Monday, June 25, 2012

Before and After

My life can be divided into two separate pieces:  Before and After.

In 2008 I married a man I adored, who adored me.  I had never wanted to be married... Ever, but he won me over.  We walked down the aisle and straight into a deployment.  Fairy tale weddings do not prevent deployments, they do not prevent what deployments can cause or the aftermath you might face.

The beginning of the end of my Before started 2008.  A young (ish) newly wed facing a new life without the man she started it with.  But we were full of hope and excitement for the future and just knew that if we could survive a deployment we could survive anything.  We joked about having to do our first year of marriage twice, since he would leave before our first anniversary.  We laughed at the life we had planned.  We giggled at the things we would do when he returned, and we resumed life together, with a childish glee of those ignorant of what the other side would be like.

My After started in late 2009.  The man I knew never returned.  The boyish grin who loved my sass and sang me love songs he made up on the spot never came back.

This blog is going to be the story of my After.

For 2 1/2 years I have been living with a stranger who looks a lot like the man I married, who used to love me.  We have lived a secret life, away from the glances of those who might not understand.  He has pretended the problem is not there, I have been forbidden to speak of.  For 2 1/2 years, I have struggled to come to terms with what was happening to our life as I watched it crumble before my eyes no matter how desperately I tried to cling to the pieces.  For 2 1/2 years, we have been living in our own private battlefield.

2 1/2 years ago, my husband came home with PTSD.  Our world was forever changed and our life divided into the Before and After.

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Anonymous said...

Hi Annie,
I just found your blog tonight and I wanted to thank you for your honesty and courage of sharing your life. I find a lot of comfort and support with blogs like yours...I also love a man with PTSD (and TBI). We are at the stage where we are not talking about it yet. Thankfully, his twin brother (also a soldier, with mild PTSD) has confronted him about his symptoms and he seems to be making a bigger effort to control his reaction to things that upset him now. But it doesn't mean that things are easy or "normal" or that he is better. There are times when I reach for him, for some simple physical affection like holding his hand or snuggling up to him while watching a movie...and he immediately and suddenly pulls away or pushes me off with no explanation. Sometimes he is forgetful (like when he claimed he just didn't know my middle name-yet we have been together for 3 years!). We usually don't go to restaurants anymore at normal meal times b/c he cannot handle crowds well. No matter how long he sleeps, he is exhausted and says "I have no idea why." He will sometimes speak to me condescendingly and give me orders. He cannot show empathy/sympathy and doesn't care about others' feelings or what they think about him. He had his first combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011-2012, and he is going back for another tour very soon (which he is VERY excited about).

I love him fiercely though, and I know he loves me too even when it doesn't feel like he does. I know this is a journey and we just have to take it one step at a time. I hope that one day I can write openly about it on my own blog, like you do. Thank you for your encouragement! :)


Jessica Rummer said...

Hi Anne,
I just found your blog. I wanted to thank you for your honesty also. I too love a man with PTSD (and possible TBI)I can't wait to read the rest of your blog. Its nice to know that I'm not alone in all of this. I'm starting my blog all over so bare with me if you wanna check it out. Its kind of a mess right now.

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