Tuesday, June 15, 2010

To the Spouses Who are Enduring Hell

This is part two of my advice segment. I am happy to report that I will be writing on PTSD on another blog that is geared towards all military spouses! It will be a one stop place with blogs on all subjects. I am very excited about this possibility and will be looking forward to the July launch of this new site!



To the Spouses,

Obviously you are looking for help or possibly some reaffirmation that you are indeed not the crazy one when you found my blog! I am going to try, and that word is stressed, to give you my best advice and help from personal experience as I have gained it. Once again, I am not a professional but merely a wife such as yourself that is enduring the hell of PTSD and TBI at home. This is combined from reading, advice from fellow spouses, and advice from Vietnam Vet wives who have lived with PTSD for 25 years.

Tie the Yellow Ribbon: More than likely when your soldier was on his way home, you had some type of information briefing from the military going over such things as reintegration problems, readjustment periods, changes if any in benefits (for our Reserve and National Guard), and possibly a glimpse of info on PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury. If you haven't, you need to first contact your Family Readiness Group leader in your unit if you have one, and see about getting some of this information. Although I haven't had any good experiences with MilOneSource, as an FRG leader myself, I can say that every state is different and they can offer you some help with information. For us Reserves and National Guard, the Army is putting on "Yellow Ribbon" ceremonies in different parts throughout the deployment in which educates spouses and family members step by step of the deployment. In my experience, I wasn't too happy with the portions skipped over by the "professionals" in reference to PTSD and TBI as I felt it was more important than insurance changes. Each branch may have different programs, so can only speak from experience on the Army Reserves. I can say that, on experience as a spouse and as an FRG leader, more than likely you weren't really paying attention to those briefings because you are so damn excited that your spouse is coming home! I have heard from others that "R&R was spectacular and my husband was fine. So I didn't pay attention because I didn't need the information then". Exactly! Who would pay attention? The first thing I was thinking was my baby is coming home! No more stress, no more single parenting, no more communicating over the internet, SEX, and of course, no worrying. The thoughts of having problems never occurred to me, or many others because well, we thought everything was fine. That's how you get blindsided ladies...and suddenly that perfect house of cards comes tumbling down leaving you with only the joker in hand.

What the hell is wrong with him: By now the first few weeks he is home, you have noticed small things or big things but attributed it to merely readjustment problems from being overseas. As the months pass by, you may have noticed sleep walking, mood changes, sudden outbursts, keeping himself away from others, anger, freaking out over loud noises and the list goes on. Things have become rocky at home, arguments start, knock out drag down fights, sudden distance between you and your spouse, not to mention all the other little things like keeping you awake when he suddenly jumps up looking for his gun, or talking in his sleep. You start to question, he gets mad and pushes you further away. Now your perfect R&R seems so far away as you suddenly realize, this is not my spouse!

Realization: Seeking help for this is going to be hard. Some really want to get help, and others fight it as if we suddenly wanted our spouses to have a sex change or full frontal labotamy. The first thing I suggest you do is walk into a bathroom...look into a mirror and take a deep breath. Repeat after me. "My spouse has gone to war and has returned a different person. He will never be the same again." Once you have done that, you can then begin looking for help. Often times than not, spouses will have a denial period themselves. Some spouses can be suddenly abusive, or drinking and then fights begin. Others will have "up" days where you think a 360 degree turnaround has happened and everything is fine. You think in your head over and over, this is just a phase that will pass...but in your heart, you know differently.

Pay Attention: The best advice I was given, of course two years too late; was to keep a small journal. Sometimes all these symptoms or problems add up and become confusing. So when you sit down and suddenly are asked, what symptoms does your soldier seem to be exhibiting? You suddenly have a huge brain fart and forget! Then you chide yourself because, holy hell! How could you forget all this stuff and only mention a few! It's very easy to do. Take a small notebook and jot down some of the things your spouse is doing. Is he forgetful? Is he drinking or distancing himself? Nightmares or sleepwalking? Showing signs of hypervigilence. Is he having issues with going out in public? You live with your spouse and are able to notice the smallest of changes in them. Things you may not be aware can lead to serious red flags on a diagnosis. When you notice something, write it down.

Opening the First Door: More than likely, you and your spouse/family have argued, fought and slammed a lot of doors and you have spent sleepless nights with tons of tears. Fighting about the issues isn't going to make him jump up and down and be willing to communicate. The best advice I can give you is to sit down as a family and talk. No yelling, no accusations....simply say we are having a meeting and all of this is going to be laid out on the table. We as a couple/family want to help you and if you feel we need to stop, we will. As a spouse, you are probably wondering what's going on with your significant other so asking him what's going on with him is the first thing. Of course, they are going to buck and whine like babies and say nothing! The next thing is to say, "I am noticing some problems since you have been home and want to help you. I can't do that if you won't let me. I married you for sickness and in health, married for better or for worse. Let's talk". IF the soldier is not ready to talk, don't push it. Simply say "When you are ready, you come to me and I will listen for as long as you want me to". I told you, it's not going to be easy getting them to talk about or even admitting they have problems. But from other spouses and from marriage counseling, this is what my husband wished I had done.

