Living Successfully With PTSD Means Knowing and Accepting Your Limits

Right now my husband and his son are driving out of state to attend my husband’s granddaughter’s wedding. My stepson is the father of the bride. Due to a lot of hard feelings since his divorce, he is very nervous about how he will be treated.

There has been wrong on both sides, as there usually is in situations like this. Still, we love our kids unconditionally, and as his stepmom I wanted to be there for him to show my moral support, alongside my husband.

I was planning to go. I bought a pretty new dress and was trying very hard to look forward to the occasion. But two days ago I got sick. I’m feeling a little better now, but I’m still not up to going anywhere and being around people. So I stayed home.

It feels like a sinus infection. But whatever it is, I believe my sickness was probably caused by Post Traumatic Stress. Not because of the anticipated tension at the wedding, although that may be a small part of it, but because of where this wedding is taking place.

The house where my family and I lived during part of the 1960s.
The house where my family and I lived during part of the 1960s.

WHAT ARE THE ODDS that the man I met and married here in New Mexico, more than eight hundred miles away from the area where I grew up, would have grandchildren living in the same town where the worst of my childhood traumas took place?

We were there two years ago, my husband and I, for the high school graduation of another one of his granddaughters. I had not anticipated how emotionally difficult it would be to return to that area, but it was really, REALLY hard…. especially when I realized that my husband had unwittingly booked us into a motel located just one block away from the house where my mother tried to gas us all to death when I was twelve years old. You could actually see the back yard of our old house from the motel!

But it's just a house, right....?
But it’s just a house, right….?

Although my husband assured me that this time he was making reservations in a different part of town, I still dreaded going back to that area again. But I was determined to do it anyway, for the sake of my husband and especially for his worried son.

Then my body said “NO!” Now I feel a little guilty for staying home, but mostly I feel relieved. As much as we women like to think we are supermoms, the truth is that we all have our limits.

In less than two weeks we have another wedding to go to, in another state. This time my chaplain husband will be officiating. I am looking forward to the occasion, and to wearing my pretty new dress.

Thanks for stopping by, and God bless. ❀ ❀




19 thoughts on “Living Successfully With PTSD Means Knowing and Accepting Your Limits

  1. atribeuntangled May 13, 2016 / 12:50 pm

    Im sorry you dont feel well, but Im also really proud of you for taking care of yourself. Knowing our triggers and boundaries and respecting both is great mental-health. Take good care this weekend! Alexis

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee May 13, 2016 / 1:04 pm

      Thank you so much, Alexis. I hope you have a great weekend, too. Right now I’m sitting here with a cup of herbal tea, making a lap for our little rescue poodle and watching upbeat music videos on YouTube. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 3 people

  2. rubycommenting May 13, 2016 / 1:20 pm

    Linda, me too, I’m so glad you’re taking care of you. I liked your house pictures. Now here’s the thing, will the family of this wedding be understanding? I hate to throw that out there as you’re doing so well at the moment, but, just be prepared because IF they learn you are going to a different wedding shortly thereafter, well, they might have feelings about it. Is there some way they cannot learn of the 2nd wedding that you are attending? It might just be better all around if they don’t. Or do they understand already?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee May 13, 2016 / 1:47 pm

      Yes, I have thought of that, but there really is no way for the people in the first wedding not to know if I go to the second wedding, since that one is also in my husband’s family. The second wedding is his nephew’s.

      My main concern is that my husband and stepson understands. I know my husband does, particularly since he also has PTSD. Like he said, me going to Missouri would be like him going to Vietnam. Some combat veterans have done that and found it hard but healing. My 2014 trip to the place of my worst traumas was like that, hard but healing. Now, however, it just seems like it would be too hard. But I was going to do it anyway, when I became physically sick and could not go.

      I believe my husband’s son understands, too. He is a social worker and has had training in this area. Also, the granddaughter who is getting married is very sweet and gracious. I like her a lot and really regret not being able to be there. But I firmly believe she is the kind of person who will understand.

      Her sister and her mother, on the other hand, have never seemed to like my husband and me, probably because they hate my stepson and we love him. It’s a sad complicated mess, with religion mixed up in it. So, regardless of whether I am there or not, those two aren’t likely to be happy with me, just because of all these other issues.

