Tuesday, July 31, 2012

In this Moment

You know, before this all started, before the words PTSD ever entered our life, or my mind, I was a pretty normal person.  I laughed at ridiculous people, I giggled at dirty jokes and loved rainy days.  What can I say, I'm not a sun shine, hot weather kind of gal. 

But now, it feels like there is never enough room in my heart to laugh at ridiculous things in life, only anger that such ridiculous things can happen in the same moment as my heart break. There is no room for dirty jokes when my mind is so heavy with how we will cope with today.  And the rain only reminds me that the sun no longer feels like it is able to shine on my life. 

I was watching a TV show yesterday and the guy said the only thing that is real is this moment we are in.  The woman kept asking him to tell her something real to help ease the pain of her loss, and he said that only the moment we are in is real.  And it is real that the person who had caused her pain, the death of her child, was also a live in the same moment they were.  

What an odd thing to touch me so deeply but it did.  It did because I am only this moment.  This odd existence I lead is moment to moment in search of something real and tangible.  I cannot think of tomorrow or yesterday anymore.  Neither mean much to me.  Yesterday only serves to remind me of what we used to have and tomorrow is too indefinite to define in my life.  There is never much thought for what the future will bring, just thoughts of making it from one moment to the next. 

I live for the moment, but not in the way others do, for the thrill of it.  I live each moment unsure of where the next will take us... I live each moment because the last moment is too painful and the next too full of uncertainty to provide much comfort. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Poems From His Deployment: Part Three

This is his second tour
Explained away by words that I can’t comprehend
The need to choose his men over me
The need to protect those he does not know
His second tour came so quickly
Months passed like swift breezes
blowing through town
Kicking up dried leaves and whispered thoughts
I need him more than breath
I love him more than my life is worth
His second tour is passing by so slowing
Time ticking away endlessly
The face of clocks blurring 
into unfamiliar lines
My heart deployed with him
and now I am left with nothing.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tomorrow Will Be a Better Day.

My soul is hurting today.  It hurts in a away that can only come from those conversations with my husband.  The ones where I bear my heart to him and he says he understands how I feel.  The ones after he has had one of his bad days. 

He's been having a slew of bad days.  I'm walking on eggshells for fear of what might set him off.  I've taken to crying in the car on my drives to work for some form of release because I fear that the effort I have to put forward to "keep it all together" will crumble at any minute and I will burst into tears at an inappropriate moment.  He feels like the world is chaotic in a way that he can't handle.  His solution is to tightly control his world to keep it from spinning away into the chaos.  This includes me.  He has slowly, but increasingly, been tightening the rules and expectations he sets forth in our life.  It's to the point that I can never win. I can never do anything right anymore.  

On his worst days, he fishes for reason to be angry and take it out on me.  I never know what will set off the alarms, but when they ring, it's deafening.  He has taken to cataloging everything I ever say and do so that he can whip them out in arguments as examples of how I'm a failure as a spouse, a friend, and secret keeper. It means that I have to be perfect in everything I do and every rule I follow for fear of the devastating blows that come from failure.  

The world explodes into a battle of who I am supposed to be, what I have done and how awful I am.  The guilt game comes into play, who is at fault.  Who is really the bad guy?  These are unwinnable battles that take place in our living room, as insults are thrown and I attempt a strategy of deflection and avoidance.  I have to tell myself that it's not always his fault.  Sometimes, it's hard to. 

When he has burned out his fire, his anger, his frustration at the world... When I'm exhausted and can't fight or defend myself any longer... The battle ends, and he has time to reflect on what I am trying to say.  How hurt I am at what he is doing.  This pattern can't continue.  The control he is seeking over my life is going to turn into an abusive pattern if it moves forward much more.  He cannot keep coming home and venting his emotions on me, an unsuspecting person, who is never quite sure what I've done wrong.  

These conversations make my soul hurt.  It hurts that the person I love can be so cruel.  It hurts that the man I'm battling also knows my most hidden insecurities and uses them to win the fight.  It hurts that I cannot fix this pain he is in, but that I can't keep being the means of his outlet.  It hurts that we have been living this life for so long and there is no end in sight, no stopping the pattern.  It hurts that all I can do is hope that tomorrow will be a better day.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Somedays I don't want to do this anymore.

Somedays I quit

Somedays I can't remember why I even stayed in the first place. 

Cautious Optimism is Key

Once, in my previous life, I was an extremely optimistic person.  I was trusting, kind, believed in the good in people and always thought every deserved a second chance... or third... or fourth.  In the life I lead now, I'm a firm believer in being cautiously optimistic... And there is a key difference.