Don't ask, Don't Tell. As a spouse, and as a human being...curiousity is always going to enter...you are probably wondering what could have possibly caused all these problems? What did your husband do over there? What did he see? Now in some cases, a soldier can simply leave on an airplane and enter the country and never see any action at all and can still come home exhibiting PTSD symptoms. It's just something that happens. For others, the action is what got them, the high stress, being seriously wounded, living through horrifying experiences. Living day to day with just the knowledge they could die tomorrow can sometimes just flip the switch inside their heads. After a drunken episode with my husband who served as a combat medic, I realized that yes, my curiousity was satisfied but I was horrified! I knew my husband would serve in a bad field, and reminded him when he left that I knew he would take care of all of his soldiers...but some things happen and you can't save them all. I figured in my head this would be the reasoning behind his PTSD. It wasn't. The soldiers won't talk about what went on over there, and as a spouse and knowing what I know and hearing from others....the best thing for you to do is don't ask. Some spouses push and push trying to help, but in reality you are bringing to light experiences they are struggling to keep inside. More than likely, some have done some things they aren't proud to do but followed orders because they had to. Some feel that they may change their spouse's point of view or respect of them because what they have done. Some just don't want to deal with it period. Your job is not to ask. You can make a statement of "whatever happened over there, I will always love you and be there". Pressuring your soldier to talk about anything that happened over there is simply a mistake. You don't need to know. If they want to tell you, then listen to them without judgement.  Be patient, and not pushy!

Hurry up and Wait: Getting your spouse to even admit he has problems and getting help is a long wait for many. No soldier wants to admit he is having problems especially for those who are extremely all military and worried about stigmas, their fellow soldiers and their thoughts of them, and of course, their career. Stop and ask yourself this question. If you were in his position, and possibly the main source of income, insurance, and that is what you know and do/love...would you not be scared to say "I have issues?". Of course you would! It can take a long time, and its an uphill battle all the way to fight to get treatment for your spouse. It's not easy, it never gets any easier, and it will get worse before it gets better. Remember that Rome wasn't built in a day, so more than likely you are not going to be able to get help for him until he is ready, if ever.

Educate Yourself: The best advice I can give any spouse is to educate yourself. Seek out information, resources, stockpile your arsenal inside your brain. There are many misconceptions and stigmas associated with PTSD. Look up "Soldier's Heart" and the term "Shell Shock". You would be surprised to learn that PTSD in soldiers has been around for as long as wars have occurred in our civilization. Family Readiness Groups should have some information available for their soldiers and spouses. Most of the time, the Army suggests we send them to MilOneSource, but check out others. If you don't have an FRG in your unit, look next to your unit's chaplain. He/she is not just there for the soldiers only and often times, can be very understanding and of course, confidential. Look for resources near your installation, near your home, check near your local VA. If they are out of Active duty for the Res/NG, they need to be put into the VA system anyway to ensure disability benefits whether they readily admit problems or issues. If they are active duty, they can go to the Vet Center which is usually located in the same area as the VAs in most cases. Educating is sometimes soothing, because we can then tackle it as a problem rather than dealing with the unknown. Such sites as www.familyofavet.com, http://www.ptsd.va.gov/, or http://www.realwarriors.net/will have some insightful information for families and veterans. Find therapists in the area that take your military insurance. Nothing wrong with going "outside" the military to get help and no one needs to know. Stockpiling information and finding resources to help, will enable you as a couple/family deal with it when the soldier finally comes to terms that he/she needs help. Be prepared! Find out what needs to be done once you can get your soldier to recieve help.

Remember: Now that you are armed with information, you realize that your spouse has some problems that he/she can't help. Here is where it's tricky. Separating your anger from understanding. As a spouse, we blame...we get angry, we accuse, we get frustrated. That's completely normal!! When things get bad, try to keep in mind that they can't help the way they are. This doesn't mean they don't love you or their family, they just have problems. Their minds are constantly going and so many things at one time. It's very hard for them to stop and sort through all these thought processes in their heads. When you get angry, stop and remember your education. They may have come home to you, but the war still lives on inside their heads 24 hours a day. It's nothing that's going to go away and even with treatment they will struggle for the rest of their lives. Don't automatically just throw in the towel and give up, fight. Fight for your spouse, and once he/she comes to terms they will understand that you are there and willing to fight along side of them. This doesn't mean automatically blame every thing your spouse does to PTSD or TBI, because every marriage has some problems and every couple argue/fight. You will be in trouble, they will be in trouble, hey it happens. Just know that somewhere deep inside, your spouse is still there. You just have to help clear the fog and help find themselves once again.

