A View from the Sidelines: PTSD from My Vantage Point

Mr. Wonderful is having a hard day today. It’s just the nature of things with PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury). His time as a military type makes me so proud. He did so much for our family and our country that I just bust my buttons when I think about it. This military time also left him with these brain muddlers that make some days just more difficult than others.

We are getting better at these days. I’m thankful for that because when we first started having these days we were a bit lost and the learning curve was so steep. And painful. For both of us.

Now we can prepare for them and communicate about them and sometimes, even laugh about them. When Mr. Wonderful starts moo-ing, his signal that the Mad Cow (aka, PTSD) is in full force, it makes me smile.

Mr. Wonderful is getting really good at communicating with me about them. He tells me that it looks like things may be heading south and I understand that medication and rest are probably going to be the day’s endgame. I also know that during times like today, most of the household responsibilities are going to fall on my shoulders.

That’s ok. I have strong shoulders.

The hardest part of a hard day from my vantage point is simply knowing that Mr. Wonderful, my favorite person in the world, is suffering. Nothing I do can fix it. It’s a whole other level of hell to watch a loved one in pain, and it’s not anything I would wish on another human.

The anxiety, fear, and panic that torment Mr. Wonderful’s mind-whether awake or asleep-are as real an injury as a lost limb or cancer. I’m not saying our journey is the same. I am saying that these injuries are serious. Sometimes deadly serious.

For a family that suffers from this scenario, daily life is sometimes tough.


I know that God is going to use this. I’m willing to share our ugly PTSD warts in the hopes that someone else reading this might know that they are not alone. And might figure out that my Jesus is here for them too. Because with him and his grace, renewed every day for me and anyone else who chooses to receive it, hard days can still be good days.

We count the little thing as luxuries on a day like this. Swinging thru the drive thru to get some sweet tea that reminds me of my Grandma’s house during summer harvest. The family of red birds that lives in my backyard. An encouraging email from a friend that just finished reading my book.

Today is one of those days where I will search every nook and cranny of my life to see all of the goodness that God has given me. Life doesn’t have to stop or be unbearable in these moments. We just have to adapt. Adopt an attitude of gratefulness for the blessings already present.

Just surrendering and pressing in to his love makes a day like this a much softer place to land.

Copyright Meredith Shafer 2015


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