May 25, 2010

Back Up and Punt Anonymous!

It seems a fellow military spouse feels that my comments about my husband on my blog are unfair to him and if I feel this badly about him, "move on". I "am unpatriotic, selfish and undeserving of a Veteran". My comment of " It would have been easier to have him killed in action/ lose a limb than come home this way with severe PTSD" has really disturbed her.

Well, first off....this is a "self-help" blog set up in "my perspective". Adding myself to Scott's site is in hopes that maybe other wives will read what I have to say and say "Man, so I don't feel like a total horse's ass because look here! Someone else is dealing with it too!" I am not writing about how God helped me through all this, because although a strong God believer, so far he hasn't helped one bit. Before you cast stones, we have been down that route and didn't get much help. I am a firm believer that God has a plan for me, and so far he hasn't let me down in the past...it's just recently I feel like he got busy elsewhere and momentarily forgot us. I am not going to blow smoke up other spouse's asses reading this, because how is that fair to them or make them feel that they aren't alone in probably similar thoughts?

So far 65% of blogs I have read talk about how things get better, how "good" days are absolutely peachy king and bright. How paying for their own psychiatrist out of pocket helped them and how wonderful things are now that their soldier is cured. I know Vietnam Veterans who aren't cured, and it's been 25 years!
I do love my husband and am so proud of him as a soldier, as a husband, and as a man. Does this mean I have to like him most of the days? No. When someone places as much stress on you than any one person can handle, it takes its toll. When you have absolutely no one to talk to, and mostly because your husband has pissed off everyone around you, it takes its toll. When you turn to the military who promised that your soldier would be taken care of and you hear "send them to the VA-That's their benefit" and the main physician there tells you that your husband only needs fish oil and Vitamin D, E, and calcium supplements to cure his PTSD, it tends to make you bitter. A "healthy Bowel Movement cures the body and the soul" is not help with PTSD. So then comes the 9 other medicines he is on that make him dopey, forgetful and a zombie. Trust me, I have been on other blogs, read everyone's success stories and some of it just infuriates me because no one mentions how much crap they had to wade through to get to the point of Bliss. I realized the best help I could give myself was an outlet to let loose and not worry about what others say. Do I want to be so negative? Absolutely not! I wish that I could write about a successful cure all for PTSD and TBI. I wish for sure, my life with my husband was back to "pre-deployment days". Sometimes seeing the truth from someone else, is the reason they step forward to talk about it or get help.

Before anyone knocks me for my comments about not coming home at all, you have to look at our life. Some days are good, a majority of it bad. There are times when the man I love and trust so indefinitely, scares the hell out of me. I don't know who he is anymore, nor do I understand what he is going through. Counseling hasn't helped as all that does is piss him off, and then I end up in "the enemy zone" with him at home and the counselor at the VA because I am not considering the fact he is a veteran with PTSD. If I fuss because he is drinking, or state that I wish my needs as a spouse did not go unnoticed, I am not being supportive. So having to monitor what I say at home, monitor what I have to say in counseling really hasn't helped me at all.

Do I really wish my husband never came home? No. I would have literally shriveled up and died I do believe. The comment was made because my husband after grueling all day appointments at the VA stated it would have been easier losing a leg or an arm than dealing with all the psych crap. Looking at my comment, do I want my husband this angry, this depressed, and having emotional problems? Can I really sit there and say I am "ok" with the fact he can't even comprehend instructions on a toy for my kids? Can I really say that I want my husband to suffer so I can selfishly say well, at least I have him here? It's my point of view, and if that makes me whatever, so be it.

As far as my "patriotism" is concerned, you could not find a person who bleeds more red, white and blue than myself. I run a non-profit for soldiers and their families, a Family Readiness Group Leader for my soldiers at the local unit in which I log a 1000 hours or more every three months of volunteer hours, a member of the military American Red Cross Board, Disabled American Veterans Lady Auxiliary, and know that my husband did his job and a damned good one too. Because I talk about my problems in my home, or wish that I could have one family memory that is good and does not involve my husband freaking out and making all of us cry, doesn't make me unpatriotic.