Forget Me Not:  As we go through all these ups and downs, and the world suddenly seems to be revolving around our spouses with issues...its very easy for the spouse to be left out, and if any, the children overlooked. Your job as a spouse is to help your sig other but you have to remember yourself in the process along with your children. In educating yourself, you probably came across some things in reference to your family and yourself. You will need someone to talk to, your children may need some type of counseling. SEEK IT OUT. If you have insurance and don't feel like you can go to a military installation, then go outside! Having a therapist for yourself and someone you can relieve all this flooding of emotions, moods, fights, and struggles at home will help you tremendously. Keep a journal, or blog such as I am doing. You don't have to post pictures, or your names....keep it anonymous. Finding an outlet for yourself has got to be a priority in your life. Seek out other spouses. There are several blogs on the internet....email them! FIND A BATTLE BUDDY. Your soldier had one overseas while serving, so what's so different for you? Seek out others on post, or nearby. Call the VA to see if they have any resources for this. Every VA has a social worker for the mental health department. Call and harass that person for resources! Be aggressive in your search and don't give up if nothing pans out right away. If you can't find a group, start one! Seeking help for yourself is a necessity because I tell you....doing it alone sucks! Remember yourself first especially in safety purposes. If it becomes dangerous or hazardous to live with your veteran, then do what you must do to protect yourself and your children. Being selfish all the time is not a good thing, but there are times in everyone's world, that you must focus on yourself, your children and staying safe is a priority.

Facing the Unknown: Facing such symptoms and getting a diagnosis is going to be one of the many hard jobs when married to PTSD/TBI. Often times, PTSD and TBI is not screened among our soldiers coming home. By educating yourself, you know what to look for and by journaling what you have, you can help your soldier get the proper help he needs. By seeking out resources for you and your family, you have the ability to keep fighting. Look at these issues as an unwanted guest in your home. A burglar with the intent of stealing away precious items that you love...will you tolerate it? No! Face PTSD and TBI head on and as one. Sometimes its hard, sometimes it difficult getting everyone on the same team, but it can be done. Remember that you aren't alone, and that nothing is ever easy. Feeling the way you do sometimes, or having a breakdown is normal! If you didn't feel angry, resentful, hurt or unloved...you wouldn't be human! Remember that families are like quilts. Although they tend to unravel at times, they can be sewn back with love. Corny I know...but it's true.

Do I have all the answers? Nope! I am stumbling along just like you are desperately seeking out more and more answers. I blog, I am quite vocal about these issues and trying every avenue. It's been a hard long road for me to travel, but my husband and I have found some common grounds to stand on. He helped me write these last two blogs and for that, as I'm sure he will re-read this, makes me love him more for trying to help me, help himself and others in the process. Tomorrow may be different and I will be so angry with him I could spit nails! However, in the long run, I know this will help and hopefully help you as readers who are seeking others that are in your situation.

As always, feel free to comment, add on resources or ideas. We are getting more and more readers, so keep it coming! Anything you can add may help another spouse in finding help!!

Until Next Time,
Uncle Sam's Mistress

30 comments:

  1. how do you deal with the outbursts? The name calling? The verbal and mental abuse? How do you deal with that?

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  2. Anonymous, this is a VERY good question!! I don't have the answers, but I can tell you what I have learned in the last three years. I will post this as my next blog for tomorrow's date. Please check back for it and hopefully this will help you!

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  3. Thank you so much! It is a lonely place to live as a spouse of a soldier with TBI and PTSD. On top of that he was injured and enduring endless surgeries. I am so struck by how quickly my self care went into the toilet. Right along side my sanity and grace! I am also struck that there are so few people willing to share or begin support groups. I live on a post with very little concern for enlisted infantry. So, of course, not much for frg or community. No one in his unit will talk about things being wrong. My husband was told by his Lt. he was a lying vagina because there was no way he could really need surgery. How are these soldiers going to get help if they can't have broken bones dealt with in a respectful manner. Much less mental issues. And we as spouses take the load and fight on for them. We need to continue to speak about this as truthfully as we can. Denial is not going to get anyone healthy. And as spouses we owe it to ourselves to take care of US first! To find ways to set limits with outburst and find counseling for ourselves to help walk through this experience with grace. Because right now, I am stumbling!

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  4. I have the same question everyone else has..... how do you handle the name calling, mean outbursts, making rude comments and acting in all these ways not only towards myself but in front of my children.

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  5. To the June 12th comment- it is so hard...especially in front of little ones. I am attempting to "de-stress" by diving into a project- I have created a blog www.ptsdwives.com. I intend it to be a way for "us" to anonymously vent, communicate...just tell it like it is! So far I have two posts and I actually have felt better after each one. Maybe "venting" would help you too??

