standing up to the demon of PTSD

Dear PTSD, This is My Promise to You

Dear PTSD,

You have controlled my husband for five years now, and I’m writing to tell you that it’s time to let him go. We need him back.

Unshackle him. He is no longer your prisoner.

Day after day, year after year, you have mercilessly put him through every test possible. You have relentlessly forced him to jump over every last hurdle, just to keep going. He’s beyond exhausted… he’s empty. What more does he have to prove?

You have systematically stripped him of his confidence, his courage, and his conviction. You have robbed him of his career. You have deprived him of his freedom. Tell me, what is there left to take?

And it seems he’s not enough for you. Must the children and I be your puppets too?

You demand proof of our love for him in the face of your intimidation. You make us fight, time and again, to keep our family together, even though we’re fighting for a family life that will never be safe from your erratic intrusions. A family life where laughter can quickly turn to tears. A family life in which we must watch our every step, every day.

And then, in those moments when you force me to look you in the eye and you challenge me with unbearable rage, it takes all my determination to say, I will not back down. You will not win.


standing up to the demon of PTSD

art credit: Jes @


You shroud my husband so well, it’s almost impossible to glimpse the man underneath at times. You smother our family so easily, sometimes it’s difficult to breathe. You control us with the past, but more cruelly, you make us fearful of tomorrow. With you as our guard, what future can we hope for?

But you already know all this. This is your strategy. This is how you break your prisoners, how you claim your victims. And my husband is only one of many.

Yes, you are powerful, but he is stronger. You will not destroy this man.

I will soothe all the tears that you evoke. I will intercept every trigger. I will protect my children from your storms. I will comfort every flashback and nightmare you summon. I will endure every outrage. I will do whatever it takes. And I will stay.

I will unhinge you with love, and I will crush you with tenacity.

This is my promise to you.


Yours resolutely,

A wife, standing strong for as long as it takes



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  1. Chills…gave me chills on just how accurate this really is. My husband cried. But hugged me and told his military brothers how i am the best of wives. So many people could never understand the grip ptsd has on one and ones family.

  2. Something to check on. Is he taking any medication like Prozac or paxil or other SSRI’s. If so check to see if they are brand or generic. The generic in this class of medications do not work. Must be the brand. My dad has a book coming out on this. He is a retired psychiatrist and realized years ago the the generics were not effective. Hope things will get better for you.

    • Thanks for your comment Bobbi, though as an Australian pharmacist, I find this theory somewhat worrying. Are you in the US? Quite possibly, the regulations surrounding the generic counterparts are different country to country. I am certainly well aware of how strictly regulated generics are in Australia!

  3. This is my life, but I did leave. I had to leave to help my husband understand that he needed to get more help. We are working things out and I know I will return; he is my husband and I still love him. My only hope is that he can continue to improve and doesn’t backtrack.

    • Thank you for your comment, Camille. This plays on my mind a lot – am I supporting him in his recovering, or could I actually be a hinderance? I hope your journey brings you two back together at the right time. Take care.

  4. It’s been 28 years and two children two grandchildren .i always knew i was lonely and being for his emotional side ,the affectionate side , the love, I grew up with. I never realized he had been alone all his life and didn’t know how, then the cracks in his shield type through him one nite and the battle to find him is an ongoing egg shell walk. I will fight for him and keep reaching out to groups for understanding, to help me cope with my anger and my fears.

    • Thank you for your comment, Rebecca, and for sharing your story. The best way you can care for him and support him is to reach out as much as possible, learn as much as possible, and to be sure you’re looking after yourself first. Take care.

  5. Here I am, a 46-year-old woman that grew up with a dad suffering from undiagnosed PTSD. My nightly prayer was, God, if my daddy kills us in our sleep, please let him go to heaven with us because he just doesn’t know what he’s doing, he can’t help it. I was the oldest of 4 children, the protector of my siblings, while my mom tried to protect us all. We were scared but I can’t even imagine the fear she felt.