To be robbed of such joys that are taken over by PTSD does not make me ungrateful, just needy. I need those "moments" and I am sure all of us, soldiers included, want those back too. Who doesn't want to feel wanted or loved by their spouse? My blame lies not on the soldiers or any branch of the military. The blame lies in the ones who sit behind the desk and think it's a good idea to shove PTSD and TBI under the rug. It lies in the ones who decide that educating spouses on these issues more than what they are telling us, isn't as important as talking about change of insurance when they come home. Let's spend two hours advising our spouses of suicide, giving us the high rates of suicide linked with OEF and OIF and a number if it actually works for some, because the military doesn't want any bad light on them. Let's skip over TBI all together and briefly touch up on the subject of PTSD. "Your soldier may come home and suffer from a few nightmares or sleep issues" is not a real big help when you get blindsided from PTSD. Newsflash for everyone....we concentrate on PTSD more, and maybe we would have less suicides or murder-suicides. I blame not my husband, I blame those who don't help give him the "square deal he deserves" after serving his country. Reasoning behind my name? It's a fitting name for me who is someone that has been screwed every which way but sideways by the VA and military. They don't have to worry about the soldier they have or their families, until it's convenient for Uncle Sam and his needs. No commitment just like in a side street affair, making me a mistress. I didn't realize I had to contemplate insulting someone over a pseudonym.

I apologize if I somehow upset you by my truthfulness and honesty....I will not however, say I am sorry for what I wrote. If comments from a blog upset you that bad...you are going to have a hard row to hoe seeking help from others. PTSD is not a cold, it doesn't go away on its own or with antibiotics. You need to realize that although you may not agree, that everyone's life doesn't mirror yours. Every soldier has different causes of their PTSD/TBI, and spouses are the same way. In my writing, perhaps a soldier will stop and see what I have wrote and think about his wife and what she goes through. Also, this is the only time my husband really listens to me. Do I say anything behind his back? Absolutely not. He supports my standing in front of half the Army discussing family and soldier issues, as well as me stating the fact of how I feel when he is in one of those days in my blogs. If that is selfish, undeserving, and all this makes me unpatriotic, then label me and then move on.

Until Next Time...Uncle Sam's Mistress

5 comments:

  1. OMG, WELCOME....STANDING OVATION!!! THE ROAR OF THE CROWD HAS ERUPTED...

    That was beautiful, wow...it was like looking into the eyes of my ex-wife of over 15 years ago and finally hearing her thoughts...God I wish I knew them then...

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  2. It makes me want to cry to hear my hell spelled out so eloquently. I appreciate your words and yes I've been accused of being a shitty army wife because of what i have said during this ordeal...thank you

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  3. Emmy, that's how I feel. We as spouses get labeled non supportive and shitty because we don't 100% fully accept what is wrong with our husbands/wives. You love them, but you don't have to like them every single day. That's how it is in every relationship. I sometimes have a hard time separating the facts and remembering my husband has problems. Some days I just want to smack him upside the head and say "what were you thinking?". I get criticized because I voice that and it hurts when people say I am not supporting my husband because I would not be here still if I didn't. Why is it so bad to say "Hey, what about me? I have taken care of you, its my turn" especially when your "rock" has suddenly crumbled and you take on the roles of responsibility of house, work, family and so on. It's a tough pill to swallow and no one should ever be made to feel like they can't say "My spouse has PTSD and you know what? I don't have to like it!" A wise Vietnam Vet with severe PTSD told me once that in order to be with a man/woman with Combat PTSD you had to be strong, strong as steel and never bend. It was one of the hardest tasks in a relationship to ever work with and sometimes the spouse is all the Vet has for stability in his life. He said that sometimes combat PTSD vets tend to place all their anger on their spouses because they have no where else to put it. Its not because of us, we are just their only outlet. Find him another outlet. He told me that if I was committed, then put my big girl panties on, straighten up my back and never give to the wind. He also told me that a good cast iron skillet was handy to keep around too!! Hahah! That advice was better than any spouse group, marital counseling, or VA psych joint programs I have attended. I hear his words every time my husband has "those moments"

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  4. I am a 59 year old wife of a 100 percent combat realted disabled (PTSD) Vietnam Veteran. I am just too exhausted to go into the details of my thirty three year old marriage but suffice it to say this blog is validating, soothing, encouraging in all it's raw honesty. I have lost a daughter and two grandchildren to estrangement as a result of her difficult childhood. Another daughter is distant but supportive. Our oldest son has inherited his father's fragile nervous system, out of control temper and poor coping ability. Our youngest son feels far too responsible for us (for me, especially) and will not venture out to live his own life. Thanks for creating this blog. Siobhan

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  5. Siobhan, you are welcome, I write here to minister and raise awareness. It is time to let your children be responsible for themselves. The guilt you carry associated with your children must feel like a cargo ship resting on your shoulders. To move beyond this guilt, of how your marriage affected your children, it is ultimately their choice to live in the past or embrace the present.

    You must embrace the present to move beyond and engage your life.

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Please share your comments, stories and information. Thank you. ~ Scott Lee