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  6. Iam in the process of learning and reading to educate myself since I have exhausted myself trying to figure out my loving husband on my own. I have so many questions.. My husbands illness with P.T.S.D. has made me seem like I am crazy does that happen? I feel like Iam taking care of another child could that be some what true? Just now that we have hit rock bottom are we seeking help and receiving it. One of my questions is that . I find myself distance from my husband? I believe I have resentment towards him. It's hard for me to get close yet I love my husband dearly. How can I be a better wife to my husband and a better person myself? Thank You

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  7. my husband has PTSD/TBI did 24 years in the Marines. been dealing with all of this since 1992 after the Gulf War. I have been to counseling for myself and we did go together. when he came back from Iraq the second time he got worst and after he retired. he has left our home and has been gone since last summer. I am so hurt, angry, pissed off, so many emotions going on in me. will he ever come home? he has put myself, our kids thru heck and back. I put up with his drinking, porn, name callig, yelling,(both of us) yes he has hit me and I fought back to. the lying, cyber sexing,he might have cheated. now I found out he is seeing another women a month after he left me and our youngest son. this women knows me to!!! how can he do this to us? yes I LOVE HIM AND WANT HIM HOME. will he ever come home? he is just now dealing with his PTSD/TBI he also try to kill himself 2 years ago. thanks for listening and reading have a good evening..

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  8. I see so many people writing and asking about how to deal with the anger, name calling, lying, outbursts, etc..... My husband in the past 6 months has left me and came back home 3 times. He is currently out of the house right now but continues to play mind games, one day he hates me and says its over and then a couple of days later he sends me a msg saying he loves me. Right now I dont even know what to do. I try to get on my feet and then keep focused and then when he realizes that he sends a msg saying that he sees Im moving on, but I am going off of his msgs saying its over. I do love him very much. Alls my children and I have ever asked was that he worked on his anger a little bit. He controls it at work and is still active duty and is trying to finish his career (7yrs) in the army.

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  9. Its nice to know I am not alone. This is insanely tough, and we have been dealing with a TBI, ad PTSD for nearly 7 years alone,Just the two of us. The diagnoses was made in 2005 but not one person treated it.I feel like ww3 is raging in my husbands body and has raged in my living room. Holes in walls, screaming, panic attacks, night terrors,depression, anxiety, all coming from the TBI. Rage issues, verbal abuse and hate mostly directed at me. We (Military spouses/ significant others) fight against enemies we don't see and things that have all ready happened, but Uncle Sams mistress, I say were all in this shit together, lets fight together. All of us. Lets, quit pretending this doesn't exist, quit letting our soldiers be ashamed or feel weak, they may have came home from war but their still fighting in their mind, and were the ones present to fight with and I am damn tired.

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  10. This may be helpful, its free to all veterans and active duty service members, its home-based and confidential. Help save a lives and restore relationships. www.bootstrapUSA.com

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  11. To the May 10th comment....my husband has left me multiple times, telling me he hates me one day and the next sending me a txt that he loves me. Makes me feel somewhat better knowing I am not alone. I love him with everything in me. I know the person he use to be and it makes it hard to just let go. The war has robbed me and my children of a wonderful man. I hate PTSD!!!

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  12. I don't want anyone to think I gave up, but after being broken down for two years upon my ex-husband's return from Iraq and the birth of our second baby. He suffered a Tbi and PTSD and has gone blind in one eye with seizures. He got out of the service and the plan was he was going to take care of our baby while I worked. When our son was born with colic it was clear he couldn't handle it. It was just after the year that they said any recovery from a Tbi if it could happen. My ex was holding our two month old screaming at him in front of all of us. Of course you stay thinking its not their fault. You witness him having a nightmare and almost strangling his 7 year old son from his first broken marriage. You feel sorry for them and the kids thinking its not their fault and you need to take care of them for everyone's sake bc who will. The va doesn't care once they walk out their door. They are all part of a study because they don't understand what's going on with or what their future holds. After all the mental, physical and sexual abuse I left when he sexually assaulted me with the kids as sleep in the room. That's when I started checking fb and cell phones to find out he was cheating and hitting on every female he came in contact with including family members. Of course the va doesn't tell you everything to expect or that along with a Tbi there is no impulse control or they can't distinguish social norms. My marriage counselor told me he wasn't going to change and I had to divorce him. With a personality disorder before he left to iraq and more broken with the Tbi and PTSD things weren't going to get better. I was clinging to some false hope that he would get better. I divorced him only to be stuck with leaving my small boys living in a mental va hospital as my counselor described our home. Although I'm out of the house my boys aren't and suffer from speech/developmental delays. My oldest is four and has behavioral issues mimicking much the same behaviors the father has. I feel like me and my boys have some type if secondary PTSD because now with my dealings with their father brings back flashbacks of the nightmare it was living with him. My two young boys don't know any different and think this is normal behavior. I wonder if I'm not crazy from the anxiety and worry I have still dealing with a mentally unstable person. Now my ex within two years has had two babies with two different women and is remarried. Does anyone really see this situation getting better? He has completely forgot about his other two kids in Califirnia from his first wife who he claims couldn't handle the military life. I was an child of a 20 year Army veteran . There is nothing that can prepare a person for this.