The difference is that being a steady optimist, you always think good thoughts.  Being cautiously optimistic is a way of guarding that optimism and those good thoughts from hurt.  Example:  I'm always cautiously optimistic when we have too many good days in a row, because history tells me that we are unlikely to keep that up for much longer.

Case in point, if you read my post yesterday, you saw the cautious optimism of how I was going to hold things together through the hurt.  When my husband came home from work last night, he was having one of his bad days.  These bad days do not always follow a pattern, but one pattern that has managed to emerge time and time again is that any time he is away for a prolonged service related reason, he comes home and has trouble adjusting back to our life.  It's like a mini re-intergration each time.  This means, that since he's come home, he's been nearly unbearable to be around.  Last night, he began to say the most hurtful things he could to me.  He began to nitpick and look for things in the past, quite literally, to be mad at me for.  When he does this, it's beyond painful.  It's very nearly kills our marriage each time.  Imagine what it's like to have to thoroughly think through everything you say, you put on FB, your tell a friends, you email, and do around the house because it's likely going to be something that your husband uses to tell you how you have failed him.

I can never be too optimistic about how things are going, because when I am, things like that happen, and it makes them hurt 100 times worse when they do.

Some days, it's harder than others to tell myself why I stay.  I keep telling myself, "If he were physically wounded, I wouldn't leave him.  This is just a different type of wound. I need to be here for him, supporting him."  But some days, his words are so devastating, that it's hard to feel that way.  And those devastating words are why I live a life of cautious optimism.  It's easier to forgive him and easier to buffer against the hurt, if I never get my hopes or expectations up too high. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Only Thing That Makes Sense

My husband had been away for a while on military related duty.  He came home recently and the silly romanticized idea of him I create in my head while he is away was no where to be found.  To build him up, so far away from the idea of who he really is now, is not conducive to our marriage, but it's hard.  The reality is that he is most lively, more interactive, and most happy when talking about the military or military related things.

It breaks my heart a little.  I wanted to discuss taking a weekend to get away from it all and he seemed less than interested, but light up 30 min later when he told me that a fellow Marine invited us to visit.  He walked away from me repeatedly while I tried to talk to him, he acted disinterested when I tried to tell him about life while he was away, he couldn't care less about one of our pups being sick. But he could smile (his old smile) and laugh as he related anecdotes and stories from his time away.

It's painful, but I understand.  I understand why our life is this way.  I can talk to him about what color to paint the bathroom, how work is going, what my friend had to say about this or that, but he is never going to truly listen.

I've tried to talk to him.  My worry is that if I give up on talking to him about our life, our finances, my life, my work... If I give up on trying to include him, that he will continue to live life the way he is now and that in a year, or two, or five, when he is moving forward and getting back to life, WE won't have a life for him to get back to.  We will have grown so far apart, our lives will be so separate, that we won't be able to come back together after all that time.

He tells me he's sorry.  I know he is.  The only thing is his life that makes sense to him right now is the Marine Corps.  So, I'm just going to keep trying to hold us together, and keep us moving moving forward as long as I can, until OUR life starts to make sense to him again. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Have A Little Faith In Me

Though I battle blind
Love is a fate resigned
Memories mar my mind
Love is a fate resigned
- Amy Whinehouse, Love is a Losing Game

There is, of course, an intense amount of stress in life when you feel like your every day life is a battle.  A battle to be heard, a battle to communicate, a battle to make it to bedtime without crying...

But have faith.  That is my lesson, my words of wisdom today.

Have a little faith.

For so long, it has felt like I have been swimming against the tide, swimming up stream, if you will.  It's exhausting.  It's frustrating, and I often wonder what am I doing it for?  Why am I fighting so hard when it feels like a losing game?

But I have to think we are headed somewhere.... The salmon swim up stream each year, unsure of why, compelled to fight the current that is pushing against them.  Some never make it to the top, some give up, but those that make it, those that fight, get to the top and get to see that life has purpose, even when we don't understand at first.

So, I will continue to fight this battle.  I don't know where we are headed.  Somedays it feels like no where, some days I see a gleam that our journey maybe making progress.  Somedays I do not make it bed without a tear in my eye, another crack in my heart and another ache in my stomach knowing I will wake up tomorrow and live it all again.  Other days, I managed to laugh and mean it, smile and know that it was partially genuine, or maybe even look at the sunset and think tomorrow could be better than today.

I will have a bit of faith in myself.   That my heart knows why I am still here, even if there are times when my head wants to quit.  And I will have faith in him, that he is not giving up yet.  That we may not be fighting the same battle, or even the same war, but we are fighting for the same purpose.

