In the final months of 2015, my much-beloved partner of eleven years, Jason, was the victim of two brutal attacks. After the second, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In August 2019, after a failed attempt to check him into a behavioral health crisis center, we realized that our mental health and our relationship weren’t improving. They were eroding, close to collapse.
I am an academic and an investigative journalist. When faced with an existential threat or deep question, I research. I write. I read books. PTSD Bookclub is where I’ll share my journey through great books about trauma and its aftermath.
Starting April 2021, I’ll re-read the twelve books that most helped me cope: provided a crucial new insight, made me feel seen and validated, or simply offered hope and courage. I’ll try to read a book a month, posting weekly short reflections on the book’s most resonant contributions, insights drawn from my own experience, interviews and related research.
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While there will be room to talk about the traumas that brought PTSD into our lives, from sexual assault to military service to systemic racism, this space won’t be geared toward peer support or group therapy. There are other great venues for that important work. Check out the Trauma Book Club, the Spouses & Family Members’ PTSD Support Group, or find a PTSD support group through NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness).
If you or anyone you know is in danger or crisis, here is a good list of numbers to call or text or TTY for support: https://autistichoya.net/resources/crisis-resource-list/ (via the indomitable Lydia X. Z. Brown).
If you are a US veteran who needs support, contact the Veterans Crisis Line:
- 1-800-273-8255, press 1
- Send a text to 838255
- Chat online Confidential Veterans Chat
I am the author or co-editor of three books, most recently Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor. My investigative reporting and personal essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Scientific American, The Nation, Harper’s, and Wired. Since 2015, I’ve been supporting my partner, Jason, through the process of healing from PTSD. Read more
6 thoughts on “PTSD Bookclub”
Dear Mrs Eubanks, I just read your article in the New York Times. It had reached my Heart. I want to say Thanks – from the Perspektive of a loving son of a PTSD-suffering mother-and-father-and-Great-parents (all to World war 2-victims and consecutive brutal Events including rape).
I with you the Most broadest success in writing and changing The Things of PTSD-aspects in your private and societal surroundings. Many Thanks and best wishes to you an Jason
PTSD sufferer here-initially from bearing witness to my mothers suicide and after years of treatment having my symptoms triggered again by a spontaneously collapsed lung. Your article made me feel understood and also gave me a strong reminder to the efforts and impacts on my wife of 11 years. I get triggered every time she even sneezes (loudly). Often the caregivers are forgotten and I am grateful you have shed light on all of them; including yourself.
Just read your PTSD article from NYTimes, wanted to let you know that I admire your bravery, strength and persistence in helping your partner heal. I’m a nurse but reading your article, I felt that sense of caregiver burden. I wish you and your partner the best, and hopes of recovery!
Thank you for a brilliant, moving, and revelatory piece in the NYT. I’m terribly sorry for what you and Jason have had to endure. Thank you for plumbing the depths of pain and despair to share this insightful story.
Your NYT article is phenomenal.
I am dual PTSD sufferer and caregiver. A sufferer, after my young daughter’s life was ripped apart by a ruptured brain aneurysm and caregiver for my elder teen-daughter who was raped a few years later and eventually hospitalised with PTSD.
When you spoke to the daily trauma wrought from the interminable fight of administrative bodies, fighting for healthcare… the hollowing out of yourself by these small enduring brutalities…I shuddered with cognition. Thank you for you raw, honest writing. Nothing I have researched, watched, listened to, has spoken to me in such an authentic, resonating way of my own experience, as the recounting of your own. I am truly grateful for this dignified piece.
I wish you both a calm heart, a clear head and a Springtide of wellness.
I am so sorry that you and Jason have been put on this journey and I am moved and inspired by the work you both put into moving forward. Your article shines a light on the terrible impact that a loved one’s mental illness has on partners and family members which is a topic that is not openly discussed in this era of insufficient mental health care during which treatment is ” outsourced” to family members. Living with someone who engages in behaviors related to depression, anxiety, paranoia, PTSD is traumatizing, particularly when the behaviors are aggressive, emotionally abusive and/or involve physical violence . Caretaking adds an extra layer of stress and trauma. I am a mental health counselor and hear narratives every day from clients struggling to process their experiences with family and partners with mental health issues. Thank you for sharing your story and letting others know they are not alone.