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  13. I now know that I am not alone, though sometimes I feel so alone and then there are days that I just want to run and never look back but I know its not his fault

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  14. Just want to say that I am glad that I am not alone. My husbands TBI happened 19yrs ago, when there was no such thing. I fought for 5 long years to get help for him, it took a great Dr. who sent us to a civilian Dr. to make the diagnoses. Back then it was call post-concussive syndrome. The Marine Corps just thought that he was lazy. Then came Iraq in 03, needless to say when he returned there was PTSD. He never got help for it. I never pushed the issue of what went on over there because I already had a very good idea of it due to the fact there were 18 of his men killed in one day. He retired after 21 years in 05. As time has passed he still has the nightmares and we deal daily with the TBI. I thought all was going pretty good until last night when he told me something he had to do over there. It just came out and now I can't stop crying for him. He wouldn't tell me anything but the one statement so my mind is just racing 100mph with all the questions that I want to ask. But I know better than to ask anything. I am emotional wreck right now and have no-one I trust to tell this to. Just knowing there are others out their in my shoes has helped. Thanks for forum.

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  15. May husband just got out of the Army and served 2 and half year there and 4 years prior Navy. Within 3 months of him joining the Army I IMMEDIATELY noticed the change in his personality. Now that he is out things have gotten worse. We moved to his home state near his parents and I thought things would be ok. This past week things got so bad I HAD TO CALL his parents. well his mom and I got into over the phone last weekend because of course nothing was his fault, but all mine! Then they show up at our house and basically she verbally attacked me for an hour telling me I was Bi polar and he was just frustrated with me and my daughter from a previous marriage. While I know my oldest can be frustrating she missed the entire point. I finaly told him he has PTSD and needs help or I was leaving. He went to his first appointment today and sure enough my guesses were right. My question is how the heck do you convince his parents who are clearly in denial about their son. Btw I have put up with the name calling, verbal abuse, yelling screaming, physical stuff too not only towards me but our kids. he flips out over the smallest things like today it was becuase I didnt go exactly when the light turned green. I need support esp from his parents. Any advice helps!

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  16. My ex sufferred a severe TBI IN 1984. He even had a part of his brain removed. There is medication such as propanolol (a beta blocker blood pressure medication) which is a miracle drug as far as explosive rage goes. However, his problems also included a total lack of insight which caused him to go off his meds. Tragically, TBI does not get better with time. More scar tissue develops on the brain and it only gets worse. My ex has a 100% chance of developing early dementia. Please do not underestimate how dangerous a person with TBI can be. His Brain injury doctor told me he was an extremely dangerous man. She said that research studies have shown that not one but every single one of the inmates on death row has a TBI. THat is how dangerous a person with a TBI can be. My ex assaulted me and our children. Threatened to kill us all. I left. It was the hardest thing I have ever done but also the wisest. Especially for the kids. God bless you all.

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  17. I just found this blog. Thank you. I love my husband, but I left him because I could not & would not take the verbal abuse anymore. No one has to take abuse simply because their spouse is a veteran. We are still legally married, but we live apart. That makes life much easier. I have been punched in the face while sleeping, had a plastic bag put over my head & he put his hands around my throat & squeezed. That was the final straw. I feel that the VA and some military spouses are reinforcing that we are abandoning our husbands when we leave because of the PTSD. That is so far from the case. I and my daughter are much healthier physically & mentally because we put some physical space between us and my husband. We see him every day, and I support him as best as I can, emotionally & financially. He had stopped counselling for over 3 years, but has now gone back. Life is better, but I feel so guilty at times that I left when others stayed. I'm lucky that I can support my daughter and me financially, but at times the guilt is overwhelming.

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  18. I've been married for twenty-five years to a Vietnam vet. PTSD. Stepped on a land mine. The mental is harder to deal with than the physical. I survive with humor. Here's my blog address:
    http://woundedwarriorwife.wordpress.com/

