A Stranger In My Bed: 8 Steps to Taking Your Life Back From the Contagious Effects of Your Veteran's Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

A Stranger In My Bed: 8 Steps to Taking Your Life Back From the Contagious Effects of Your Veteran's Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

by Debbie Sprague


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A Stranger in My Bed takes you inside Debbie Sprague’s life for an intimate view of a love story disrupted by the invasion of PTSD—thirty years after the Vietnam War. The cycle moves from love to fear, anger, and despair. Stories unfold of her husband’s battle with PTSD, displaying typical behaviors, triggers, and moods. Those familiar with this world will be comforted: “That sounds just like my life, and I thought I was the only one.” Others will find a new awareness: “I had no idea it was like that.”

You will watch a family and marriage almost be destroyed by the contagious effects of PTSD. Yes, PTSD is “contagious”—the family can take on the symptoms, even to the point of full-blown PTSD. Debbie was one of those people.

When she finally sought help, two different therapists advised her to get a divorce. Walk away from her husband? He was only nineteen when he fought for his country. What if we all walked away?

She chose to stay and stand by her values, next to the man that she vowed to love, honor, and care for in sickness and in health. And it almost destroyed her.

With God’s help, she received strength to overcome her fear and anger. She became compassionate and forgiving to her husband. But most of all she learned to cherish the life God had given her by regaining her health and happiness, realizing it was necessary to have the physical and emotional strength to care for her husband.

As Debbie began to discover resources and find solutions for her problems, she found that many other people were suffering as well. She realized sharing those solutions was her life purpose—what she had been preparing for her entire life. Debbie’s gift to you is A Stranger in My Bed:  8 Steps to Taking Your Life Back From The Contagious Effects Of Your Veteran’s Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781614485742
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing
Publication date: 06/27/2013
Pages: 360
Sales rank: 503,742
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Debbie Sprague earned her bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation, with a minor in psychology, graduating with honors from California State University (CSU), Chico. She also pursued postgraduate work in gerontology at CSU, Chico and University of Southern California (USC), Percy Andrus Gerontology Center. Her master’s thesis, a successful grant proposal, brought the first Older America Act funds into Shasta County, California. The program she created has now been providing services to the community of Anderson, California for more than thirty years.

Debbie is also a board certified life/career coach and recreation therapist and holds a community college teaching credential in health and physical care services.

Debbie’s life has been dedicated to improving the quality of life for others. She has worked with and/or created social service and health programs for the elderly and disabled, adaptive recreation programs for handicapped children, creative activities for residents in skilled nursing facilities, classes on independent living skills for seniors, and travel companies that specialize in providing escorted tours for senior citizens.

Debbie has personally experienced the challenges of caregiving during her son’s losing battle with cancer and caring for her late mother-in-law. In 2004, Debbie’s husband, a Vietnam veteran was diagnosed with complications from exposure to Agent Orange and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Life dramatically changed for them, and in 2006, Debbie was also diagnosed with PTSD. Debbie then used her gift for creating programs to take on the challenge of finding answers and solutions for spouses who become overwhelmed and lost in the world of caregiving and PTSD.

Debbie is a grass-roots volunteer for Family of a Vet, where she is a contributing author for their web site and hosts the weekly blog radio show “Life after Combat – Caregiver Edition PTSD & TBI.” She also provides workshops and community education on PTSD and secondary PTSD and is a contributor to the number one international bestseller Wounded? Survive! Thrive!!!

Debbie serves as the Vietnam veteran era representative on a focus committee for the National VA Caregiver Peer Support Mentoring Program. She is also an advisory group member for MOAA-Zieders “Warrior-Family Roundtable – Military Caregivers Financial-Legal Guide Advisory Group.”

Read an Excerpt

One evening during a spouse support group meeting I was leading, one of the women who had been quietly listening as others shared their stories of living with a veteran with PTSD announced, “It sounds like we’re all living with the same man!”

Another woman thoughtfully said, “So, Debbie, what’s PTSD, and what’s just being a man?”

“That’s a great question, and I know exactly where to find the answer. Shall we make that our topic for next week?”

The women agreed, anxious to hear the answer to this question.

When I got home that evening, I searched for a book that I had read many times during my dating years, especially when I was trying to figure out what was going on with that guy. I found it safely tucked away on the top shelf of my bookcase.

I realized that I hadn’t read it since I met Randy. I hadn’t felt the need for it in the beginning, because I understood him perfectly—or so I thought. And by the time PTSD had totally invaded our life, I didn’t want to know about a man from Mars. I desperately needed to know about my husband, whose mind had returned to Vietnam.

Table of Contents




Part 1: A Stranger in My Bed: Our Story

Chapter 1: It Began as a Love Story
Chapter 2: The Christmas Gift
Chapter 3: Happy Birthday to Me
Chapter 4: Welcome Home, Brother
Chapter 5: Vietnam in my Bed
Chapter 6: Not Like in the Movies
Chapter 7: The Perfect Storm
Chapter 8: Remote Controlled Jackass
Chapter 9: Nowhere to Hide
Chapter10: A Man on the Edge
Chapter 11: Grieving the Living
Chapter 12: Dead End to Detours to Dreams
Chapter 13: Peace Today, Hope for Tomorrow

Part 2: Getting to Know the Stranger: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Chapter 14: Introducing the Stranger: PTSD
Chapter 15: The Effects of Trauma on Spirituality
Chapter 16: The History of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Part 3: Helping the Stranger: Treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Chapter 17: Counteracting Military Indoctrination
Chapter 18: Traditional Treatments
Chapter 19: Complementary and Alternative Treatments

Part 4: Living with the Stranger

Chapter 20: What’s PTSD and What’s Just Being a Man?
Chapter 21: How You Can Help
Chapter 22: PTSD and Money
Chapter 23: Sex, Intimacy, and PTSD
Chapter 24: The Reality of a Future with PTSD

Part 5: Secondary Stress Disorder: 8 Steps to Taking Your Life Back from the Contagious Effects of the Stranger

Chapter 25: Step 1: Knowledge, Understanding, and Acceptance
Chapter 26: Step 2: Uncovering Your Power
Chapter 27: Step 3: Unveiling Your Support System
Chapter 28: Step 4:  Letting Go of Fear, Anger, and Guilt: Finding Love, Compassion and Forgiveness
Chapter 29: Step 5: Treating the Side Effects of Stress and Overwhelm
Chapter 30: Step 6: Cherishing YOU With Health and Wellness
Chapter 31: Step 7: Creating the Sparkle: Adding Fun, Happiness, and Passion
Chapter 32: Step 8: Putting It All Together: The GPS to Your Dreams   

Afterword: Reflections from the Stranger

About the Author




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