Monthly Archives: June 2011

A Letter to PTSD

Dear PTSD,
I never wanted for things to go this far, and now I feel I need to clear the air.  You have taken my husband and changed him in ways I never imagined.  You’ve stolen his patience, his mild manner, his ability to think rationally.   You’ve wedged yourself between us and turned us from a loving couple into roommates.  I want you to know, it’s not me, it’s you.
Before you go, here is what I want you to know: 
  • It is not my job to “micromanage” and make everyone do everything.  Some things will not make you happy, you will need to learn to deal with it. 
  • It is not my job to make sure everything in life goes the way you want it to.  I cannot control every aspect of your environment to help you avoid frustration. 
  • When things don’t go your way, you cannot take it out on me. 
  • I’m not willing to be yelled at, sworn at, or berated because you are in a bad mood or things didn’t go  your way.
  • I deserve to feel relaxed and happy.  I know you are on edge all the time, but I cannot sacrifice my own peace because you are struggling.  You will need to learn ways to cope.
  • I did not come with an “on/off” switch.”  Just because you feel bad for the way you acted, does not mean I can immediately turn off my emotions.  Likewise, following me repeating, “I’m sorry” and “I love you” will not help me calm down faster.  Sometimes I am allowed to be upset, especially after you’ve had an outburt.  I deserve a chance to cool down and regroup.
I am sorry it has to be this way, but the time has come to let you go and reclaim my husband.  I know this might be a difficult good-bye, but believe me when I say we will find a way to live without you.
Sincerely,
A Frustrated Wife

Of Paths and Sharks

Our lives used to be on a path. Sean had spent his entire adult life as a paramedic and had worked his way up at the fire department to lieutenant.  He wanted to become a shift commander and possibly chief one day.  He devoted much of his time to developing the HazMat team and training his co-workers.  Sean was proud of his work there, and in the Army where he was considering attending school to become a Warrant Officer.  I had worked for many years as an aide, a sub, a tutor, and a teacher from high school to special education and finally to first grade where I found a perfect fit.   We had three children we were raising in a nice midwestern town–not too big, not too small.  We attended their various activites and planned trips to see family in the summer and on Christmas vacation.  We saw ourselves as the little old couple in a restaurant or waiting room, enjoying each other.  While it may not have always been easy, there were bumps in the road, or clouds in the sky, we had a direction. 

Now, not so much.  Instead, it feels more like this:
 
 
No arrows pointing the way, no land in sight, just hanging out in our life raft (which is uncomfortably small) getting sunburned and surviving shark attacks.
Where are we headed?  When I started this, I used the term “new normal.” Well, it’s not new any more.  And I’m not sure it’s normal. . . but it is what it is.
What the hell do we do with it?
Will I go back to work?  What new opportunities will come to us?  Volunteer work?  Service organizations?  Will we ever stop searching?  Will my life become one of following Sean on his sporting trips and being his groupie?  Will we live a quality life, appreciating each day for what it brings? 
We need goals.  We need something outside of this.  I need to find direction in my life.  I know that from here on out I will be taking care of Sean and assisting with his needs.  But I need to know where I’m headed.  I don’t like this uncertainty.  I don’t know how to let go of what used to be and move forward.  I can no longer live my life wishing things could go back the way they were.  Where do we go from here?

Do You Have 15 Minutes?

PTSD: a fifteen minute guide to combat related post-traumatic stress disorder

AWESOME on-line book that explains PTSD from FamilyOfaVet.com.


Some Wounds Don’t Heal

So, I re-read the blog this weekend and checked all my links. . .

Things that struck me as I read:

  • Sean was gone for 642 days
  • I thought if we could figure out what it was, we could figure out how to deal with it.
  • The fight it took to get him medical care.
  • The fight it took to get him home.
  • We have been struggling to get him appropriate care/diagnosis on one side of the fence or the other for FIVE years!
  • I look at how far we have come with getting his symptoms under control and wonder what he would be like w/o meds. . .
  • It is what it is. . . and now that we know what it is, what do we do with it?
  • The sadness is completely and totally overwhelming even now.  I wept over many posts as I read, and it was a rerun.  I cannot believe the emotional impact this still  has on me.

I wonder if the pain we feel will ever feel better.  I wonder if there will ever come a time when we aren’t wishing we were better prepared, or better informed, or more stable.  I wonder if these wounds will ever heal.


    Traumatic Brain Injury Survival Guide

    Traumatic Brain Injury Survival Guide

    Another excellent resource!


    Traumatic Brain Injury: A Guide for Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans

    Traumatic Brain Injury: A Guide for Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans

    Excellent resource!


    "A Creed for a Comrade"–In honor of suicide prevention month

    “A Creed for a Comrade”–In honor of suicide prevention month 

    Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) PSA for Suicide Prevention Awareness Month