticed the absence here. Maybe not. I know that I'm not always consistent in posting here. But we had a rough month last month. It was a month full of apathy and disinterest. This rough month that started in March is continuing into April and culminated tonight in a question that I often wonder, but always feel a bit guilty for thinking about. Who takes care of us?
While there is more information out there about PTSD than ever before, there is surprisingly little about who takes care of the caregiver. Everything I've read, every event I've been referred to, group discussion, symposium, weekend away, it's all geared towards helping me help him. It's all about how to help him, make his life easier, support him and understand him.
So, I ask you this, have you ever heard of secondary PTSD? Probably not. It's a pretty knew phenomenon we are seeing in the spouses and family members of those who live with PTSD in their homes. I think of it as whiplash. I fly backwards in response to his outbursts and escalations and when I whip back forward, BAM a PTSD reaction to a situation full of heightened stress, fear and emotion. And I completely understand why it's happening and can see where this will soon because the new normal for all of us. No one is taking care of us, while we are taking care of them.
Tonight, I needed my husband and he told me it was my fault that he didn't follow through. He told me that I knew I needed him and should have found someone else. I was very sick and needed his help and he said his failure to support me and help me by picking up some medications I needed was my fault because, "you knew you were sick."
So, while my life is a battlefield full of land mines that are so expertly hidden that I have yet to learn to navigate the field. While my world is so full of fear and anxiety and stress that I can't sleep... While I am carrying this terrible burden and secret of our life, behind the passing glances of those who might peak into our windows... Who is going to be there when I am the one in need?
When I am sick, hurt, overwhelmed, emotionally falling apart or just not able to cope, who is going to be the person I can turn to. Who is going to get my medications and not tell me it's my fault they didn't bring them to me? Who is going to drive me to a doctors appointment if I am injured? Who is going to put my needs ahead of their own?
Who is responsible for taking care of the caregivers?