Seeking Help for PTSD?

Nicole Herrera

My husband suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You would never know. He grew up in El Salvador during their civil war. He saw horrific things, unspeakable things. His mom had to leave him behind. The death squads would shoot the adults and kidnap children. He never knew if he would make it home from school each day. It would be four years before she could bring them to the States. Once he arrived, no one talked to him about what he had been through. He learned to keep the past hidden.

We’ve been married 23 years. He has always been an excellent provider. He worked a lot when our boys were small. I was alone a lot. Our boys are 14 and 17. He missed out on a lot of their childhoods. Over the years, he drowned himself with work. That’s how he managed to keep the memories away. It worked great until it didn’t. He fell apart. He said he felt “broken.” But he refused to talk to a professional. He felt completely alone.

I signed him up for the 28-day PTSD program at Unchained Wellness Clinic in Gilbert. It wasn’t talk therapy. It was something different. In addition to the Theta Bed, they focused on nutrition, hydration, journaling, meditation, and exercise. Things he could do at home to support himself and things I could do to support him. Once he was able to get into the theta state in the Theta Bed, his brain opened up to healing, learning, and suggestion. It helps the hypothalamus (our flight or fight center) return to producing normal levels of serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters. It helped to create new, normal neural pathways. I like to think of it as PT for his brain. We saw big changes in him. My husband used to bolt awake if I made the slightest movement. Now he was able to sleep through the night. It gave him the words to describe what he has been going through. In his mind, he had created a building with several doors. He managed to keep the doors shut by keeping himself distracted with work. When he is triggered, he becomes distant. He is trapped inside his own head. He didn’t realize the effect his behavior had on our family. Now when he gets triggered, he goes for a walk. When he comes back, he can talk to me about it.

The 28-day program at Unchained Wellness Clinic has given me hope that someday he will talk with a professional. One of the biggest realizations was that his brain wasn’t protecting him by hiding these memories from him. It was keeping him from being present in our family life.

If this sounds like someone you know, or if this is you—working to death to avoid having to remember, getting triggered, not sleeping well, feeling alone, not willing or not able to talk to someone about it—then this program might be the answer.