August 17, 2010

PTSD is a Demon: First It Invades the Veteran, then the Family

Reader's comment on August 1, 2010 from the article Combat Veterans Bring the Monster of War Home: The Story of SGT Travis Triggs
For the life of me I cannot figure out why our government and the general public is not willing to do more for our Veterans.

PTSD is a demon. One that not only invades the mind of the soldier, but the mind of every individual that loves the soldier. It eats at the heart of the wife who watches her husband pace the living room without any explanation for his restlessness. It eats at the innocent soul of the child that watches their hero throw a toy across the room that startled him with it's sound.
Being an Army wife was not easy when he was away. And now that he has been safe at home for 4 years, I find myself wondering if it would have been easier if he had not made it. I know this is awful to put in writing. I understand that every wife or husband that has lost their soldier would do anything to have them back in any shape or form. I only mean to reflect on my personal 4 year struggle to be the "perfect" wife to a struggling hero.

Life has become littered with invisible obstacles that never seem to get easier. I feel for every soldier, every wife and husband, every child, every parent, every friend of a soldier. I pray that one day everyone will be fighting for our soldiers the way they have fought for us.


  1. **sigh** I am so glad you wrote this! I have mentioned before that sometimes it would have been easier for all of us had my husband been KIA. That is after hearing so many times from my husband he wished he never came home. I got berated, insulted and looked at like I was some horrible person and of course, the worst Army Wife. Of course, those that treated me like this have no experience with PTSD so what do they know about it right? Some wives say it gets so much easier as the years pass by, but I have to wonder is it really getting better? Or are we just getting accustomed to the issues and simply settling in with our "beast"?

  2. My prayer is that there is true healing, and not just becoming acclimated to the syndrome.

  3. USM, I did not write this article, it was a comment on one of my articles and I thought it relevant.

    We can heal from this, it may take years and possibly decades. But, we can find relative peace and achieve our dreams in spite of Combat PTSD.

    For me it was becoming attuned to my feelings and emotions, learning how to express them in an assertive and confident manor. Relearning social skills and reevaluating my values and principles. I was able to reprogram my brain by taking these actions, a tune up for my brain.

    In doing so we may reevaluate our lives and selves with the goal of achieving lasting safety, stability and review our 'operating system software' - Belief systems, values and our core principles; thought patterns and behaviors are guided by our operating system. Mundane tasks need a rote system; an evolutionary response to sooth the brain from overload. It shuts down thinking and applies an automatic program guiding the body to perform basic repetitive motions and mental actions (thoughts).

    Often times we run on false belief systems that cloud our perceptions, tainting relationships and causing strife and discord. - Example, I fight the urge to run yellow lights at stop lights. This is inviting the police into my life every time I do this, yet I find myself doing it before I even think about it. This is called a 'rote pattern of behavior,' I long ago told myself that I HAVE to speed up through yellow lights. Reevaluating the above can relieve many symptoms of Combat PTSD, for the soldier, veteran and their families.

    KW, prayer serves to guide and when combined often guides me in my life. When I pray to God, he gives me signs and messages from our community. Thanks man for joining our conversation here at PASP.

  4. I just recently found this blog and sadly it is nice to know I am not alone
    My husband is a vet of the Gulf War. He was on the frontline and did and saw more than any one should ever see or do!
    He has PTSD and we have been living with this nightmare for more than 20 yrs.
    In reference to a the previous comment:

    Some wives say it gets so much easier as the years pass by, but I have to wonder is it really getting better? Or are we just getting accustomed to the issues and simply settling in with our "beast"?

    I do not believe for a minute that it gets "better" with time. I do believe that we have just trained ourselves how to react to each other...and settle in with our beasts.

    Even though the govt is still having struggles with how to handle soldiers with least now they are recognizing the damage done. Heck, they are just now beginning to recognize that there is sucha thing as Gulf War Syndrome or even PTSD.
    Thankfully my husband has finally realized that he needs to get some help. He finally went to the VA and has started the process. I just hope that he sticks with it.

    I love my husband dearly, but living with his PTSD is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I am often sad because he came home COMPLETELY different and I feel as though my life has gone down a road I never signed up for. Know what I mean?

  5. Jenn...I KNOW what you are talking about. Some days I really feel like I got the shaft and haven't figured out what I did so wrong in life to get in this situation. I try to maintain the whole "married for better or for worse" but even then, there are days where it truly goes beyond that. It is the hardest task I have ever had to do too, and I am just so tired. While others dream of winning the lottery, or perhaps becoming famous....I dream of just having my old hubby back and being reassured that everything is going to be ok. The roles have indeed reversed and some days, things are just not going to be ok. Does that make sense?

  6. Wow. She took the words right out of my mouth. My husband got home from his 2nd tour a few months ago, and he is a completely different person. The saddest part of all? He thinks he's just fine. But, if you ride in the car with him, or watch him throw things around the house, and trash things, you would see just how wounded he is. I have no idea how to help him, and it breaks my heart to see my Daughter not understand and I can't explain it to her.

  7. From a combat vets end. I cannot ever not rememebering the demons. I got them early on and kept them through out my 25 year career.

    Last year I spoke to my former father in law , my second wife's dad , he was in Nam and 40 years later the demons still came .

    Not saying this to say there is no hope , there is but be cognizant . Some of my reactions sometimes I dont even know or realize they are PTSD related. My memory is horrid , the sad thing is some folks try and use it against me.

  8. Steve, dude that shit is fucked up. People do the same crap to me, it infuriates me.


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