Two steps forward, one step back?

For the past few weeks, I’ve been silent on Facebook, and generally the internet.  Between sick kids, school, work, my husband, and being sick myself, I honestly needed a “break” from the page.  As much as I love the page, and it is in a way, a therapy for me, at times, it can be a lot, taking in others issues, along with my own.

The past few weeks havent been the smoothest at home either.  My husband has been moodier, shorter patience, and all around refusing to deal with doctors or any more doctor appointments.  To be honest, everything has left me feeling raw, with that insecurity feeling creeping back in, along with self doubt, and questing my ability to handle a backslide from my husband should it happen.  This is a feeling I hate, that leaves me a feeling of helplessness, and an opening for a downward spiral for my self into an avoidance, and depression.

I often suggest to other spouses to make sure they get into counseling for themselves, but this is a suggestion I have yet to do for myself.  I’ve been in counseling before, but due to time, are no longer making sure my mental health is taken care of.  It is in part for having to go down a road of bringing up old memories, and hurts, and dealing with them.  It is also in part because of time between school, work, kids, husband, and household.  When I do have time, I try to relax and just savor the moment with my kids and husband, but with everything going on, that is rarely the case.  As a result, I get frustrated, and I get bitchy.  That bitchyness, I am ashamed to say, gets taken out on my family at times.  I bitch about the house, because most times, things only get done if I do them.

I think at times, I do so much and keep so busy, so I dont have to think about things, or mull over could of, should of, would of, or the wrong turns I took when PTSD came into our lives.  I still dont always make the best decision or know the right answer.  Often enough, I am flying by the seat of my pants.  No one has said “this is how you do it, this is how you deal with it.”

As frustrating as things can get for me, I imagine them that much worse for my husband.   I know he is tired of doctors visits, and me making him go, but I want us to grow old together.  Anyone could understand that, right?  So why doesnt he seem to get that?  Why cant he see that I want him to grow old with me, watching our kids grow, graduate from school/college, get married and have kids of their own?

I think that is the most frustrating part of it all…about our story with PTSD.  The fact that he isnt always able to see these things.  To focus on that.  The fact that most of the time, he rarely shares with me what is going on with him, when he used to always share.  I could ask him what he was thinking, and he would tell me.  Now I get the proverbial “nothing” or when I ask how he is doing, its “Im fine,” even though I know he isnt fine.  It is frustrating to no end at times.

That being said, Im thankful.  I am thankful for all he does.  I’m thankful he isnt where he once was, in that extremely dark place that he couldnt get out of.  The fear is still there we will backslide to that place, but in part I try to not focus on that.  I mean I cant right?  If I do, then how can I enjoy life, constantly waiting for that other shoe to drop, but still, it is always at the back of my mind.

Aristotle quote

Marriage Tips for PTSD & TBI

Here is a great link that has some tips with living with PTSD and/or TBI.  Remember that it is all a learning process.  You have to learn what works for you and your family.  Try to find yourself through all of this.  Find the strength, and courage from this all. 

http://www.familyofavet.com/PTSD_TBI_marriage_help.html

 

Eleanor Roosevelt

They Sacrifice

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Don’t think our service men and women don’t sacrifice?  Think again.  Not only do they sacrifice themselves when they go off to war, but while gone, they sacrifice time with their family, missing out on birthdays, holidays, births, deaths, and special moments.  They miss that first step their child makes, or the first word, or even the first day of kindergarten.  From war, many lose a piece of themselves, some physically,  some mentally, some both and some lose their lives. 

While yes, we do have a volunteer military, and our loved ones volunteered for their country, they did so so yours wouldn’t have to.   If not for the men and women who volunteer for the war they go to (justified war or not), those who don’t want to go, would be forced to do so.

So while you may not agree with their mission, you can still support the ones that fight.  They are still owed our gratitude and our respect.  They have sacrificed so much, and are asked to continue to do so.  Isn’t it time we sacrificed too?  For many, the scars are deep, and for some, invisible.

The support shouldn’t stop once they are home.  Support our Vets should be just as big of a catch phrase and action as Support our Troops. 

We lose 22 veterans a day to suicide.  Shouldn’t it be time we tell them #youmatter?

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I’m Letting My Wife Go

This is very well written, and very insightful. Food for thought about love and relationships.

Seth Adam Smith

I’m sure it may come as a shock to some people, but I let my wife go. It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, but it was the right thing for the both of us.

