What to do about my boyfriend who won't get help for his PTSD?

My boyfriend who I love dearly was diagnosed with combat PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury) after serving two tours in Iraq. We've been together for over 2 years and have been friends since we were kids. I know that whenever he has an "episode" that it is not representative of who he really is. He has free medical and psychological care readily available to him for life yet always finds an excuse not to take advantage of these services.

I have tried to be as supportive as possible, telling him that I would attend the sessions with him if he wants or even help pay for private counseling sessions if he isn't satisfied with any of the VA counselors. After I coax him for some time, he will eventually go in for a session or two then quits. I see his condition worsening, especially since he is stressed in another areas of his life. As a result, it's also putting a major strain on our relationship.

I'm beginning to realize he may not want help or even realize he has a problem, and I am getting burnt out emotionally. I want nothing more than to see him get better, but I also can't imagine continuing on in this unhealthy manner indefinitely. If he were getting help, I could see that he's at least trying, which would help give me some hope. But sometimes I feel like he can't even admit he has a problem, and sometimes he even tries to pawn it off on me like I'm the one causing all the issues.

I was thinking about giving him an ultimatum letting him know that if he's truly serious about us like he says he is, that he will attend regular therapy. Otherwise, we're through. I know it sounds harsh, but I just don't know what to do anymore. My heart goes out to him and all vets suffering through any emotional trauma. Any sound advice would be so greatly appreciated!

2 Answers

Relevance
  • Kay
    Lv 6
    6 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    See if the VA near you is offering a support group for wives and girlfriends. Through that, you may be able to connect with a wife whose husband is going through PTSD treatment. He will probably take encouragement easier from another vet. A friend of mine who's a Viet Nam vet just starting attending PTSD group last year.

    My guess is that he's afraid of uncovering any more feelings from his experiences. It's difficult for men to ask for or accept help. Both families and society tell men that they shouldn't be afraid. They experience great shame over having fear or anything they perceive as weakness (PTSD, TBI). If he's being stressed in another area of his life, the elevated cortisol in his brain (from the extra adrenaline) could make his condition worse. The cortisol will lower the helpful brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin and may be triggering flashbacks.

    It's wonderful that you're supportive and sympathetic. I would remind you of the instructions you get about oxygen on an airplane. Put your own mask on first before you put a mask on a child. You've got to save yourself if you're going to help anyone else.

    So, start taking care of yourself by getting support for yourself and giving yourself at least a month of either support group or individual therapy. That will give you time and information to make a final decision in order to alleviate any guilt you might feel when you issue an ultimatum. (I speak from experience about guilt I felt from leaving a long-term marriage to someone who would take meds to ease his own discomfort, but not take steps to change his behavior in relationship to his family.)

    I wish you peace and joy on your journey.

    Source(s): semi-retired counselor
    • Login to reply the answers
  • Jan
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    No...it is NOT harsh....I was married to a man who was in vietnam 4 Years...he fought for 2 years on the field...I put up with it for 28 1/2 years....until I decided I need to leave before I become PTSD...I got tired of being blamed for everything.... another word for PTSD...is " shell - shot " which is mental problems ...

    When he took his meds he was normal but he said it hurt his chest so he would stop awhile then get mean...i would have to leave with the kids...ge got back on meds...it got normal ...then qyit cause of chest pains....and the cycle never ended...until it wore me down..then we divorced after 281/2years of mental issues....

    i suggest you have him listen to the Bible on audio as he sleeps...this will heal his mind while sleeping....it attacks them while sleeping too....

    yes...i feel so sorry for him and all the soldiers...it not only affects them but us too

    email me if u need a friend to vent to...I have been there

    Source(s): www.audio-bible.com
    • Login to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.