    I knew I’d never want to be married to a man like my dad. I loved him dearly but that was not what I wanted for my adult like or any children I would have. So I married a kind hearted man that went to work every day, hunted, fished, camped out but never talked to me. He was just the opposite of myself. So, after 26 years of marriage and two beautiful children we divorce. We are still friends and I guess that’s all we really ever were.

    Now I’m dating for the first time since I was 19 years old. I’ve met a few nice guys but low and behold the man that has captured my heart, stirred up a passion I didn’t know existed inside of me, makes me feel sexy and alive and like a woman; is the exact man I never wanted to meet. He’s the most beautiful Marine suffering from PTSD. He told me, no he warned me from the first dance but I didn’t listen.

    • Wow, thank you for sharing your story, a beautifully tragic story. You may feel apprehensive about your new partner, but PTSD doesn’t have to be the same nightmare for everyone. And although you had such a difficult time growing up with your father’s PTSD, it already sounds like your new partner has a better grip on and understanding of his condition than you father ever did. There is so much more knowledge now, so many more treatment options, and it’s more talked about. You’re going into this relationship with your eyes wide open, you should have every hope that it’ll be fantastic. Please consider expanding on your story and sharing it through The PTSD Collective on my website (, I think many readers will be able to relate to what you have to say.

  6. Once again you are completely accurate on your portrayal of PTSD and its affect not only on my husband but myself and our kids. The only thing I would have to add to this is that it also describes exactly how the process of dealing with the Fire Dept, workers comp and the city have treated my husband since being diagnosed with PTSD. The hoops they have us jump through to get help only to have us turned down, told that afyet 12 sessions he should be cured, that he just have to face his fears, that if he just worked out more so he was tired he would sleep better add insult to injury. They deny workers comp even though every counselor, psychologist, and therapist they have sent him too says he has it. We have to fight for every service he needs. To our face they say we support you, but behind our back word gets back to us that they think he is faking it. This was his life and his career . Not only are we dealing with the emotional ,physical and mental issues that go along with PTSD, we are dealing with a Fire Department that has no clue how to support their people. Just adds more stress to an already stressful situation.

    • I’m so sorry this has been your experience since your husband’s diagnosis. I’m not sure where you live, but it seems to be a common theme that Veterans have a lot of support services for themselves and their families, but the first responders (police, fire, paramedic, etc.) almost have to prove that their PTSD is caused by their work and then continue to fight the service and the insurance companies the whole way. The services still have this mentality of PTSD being able to be “cured”, or “passing” after a certain amount of time or attending a pre-set treatment course. I totally hear you, because it has been our experience too. Take care.

  7. I just had to leave a comment – I am a former Patrol Deputy Sheriff. I was diagnosed with severe PTSD about 2 years ago. I left the job to attempt to “find me” again and find peace for myself and my family. God bless you for standing by your husband! My wife has done the same for me…. I don’t know how. I can’t feel anything anymore… except, anger… sometimes sadness…. but definitely little to no love for anyone or anything. Its pretty much the exact opposite of the man I used to be….the man she fell in love with. It’s absolutely the cruelest thing I can imagine for her and the children….I try to pretend. I try to smile…to “roleplay” the emotions I think I should have at various times, To be “normal” again….but she knows! All women know… I think sometimes, that PTSD must be a little bit like Hell. Surrounded by people you know and care for, but unable to derive joy or pleasure out of that contact. Cold, empty and dark. Thank God for women like you and my wife!

    • Thank you, Mike, for commenting and sharing your experiences with PTSD. I’m pleased that your wife and family have stuck by and supported you so well, but it makes me sad to hear what the PTSD has done to you. I’m sure what you’re describing would resonate with so many others with PTSD, and I invite you to share more of your story through The PTSD Collective, anonymously if you wish – . Please don’t lose hope, your family will know that you’re trying your best, and that’s all anyone can ask of you.

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