Lisa was at times so hyper-vigilant that she would startle easily at everyday occurrences.
“I’d even freak out if I saw something unexpected that had fallen on the floor, “she said.
She learned through counseling that spouses who live with those with PTSD sometimes begin mirroring those behaviors. It’s referred to as Secondary Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Making matters worse, she rarely slept, worried what might happen.
For the safety of herself and her two children, she divorced her military husband who suffered from severe PTSD.
A stay-at-home mom, she had no financial security. She has a master’s degree and once had a good job, but she was too afraid and stressed out to work, so was eligible for Medicaid.
“You need rest,” she was told by a school advocate who was helping her with her son’s educational struggles. She suggested Lutheran Family Services in Colorado Springs. The agency runs the KPC Respite Center, which provides free temporary crisis prevention child care.
Exhausted and overwhelmed single parents, those with special needs children who need a break, or who are getting away from abusive relationships are among those who have been helped. Child care is also provided while clients go to appointments deemed critical to family stability such as counseling, job interviews or doctor visits.
Lisa had lost her support system when she divorced and had no money for traditional day care.
It’s a common problem, notes Gwendolyn White, foster care and prevention director for Lutheran Family Services. “We provide a safe haven that keeps children from being left alone or with unsafe sitters,”
The agency has a 24- hour hotline and care can be provided for up to 72 hours.
Many clients are impoverished and working hard to stay above water. “We support them in their season of challenge,” White says.
Lutheran Family Services also assists with adoptions, foster care, family education programs to keep kids safe, refugee resettlement and other programs.
The first time Lisa used the KPC Respite Center, she says, “I went home and slept. It was wonderful. “She uses the day care now for counseling appointments or study sessions.
She is working on a reflexologist certification, and plans to have a career helping those who have PTSD or other trauma.
Her son is doing better in school because she can now be a more attentive mother, she says. “The center has been so wonderful, so beneficial to my body and soul.”