Hello everyone! Just recently got an invite to participate in this awesome blog! I guess I should start by introducing who I am. I am a 34 year old Army Reservist wife, FRG (Family Readiness Group) leader for my husband's unit, Mother of three boys, official peace keeper and candle maker. My husband served in Iraq for 15 months as a combat medic in the triangle of death; Ramadi for those not into nicknames. My husband returned home as Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde, I was ill prepared and life hasn't been the same since. My husband was recently diagnosed with severe PTSD, and now TBI. Psychiatrists state he is not able to hold down a job, nor would they recommend that he be in the working public. That advice/letters from three psychiatrists and it was only worth 30% of disability according to the VA. I think he doesn't need to be out in public period without support, but hey what do I know.
You will want to read the rest of her introduction?
I learned pretty quickly as an FRG leader and as a spouse, that guess what! The military isn't there 24 hours a day, 365 a year as promised, and there are more closed doors than open ones. I started blogging to self-help myself because obviously being married to a soldier with PTSD is considered to be a taboo subject that no one wants to talk about or help with. I have been there done that with counseling sessions, spousal support groups at the VA, trained with the military by some top notch military individuals, voluntarily educated myself on the rest that was not given, and found that this Yellow Ribbon of support, is quickly becoming a noose around my neck. Failures of the military and the disappointment sometimes chokes the pride and suffocates what support you had right out of you.
As a spouse of an Army Reservist and as FRG leader, I learned that the "silent ranks" are basically the red headed step children of the Army. Because we are geographically not located near an army installation, we do not have the same resources if there even are any, available to us. Because we are National Guard or Reservists, some organizations do not help us period because we are not Active Duty and what resources that are available to us are "no longer available" or seven hours away across the state. After doing some research though, I learned that it's the same with Active Duty side as well. It almost feels like some type of front put up to cover up the bad business. There is the number they give you to call should you or your spouse have trouble, there is someone who answers the phone, but then you get there and nothing. We have gone around and around the block of crap resources and have fought along the way. The military says, "Go to the VA that's what it's there for!" Well, it took us seven months for an initial appointment, another year and a half to get him doped up so much he really doesn't function that well, and you know what? STILL THE SAME but just medicated. I feel like seeing a doctor twice a year and a psychiatrist once a year is absolutely unacceptable.
I really feel deep down, that the Army screwed us and the VA doesn't want to do anything about it except dope them up and send them back to the families. The spouses are filled with empty promises of gold at the end of the rainbow and find there is nothing but disappointment. They instead turn to the Family Readiness Groups at their unit because that's what they are told, and we in turn must send them right back to the same resources that don't work because that's what they give us as well! So here we are, a bunch of family members and soldiers, trained volunteers; hopeful and readily seeking help only to find that we were left on the side of the road with no way back home or left for dead.
Uncle Sam put out the call for the military to serve overseas in a war that has long surpassed idiotic, and promised the families and soldiers that they will be taken care of. I can probably give you five hundred examples of how they have failed not only our soldiers, but our families as well. It's in my opinion, that our soldiers are no longer worthy once they come home. Rather than have a "Welcome Home" banner in place, we should have one that says "Now that you're back-bend over" because that's how it feels. But wait! A year later, they sure as hell don't mind calling you back up and want you to do it all again! The families cry and wear their "Support our troops" t-shirts, and think "Ok, I can make it through another deployment" when all the while they are trying to figure out the resources once again. Spouses like me wonder what's going to happen to my already shaky husband once he comes back home again? Perhaps with more and more spouses coming forward to talk about their problems, we can get someone's attention. As anyone in volunteer organizations such as a FRG in a unit, speak out! Fight as I have done for our men and women in my unit. One voice can't be heard, but many can't be ignored too long!
I am hoping that in the near future I can voice my opinions on a variety of subjects, and give another spouse a "I can relate" topic so they know they are not alone in dealing with the pressure, stress and issues that come from living with someone with Combat PTSD. I hope that my views on being FRG and the issues that have come from that, will give someone else the understanding that the FRGs are just like spouses, having to rely on the same information and feel the same disgust. As a spouse, I hope that I help someone to breathe and realize they are not alone. There are many of us out there suffering alongside our soldiers but in a different way, and sometimes you just need to know someone understands what you are going through. Until next time......