Being that this is a PTSD blog, I feel compelled to spend my whole time writing about PTSD. And given that my husband is very concerned about what I share publicly, not that I blame him, I have been reluctant to share much about my job. But, this holiday season, my job has played a big part in our little PTSD universe. You see, like so many other spouses of service members with combat related PTSD, my boss doesn't understand.
It's not an easy thing to talk about to people without sharing intimate details, so I often try to glance over it. But when my boss asked me exactly what PTSD was and why my husband needed so much support, I told her about his forgetfulness, how I have to hold our life together and how I had to remind him of things and make sure things got done. She told me her husband was like that too (a civilian with no PTSD history, mind you). I'm not under any dillusion that she was trying to be a jerk, but it was insensitive. But this is how she is. She doesn't seem to understand.
So, when I approached my boss about changing my work schedule a few months ago, she didn't understand why I needed it. And when I brought it up again, she still doesn't, even though there is a different position open that I am more than qualified for.
There's not much I can do to change this. It just sucks to feel so misunderstood. It sucks that just before Christmas, my husband and I had to have a chat about my future at my job, which I love. It sucks that we even have to feel like we have to choose between my job and his needs. I know that I can't make the world understand PTSD. I know that some people are never going to really understand, but it's hard to think that we have to make this kind of choice.
I don't have any advice for how to deal with an employer like mine. I love my job, but I can't keep putting their needs before my family. My husband needs me and when put in a corner, I will choose my family every time, even if that means having to look for other work. I just wish their was a way to help employers see why it can be so difficult to balance work and home, and why schedules sometimes have to be adjusted. I feel reluctant to talk too deeply about it though, because I don't want my employer judging my husband and I don't want HIM to feel judged. He feels enough of that already.
Just such a terrible thing to have to be worried about around the holidays. Like they aren't stressful enough already.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
I can't force change and I can't force things to get better. Sometimes I wish I could just scream at the world the way you would scold a child for doing something wrong. I want to scream at the universe and tell them that what has been done to my husband is wrong. The pain he is suffering is wrong. The hurt I know he is trying to hide is wrong.
How can you make someone who doesn't like himself understand that you love him? He wakes up everyday and looks into the mirror at a person he doesn't think deserves life or love. But I love him. I wish I could make him see the world around him the way it truly is. It can be a beautiful place, even when it's been scarred. He is still a wonderful man, even with the scars he has.
But the Universe is not fair. Life is not fair. Good things happen to bad people, or so the cliche goes. And that means that sometimes, we have to adapt to the challenges we face. Adapt and Overcome is the motto in our house, not just in the Marine Corps. And sometimes, you have to make have to make the world beautiful, because it's not always so on it's own.
Monday, December 3, 2012
In the short time since I’ve started my blog, I’ve had a number of people reach out to me. It’s hard to feel alone and we all need a little understanding. But so far, the most common question I get asked is, “how do I know when to leave?”
I don’t know that I have an answer for that question.
This blog is really just a collection of my pent up frustrations, my overwhelming emotional outbursts, all sprinkled with anything I can offer to others who might not have anyone to turn to.
But here’s how I feel about leaving: I think about doing it all the time. I really do. I think we probably all do. We fell taken for granted. We feel ignored, isolated, lonely and sad. Our whole existence has become taking care of someone who hates us for doing it. How to you wake up each day and keep loving someone who pushes you away? I guess you just do. I mean, we do, don’t we?
I think the decision to leave your spouse is so beyond personal. But if you are waking up still wanting to stay and help most of the time, then it’s probably not time for you to give up. If you are unsafe, or you have hit the maximum of what you can emotionally endure, then it’s a good time to reevaluate your situation.
You will never hear me judge someone for staying or leaving. It’s such a personal choice that is dependent on so many factors. I encourage everyone to seek counseling if you can, both personal and marriage. I encourage you to continually evaluate the situation and know that there is no shame in feeling defeated. There is no shame in staying or leaving.
I know that I had to make a choice and my choice was to stick this out to the bitter end, but we all reach our crossroad at different points. And when you do, the choice of which way to turn can only be decided by you.