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  19. My husband and I met in the Army over in Iraq and I had my own battle with PTSD from my first tour but I found a way past it through intense counseling and temporary medication cycles. Not only did I have PTSD from Afghanistan but my mother killed herself while I was overseas. I am not sure if women are just more resilient but I see less cases of prolonged PTSD in women. It could even be that women are more likely to ask for help and recognize and admit there is a problem. In my tours we all saw the same things over there and dealt with the concept of possibly dying every day at the hands of merciless humans at war. My husband is not only not the same person I met in Iraq but also not the same person day in and day out. I have struggled over the past 4 years to get him the help he needs but how do you help a person who won't help themselves? Though all of you are struggling with PTSD husbands there has to be a time when we as wives take a step back and say to our husbands, 'don't you want to get better?' Because they all know they have a problem and by now they all know that there is help. We get so many PTSD briefings before and after deployment that any soldier would be hard pressed to honestly say they didn't know. I am having a hard time finding a reason to stay in this marriage. If I can recover, so can others. It's intense and scary at times but I couldn't stand treating my family and friends the way that I was. How can anyone be so consumed by this as to not realize the kind of trauma they put their loved ones through?! All of that said, I recently started searching for support groups for wives dealing with PTSD/ TBI and when I came upon this ans saw how many of you are being treated it made me angry and it made me realize that I am fortunate to not get in physical fights with my husband. Although my husband is dealing with something I am familiar with, he refuses to listen to me and even when I back off it doesn't do any good either. So what do I do now? He keeps saying he is trying but trying doesn't look like playing Call of Duty on an Xbox for 10 hours a day.... We all deserve to live a life without fear and verbal or physical abuse. THEY KNOW they have a problem. Denial or not, no one has the right to tear down their loved ones everyday. I think there needs to be an intervention tool and a sort of rehab for PTSD and TBI.

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  20. Reading this really saddens me...not only because my heart goes out to each and every one of you for experiencing the same things I do. I've been verbally, emotionally, physically abused even while 9 months pregnant..... But also to these poor men that have this disease for serving our country. This is extremely hard where it's effecting my health. I'm lost and don't know what to do any more.

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  21. My husband and I are dealing with this now. When he found out he had to get out, it was like a bomb exploded in him. He changed. Started having flasbks, doesn't like loud noises, emotionless other than showing anger. We get into the worst fights lately. One minute he hates me, the next he's back to himself and I get hopeful. It is emotionally exhaustion bc he admits he has it but doesn't want help. I am trying to be supportive but it's hard. Sometimes, I stay to loose my faith it will get better bc he doesn't want to change right now. The mind games suck! We have two kids together and that makes it even harder. I am at the point of giving up and just giving him the divorce he goes back and forth with me about. I feel so very alone and like there's nothing I can do but watch him throw his life away :(

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  22. I too am glad I'm not alone in this. Bless you all and may God give us the strength to get through it. My husband suffers from PTSD and TBI. I myself have Graves Disease. And our 2 year old son was just diagnosed Autistic. So besides being a family going through PTSD, there's a lot more going on at our house. The things I'm struggling with the most between me and my husband is the detachment. I have never felt so lonely in my entire life. He has always been very loving and compassionate, talkative, and just happy. He is everything but that anymore. It has been so hard trying to just look past it all and not take it personally, and for the most part I remain supportive, even when I don't want to be. There's nothing worse than just sitting by the wayside watching your loved one dwindle into a shell of a person they once were. PTSD is a demon that just sucks a person's life away from the inside out. I feel helpless, and that is the worst feeling in the world. He is receiving help, but most days it seems like none of it is helping. And it's frustrating and irritating that being away from me, our son, and the dog, down in the basement playing video games, or sleeping all day in a medicated stupor is what gets him by. It's killing me, and god knows how it's affecting our son. My husband has never talked down to me or abused me and I don't think he ever would, but lately just some if the snide remarks he makes make me feel bad...I don't know that I'd call it verbal abuse or not, but if it's affecting me then it must have some meaning right? I'm tired. I'm mentally exhausted, always. Some days physically exhausted. I don't take care of myself the way I used to. And well let's face it, I'm doing the job of 3 people, so why wouldn't I be? I'm a caretaker to my husband. I'm a mother to our son. And some days I have to play the part of the dad because my husband just isn't "here". He's here, but even when he's in the same room he's somewhere else. The house is constantly in a state of disarray, and it seems I can't get any help around here. Between being everyone and everything to everybody, who's left for me at the end of the day. I don't know any of you and I will never truly know your story, but thank you for "listening"... Sometimes as the spouses going through all this, a listening ear is really all we need. God bless and good luck to all of you!

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    1. I too have a child with Autism as I am dealing with my own health problems (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Fibromyalgia) and a husband with PTSD & TBI. I completely relate to the feeling of exhaustion mentally and physically. My always is in chaos and my husband never helps but tears me apart for being a horrible wife because of it. I really try my best but when I am so physically drained from all the drama with him and the stress of fighting school districts for our son; the last thing I want to do is clean and cook. I definitely experience the verbal abuse with name calling and blame. Luckily he has never physically abused me but it does scare me that he might if the rage and anger is too much for him to handle one day. You sharing your story really helped me. I would love to support each other further if that is something you would be up for. My email is hollyhenry21@yahoo.com
      Thanks,
      Holly