      The bottom line is that we do what we can. What we cannot do, if some people don’t understand, then that’s their problem. I am sure you know what I mean! For all I know, I won’t be well in time to go to the Arizona wedding. But I really don’t expect to have a sinus infection for two whole weeks. I sure hope not!!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. rubycommenting May 13, 2016 / 2:12 pm

    Ok, I get it and I’m glad the second wedding won it be an issue. True, you actually got sick right now. There was no way you could attend this one if you wanted to. It happened for a reason. I think that was very understanding of your husband. His analogy to him going to Vietnam.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee May 13, 2016 / 2:21 pm

      I agree about my husband being very understanding! He has told me the details of what he experienced in Vietnam and it was so horrible, it almost traumatized me just hearing about it. I honestly don’t know how he survived it and kept his sanity. I don’t believe I could have survived what he experienced.

      But my husband says that what I went through was worse in his opinion, because the abuse and trying to murder me came from my own parents, not from total strangers, like in a war. Still, regardless, I have no doubt that what my husband went through in Vietnam was far worse than my traumas.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. gentlekindness May 13, 2016 / 2:37 pm

    I think it is okay that you stayed home. I would not want you to have to be in that town again.
    Your husband can handle being on his own there, and he can always call you if he needs support.

    You will be better support if you are home, than if you were there in person, having severe PTSDsymptoms. How could you support him emotionally that way?

    This way, he can call you if things upset him that occur with the relatives, and you will be more grounded than if you were there.

    It makes much more sense. And you have to listen to your body and your feelings.

    Much love,

    Liked by 3 people

  5. katiesdream2004 May 13, 2016 / 3:02 pm

    Self compassion is something I’m hearing about lately. It is honoring the temple of your body that God created to step off the treadmill and stop pushing through when our minds or our bodies are exhausted. I was with my granddaughter at a nature preschool the other day when she asked a teacher if she should climb a tree. The teacher said “what does your heart tell you?” She was trying to teach the children to get in touch with their own instincts and honor that. Coming from dysfunctional families and relationships so often we weren’t allowed to listen to ourselves. We weren’t allowed to say no, we weren’t allowed to protect our bodies and honor our limits and have that be acceptable. Therefore when we start treating our temple the way normal people are allowed to, guilt often kicks in. It is to be ignored! So, good for you for taking care of yourself. If you don’t your body will make you pay (I had a cardiac arrest that is rarely survived) from pushing far longer and far harder than I should have.

    Liked by 2 people

      • katiesdream2004 May 14, 2016 / 3:10 pm

        Grace of God absolutely that I pulled into the ER with some pain in my left arm. I was sitting in the wheel chair with leeds on when my heart stopped. I was in front of the crash cart, I came to with out a shirt on, on a gurney surrounded by people with a hypodermic and paddles. Whose heart stops in front of a the crash cart? Within 2 hours they had a pacemaker inserted–I think my heart stopped because it was broken to pieces

        Liked by 3 people

  6. The more I listen to my own body, the better caregiver I am for my husband. I still have a difficult time knowing when to slow down and enjoy life but I’m much better than even a year ago. It’s hard to know enjoyment when we’ve known many years of pain and are skilled at disassociating from our bodies.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee May 19, 2016 / 1:04 pm

      “It’s hard to know enjoyment when we’ve known many years of pain and are skilled at disassociating from our bodies.” Oh, boy, you said it! I’m glad you are learning to take care of yourself. God bless.

      I just said a prayer for you and for your husband. Sometimes I wonder if prayer really makes any difference, you know? But three days ago I was doing some work around the house when I was here alone, and I dropped a heavy cabinet on my ankle/foot/leg. The pain was intense and it looked like the big blood vessel that runs down the front of the leg was ruptured in at least one place — it was purple and huge and swelling up very big, right in front of my eyes.

      I immediately began to pray for my injury to heal, actually commanding it to heal and telling the internal bleeding to stop in the name of Jesus, while I hopped to the freezer to get some frozen peas to use as an ice pack.

      That injury healed almost completely within just a few hours. When I took the ice pack off to check it a couple of hours later, the purple was all gone, there was no bruising whatsoever, and very little swelling was left. Today it is still slightly sore, but now there is no more swelling at all and my leg/ankle/foot looks perfectly normal. Even the cut that happened when I dropped the cabinet on it has healed! Wow! I was a nurse, I raised three children, and I am the eldest of seven children, so I have seen and tended to many wounds. I have never, ever seen anything heal as fast as this! The only thing I did different this time was that I verbally commanded my wound to heal! I got the idea from what Christ said in the sermon on the mount, that if you have faith the size of a tiny mustard seed, you shall SAY to this mountain, Be removed, and you shall have whatever you SAY.

      It sounds kind of woo-woo and but it works, at least in this instance, and in a few other situations I could tell you about. We serve an awesome God!

      Liked by 2 people

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