My Marriage and PTSD: A Precarious Balance

Today is my 18th wedding anniversary and today I picked a fight with my husband.  I was frustrated and tired and I didn’t have the words or energy to get them out in a non-hurtful way so they came out angry.

Let me explain.
My husband is in severe physical pain and has been for about 2 months.  He has bursitis in his hip and has been managing his days with pain killers and physio.  I have to think it is getting better, but improvements are minuscule.  I work from home and so does he, but with his pain he hasn’t been able to work for more than very short periods at a time, so he watches tv…for hours, laying flat on his back.
So last night, to celebrate our anniversary we went out for diner at a really funky restaurant (aka expensive) that we would never normally go to except on a special occasion. We had an amazing meal but we had to leave as soon as we ate as he was in too much pain to sit any longer.  He also found it hard to walk after leaving the restaurant and he just wanted to lay on the couch, so we went straight home even though we had planned on walking around downtown (we live in the suburbs, so downtown is a fun place to visit).
I know his pain is real and it must be bad as I know he would push through it if he could.
But I’m tired. I’m tired of managing my business, the household, the kids, and the stuff all parents manage.  But for anyone living with someone with a chronic condition, there is a certain amount of energy spent on managing that condition. Since PTSD entered our lives many years ago,  there is energy spent on managing it, somedays more than other, but its always there.  Basically this means that the mental state of everyone in the house is always on my peripheral vision. Anything that may threaten the delicate balance of our mental health is always taken seriously and a physical stressor can be just as problematic as emotional stressors.
Ever since my own burnout a few years ago that took me months to recover from (picture me on the couch for hours a day), I often feel like I’m precariously balanced between feeling like a strong and capable person to feeling like an exhausted and overwhelmed ball of mush.  It only takes a light breeze in any direction to make me feel like I may lose my footing.  So you can imagine that this latest stressor has been challenging and instead of the ball of mush, I went for angry.  Im not proud of it, but its the truth.
Im sharing this as I feel that some people look at us and think we have our shit together.  But we don’t.
Like we’ve made it this far and through so much that we must know we can survive anything.  But nothing is guaranteed.
We may have been married for 18 years, but for anyone out there who thinks we have been lucky, or that it has been easy, please think again.  Relationships are by their nature anything but easy.  They challenge us to step outside our comfort zone. To push beyond our fear and expose our weaknesses to someone who at any moment can be taken from us, or get injured or sick, or any other number of things can happen that threatens the survival of the relationship.  And if the relationship survives, the circumstances around it are constantly changing and therefore it also needs to morph into something completely new, over and over again.
We have received all kinds of wonderful congratulatory words on our special day and they are appreciated. But they are not the whole picture.
So today, if you are feeling like you dont have your shit together, please know you are in good company.

4 thoughts on “My Marriage and PTSD: A Precarious Balance

    • It was hard for me to reread too. But if it helps, I always feel much lighter after I write and share them. I think part of the weight comes from feeling like it is a secret, or like we are the ‘only ones’ (which I know we are not). So by putting it out into the world I can move on more freely.


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