So have a little faith in me, that this journey will all make sense someday.  That I am not giving up for a reason.  Have a little faith in me, that I am still standing, beaten, defeated, but standing, facing what is coming, uncertain as it may be, ready to weather another storm, clinging to the hope of the calm on the other side.

Have a little faith in me, that my injuries will heal, my resentments will fade and soon, you will hear my laughter louder than my moans, and my joys more often than my pains.

Please, have a little faith in me.  Someday, I will not be so beaten and defeated.... Someday, I will be strong and have the ability to weather our storms and wait for the calm on the other side with you, hand in hand.

Poems From His Deployment: Part Two

We live our lives in Life and Death
Each day
Hoping that all is ok
I dread that knock on the door.
Has he been injured?
Is he alright?
Each day that passes without word 
is a like a a tree falling silently in the woods
No one in around to hear my anguish
No one is around to see my tears.
We live our lives in life and death.
A concept that most are unfamiliar with.
Those who do not wish to think of it
Ignore our lack of insecurity in words
“I’ll be home soon” means nothing 
“Come home safely” is all I can utter
“Come home at all,” is all I hope.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Let's Run Away Together

Do you ever feel like you just need to get away?  Just a day or two, away from it all?

My husband and I have already had our vacation this year.  We have already gone off and galavanted around... But we were in the throws of our roughest patch yet.  It didn't feel as fun as it used to.  We used to have nothing but pictures of us laughing and pointing at things we had seen 100 times, but were seeing with fresh views of the world.

I felt like I spent our whole trip TRYING to have a good time, and he spent the whole thing looking down on me for the same goofy behavior he once delighted in partaking in.  It was a trip of frustration.  It was a time away from home that gave me a much starker look at exactly how far away from normal we were.

What I really want is two days away.  Just two.  Two days to run away to somewhere we used to love. One of our old favorite places.  It doesn't matter which one.  Just a short trip to go back to where we were happy and could laugh.  Where it didn't matter if our plans weren't perfect, or things went wrong because we were there together.

I want us to run away together, like old times.

I want to run away and never look back at what we have become.  Let's just remember who we once were and be happy.  Let's run away, and be who we can be away from the prying eyes of those who want us to be perfect.  Away from those who refuse to accept that we can't always be their ideal.

Let's run away together and remember what our mutual laughter sounded like and laugh again, even if it's not quite the same.  Let's laugh and kiss and be happy again.

Let's just run away. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pour Your Heart Out

So, this will be my first foray into link ups and this particular link up, but I think it's a neat idea. The idea being to pour your heart out with honest things... So here it goes:

As you may well know by now, if you have been reading my blog, I don't exactly shy away from speaking my mind, but here's a few things that weigh heavily on me that I wish I could fit into a blog post in some way-
I'm sad that this blog, though a honest look at my feelings, is a complete debbie downer all the time. I really wish I could move past all the anger I feel and start seeing the humor in our situation.

In my real life, away from this blog, I'm actually a very optimistic person, you just can't tell because this is where I go to let out my deep secrets, well, my one secret anyway.

My husband still gives me butterflies when he smiles at me, he just doesn't smile as often anymore.

I still think of my wedding day as being one of the happiest days of my life. And as long as I do, I will continue to try to make this situation we are in work.


On an unblog related note:

Few people really bug me, but my neighbors happen to be some of them. Sadly, my husband likes them, so I am forced to be friends and make nice.

For the first time in a long time, I feel like I have real friends, even if I don't see them often. I had forgotten how nice it can be.

These are all little random tid bits that are inside my head, little things that I just needed to vocalize.

So there you have it. Pour Your Heart Out Wednesday. :)

I Hate You

Yes, you.  You couples that are happy.  You people that share the joys of your day, no matter how small.  I hate you. I hate that you are able to see the beauty in the faults of life.  I hate that you are able to laugh when your plans fail, as they tend to do.  I hate that you share pictures of your joys....

I am so sad.  I am so sad that I cry when my plans fail, when the my dogs won't stop barking... I can no longer see the beauty in the general faults in life, only the pain it causes.

It feels like my life is wobbling.  Swaying to and fro and I am unable to tell when it might topple completely over.  I am standing, swaying with it, trying to steady it, trying to be ready when everything come crashing down.

I used to see the beauty if freshly laundered and folded clothes, the creases slightly off center and placed gently in the drawer.  I used to love to see the imperfections of the world, how it highlights the differences in the creatures of this earth, how it shows that we are all lovely and unique in our own way...

Now I cry that things are so imperfect.  Now I cry that I cannot make things more balanced and lovely.

