Spouse, husband, wife, partner, girlfriend or relative who ever you are, we all take on the role of a care giver...
Care giving for a veteran, especially with PTSD places a strain on the entire family. PTSD can be viewed as a chronic illness, and the person with PTSD may require constant care from a loved one, such as a wife or husband. Partners of people with PTSD may be faced with a number of stressors that go along with caring for and living with someone with a chronic disorder. These stressors include financial strain, managing the person's symptoms, dealing with crises, loss of friends, or loss of intimacy. This for me has become more and more of a reality over the last six months.
Due to a loved one's illness, caregivers may be the only people who can take care of such stressors. This puts a large burden on them, and as a result, they may experience tremendous strain and stress, or care giver burden. As well the person living with or dealing with someone with PTSD may find themselves suffering not only from care givers burden but secondary PTSD as well. I intend to look further into this theory at a later date.
Care givers may feel guilty if they take time for themselves or feel stressed out as a result of caring for someone, especially when a loved one is struggling with a serious diagnosis like PTSD. However, it is important for care givers to realise that they too need time to "recharge their batteries." Living with and caring for someone with PTSD is stressful in its own right. The more a caregiver can learn how to care for themselves, the better they will be able to care for others. I’ve had to learn to cope with the guilt of needing time out every now again, after all I’m only human!