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Living Again in the Wake of PTSD/Anxiety/Depression - Advice? Comments?


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Last year, myself and my family went through an incredibly traumatizing event. My mom started dating a guy who we had known as a family friend for 8+ years. At first, it was a huge sigh of relief as my mom has had a long history of dating abusive people and we'd known this one as a comparably nice guy - not so much her type. But after a few months, he became extremely clingy, possessive and obsessive over her. We'd joke about it on the rare occasion he wasn't present, that he was like a little dog - always on her heels - and "this is the reason that we, as a family, never had a canine". He'd show up random places while she'd be out running errands, constantly texting and calling her if he wasn't with her. She'd repeatedly ask for space - not a lot, just enough - he'd give her a day, then he'd come back with a vengeance. And then weird things started happening around the house at night. One morning we woke up and the lock on our front door was all loose and effed up as if someone had been desperately trying to get in. She asked him about it and he of course, said no, and acted with enormous concern that someone had been trying to break in. A few weeks later, a metal bar had been thrown through our living room window. None of us woke to it because we are a family of the heaviest sleepers you will ever meet, but it was of immediate concern when I was the first to come down that next morning. We've found out over time that this was all happening by him, most likely as a control mechanism (he knew safety was a prime concern of my mother as we didn't live in the best neighborhood, and he always prided himself on being a big guy, able to protect her and I think his logic was that making her feel unsafe would bring her closer to him). It all climaxed one night when him and my mom stayed the night at a mutual friend's house and they got into a fight in the middle of the night. She demanded that he take her home and so he said, "alright, let's go." They got into the car, going home, him in the drivers seat and continued arguing. As the arguing got more intense, he started speeding up the car, swerving dangerously and wouldn't stop. She begged him to stop but he wouldn't. Long story short, he proceeded to take her on a terrifying joy ride against her will, during the process, she'd opened the door with her foot hoping someone would see it and call the police. Eventually she came home, after she got away from him and he responded by pretending to swallow an entire bottle of pills, she drove off and called the police until they took him into the E.R. After his admission, she came home knocking on the door, I wake up early (this was at like 5am) so I open it and see my mom looking an absolute mess, her leggings completely ripped. My mom goes straight to bed for a few hours and when she wakes up, my aunt comes over to convince her to file an official police report. After much hesitation, she finally leaves with my aunt to go to the police office, leaving myself (at the time, 22) and my 12 year old brother at home. He comes to the house multiple times, knocking on our door and ringing our doorbell repetitively. I was scared, I didn't answer. It was quiet for some time, and then about 9:30-10pm, there's aggressive pounding on our door and I immediately call the police. While I'm on the phone with the police, I see our window illuminate and I go look to see what happened. He set our car on fire in the carport connected to the house. After I get off the phone with the police, I immediately call my mom because I knew he'd be going to her location next. Two minutes after I call her and tell her to call the police, he shows up screaming "call your kids, call your daughter, your house is on fire". About an hour later, he was arrested. Our car was completely destroyed, the entire front melted to the concrete. He plead guilty to the arson, assault, etc. and accepted the bargain for two years in prison which was shortened for good behavior.


Well, I'm telling you this story because he's getting out this month and both law enforcement and DVSAS have deemed him very high risk and likely to repeat offenses. Since this happened, I've been suffering with intense PTSD. It got better for a while, but all of August was pretty bad. I spook at the drop of a pencil, I have dreams of him and his daughter, I have a hard time getting to sleep, eventually I can get to sleep with a knife, taser and bear spray next to me at night and every now and again, wake up to the sound of glass shattering or a door pounding... which is never real. I can't go out, not that I was ever a party girl anyways but even restaurants and going to the park are difficult for me now. I've holed up, distancing myself from everyone who isn't my own family. I feel so very guilty about this because I have some really wonderful friends - and I can't be the same person I was before.


Despite my daily (/nightly) struggles with PTSD, I feel a huge urge to get back to life. I can feel the deep depression I've been in subsiding, despite the situation. I feel the urge to get back into shape, and work on myself. Reach out to those I love, those I've hidden from and be really vulnerable with them. There's a guy I met recently that even got me thinking about dating again. But I don't know how. I'm fundamentally changed now and in a couple weeks, my world WILL be more dangerous. I know I can't surrender to fear - it will lead me straight back to depression. But how do I LIVE when I also know I have to be careful. And that this experience has made me, in a way, different than my peers. I've always had a difficult time relating and making solid, lasting, positive relationships with people my age. Throw this in, and the odds look a little hopeless.


I would love to hear your thoughts, comments, wisdom, stories, etc.

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We have moved, but within the same town. Unfortunately, money matters prevent us from being able to move much further at this time - we'd love to, it just isn't feasible. There is a restraining order that was put in place the second the incident happened (I believe it stands for 10 years), however, this has not stopped him in the past with other people (his ex girlfriend before my mom had a restraining order against him and he violated it multiple times). We will be having a meeting with his parole officer on Friday for details on safety and procedure. I'd love to get her a security system and a big dog, but there's limitations to our situation. We're kind of at the mercy of multiple parties currently.

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