Kim and Seth WeddingNo, we’re not getting a divorce and no, we’re not separating. Truth be told, the practice of “letting go” has actually brought us closer together. But in order to understand what I mean by “letting go,” you must first understand that Kim and I are two very different people.

In fact, the differences between us were Kim’s primary concern with us getting married. “Seth, a fish may love a bird,” she said. “But where would they live?”*

I smiled at the comparison because it’s fairly accurate.

Kim and I are incredibly different people. She’s the oldest in her family; I’m the youngest in mine. She’s very responsible; I’m…very much not. She…

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Ways to help

I often see questions from civilians who do not have a loved one that is a vet or a service member,  what can they do to show they support the troop by more than simply saying it.

As the spouse of a veteran with PTSD, here are some of my suggestions.

Get involved – Many communities are creating organizations to touch on military and veterans issues.

If you are in a church, find a way to create programs to help vets and their families. For example, create a children’s night. Have a safe place the parents can drop the kids off, knowing they are safe, to give the kids a chance to play with other kids, and a chance for mommy and daddy to reconnect.

If you are a pastor, educate yourself on PTSD, and get training so you can help those in your congregation that may be suffering.

If you own a business, hire a vet.

If you are a professional (Dr., psychologist, therapist, lawyer), offer pro bono work to veteran’s and their families. Many vets and their families are going without healthcare. Many need a lawyer because they have gotten themself in trouble, or they have family issues, or need help with appeals, ssi or initial filing.

Find ways to help them. Find out what their needs are. Sometimes they just need someone to talk to. Be there for them. Some are coming home to no help or loved ones. Try to become a friend to them. There are many ways people can help. When you say we support our troops, don’t just say it, but mean it.

The last suggestion I have is, educate yourself on invisible wounds.  Help us raise awareness, and join us in fighting for them.  Write your congressman and senators, demanding action.  Demanding more help, and for them to start showing their appreciation for our vets.  Find out which politicians are against veteran’s benefits, and NO MATTER WHAT PARTY THEY ARE IN, VOTE THEM OUT.  We do not need politicians up there who want to take away the little benefits that our veterans do get.  They have no business in Washington.  I dont care what party they are in.

Support our vets

A Journey

Here is an interview my husband and I sat down to last year whenever I was first starting the local peer to peer support group.  We stepped out in faith and outside our comfort zone.

We met with Laurie, from Channel 3 here in Hampton Roads, to participate in an interview to raise awareness and inform those in our area about the support group I am starting, PTSD, and its effects on the Veteran and their family.

In doing this interview, it was not easy for either of us. When you put yourselves out there, you are worried about judgment from other people. Hesitation is what the devil wants. The devil will try to hold us back as much as he can. I realize this is not about us, but helping others through what we have gone through. I do not want any other spouse to feel as alone as I did. We had to step out of our comfort zone, and step out on faith, in hopes of helping others who are going through what we have gone through.

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Channel 3 interview

Channel 3 interview – Web Extra

 

 

 

PTSD is like a pickle

I remember when we first started the process of getting my husband into the VA, my husband’s case worker gave an analogy to describe PTSD.  PTSD is like a pickle.  You can take a cucumber and turn it into a pickle, but you cant take a pickle and turn it back in to a cucumber.  There are several types of pickles; dill, sweet, bread and butter, “wickles,” etc.  It is up to the person to decide what “type of pickle” they want to be.  You then learn to love the taste of the pickle, but it will never be a cucumber again.  That analogy has stayed with me.  I know that my husband is forever changed, and the person who I knew is gone.  He still has parts of him remaining, but he is forever changed. Learning to accept and love the “new pickled” him has it’s challenging moments, but I still love this man with all my heart, who he was, and who he is now, “pickled” and all.

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Asking instead of Telling

Something I have found myself doing as of lately, is telling my husband what to do, instead of asking him.  After the behavioral issues we have dealt with over the past few years, I have found myself treating him as though he is my third child, and at times, it doesnt help things.  In fact, it can hurt.  I know for myself that I dont like being told what to do, like I am a child.  Why should my husband be any different?

One of the important things I am finding and having to remember is he is still an adult.  It is a hard balance going between behavioral issues, back to good, and having to learn to trust his abilities again.  I can honestly say I dont know that I will ever get back to not having questions about behavior, or decision making, but for the sake of our marriage, I have to learn not to treat him like a child, and TELL him what to do.  Asking him to do something goes a long way, along with a please and thank you thrown in there.  It comes down to respect, and I respect my husband

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