The other day I read an article that said people who’ve had to take care of a dying loved one probably have PTSD. For those of you who don’t know what it is, PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The dictionary defines it as ‘a mental disorder, as battle fatigue, occurring after a traumatic event outside the range of usual human experience, and characterized by symptoms such as reliving the event, reduced involvement with others, and manifestations of autonomic arousal such as hyperalertness and exaggerated startle response.’
I agree with this, and if you’ve ever had to take care of a dying loved one, you probably do too. You probably have PTSD. I didn’t realize it until it was pointed out to me, and I was able to look back and even now see it in myself on occasion.
It is battle fatigue. Day and night you are taking care of that loved one. That is all that is occupying your mind and body. Sometimes you are just going through the motions of it all. It is a traumatic event in your life.
After they die, you feel guilty for feeling relief. You relive the moments, good and bad, over and over again. There are exaggerated responses. I remember after my daddy died, one evening I was unloading the dishwasher and just started crying. It wasn’t that I had broken a dish or anything like that, but I remember thinking that my daddy would never eat at my house again. Weird, but that was PTSD.
Do we ever get over it? I don’t think so. It may become a little easier, and we can talk about it sometimes. But there are those who need counseling for it. Talk with someone about it even if just a friend. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t think you have to have all the answers or have it all together all the time. You are not alone.