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  23. First of all, I want to say how grateful I am to have a site such as this, where I can read what other spouses are experiencing. My husband does not physically abuse me or my son BUT we are being verbally abused. I met my husband after his military career, so I had no idea what to expect. I do believe he hid this side of him for obvious reasons, and yes I would not have even entertained the idea of having a relationship with him. I cannot get him the help he needs because he believes he is better than anyone who believe they can help and that he has been to counseling after he left the military. This past weekend was one of the worse for both my son and I. my son is verbally abused every time he makes simple mistakes or forget to do things. My husband accuses me all the time of being a "momma bear" whenever I TRY to talk with him about the damage he is doing to my son. And if I dare to even make the "mistake" of intervening he curses at me and threatens to leave us. One of his favorite lines is, "Don't bite the hand that feeds you." Following his outbursts and verbal abuse, I always speak with my son so to try to protect him from having any effects later on from the verbal abuse. My son tells me he blocks out the negatives while he is being verbally abused and focuses on the positive things his friends and mentor have told him. I am feeling intense guilt as a mother to not have waited until my son was already an adult, out of the home, and on his own to even get involved in a relationship. I love my husband yet feel so distant from him and yes very angry at him. He does have some very positive attributes that tells me that he does care for me and my son. His intentions are great but he has lost the battle in the execution of what he is trying to accomplish. My son, who is studying and focusing on his education to graduate, is looking forward to the day when he can leave the house and never look back. As a mother, you can imagine how this is equally heartbreaking. I am constantly researching and reading about PTSD and the personal accounts by other spouses. I talk to my son about PTSD and tell him that my husband means well but that my son should never believe that he is a worthless human being that he is often accused of by my husband. Personally, I try to focus too on the positives to help me cope with all the drama but I recognize that I have been affected. I am very stressed and my anxiety levels are all over the chart. I do not want my marriage to fail yet I am concerned that what I am experiencing will continue to haunt me well after my son has left to go off to college. Thanks for giving me this opportunity to let it all out.

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    1. I'm in a similiar situation, but my son is only six. I met my husband his last year of service. he drank often but I thought it was due to such a stressful job. once he was out and stopped drinking to symptoms can full force (yelling, outburst over small stuff toward myself and son). I carry guilt that I have put my son in this position. I love my husband deeply, couldn't see life without him. however, I worry about the damage to my son. I went to counseling and will be going back soon. my son received counseling for six months in which I was told he seem well adjusted. it is a constant battle juggling needs.

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  24. I am so thankful I found this blog. I don't feel so alone. I have been married to a marine for 23 years, he served in desert storm and has severe PTSD we have two kids 21 and 16. Me and the kids have been physically, mentally and emotionally abused it has been pure hell I can relate to so many of you, I have been to counseling at the va, outside of the va, I have done a lot of reading and research on this and I have exhausted myself trying to help him and our family and to this day I have found nothing has helped. I like most of you have felt scared, helpless and like I was just crazy. People that I have tried to talk to about this that haven't experience what all of us have just don't get it. I would love to talk with any of you maybe we can help and support one another please email me anytime rdb512@hotmail.com I have a lot of stories and experiences that I could share and I'm sure you do too thank you so much

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  25. This is absolutely incredible....Today I just broke down in tears and had to call my therapist because I didn't understand why my husband woke up in a bad mood and just didn't want to talk to me at all. I was devastated needless to say! My story, my husband and I have been together for 20 years and though I kept a journal off and on for the early years of our marriage and birth of our first two of three children and 6 of his 8 deployments. At year 7 is when it all started going down hill and he started getting emotionally, physically, and verbally abusive. Having alcoholics for parents I thought this was the norm, but stood up for myself because I demanded I was not going to take that abuse from anyone. Long story short, he retired two years ago and just a year ago what I had been suspecting for many years and fearing would happen did. sure enough he abandoned us, his family for eight months and after the first four realized he had to find help he came home five days before Christmas. Its been a little over a month and I am trying to come to terms with the good changes that have come about with his therapy, but I get so upset and frustrated because his lack of sex drive, attentiveness to me and his sometimes want for lack of communication. He is getting along with the kids which is great, but I want attention to. I am by nature a very pushy and persistent person and its so hard to not be able to have the talks we used to have and to have the intimacy that we had daily. So much happened while he was deployed and when abandoned us he really abandoned us. I ended up in the hospital with a nervous break down and severe depression in which I didn't realize, but my kids did, I forgot to eat and after crying day after day and not eating within a span of less than two weeks I had lost 14 lbs. Anyways, I spoke to my therapist today and she told me to just go as slow as possible with my husband. That it is going to take time like he keeps telling me his therapist says. Might I say I have been calling his therapist the enemy since I see anyone who is not helping him get closer to me again the enemy. So I am now going to just take my time with my husband, he has been in a better mood since I spoke to my therapist and he got a call from a very good potential job offer. I have to learn to be patient which might I add is not my forte' and shift my gears into slow mode so that my husband does not feel like I am attacking him just like this damn PTSD which I diagnosed years ago. His parents also are in major denial and after having been the good guy in the relationship have stopped speaking to them and won't ever speak to them again. I have my own personal and underlying issues that I have to deal with, but adding on this PTSD is pure hell. And what really gets my anger flowing is when some soldiers who have never deployed have the audacity to claim that they are wounded warriors after falling from a stationary bus and VA gives them credit so to speak and pays them as disabled veterans. My husband retired with 8 deployments plenty of limbs broken, malaria from one deployment and PTSD and they give him an atta boy now bend over cuz you just took them all for the team. I know this is not a blog to vent but just reading how you spouses can help support us fellow spouses that are living with this hell and letting us know we are not alone. Thank you.... A long time ago I had a friend read some Tarot cards for me for fun and it said that I was going to write a book. My husband is the love of my life and I too told him while he was gone that I married him for better or for worse and in sickness and in health. And against the judgement of those I once called my friends who kept telling me to get a divorce lawyer and to see an attorney to get him arrested for the abuse.... I never did! I believed in him while was gone, I believe in him now and I will stand by my man!

