PTSD: A Spouse’s Perspective
How to Survive in a World of PTSD
By Erica David
28 January 2011
I read PTSD: A Spouse’s Perspective by Erica David as an ebook, the first I’ll be reviewing since I received a Kindle Fire for the holidays this past year. As I am struggling with PTSD myself, I thought this short read might do me some good.
Well, yes and no. The print edition is only 84 pages, and I was able to read through the entire thing in one sitting. It’s clear that the author really is dealing with her own post-traumatic stress and her veteran husband’s, but the writing didn’t catch me and draw me in the way I hoped it would. I already know a decent amount about PTSD, so the explanations and definitions weren’t so helpful as they might’ve been if I’d never before heard of the disorder. Plus, the entire book was poorly edited for content and grammar. There are glimpses of the author’s trauma here and there, but they are so fleeting that it’s like I just caught something out of the corner of my eye as I’m whipping past on the freeway, and even though I turn my head to see more clearly, it’s already gone.
All right, so the book doesn’t claim to be a memoir; it fits more into the self-help section. Erica David, to her credit, does include more about how a person should set boundaries (and stick to them) in order to be less affected by a spouse’s PTSD. She mentions more than once that the man she married isn’t the same man who came back from military service, and she’s still not sure that love is enough to overcome the trauma they both experienced.
The author also says that PTSD is incurable, and I don’t believe that. I don’t think a person who has flashbacks or who drops to the ground when they hear a loud, sharp noise will have to continue having negative responses to their triggers. As least, I hope not because I don’t want to walk on eggshells around my own trauma for the rest of my life. And really, does anyone?
Regrettably, the author also employs gender essentialism (“Women have an inner need for closeness that only female friends can supply”, etc.) and veers dangerously into abuse apologetics (“If we tolerate abuse, we get abused.”), so I’m on the fence about recommending this book to anyone, whether they have PTSD (or a spouse with PTSD) or not. I agree that secondary PTSD is woefully under-treated, and PTSD veterans’ families have a clear lack of resources at their disposal to help the person with post-traumatic stress and themselves, so in that respect, this book sheds a bit of light on and area that obviously needs more research and care.
This short book was a good idea, and I think the author’s heart is in the right place, but it’s been very poorly executed.
DISCLAIMER: I received PTSD: A Spouse’s Perspective free from WestBow Press for this review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.