Signs Your EMT Spouse May Have PTSD
It’s more than obvious that being an EMT is one of the highest stress jobs anyone can do and this is why it’s not surprising that so many of them fall victim to PTSD. With all the things that they see and have to deal with. For some of them who work in large cities, it can often be no different than being in a war zone.
Here are a few signs that may not mean that your EMT spouse has PTSD, but no matter what, these signs may point to problems that shouldn’t be ignored:
Vortex of Being Numb
Have you noticed your spouse coming home from their work immediately sit in a particular chair and only that space, often called a “vortex chair”? You might notice that each time the chair is approached by your spouse you might hear them say the same thing “Man, what a day!” or they might say “I’m really tired.” and then that might be followed by them turning on the TV, computer or tablet. This part of PTSD means that at this particular time they’ve actually checked out.
In order for you to figure out just how bad things might be, try walking slowly towards their chair and try to start up a conversation with them and ignore any nonsense responses such as “sure, hon” or “sounds good,” etc.
Do your best to try and continue with asking questions or making statements as you step between the “vortex chair” and whatever the electronic device might be. If your spouse looks at you, touches you, or tries to move you out of their way, then things really aren’t all that bad. However, if they try to lean to the side without even saying a single word, then this is a sign that things might be pretty bad.
The Glass Test
Think of stress as water and a person’s ability to handle the stress as a glass that’s empty. People without PTSD will start every day with that empty glass and as the day progresses the glass will slowly fill. Those suffering from PTSD will start their day off with that glass already almost full.
Make sure to keep watch on your spouse on one of their off duty days that shouldn’t have any more than normal life stresses. Watch to see how fast their glass might seem to overflow and consider whether or not the stresses were “normal” ones. If they are “normal” and their threshold of becoming overwhelmed was met with what might seem to be loss of temper, storming out of the room or the house, appears as tantrums, crying, and so on. This can be a huge red flag.
The Whatever Wasteland
Does it look like you are living with an adult child and not your mature spouse? This would be a person who no longer tries to make decisions or they don’t take responsibility for anything unless they are told to do so? For example, “Surprise me” really isn’t a good answer, it’s more like a suicide note that hasn’t been written yet. You might want to consider keeping a diary for about a week and note how many times you noticed your off duty spouse taking the lead at home or not doing so or when they do and don’t make any decisions. Also, consider keeping track of how many times they do things without having to be asked to do so.
If your spouse seems to have turned into a non-verbal teen? If it looks like it, it’s important to consider making them an appointment with a psychologist or psychiatrist before the marriage starts to have some serious issues and can’t be saved.
The “I used to.” Syndrome
Another thing to consider is to keep track of how many “used to” statements you hear them saying. Seriously count them. Some examples would be: “I used to hunt”, “I used to work out”, “I used to read to the kids.” and so on. This is something you need to get on the fop of as soon as you can because if you see this pattern it won’t be long before they may be saying “I used to be married.”
When someone suffers from PTSD they can become very hypervigilant and they tend to highs like nothing you’ve ever seen before. For example, at work, is where they will experience this and when off duty it’s just the opposite. Often their co-workers can become super attractive when they are seen through their PTSD lens. However, you at home will be viewed through the lens of PTSD as being grey, dull, and drab.
If you are noticing a big change in your bedroom with them either showing no interest, or there is a demand that is unrelenting and constant, you need to have them check in with a professional who can help.
Even though this is not the complete list of the way in which PTSD can manifest itself, but it is definitely a really good place for you to start in order to nip it in the bud and get your spouse the help they may need.
Things to Understand
There are many issues that crop out due to PTSD such as: poor sleep, black and white thinking, negative doomsday like predictions, showing a sense of being treated unjustly and being betrayed, a need to seek vengeance, reliving certain events, nightmares, poor short-term memory, along with sexual dysfunction can all be symptoms. However, they are all treatable.
One of the most important rules of them all, when you are looking for some sort of treatment for your spouse is to make sure that you include yourself in the equation. You need to make sure that you are part of their treatment because most people who have been treated for PTSD have admitted to actually lying to their psychologist. Since you’re the one who really knows what is actually going on, even if you don’t know why it’s happening, you can help to get the truth out. So it’s important that you insist that you are part of their treatment team.
Whatever you do, never underestimate the huge impact that PTSD can have on your family and on you. Also, on a positive note, understand that it is a treatable problem and it’s not a life sentence. There really is no need for you to have to live a kind of life that is one of quiet desperation or a life that ends up having you divorced from your soulmate.