I feel frustrated that I am only human.  We are so fragile and life is so delicate, but we don't find that out until it's no longer there.  I am fragile when I should be strong, I crumble when I should be able to weather any storm.  I feel like I am going to break at any moment because I am human and I can only take on so much before my body will give out... Before my heart and my soul will give out.

I hate you.  I hate you that are so happy, I hate your smiles that are so genuine.  I hate your friends and your family who love you.  I hate that I look at you and all I see is my loneliness and heart ache staring back at me.  I hate that you remind me of how far I have to go to heal and feel whole.  I hate that I have to look at you and know that my husband and I are not out there enjoying life.

I hate you, for reflecting what I want, but know I can't have right now.

I hate you, for reflecting back that things I am jealous of, envious of, and that I covet.

I hate you, because I desperately wish I could be in your shoes.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Poems from His Deployment: Part One

I am going to share something deeply personal.  This is something I have never shared.  While many write poetry, especially in the blogging world, I have never really shared that I do to.  What more, I have never shared those that I wrote while my husband was deployed.

These deeply personal poems were written, then stashed away to be forgotten among the random bits of paper in my house.  I read them today, for the first time since he came home... I was amazed at how fresh the pain felt.  I was shocked that, even back then, I could tell that something wasn't right.  

I am going to share one of them every Friday for a while... 


I heard from my husband today
short bursts of conversation
tid bits of his day 
and mine.
we can not talk like we used to.
His day so full of uncertainty
Never knowing what is coming next
I do not wish to know the perils of his job.
He does not relate to the mundaneness of mine.
We are trapped in a cycle of apathy.
We can no longer understand the routine
of each others lives.
We no longer pass gossip as if if was cooly folded laundry
ready to be put away
We can no longer relate 
Will our ability to communicate return 
upon his arrival home?
Will we easy back into a pattern of banter 
as easily as he will ease back 
into the cushions of his favorite chair?
I dread the passage of time between arrival and familiarity

Monday, July 9, 2012

I wish this were a fairly tale

I would very much like my life to be a fairy tale.  One in which this situation is simply a hurdle to be overcome, like Snow White eating the poison apple.

I would love to wake up with a kiss, somewhere down the road, to see that I have slept through the trouble and my prince never gave up.

Life is not a fairy tale.  The one disservice Disney has done to my childhood is fill my head with silly nonsense about how love works.

Instead of waiting for a kiss to fix the problem, I'll do what every other married couple does.  I will wait patiently, I will try harder, I will stay faithful and dedicated, and I will tell myself that we will come out stronger on the other side of this obstacle and we will have our happily ever after someday. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The thing about the 4th of July

The thing about the 4th of July is this:

Freedom isn't free.  Freedom is a gift that was paid for on the backs of harding working people who gave their everything.  "All gave some, some gave all."  That is what this day reminds me.

I used to wear a lovely yellow rubber bracelet that said, "Until they all come home."  I wore it with pride, even replacing the first one I was given after it fell off at work and disappeared.  I don't wear it anymore.  I don't wear it anymore, not because I don't believe, or don't support our troops.  I don't wear it because that lovely yellow ribbon, the symbol of all that we stand for as military spouses who have dedicated our lives, our hearts and our happiness to this life, is a reminder.... Each lovely yellow ribbon I see warms my heart in a way that only the knowledge that someone out there wants to support my husband and understand the sacrifice can do.  But it adds a deafening silence to my mind.

As a smile spreads across my face, the deep desire to honor all those who have given all they have, the desire to know that I am living a life that makes their sacrifice worth it, spreads in my mind... Then I remember.  In the midst of all of this pride, this deep patriotism that we all must feel to muddle through deployments, the intense love we have for a man (or woman) in uniform that keeps us going when they are out there... In the midst of all of that is silence.

The silence exists only in my mind as I try to process it all.

He's been home for two years.  Almost three really.  Each day the world makes another rotation and I see the sun rise again, I am confused by this.  He's been home for so long, and no one told me.... No one told me we would still be here, in this place of insecurity, unsure of what we are supposed to do.  Each step we take feels like we are walking on a path that only exists behind us, the direction we are going having yet to be tread.  Silly, I know.  I am by no means the first spouse to live with PTSD in her home and he is by no means the first service member to come home with it... So, how is it that we can feel so lost in a world that gets rediscovered with each war we fight?

The thing about the 4th of July is that I am reminded that we are not alone in this fight, but that we all feel we are.  The day we celebrate our independence as a nation is a day that many service members with PTSD fear the most.  The noise, the smoke, the people everywhere... All of them a day long reminder of what they have brought home with them in their minds.

