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Topic: 6 Things I wish I knew before dating someone with anxiety and PTSD

16 posts, 0 answered
  1. RandR
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    13 April 2017

    Hi there,

    My name is Raman and I recently joined bluevoices and this will be my first thread on something I recently endured and learnt. I'm 32 years of age, a former sufferer of depression for around 12 years and was recently in a relationship with an amazing woman who suffered major anxiety and PTSD. Her past was not a pretty one, at all. However she as a bright as the sun and covered up her scars well. Over the 3 months we were together I can say that this was by far the most challenging relationship I had ever been in.

    I feel I am not the only one out there who has dated someone with anxiety/PTSD so I hope that message and honest advice cn help anyone else out there who has met similar circumstances.

    1) Don't take things personal - Over time I learnt not to look through my eyes, but hers. It the early stages I always thought 'she doesn't like me' or 'what did I do to make her upset?' The reality was her reactions were not a reflection of me, but of her past and what she had endured.

    2) Let them come to you - I have typically been the type of man to take charge and plan things. I also have no issues being affectionate and displaying that, however, dating someone with PTSD you have to be mindful of this and take the back seat. When they are ready, they will come to you.

    3) Give space - This was very difficult at the start. When you meet and start dating someone you like, the natural progression is to spend more
    time together and see each other often. This wasn't the case with her and our relationship. They can get a feeling of being very overwhelmed and I picked up on this and had to learn to give space and take things slower than normal.

    4) Research - My ex had endured being raped at a very young age by a group of older men. Horrible beyond imagination. I took the time to do a
    lot of research on rape and the side effects it can have on people. She knew I did a lot of researched and smiled when she first found out and thanked me.

    5) Hot & Cold - One moment she was holding my arm tightly and smiling, the next she distanced herself and went quiet. Respect that this will happen and it's when your partner goes cold, you need respect that and not take it personal and give space without them making them feel bad.

    6) Don't dig for the past - When I asked her, eye contact gone! We all have a past. Not everyone might be as open as you in sharing it.

    I hope this helps you and thank you for reading.

    Regards,

    Raman.

    3 people found this helpful
  2. white knight
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    13 April 2017 in reply to RandR

    Hi Raman

    A remarkable informative post. You took the time to let all our readers know what its like to partner a sufferer and how to tackle the possible ossues that arise.

    Thankyou

    Tony WK

  3. RandR
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    13 April 2017 in reply to white knight
    Thank you Tony.

    Thanks for taking the time to read it and for the kind comments.

    Regards,

    Raman.
  4. blondguy
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    13 April 2017 in reply to RandR

    Hi RandR

    Welcome to the forums

    I agree with TonyWK about what a great thread topic/post you have made that will help so many readers and posters on the forums

    I really hope you can stick around the forums RandR. You have not only had the experience with depression but you also have a sense of clarity and understanding with this illness as well.

    What an inspirational thread!

    my kind thoughts

    Paul

    2 people found this helpful
  5. RandR
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    13 April 2017 in reply to blondguy
    Thanks for the kind words Paul.

    Much appreciated.

    Raman.
    1 person found this helpful
  6. Croix
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    13 April 2017 in reply to RandR

    Dear Raman~

    As a person that has suffered from PTSD I think everything you have said is spot-on. It is a pretty good summary of many of the things my wife had to go through while attempting to look after me. (She also had work, housework, looking after our child and more)

    There's only a couple of things I'd like to add, if I may. (Though the actual number of symptoms can be much larger).

    Firstly that a person with PTSD can be -at times - so disconnected from him/her self that they do not know how they feel, if they love, if they can. Fortunately or me this period was not overlong, though it came and went.

    The second thing - and anybody reading your post will already have realized this - is that the carer has to have not only the strength to keep going long-term but also the faith in his/her self to overcome the impulse to self-blame and feel they are contribution to their partners ups and downs.

    There is a reward at the end. As time went on I came to see my wife and was able more and more to offer back the love and care she had given me so freely.

    Thank you for your post.

