Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story. Click and order paperback or download Kindle version. Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you!Steve Sparks, Author
Supporting a loved one through PTSD or a “panic attack.”
“The cartoon illustrates the perfect way to handle every PTSD or anxiety episode. If I could actually live inside a blanket fort forever, I would.
Unfortunately, flashbacks, panic attacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, memories, triggers, and all those other lovely things that survivors have to live with don’t have the courtesy to always wait for blanket forts to be available.
It’s scary for the person experiencing the attack, but it’s also scary for any loved ones who are trying to comfort and support someone through an attack.”
For many years I didn’t want anyone to see or talk to me when having panic attacks. I usually tried to escape the crowd during my professional life and at home, especially during the holidays when anxiety seemed to creep into my life even more… I am asked often now about how to handle these anxious and scary times in my life living and coping with PTSD. My approach these days does not include the nearest exit door or a “blanket fort” as illustrated in the above cartoon. My loved ones and close friends all know now and empathize with anxiety and panic attacks in others who live with PTSD or other emotional challenges. My new world in a higher level of awareness on my part and those close to me has changed my life. When my wife, Judy, notices my anxiety level increasing under certain circumstances, she goes on alert, and starts talking to me about it… I don’t get goofy looks anymore, nor do I start to act goofy about it, making those around me nervous and anxious. Those folks close to you always believe they are doing something wrong when they don’t know what is going on with another person suffering from PTSD. When awareness by all concerned kicks in, life is good. The anxiety and panic attacks are mostly managed without notice. I do take some medication, recommended by my physician, to help me at times as well. The anxious and scary moments never last long anymore. I am usually able to take a deep breath and chat privately with myself and my partner to get past the initial anxiety surge. I used to especially hate holidays, but now enjoy large gatherings and parties like never before. I feel blessed to have discovered that being honest and having a great support system is far better than denial and the “blanket fort.” I missed so many happy times during holidays in the past and in other venues or gatherings because of anxiety challenges. No more! I look forward to the holidays with lots of enthusiasm and so do my loved ones…
Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.