Depression, Anxiety, and PTSD make it hard to participate in life - Tip for staying engaged

Here is what it looks like to be engaged in your life.

Let us suppose that I have been heavily medicated for three days because of rebound migraines.

On the fourth day when I was feeling better I made an effort with my appearance, changed the linen on the bed, did some other housekeeping, and contributed to the household upkeep until I felt tired. When my caregiver came home and saw that I looked at least clean and neat—if not pretty, I was out of the bed, the house was picked up, and he could smell dinner cooking in the kitchen.

The smile on his face made me feel a huge sense of accomplishment.

“Are you feeling better, mi Amor (my Love)?”

He is Latin so he is pretty flowery with his language.

His mood was lighter, I could see the look of relief on his face, he was genuinely happy to see me out of pain and probably happy to have some help around the house after working a long day.

The “patient” can take some of the pressure off their caregiver and other family members in other ways too.

A mood disorder is no excuse for being rude

Being mindful that everything cannot always go your way is a good rule for all of us, but especially when you have PTSD.

Highly anxious, depressed, easily agitated and easily frustrated might be some of the ways that you might describe yourself—as a person with PTSD.

I know that I am certainly prone to these feelings myself.

But I recognize that I do not live alone so I have to compromise on what I want and need so that other people in my environment do not feel as though they are in prison and without a say in how they live.

Exploding into a rage because someone changed the thermostat setting, moved the throw blanket out of your favorite chair, or ate the last whatever, is unacceptable.

Would you prefer that the rest of the people in your home should feel too cold or too hot, go without the blanket they obviously needed, or feel afraid to eat food in their own home?

Really—is that the kind of wife, husband, mother, father, or sibling that you want to be?

When I cared for someone with PTSD in the past he would behave like someone had lost his retirement nest egg in a pyramid scheme if the lid on a jar was screwed on crooked.

Absolute true story. Imagine living with a person who wanted that much control over everyone in the house.

It was very stressful and volatile. Choosing your battles or better yet choosing not to battle, but instead wait until you are calm to communicate your needs, and being willing to negotiate will go a long way toward creating a household where everyone’s needs are reasonably met.

Tomorrow I'll post a life hack for balancing your mood with your household's needs.

My experience with trauma is unique to me. Not everyone will be triggered in the same way or react as I have in similar situations, but my hope is that it will help people to understand what it is like to have a mood disorder, how my trauma occurred, and what efforts I have taken, along with my healthcare team, family, and a small group of friends to save my life and to create my new normal.

I want to hear from you caregivers and loved ones of a person struggling with mental illness, PTSD, or recovering from a physical or emotional trauma. I especially want to hear from anyone who has found their way to their own recovery—and new normal. This is a safe community in which to share your story.

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