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.
Channel 3 interview
Channel 3 interview – Web Extra
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.
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
One of the things I try to do is keep my own political views to myself, at least off my public sights concerning our veterans. One of the things I always remember my grandfather, and father say is you dont talk about politics (however this doesnt apply to them today, they are just like everyone else, freely speaking their mind about their views). We all have different political opinions, and unfortunately these types of conversation are rarely kept civil. Keep in mind, I am a Political Science major. Not because I want to be a politician, but because I want to “learn the game” to help our veterans and their families, however that leads me to helping them. The last thing I want to be is a politician, but do want the knowledge of how our system works, can lead me to finding ways to help.
With all of this said, I do want to bring up politics for a moment, but not for the reasons one might think. One of the things I see over and over again on the posts about the VA scandal is people who automatically begin blaming one political figure, one party or the other. STOP making veterans about the left or right. We lose 22 veterans A DAY to suicide. That is someone’s father, husband, brother, mother, wife, sister, friend. The number is likely HIGHER than that due to the lack of a streamlined reporting system, and only getting the numbers from 21 states. Our veterans issues not only affect the veteran, they affect the FAMILIES. These issues ARE NOT just a republican or democrat issue. It is AN AMERICAN issue. Stop trying to make it about blaming one or the other, and come together for the sake of our vets and their families. We have so many veterans families who are losing everything and many losing their loved one while people are arguing over who is to blame. JUST FIX IT, and put action behind “Supporting our troops.”
This type of point the blame attitude is the wrong attitude to have, and will not help our veterans. When we are so divided on this very important issue, very little will be accomplished to help them.