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Totally lost, totally alone *may trigger*

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Totally lost, totally alone *may trigger*

Postby danedamage2 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:02 am

Hi everyone,

I searched the web quite a bit to find a forum offering support for Acute Stress Disorder. I do not believe I suffer from this disorder, but my partner is and I don’t know what to do.

To provide a little background one month ago we were victims of a violent crime. My partner and a friend of ours was stabbed outside our home. We do not live a high risk lifestyle and never in a million years would I have guessed what happened could ever happen to us. My partner’s nephew (who had once lived with us) turned the electric off at our home to lure us outside. My partner went into the backyard where she thought the electric box was and our friend went into the front yard. My daughter and I stayed in the house. As my partner went into the backyard this young man jumped our fence (my partner clearly recognized him) and wordlessly stabbed her twice, once in the back breaking two ribs and puncturing her lungs, and once in the diaphragm which required extensive surgery and kept her in the ICU on a ventilator for 12 hellish days. She also had deep cuts on her hands from defensive wounds that required surgery to repair nerves and arteries. This young man then jumped back over the fence into the front yard (probably intending to make his escape) and encountered our friend who was in the front yard on that side of the house. Our friend grabbed a limb off a palm tree and tried to defend himself against this family member (who he also clearly recognized) and when the kid cut the limb in half with the knife our friend ran to the front door at some point being stabbed in the back as he ran.

It was beyond horrible as I tried to put pressure on the wounds of my partner in the dark, call 911, try to keep my 16 year old daughter and injured loved ones calm and conscious but help arrived quickly and the police actually caught the attempted murderer two blocks from our house covered in blood with an cut on his hand but no knife. He is in jail as we speak.

Just writing down the experience gives me the sense of unreality again that all this actually happened, but it was only the beginning of the nightmare. Because then came the ICU experience, trying to deal with doctors, and insurance companies, and the country attorney (who offered a plea before my partner was even off of the ventilator) and trying to deal with a million practical issues this has caused that I can’t even begin to express the struggles, and this is outside of emotional issues and the total and shocking lack of support for victims in this state and support for the loved ones of victims which is even less, especially when the loved on is a lesbian and has view legal rights to advocate for a partner who is incapacitated. It’s been full of terrible lows, and superficial highs such as “yeah, she’s off the ventilator” and then “OMG her emotional state has left her totally irrational!”

She is in counseling once a week to deal with this, but I am at a loss as to how to help her and help myself. My biggest issue at the moment is dealing with the avoidance tactics and how much to push her to begin to deal with this trauma. I know things will never be the same, and I feel I have realistic expectations that this will be a long healing process. However at the same time my biggest fear is that fear will run our lives.

Right now we are staying at my parent’s house where we have been for two weeks. It is very impractical because we live 45 minuets away and have our own home with 3 dogs, two great danes a boxer, 2 cats and fish. I have had a friend who was able for a week and a half taken care of our pets but is no longer able to. Now I have to drive over there every day to take care of upkeep on the house, take care of the pets, get the mail, and variety of other things that need taken care of because my partner does not want to go back there. I have used all the tools we have been taught for dealing with the triggers and what our home now represents, and I think it’s going well and working, but when it comes to taking the action of going back to live in our home my partner does not want to take that step. At the same time she gets very panicked and resentful when I leave her to go there. She comes up with a myriad of excuses not to go, and whenever I reason away one objection she comes up with another, but refused to acknowledge she is coming from an emotional, trauma place and insists her reasons are valid. I am caught in a no win situation and I don’t know what to do. I can’t stay at my parents anymore for a ton of reasons and yet she feels like I’m abandoning her when I go to our home. Should I push the issue of her coming home? How should I handle this? I feel totally stuck, frustrated, angry, alone, just to name a few feelings. HELP!!!!
Last edited by lilyfairy on Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Added trigger warning
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Re: Totally lost, totally alone *may trigger*

Postby Ada » Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:32 pm

What a horrible, horrible story and situation. I just cannot imagine how hard this must be, and don't have much advice to offer, though I wish I could. Can completely understand where all your feelings are coming from!

Is counselling available for you too? That might be a place to start, since you have so much falling on your shoulders, so perhaps having someone there for you and giving support might be useful. They might also be able to give a perspective on what to expect from your partner, and what's reasonable on either side. I don't think pushing your partner will help at the moment. I would think it's still much too recent for her to be at all rational about it, and asking her to think in that way would limit her processing of the trauma. That said, your pets need a rational plan putting in place and I can all too well relate to not being able to stay with parents much longer. Could you perhaps visit your partner's therapist with her, with the idea of talking through what a plan might look like? Exploring the various options, which might include you moving back while she stays where she is; both of you moving to a hotel much nearer to the house so it's easier to visit the animals; finding a house-and-pet-sitter for a while, her coming home with you, or even considering moving to a new house.

Keep posting here if it's useful, none of us are therapists or psychs, but we understand the use of a good vent, and myself I find that typing problems out sometimes pops up ideas about how to approach them.
We think too much and feel too little.
 More than machinery, we need humanity.
 More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.

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Re: Totally lost, totally alone *may trigger*

Postby PourMe38 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:05 am

That was definitely a life altering traumatic experience. I see months has passed since you submitted your story. I hope all is well. I did want to share though that the "triggers" involved in this trauma are very overwhelming and I personally would have sold the house and got another one because it's apparent that the house is a no-go for you partner (at the time of your post). Also, I personally think that finding humor in traumatic experiences even if it's a tiny bit but after time has passed sometimes will break the ice into free association and it sounds like your partner needs to talk out what happened. Time will heal most of the wounds and being there to support your partner is the best thing you can do right now no matter how tough it may be. I wish you lots of luck and I am sorry you had to be part of such a tragedy like this. It's sad!
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” ~Charles Darwin~
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Re: Totally lost, totally alone *may trigger*

Postby rpb » Sat Mar 30, 2013 12:54 pm

I have the deepest sympathy for you and hope things are getting better. I wonder if this may be an opportunity to completely change yr life. I don't mean to sound flippant but sometimes these things are great opportunities to assess what you really want and how best to move forward - a change of career, a change of house, a change of location.... as for immediate therapy, I think actionistic therapy which involves acting out the trauma but with a different outcome where you are empowered and strong and in control may be helpful as it (in my experience) removes the memories of the trauma from the body and frees up the energy you are using to defend against the painful memories for more purposeful activities.
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