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  26. I have read everyone of your posts and let me tell you I live every day in each and everyone of your shoes. My spouse also has PYSD/TBI . The drinking, depression sleepless nights all out full yelling and screaming. Temper tantrums like a child when he doesn't get his own way. I take care of our household and him... I feel so alone and tired. He gets mad and wont talk to me for a week or more at a time. I have thought about throwing in the towel many times. I have hung in there going on 20 years. I am tired. Found out today I maybe very ,very sick. I worry who is going to take care of him when I'm gone or if I die. We have lost most of our friends and I am embarrassed to take him to any of my work functions because he gets drunk ,loud and obnoxious . He is now in Va. treatment facility getting help, seems like he is getting worse. They change out his meds constantly. He is even more angry than ever.. I'm afraid of how he will be when he gets back home.. Mine is also very verbally abusive, never physically. I would have left if that was the case. I am at a complete loss in what to do next. I haven't been able to find ant good Drs. where I live to talk to. Any good books any know of??

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  27. This is the first time I seen a blog on PTSD. I met my husband after he left the army and we have two lovely children. My husband has gone to a psychiatrist and he seems to have convinced the psychiatrist that he doesn't have PTSD. He is choleric, doesn't sleep, is a work alcoholic, smokes, drinks, tells me I nag, and any issues are of my own making and says that I've made PTSD up. I'm getting counselling, and he just started counselling - but this is all so painful. At this point, anything I do is perceived as aggression toward him - the way I speak, the way I move and even the way I breath - seriously. I love him deeply and want to be with him and sort this out, but this is really getting to me - I'm getting depressed and not sure if I can take much more of this..

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  28. I'm really glad I found this blog. I am with you ladies every day. I understand exactly what you're going through with PTSD. It's been a struggle for me over the past 6ish months. There have been a lot of changes going on in my husband's life in this time period and it has triggered PTSD and severe depression to the point of being suicidal. I've been pregnant this whole time so I've been going through some of my own changes which makes this harder. I moved out in April and had been staying over several nights a week from late May to mid July when my husband once again decided he didn't want to be with me. I'm currently living with my parents as I will need help with my son who will arrive in late September. I'm a first time mom so not only is all of this completely new to me I'm also struggling with the possibility of divorce if my husband actually goes through with filing for it. He hasn't actually mentioned it to me but we barely speak at the moment other than for me to inform him of when I will be picking up our puppy and when I will be dropping him off again as we share him. It has been so stressful and I'm lucky that it hasn't really affected the health of my pregnancy as of yet, though my midwives are starting to get concerned that I haven't been gaining weight like I should be. I haven't gained anything in the past few months and I just don't see me adding anything on either. The stress of the ups and downs of my husbands emotional and mental state has put me into depression and I struggle to eat enough because I feel physically ill if I force myself to eat when I'm not hungry and I'm not hungry often. I want to believe that my husband is still in there somewhere because I love him more than I could ever put into words but its a struggle everyday to not fall into a pit of despair when he hasn't come back to me. One person commented that they felt that they had been robbed of a wonderful man and that's exactly how I feel. He was so kind, caring, full of life and laughter, and a genuinely good man and I feel like I've been robbed of that man and of the life we had planned out. He says that he's 'happy in general' and it's just our marriage he is unhappy with. I know that isn't the truth and it's so frustrating and disheartening to hear that and know that he's in denial and refusing to get help for this condition that we both know he's suffering from. It was diagnosed after his suicidal thoughts got him put into mandatory intensive group therapy so he can't really believe that he doesn't have it anymore. I want our marriage to work and I want him to be the wonderful loving father that I know he is capable of being but it's so hard to wait until he admits he needs the therapy and to take his medication. Some days I just want so badly to call it quits and throw in the towel but the next instant I know that that isn't going to happen any time soon because I just can't let go of the love of my life and the father of my son. My family wants me to go ahead and file for divorce but I just can't do it no matter what he does. I just can't give up but it just might kill me to hang on.

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