And for me, as a spouse, I see this day and remember, "All gave some..."  And I have to wonder, as my mind quiets, the silence deafening as I am overwhelmed with the the question, "When will our war be over?"

The thing about the 4th of July is that freedom isn't free, it comes at a price. "Some returned whole, some came back damaged, some never came back at all.  All gave some, some gave all." 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Secret Life

We lead this secret life, he and I, in the silence of frustrated looks and unspoken pain.  In hurt that I can not verbalize, in tears that I do not dare to cry.  Each wall of our home, holding in the air we breath these feelings out in, allowing it to settle on the surfaces of our house, like flowers on a tomb.  And that's what this place is.  It's where our secret comes to die, everyday, to be reborn in new hurt tomorrow.

Somedays, the secret is what binds us together.  Our fingers intertwining, as if the lines of the infinity symbol could be drawn within them.  Our secret nestles between our interlocking digits, held tightly, securely, unable to escape from them.  Our infinity, drawn with our tightly clasped hands, appears to stretch out in front of us.  There is no weight we cannot carry, no burden that we cannot shoulder, no boulder in the road that cannot be climbed, when we are bound in this way.

Somedays, like today, this secret, this life that no one is allowed to see, is what will tear us apart in the end.  The secret is too volatile to contain, to fragile to exist silently in the walls of our house.  It is like a vapor that fills our lungs and betrays our breaths as it leaks out of the sealed windows.

It is a house of cards build solely out of kings.  A single breath will take it down, but it will not be the queen that suffers.  So, I must stand by, keeping the secret, holding in the heartbreak of being forgotten again, of being an afterthought in the kings day, crushed in silence, holding my breath, so that the house of cards we have build... The secret life we lead, remains standing.  

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Brutal Honesty

I'm going to say something that may upset a lot of people.  It's going to upset A LOT of people.  Please keep in mind that I'm a human being with thoughts and feelings.  Please also keep in mind that this is a sentiment often felt by spouses of those suffering from PTSD.  I will do my best to explain it.

When your husband comes home and is told (or you see it) that he has PTSD, it's scary.  It's terrifying.  It's awful, earth shattering, painful, angering and indescribable.

The first thing that most people ask when you tell them that your husband has PTSD is this:

"Are you safe at home?"

Yes, I am safe.  The reason they ask this is because the face of PTSD is a wife beating drunk.  That is what Dr. Phil tells the world.  That is what TV shows and headlines tell the world.  He is a violent, volatile man who creates fear and chaos everywhere he goes.

This is not the case.  The truth is PTSD is something much more intangible.  At least, it is in my household.  It is the man who doesn't speak to you.   It's the man who takes an aggressive, angry posture anytime you speak to him.  It's the man you love, who used to love you, being a stranger who shares your bed.

The brutal honesty is this:

Sometimes, it would be easier if he hadn't come home at all.

I understand how I am supposed to wake up everyday and feel lucky.  I'm here to tell you that I wake up everyday and look at the face of my husband, lined from aging a lifetime in a year, trying to sleep when I know his mind won't let him truly rest, and I know that I am more than fortunate.  He came home.  Twice.

But the struggle I face everyday, the pain of rejection when he pulls his hand away from mine.... The utter despair I feel that this is a life I never would have chosen for us and that I have no idea if either of us will come out the other side whole... We are broken, he and I, both as a couple and individually. He is broken in a way that words cannot explain and I cannot make him whole again, though I wake up everyday hoping we are moving closer to that point.  I am broken, from years of fighting, from years of rejection and pain.  Not just my heartbreak over his treatment of me, but the fracture in my soul I feel when I look in his face and know that I am unable to ease his pain.

I look at this man, this beautiful man, who I still adore more than life, and fear where this life is headed. He is not whole.  We are not whole.  Having to lay witness to his struggle, to his inability to put words to what he is going through, to his effort for two years to pretend it wasn't there, to the pain of having to watch the life I tried to build be pulled apart, it's too much to bear sometimes.  Somedays, I can't even remember the life we used to have.  Somedays, I struggle to recall the smile he used to have... To remember the smile I used to have.

I look at pictures of the day we got married and don't even recognize us.  Who are those two people laughing so whole heartedly at something just off camera, not a worry about the future, fearing nothing, facing a deployment without any concern of what it might bring?  It's hard to think that that was just four years ago.  And now, I have to watch, and wait, and know that there is nothing I can do, but keep trying.

Sometimes, the nightmare we live is so much more terrible than I could have ever imagined... And I know that if he were not here, I would simply be trading one nightmare for another.  One heartbreak, one sorrow, one grief and one life of loneliness for another.

I don't mean it, I don't, but some days...

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