November 5, 2011

To the Combat PTSD Caregiver

Reach out to other spouses in your area or online to help educate and support one another. There are many benefits you can apply for today such as the Caregiver Benefit of service-connected veterans. An organization I highly recommend is Family of a Vet, you can find their link on the upper right hand of this blog.

When things between you two become confusing it is due to his perception of reality has been profoundly shaken. Everything he thought of himself has been shattered to the core including his spirit. I often speak of coming home in body starting as we disembark the aircraft to our home soil. Coming home in mind is a completely different experience and mine happened when I was able to be present all day without dissociating or loosing time to spacing out. This happened in 2010 twenty years after my combat experience. I still loose time, in the last several months my stress level has risen and remained constant and my dissociative features of Combat PTSD have been kicking.

Know that when his reality has been high-jacked, you are the means of his reality testing. When this other reality bleeds over into yours, it is real in his mind. Knowing this will help you communicate with him, his comments or behavior can give you clues to his mental state and in what reality his mind thinks its in.

When my kids where around and I was having hallucinations I included them sometimes as combat operations. To them they were playing war with dad, to me the intensity was dulled. I was able to tether myself to my kids and not succumb to the all encompassing flashbacks where the reality of today disappears as the horror of yesteryear rains.

He is in there and will come home in mind when he is ready, his mind trying to sort out the absurdity and brutality of war. It is a long process. I want to thank you for your spirit and knowledge seeking to understand your veteran, you are important to him if he doesn't say it. That's that part of him that cannot reconcile war, killing and the sacrifices your family experiences daily. This part of him is broken, how can we use something effectually rendered inoperable? You are in my prayers.