Saturday, October 17, 2020

Age Seems to Overide PTSD

   All the joints ache, walking is unsteady, the stomach gets upset easily, there is no interest for new adventure, and isolation is a comfort because age has crept in on cat’s paws and now envelops one.  What was once a case of paranoia, is now the fear of realizing and acknowledging what one can no longer do.

I feel my husband has lost his adventuresome spirit.

Most of our life was filled with adventure and we traveled and lived in many interesting places.  He no longer seeks adventure and at times I believe he has given up.  He needs a new interest, something to get involved in and to stimulate his mind.  We have been discussing a new book and its possible scenarios, but nothing has really taken hold of him and set him on his way.

He reads the news, listens to the TV news and weather report, does the crossword puzzles, plays bridge online, checks his rain gage every morning to send his report to CoCoRaHS (Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network), and plays solitaire on the computer to pass his time at home.  He does do the family grocery shopping which, at least, gets him to think outside of himself and gets him out of the house a few days a week.  I feel the daily news and the crossword puzzle are downers and just draw him deeper into his lonesome pit.

An experiment at adventure

Everyday, I try to get him interested in something to read or do. Yesterday I suggested we go shopping for faux flowers for the two decorative lanterns we have on the hearth.  He drove me to Wall-Mart and I went shopping.  He was there in body but not in spirit. He walked slowly leaning on a shopping card because his knees hurt. There was no smile on his face, no look of anticipation, no lilt in his voice.  I had failed again.

We only drive to stores that are near to us and that we have been to before. If we are referred to a new doctor, we need to consult the Google map to know where we are going.  Even knowing where we are going, we have that little bit of fear in our stomachs until we get there. When he is unsure of himself, I always think of what ifs.  What if we make a wrong turn?  What if we are caught in traffic and are late?  What if we have an accident?

I have to be more forceful in getting him involved in the world outside of the house.  If I do, will he accept my prodding or will he crawl deeper into his depression?


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Return to Blogging



It has been three years since I have had time or felt like writing in this blog.  The last three years have been a bit touchy.

The therapy continued

We have written and published four books starting with the memoir, Foreign Service Family Style, followed by three thriller novels.  The memoir was written as therapy which worked very well.  My husband now had something to occupy his mind and recall many of the memories that were deep in the recesses of his mind. 

These memories were the fuel to flesh out the characters, their thoughts and actions.  He worked in many of the locations, but when the actions went to foreign countries, he searched the computer for hours gathering information on cities, street names, weather reports, and political history.

 He was now off the couch, and his nose was out of the book.  However, now he asked me for help writing his book.  He could search the computer for information, develop the storyline, characters and their actions, but needed help navigating the computer programs.  This drew me away from my art study. 

I got involved in writing

The more I helped him, the more I became interested in what he was writing and would make suggestions: show the reader how the character feels, she wouldn’t dress that way, don’t keep repeating the same action, that is the wrong word to use there.

I suppose my questions and suggestions tore away at his self-esteem, and he would bite back at me, and I would retreat to my art table.  However, in a day or two, he would come asking for help.

Another side of the PTSD?

I think for the last three years I have seen another side of the PTSD or was it the aging process.  He no longer played golf because of pains in his knees.  That reduced his friendships outside the house.  He seemed to have no other interest except writing and when I made suggestions and questioned something, it just tore away at his ego.  He was no longer the Narc who chased druggies, but he could sure do it on paper.  Was I undermining that, or was he angry at himself for aging?


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Over The Hump At Last

      As I wrote these blog entries, I was a bit worried that he would be upset with what I was about to publish.  I held my breath as I read each article to him, and to my surprise, he did not get angry but helped with the editing.   After the third article had been published, I asked him if what I had written had upset him in any way.  He calmly answered.

“It hurt to listen to it, and I was a bit angry, but what you wrote was true.  It happened.”

     During these last five months, life has slowly grown brighter, and there is less tension in the air.  Both of us now sleep through the night, and I do not lay awake for hours worrying about what was said yesterday or what question tomorrow will raise his hackles causing him to become quiet and disappear into a book.

“There’s no more adventure in our life.  We need to do something outside the house.”

  During happy hour one night, he calmly made this statement, and I was not sure I heard it correctly.  I just looked at him in surprise, and he went on to talk about the things we used to do.   As we reminisced, I suggested we should set aside one day a week to do something new.  At least get out of the house and meet new people.    

     I quickly read the newspaper to see what was going on in Savannah that would stimulate his interest. For me, this was a breakthrough, and I had to take advantage of it.  His activities for many years consisted of sleeping, shopping for groceries at Kroger and Wal-Mart, and sitting in front of his computer playing games and absorbing the news.  On occasion, he would go with me to play bridge. Only in the last four years has he been writing and actively gathering information on the computer to write his books.  

     I had always wanted to visit the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens, and they were only five miles away from our house.  Several times before, I said we should go see what they were growing behind the large bamboo grove, but my husband just became snarly and disappeared into his newspaper or took a nap.  He really didn’t want to go out of the house.   
      Our first outing was indeed to the Botanical Gardens. It was a lovely Saturday morning; there was a slight breeze, and everything was green. The most interesting section was the garden that featured trees and plants grown by the early Savannah settlers. As we strolled along the paths and read the informational signs before the green plants and trees, we learned the colonists who were interested in the production of silk had planted many mulberry trees.  

     We enjoyed a leisurely forty-five minute walk about the grounds before we headed home.  On the way home, he even said he enjoyed himself, and we needed to plan another short outing.   The big surprise for him was that he had done all that walking and he had very little pain in his knees.   
     Over the past seven years, he has dealt with the depression caused by his PTSD, the aging process, and several health problems – not great catastrophes, but constant little things such as bilateral cataract surgery, replacement of an upper bridge and fluctuating blood pressure.  I never knew which caused the most depression – the PTSD or the aging.