How Do You Handle It?

We aren't married but I knew as soon as we met that he is the one and I'd like to marry him. He was a political aide/bodyguard in an extremely violent country for many years. His symptoms include paranoia, as in multiple locks on his door and a variety of weapons. Early on in things he became briefly convinced that I was an assassin and I was going to kill him. He is triggered by scenes in certain films, sometimes something will set him off and he will curl up in a ball and sob uncontrollably. He also suffers from what I jokingly refer to as "dude PMS" but which I think may also be part of the disorder. It is cyclic and I can usually see it coming on. He gets irritable and down on himself and then decides we spend too much time together and I'm smothering him and shuts me out of his life for a week or so. That part is REALLY hard to take.
I really, really love this guy. I don't worry that he's going to snap and hurt me or himself. Even when he thought I wanted to kill him he wasn't in any way threatening. He is the most amazing person ever and I adore him to bits. I want to help but the first thing he does when triggered is to shut me out. This is a fairly normal reaction and during the momentary sobbing episodes I just back off and wait. He doesn't like to be touched or spoken to when this happens. But the bigger, cyclic episodes hurt a lot. I try to be understanding and supportive and everything but it really sucks.
So what I wonder is, if I marry him or even live with him, how will those episodes pan out? How can I help him when I see signs that it's coming on? Right now I just get a little panicky and wait it out but if we don't have separate apartments to retreat to what would happen?
Also, while I think the danger is relatively slight, apparently there ARE bad people who want him dead. We live in a much more peaceful country halfway across the world from where these events took place but he feels that if they knew where he was there's a good chance they'd send someone to get him. It sounds like something from a movie I know but I don't think he's making it up. But again, I'm not really all that worried about that part.
So I'd love some feedback from those who ARE married to PTSD victims, especially if they were soldiers or people in violent professions as it is probably somewhat different for people who were simply victims of violence. Thanks all.
idnami idnami
31-35, F
2 Responses May 23, 2012

Let me say that it is a very long journey with counseling and medication. Its beyond me how people make it without any help. I've seen the pain first hand and I've experienced it with my fiance. He was not on medication for the first year of our relationship and the difference is significant.

Is he open to getting help? From personal experience this is the ONLY thing that is going to help or create change. My fiancé is an OIF Infantry veteran and his father was a Green Beret who lived most of his life with PTSD and is now suffering from dementia as well. Counseling and medication are two very helpful options. Without them it is a very long journey and one that I personally don't know if I would be up for. My fiance has sought help, but his father never did. If you have any influence on him I would encourage him to get help, because there is no shame in that.