My husband and I both have PTSD. Though it may sound strange, sharing PTSD is part of the reason we bonded so quickly after we met (we married a week after our one year anniversary). Although we developed posttraumatic stress disorder as the result of different–but not wholly dissimilar–traumas, we have some of the same symptoms, and are able to understand the daily burden of pain we each experience. Love is not only based on positivity and tenderness; being understood is powerfully attractive as well.
In my experience, living with a partner who also has PTSD has both its benefits and its pitfalls. This checks out with the experiences of other couples I’ve interviewed and read about. I’m not a psychological expert, but following is a list of the benefits and disadvantages I’ve gathered about being involved with someone who also has PTSD
Seasonal holidays involve many inherent rituals, but have you considered creating your own protective rituals? I had the opportunity to discuss rituals–both helpful and harmful ones–with psychologist Stanton Peele while researching an article I wrote about addiction for Vice. He describes the ways in which some rituals actually protect people from developing addictions–such as Jewish customs of drinking wine only during certain occasions. He finds that Jews who associate wine in that religious context often find it odd to think of alcohol as a “party drug.” This conversation made me think of the rituals we encounter during the holidays. Can trauma survivors intentionally create protective rituals as a means of coping with some of the extra stress associated with holidays?
Today, I have the honor of publishing an interview with her about parenting with PTSD. I hope you enjoy her open honesty and quiet, powerfully direct way of communicating. I certainly do! One thing is different this time: I’ll be publishing all of her answers here. I’m just too terrible at keeping up with the newsletter, obviously. I still owe you the bonus answers from the past three months so you’ll get those, but from here on out these surveys will be published complete. You should still subscribe though, because I have some pretty amazing surprises coming up and you don’t want to miss them!
I also want to briefly draw attention to a past featured mama and guest writer here: Brandi Kennedy. Brandi’s beautiful family is struggling right now, and as a result she’s holding a fundraiser to try to make ends meet. I’ve been in that place before and it’s not a great feeling. If you know what it feels like to be unable to provide everything your family needs on your own, despite trying your best, I hope you’ll consider making even a modest donation to her fundraiser.