Wednesday, October 17, 2012

PTSD Can't Be Fought Alone

This journey has been a long one.  Three years ago, my husband came home with PTSD.

After his first deployment, he admitted to me that he had thought about suicide and had a hard time coming home and adjusting back into life.  This time around, he came and refused to speak at all about what was in his thoughts... And just like that, the man I loved was gone.

I reached out to him, but he has shut me out.  This is a battle he is trying to win alone.  And in that process, he is forcing me to fight alone.  He has refused to let me tell our friends, family or anyone I know.  He has refused to let me talk to other spouses, join support groups that want my real name, or even talk to him about my feelings and emotions.  But this is not something that can be done alone.

He cannot expect our marriage to stay together and our life to keep functioning if he is going to insist that we fight individually.  I cannot keep our life together and keep my sanity if I continue on the track I am on in this isolated exsistence.

Each day I can feel the void between us growing wider as we each seek ways to conquer this alone. 

PTSD is not a problem that effects only one person, but the whole family unit.  While my husbands inner turmoil is his own, the outward manifestation of that struggle bleeds into every aspect of his life, whether he wants it to or not.  This means that, while I am not the one diagnosed with PTSD, I am having to struggle with it and fight it right along side him. It is not a battle that can be fought alone because it's not a battle between just one person and the diagnosis.  While I am trying to find ways to understand and cope, so is my husband, but we need to be finding ways to understand and cope together.

He worries that he doesn't know who he is and thus cannot know who I am.  I feel the same way in reverse, but while we are trying to figure out who we are individually, who we are as a married couple is being neglected.  It's quite possible that if he would try to listen to who I am, and who he is to me, that he might begin to find who he is in the process.  Who he is in relation to me just might be what gives him the clue to who he is to himself. 

The point is that while this journey is a hard one, and while a war rages inside of your thoughts, ultimately this is not a journey that effects only one person.  Trying to understand PTSD, how it manifests in your individual service member, how it will change your life and thinking are all things that must be worked on together as a family.

A spouse, you may need to seek understanding and support from other individuals and that's OK, just as he might need to seek the same.  But what matters is that you are coming back together and working mutually towards the goal of besting your common foe and finding ways to cope.


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1 comment:

Kiki Richardson said...

I came across your blog on the Military Spouse Bloggers facebook page and I'm so glad I did. My husband is currently going through PTSD and we are having an incredibly difficult time. I genuinely thank you for creating this blog.

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