Woods.  Majestic, elegant, and grandeur come to mind.  Nature at it’s absolute best and in
harmony with itself.  

Has anyone asked you how things are “in your neck of the woods” lately?

In the PTSD world, “woods” are more like “weeds”.  PTSD, much like aggressive weeds can
kill out the majestic things to celebrate in our lives.  It becomes an infested vine that climbs
over the graceful and beautiful world we created.  It climbs up the tall trees of marriage,
wraps itself around the bushes of financial gain, and nearly completely blocks out the
sunlight essential for growth.

So, what do you do with your “weeds”?  How do you keep them at bay?

Weed #1

When the PTSD weed infiltrates your marriage it is a rough and tough job to try and protect
your “tree”.  As much as we want to put on “kid-gloves” and delicately attempt to remove
one little leaf at a time, the vine grows much to quickly for that method to be effective.  
Delicate picking is not going to kill the weed.  It’s going to cause areas for it to branch out
and completely take over.  You’re not fighting with a daisy here.  Put on your heavy
gardening gloves and fight.

First off, forcibly push that weed off the “branches”, your children.  Do the best you can to
shield them from the aggression and fear.  Next, work on trying to free the “trunk”, your
marriage.  Remember, you are fighting for the LIFE of your marriage here.  If you need to
get someone to take the kids so you can approach the idea of counseling, do it.  If you
need to get the strength to put your foot down and say, “I will not tolerate this in our home”
here it is.  

Your veteran needs to know that you love him and care for him but that he is NOT
permitted to be aggressive and abusive towards you.  Don’t do this in the heat of an
argument.  After things have calmed down and are better, gently confront your veteran.  
Know that he may have basically “blacked out” and not remember what happened between
the two of you.  Know that somewhere in there is the man you fell in love with.  Know that
with help and your assistance in tearing off the PTSD weed, he CAN come back.

Weed #2

When the PTSD vine starts to attack your financial health, it is time to fight back.  This may
mean getting an extra job or having to be humble and asking for help.  If your husband
monitors your mail and makes it impossible to “stash” funds, consider establishing an
account with a different mailing address.  Work aggressively to make certain your bills are
paid and when necessary, there are many organizations dedicated to helping veterans
through hard times.  Contact one (or more) in your area and sincerely and humbly ask for

Weed #3

If the PTSD weed starts to block out your sunlight and you are no longer able to find joy
and happiness on a regular basis in your life, SEEK HELP.  If you can’t get help for
financial or other reasons, try to get some space away from your veteran and children.  

If you enjoy gardening, plant a few plants to tend.  Caring for plants can reduce your stress
level and you will see your effort reflected in their beauty.  Sometimes having a shining
example of healthy life in or next to your home is enough to give you a ray of light again in
your own life.

While your PTSD spouse is not home, give yourself permission to have some alone time.  
Recharge with a long bath, a walk, or even curling up with a good book.  Libraries are free
so all of these activities can cost you NOTHING.

Most importantly, if you feel you cannot handle your situation anymore because of PTSD,
please reach out for assistance.  Sometimes taking the time to talk to your veteran openly
about what you need on a “good day” can be all it takes to renew your faith that your family
can survive and possibly even thrive with PTSD.

This article was written by our own Heather Hummert, the wife of an OIF Veteran & Purple
Heart Recipient.  If you would like to contact Heather directly, you can e-mail her at
Heather -at- FamilyOfAVet.com or

If you would like to help us build this site and reach out to other Veterans, their spouses,
and children, please e-mail us at Info -at- FamilyOfAVet.com or

Don't miss these other articles about Real-Life Coping Skills for those of us living in a
"PTSD World":

Day-to-Day Skills for PTSD Households

Searching for "Normal" - Ideas to Make Life Easier

Dealing with "Nina" (Better Known as Your Nosy Neighbor)

Dealing with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) in the Workplace

Coping Skills for the PTSD Spouse

Helping Children Understand PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Protecting Your Perimeter (Dealing With Paranoia & PTSD)

How to Handle the Weeds of PTSD

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