IWSG: How PTSD affects my writing

The first Wednesday of every month is officially IWSG where writer's can blog about their insecurities about writing. 

My husband serves in the USAF, and has been on more tours overseas than most people twice his rank. I worry for him each time he has to deploy. He is the type of person to have their hand in the air before they even finish asking for a volunteer. He can’t sit in one place for too long, and he can’t sit by when there is adventure to be had. I admire him for this, but it has come at a cost.

A few years ago he was diagnosed with PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder.  He can't even walk through Wal-mart without feeling queasy.  For the rest of his life he will be on medication to counteract the effects of the PTSD. Unfortunately, it messes with his emotions in a big way. If he forgets to take them, he becomes obnoxious, always looking to pick a fight it seems. Even though he is playing, some of the things he might say come off as hurtful. When he is on the medication, he has the emotional range of Kristen Stewart.

I’ve had to harden my own emotions to counter his, so my own feelings don't get hurt. Before, I was full of emotion, fast to laugh and fast to cry, and could put it into words easily. Now, I feel I’m losing that part of me. I keep them closed off and struggle to understand what I should be feeling in certain instances.

This hinders me in my writing. All too often my Crit Partners have to help me draw out the emotions of my characters. They talk me through and brainstorm with me. It’s been a huge help in my struggle to add more emotion to my writing. Without them I could not do this.

Using the Scene and Sequel technique really helped in focusing on the emotions that need to be happening in my story. Great tool for your toolbox.

Finally, I use the Emotion Thesaurus by The Bookshelf Muse gals (This is one of my fav sites). When I just can’t figure out what a person would be doing while they are feeling this emotion I turn to this book. It’s been a huge, HUGE, help in my writing and even in real life.I have it on my kindle, my kindle fire, and my phone. It goes everywhere with me. I’m paying more attention to what people do and how they behave in certain situations, and trying to discern how they may be feeling. I’m learning how to express my emotions again, and show them through action, and I’m learning how to write about them again through my morning pages. I doubt they really expected someone like me to be using their book in such a way!

Like every obstacle, either in marriage or writing, we can either run from it, or learn from it (Lion King). I am taking this opportunity to learn to write better emotions, and learn to help my husband show his. Both my husband and writing are too important for me to give up on, no matter how bumpy the road may become, I just switch it in four wheel drive and keep on truckin.


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