    Croix

    2 people found this helpful
  7. blondguy
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    13 April 2017 in reply to RandR

    Thankyou Raman

    your heart is a caring one to have posted the help you have today

    (70% of the hits to the beyond Blue Forums are 'read only' which is fine) You have helped more people than you know Raman

    Just to let you know I had chronic anxiety from 1983 to 1996 followed by depression for the next 21 years and know have quality of life back again (90% of it) through a great support network

    Thanks to your heartfelt post our readers and posters will have greater hope Raman

    I admire your strength and humility

    my best

    Paul

    2 people found this helpful
  8. Guest_9809
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    28 posts
    13 April 2017 in reply to RandR

    Hi Raman. I just wanted to thank you for your very kind and informative post about things to be aware of when dating someone who has experienced rape and who suffers ongoing anxiety and PTSD.

    I am one of those people! And I really appreciate that there are people out there like you who care, and who can see past the symptoms and low points of those of us who endure the debilitating symptoms that come with PTSD as a result of rape.

    It is common for survivors of sexual violence to experience many confusing feelings which create anxiety, anger, distrust and the feeling that they are not safe. Everyone's response to trauma is a little different, however I think that the overriding thing partners need to do, is to learn to be patient with them. The 6 points you mentioned in your opening post, all allude to the need for patience. All very true, in my own personal experience.

    Raman, I commend you on your kind understanding and obvious patience during what would have been an emotionally difficult time for you. Its nice to see that there are still some good men out there! Well done you.

    T xx

    4 people found this helpful
  9. RandR
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    14 April 2017 in reply to Croix
    Thanks for sharing your story and I'm glad to hear things got better over time. Thank you for your response Croix
  10. RandR
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    14 April 2017 in reply to blondguy

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for your response and I'm so glad to hear you had a support network. Something I didn't have a lot of at the time.

    thanks again.

  11. RandR
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    14 April 2017 in reply to Guest_9809

    Hi T,

    Means a lot for you to comment and hear from someone who endured what she did. Patience was most certainly key, in fact, a new kind of patience altogether.

    Thanks for the kind comments and I hope you are well and definitely sound like a great person and strong one at that :)

    1 person found this helpful
  12. scully78
    scully78 avatar
    9 posts
    17 November 2019 in reply to RandR

    Hi RandR,

    I know its been years since you posted this, but I found it really helpful. Ive just recently met someone who has been diagnosed with ptsd. You stated in your post that the initial stages were difficult and slow and at times you tried to figure out what you did wrong. Im going through the same thing at the moment. Had over a week of silence and im struggling to figure out how to handle the situation. I am very tempted to reach out and send a message, but I get the impression that isn't a good idea as this you state they should come to you when they are ready. My question is, how long could this be especially in the dating phase where a relationship hasn't been established. Do you have any advice for how I should handle this?

    1 person found this helpful
  13. MikeySe
    MikeySe avatar
    3 posts
    6 February 2020 in reply to scully78
    I'm going through the same thing. I plan to just igve her a week or two before i contact her again... without confront her, just telling her that i worry about her and hope she's doing ok. And if i did anything to annoy her, i apologize
  14. Croix
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    6 February 2020 in reply to MikeySe

    Dear MikeySe~

    Welcome here, by the sound of it you are at a loss as to what to do, which is only natural, it is not a usual situation.

    Because I don't know the circumstances I can't really make any specific suggestions. All I can do is say about my own expereince

    I had PTSD, bouts of depression and anxiety, I still do but they are very much less and a I lead a pretty good life.

    When things first got bad my partner took it all on herself, believing she was the cause, or at fault. This simply was not the case, and she had to have that explained to her by my psych, after which she had more confidence.

    I notice you mentioned apologizing, I'd be surprised if you had done anything.

    Sender her a message is good. Even though my partner's inquiries did annoy me at the time the fact she was there for me was a long term comfort. So saying you are there for her will do no harm and may do some good. See what her reaction is.

    I guess the most productive thing that can happen if your friend has PTSD is for her to receive competent specialist medical support. I simply kept getting worse until that happened.

    I don't know if that is already happening, or if not if you are in a position to suggest this. It may be that there might be others, her parents for example, who might be in a better position to persuade her.

    Please let us know how you get on

    Croix

  15. MikeySe
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    3 posts
    6 February 2020 in reply to Croix
    Thank you for the message Croix. I just have a feeling she has her guard so high up that im afraid she'll never truly let me in and just keep me at arms length. It can be demoralizing sometimes but i certainly dont want to take it out on her as i believe her intentions aren't bad
  16. MikeySe
    MikeySe avatar
    3 posts
    15 February 2020 in reply to MikeySe
    I don't know if anyone will see this, but im having a few drinks and thinking about that girl i've been speaking about. The problem is, boy does she make me feel insignificant.

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