Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

drjekyllmrhyde

Do you ever sometimes feel like you’re dealing with a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde scenario?   The frustrating part of dealing with sweet and nice Dr. Jekyll, when all of a sudden a completely different person, one who can be a complete and utter asshole comes out leaving the wind knocked from your sails?

Lately, my husband has been doing well, and for that I am extremely proud.  For the past year and a half, I have had to take a hiatus of sorts with regards to the support group to help my husband.  He needed me and demanded more of my time.  For the past months, he is been doing somewhat well: taking his medication as he is supposed to, contacting the VA to be seen for therapy (which is a complete 1st, and I am very proud of him), has been sweet, and even supportive of me getting back in to helping other spouses.

Then this morning, a different person pops out.  He let me sleep in, taking the baby when he woke up at 5am.  Sweet right?  I would come to regret it later.  After I woke up, and got ready for work, we were discussing family business.  Then the snide comment comes.  Completely out of left field.  I asked if he was serious.  He said yes he was serious.  I realize my husband memory is short, but is it that damn short that he forgets just yesterday that he was thanking me for everything I’ve done, and how I have held this family together?

I don’t say anything after that.  I gather my things for work, get our son, dropping him of at pre-school and go to work.  Honestly, I start to stew at that point.  Pissed doesn’t even begin to describe how his comment made me feel.  I felt he was being completely ungrateful, unreasonable, and shortsighted. Damnit, I have been the one keeping this family afloat and going. I’ve been the one sacrificing, and going through the motions, and doing everything in my power to get him help, to get us to a point we are today. And damnit, I think I have don’t a pretty good f-ing job of it too.

Needless to say, I did something I shouldn’t have, doing something I continually advise against. I sent a text filled with anger, cussing, and all around don’ts when it comes to relationships, especially a relationship with PTSD involved. Yup, I did it. After complaining at his comment, and telling him what I thought of his comment, I gave him the old F*** you. I know I know. Bad idea right? Right.

So after work, I come home, and I see him watching American Sniper. Of course, I know what the movie is, but I ask him anyway what he was watching. Nothing. Yup, nothing. Not a word. So, I ask if he is going to talk to me. No words, just shaking his head. He gets up, and speaks sweetly to the kids. Very nice to them. Not a word to me. Nope, not one word. He gets ready for work, and leaves shortly after my arrival home….going in to work 3 hours early.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Was I childish? Yes. Was the text necessary? No. Should I have done it? No. I just snapped in a moment of being tired of not snapping, and angry the way I felt, and the way he made me feel by his comment. Should I have conveyed that to him in a more productive and different way? Absolutely. When it comes to PTSD, for myself, the feeling of being unable to control the situation is maddening….

And then I begin to think…and think. Imagine the way he feels. Imagine the frustrating feeling at times of feeling out of control. Unable to stop the way he feels. Doing everything that he can to do it a different way, yet cant stop the way he feels. Of course, I think of this and what do I do? The thing we women do best at times we shouldn’t….feel guilt. Feel horrible at the way I reacted to him. With PTSD, I cant control his feelings, actions or sometimes the day to day, BUT I can control MY reaction, and the way I react to it. And today, I reacted horribly, and if I get down to it, I overreacted. Am I justified in my feeling? Maybe. Am I justified in the way I reacted? No.

And so it goes….I am going to do the only thing I know how…which is apologize….even if I don’t feel 100% at fault. While the child in me wants to stay mad, and give him the silent treatment, the adult in me knows that isn’t the right answer. I should apologize, realizing that I could in fact, be making things worse for him, worse for me, and worse for us. When it is all said and done, he is my best friend, he is my confident, he is my husband, and I don’t want it any other way. I accepted him just the way he is, PTSD and all. Sometimes, I have to do all I can to make things a little bit easier. That doesn’t mean I should accept bad behavior, but it doesn’t mean I have to be a bitch either.

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Safety Plan

One of the things I am finding important is coming up with a safety plan.  It it is a good thing to have, and discuss with your spouse.  I was recently given a blank safety plan to fill in/tweek with what will fit us.  Once complete, it will be printed out, and put up in certain areas of the house to remember what is to happen if we get to that point where we have to draw the line.  Below is the blank safety plan that I was given, and was told I could share.  Please feel free to save it, and create your own. For us at the end I will add at the end what will happen if none of the items listen help, which likely means inpatient is the result.

BLANK COPY SAFETY PLAN

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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