The Ripple Pond Amy And Husband Military Charity Mental Health Credit The Ripple Pond
Mental Health

Understanding What It Is Like To Love Someone With PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder and the toll it has on partners

The Ripple Pond Amy And Husband Military Charity Mental Health Credit The Ripple Pond

It is difficult for a civilian to understand what it is like to be the partner of someone who is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to their service in the armed forces. 

A career in the armed forces is not a 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday kind of commitment so a charity, set up by two mothers of injured servicemen, is dedicated to helping military spouses deal with the emotional challenges. 

Instead of chats at the water cooler, service personnel can find themselves in far-flung places around the world at short notice, leaving their loved ones back at home wondering how they are. And, once they enter Civvy street, life doesn't magically become "normal" for some.

“What people often do not see is that, although he came back from war alive (thank god, there are others not that lucky) and in one piece, he came back changed.” 

Charity 'The Ripple Pond' is a UK-wide, self-help, peer support network for the loved ones of the Armed Forces community. 

The charity was set up to provide a space where members could express their feelings safely, in a non-judgmental environment, where everyone can be heard. 

The emphasis is on meeting and speaking to people in a similar situation, to give and receive support from those who are walking a similar journey. The charity currently supports nearly 700 families in the UK and internationally.

The Ripple Pond Amy Husband And Child Military Charity Mental Health Credit The Ripple Pond
Amy and her family

One woman who has benefited from being part of The Ripple Pond community is Amy. She got in contact with the charity after her husband had a particularly bad relapse and was in a very dark place.  

Her husband was diagnosed with PTSD in 2011 after his last tour of Afghanistan. The couple were in their early 20s and their lives changed forever. 

Adjusting to their new life was incredibly difficult because they did not know anyone who understood what they were going through. Amy said:

“Learning to live with a new reality was often very difficult not least because PTSD is an ‘invisible’ injury and often people would appear to be judgmental and disbelieving of his diagnosis 

“What people often do not see is that, although he came back from war alive (thank god, there are others not that lucky) and in one piece, he came back changed.”

Male Domestic Abuse Man Depression Anger Sadness Black And White Credit: Małgorzata Tomczak from Pixabay
Library Image / Credit: Małgorzata Tomczak from Pixabay

Her previously fearless and carefree husband was now consumed by survivor’s guilt, suffered from night terrors, had suicidal thoughts, hated crowded places and unexpected loud noises. She said: 

“In those extremely dark days, without the support of our family and friends, I dread to think how life would be different now. 

“I only wish that I had found The Ripple Pond sooner as it often felt that by talking about the impact at home to my own support system that I was betraying.” 

Finding The Ripple Pond was life altering for Amy. She found a space where she could chat to like minded people who understood her unique military life. She said: 

“I didn’t have to justify why things were the way that they were or feel isolated, they just got it. 

“For the first time in years I felt that the complex feelings I had towards living with someone with PTSD was normal, and seeing others living with similar experiences made me feel relieved and lighter.” 

The Ripple Pond team are available Monday to Friday from 9.30am until 2.30pm. Outside of these times, you will be redirected to the Veterans Gateway

If you are looking for support, contact The Ripple Pond by emailing [email protected] or call them on 0333 900 1028