In my experience as a veteran caregiver, it’s quite easy to get tunnel vision and focus on the hardships you’re facing. The grief I feel for disabled veterans can overwhelm me. I wish I could do more to help veterans dealing with PTSD. The frustration of hitting major PTSD and relationship roadblocks made me and John feel helpless. The tunnel vision keeps you focused on problems by pulling you away from a healthy life perspective.
Recently, I’ve been listening to PTSD podcasts designed for mental health professionals and some for the PTSD community. I come across very insightful resources, from time to time, that open my eyes to a healthier life perspective. I’m sure many caregivers and their veterans could use some mindfulness to fight PTSD woes.
One particular podcast featured an actual veteran and his wife in a therapy session. This couple had no intimacy or open communication. The veteran loved his wife yet had a very difficult time holding her hand. Imagine Intimacy and open communication are common trouble spots in the PTSD realm; the aftermath of deteriorated intimacy and communication can be devastating.
After listening to this podcast, my viewpoint shifted to a more positive life perspective. The improvements in my relationship with Army veteran John Ready are encouraging. I realized how much better John was after seeking mental health treatment and receiving a PTSD service dog.
Four years’ prior, communication and interaction with us had completely vanished, mostly due to PTSD’s nasty symptoms. We hit some roadblocks, but have worked through them and continue to make improvements. I am so happy to report that John and I are in a functional and rewarding relationship.
With that said, I remind myself I need to focus on what has improved rather than focus on what I wish things could be like. Do I wish the circumstances were different and easier? Sure! I’m only human and working through my own mental setbacks. I am, however, very grateful for John’s improved health, our more functionally rewarding relationship and more cohesive family unit.
The reality of mental illness is you must do significant inner work, preferably with the help of a doctor or counselor, to improve your quality of life. My encouragement to you is that a better life for yourself and your loved ones, who have PTSD, is possible. However hopeless, frustrated, and exhausted you might be, please remember a BETTER LIFE IS POSSIBLE.
There are plenty of tools and resources waiting to be discovered and ready to help you find your way back to a HEALTHY LIFE PERSPECTIVE. Mindfulness is a tool that’s become more accept the medical field and mainstream culture. Mindfulness has been used in VA PTSD treatments since the 90s. To this day, mental health professionals still use mindfulness to treat PTSD and other mental illnesses.
A recently published study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology titled, “Changes in Mindfulness and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms Among Veterans Enrolled in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction,” revealed veterans reduced two common PTSD symptoms – hyper arousal and emotional numbing.
Mindfulness is sounds great. What now? How do you practice mindfulness? I put this list together help you jumpstart your healthy life perspective. Easier said than done, right? Any small slice, or even a crumb of happiness is worth fighting for. If you feel so exhausted by the thought of another helpful list of to do’s, then print this or save on your computer to read later. If you want to try out these tips today, then all power to you. You ready? Here we go. Here are some tips to help you navigate from feeling discouraged to hopeful and alive once again. Give some feedback if any of these worked for you. Would love to hear your stories!
5 Tips to Get & Keep A Healthy Life Perspective
- “…Surround yourself with people having a healthy and supportive perspective on one’s illness and treatment.” – Eric Walrabenstein, Mind-Body Expert and Founder of BOOSTRAP ARMED FORCES STRESS MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
- Let go of your expectations. Having unattainable life expectations is a recipe for misery.
- Expect setbacks and work through them like the warrior you are instead of letting them drag you down. For example, sit down as a family and make a set plan for when a trigger sets off person with PTSD.
- Schedule a few minutes every day to reflect on what you’re grateful for. Easy way to do this is to set a daily reminder on your phone. Before you know it, you’ll get into a natural habit of cultivating gratefulness.
- Practice mindfulness and positive thinking with the help of APPS. Here are a few I have been using: Mindfulness Coach, PTSD Family Coach, and Mood Coach.