Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Second Guessing


This week by myself hasn't been the easiest on me while my husband has been in the Rehabilitation Program for PTSD. Quite honestly, I thought I would feel less stressed.....perhaps a little relieved while he was gone. The day after I dropped him off, I truly did feel like the weight lifted off my shoulders. I planned on taking this time for me and have been since we found out the admission date. The first two nights alone, I actually slept through the night. I took a long bath, did my nails, and watched a chic flick while eating ice cream. Our wedding anniversary came and passed, and something inside me just sort of broke. Not sure if broke is the word I am looking for, but it's hard to explain how I feel going through this. We have yet to have one good anniversary to celebrate since he has been home from war. He says maybe we can do a belated one or "next year will be better"...I want to believe him, but those are the same words I have heard every year and they never come to pass.

Of course I want my husband home, and I really miss him although a part of me is relieved he is gone. I thought I could do so many things while he is gone, especially for myself...but that hasn't happened yet. I thought somewhere in this time apart not only could I heal myself, but our marriage would heal itself in the process with the time apart. I really thought therapy and such would maybe help him see how bad he is. I spent the last two weeks building up this time in my head....is it possible that I have set myself up for failure?

My husband was allowed to take his cell phone with him and can call in the evenings. While that's wonderful, I wish they had given a a two week wait period til he could call home like they do with weekend passes and visitation. It seems since he has been there, he has been a stranger as ironic as that sounds.  My "pod" person who I was finally somewhat starting to getting adjusted to....isn't the same person who was just home. It's like talking to another person. I feel distant, he sounds even further away....and there is the void not only on the phone but in between us. Of course, there has been a huge void the size of the Grand Canyon since he came home, but its just different this time. I don't know who this person is calling me at all. The past week, its calling home to bitch about various things....to yell at me over something silly. I thought being away from his family would make him realize a ton of things and while it's only been a week...I thought that maybe he might just really miss us. He says he does, but funny how I don't feel that way when he talks to me. He only says he misses me when I say it first....he doesn't get on the phone and say, "Man this place really made me realize.....". Perhaps I am basing everything on deployment. When he got in to country, every phone call held some love sentiment of "I never really realized how much I loved you until I got here" or " You are the best thing that ever happened to me and I want to come home and do better". I know I am setting expectations not only for him but myself that could never be fulfilled.....so why do I do it?

He hasn't mentioned anything about therapy or how it's going for him. I know he can't talk about what they do there and that's ok. I just thought he might have said "hey, we had group therapy today and I talked about some of my problems or my marriage/kids etc." Nothing. He talks mostly about the good stuff which I am sure is a part of his defensive to not having to think about it. He has talked about the people there and how much he really likes the group of men he is with...which is wonderful. I always feel like the parent reminding him to play nice and I worry because he can be shy and withdrawn. Top that with his "look of doom" which can be very intimidating, I find that people think he is an asshole on first meet. It was the same way when he deployed, "now play nice with the others in the sandbox" was one of my "calm him down" phrases when he would fuss about some of the guys in his unit. I am glad he is making new friends and that will be good for him once he comes home because some of them live in our area. He needs that friendship because ever since the "bottom fell out", his old friends seem a little afraid of him and kind of treat us like lepers.

The last few days have really concerned me to the point of worrying. He is having troubles focusing on the conversations we are having. One minute he is talking about something, the next he is on another subject. It's been back and forth like this and his anger...OH MY GOD! He is quick to be laughing or chuckling over something he did that day, then the next second, snapping my head off.  It's not over anything big or of the up most importance...just little things like calling his caseworker, paying a bill, or being busy with the kids. On Sunday, I went to the mall with my mother in law and my boys. We had a nice lunch, and just walked around. I had been looking forward to getting out a little bit and feeling normal again....perhaps take that time to not think about my husband..and then he called...and kept calling til I answered.

He just sounded upset, confused, antsy and was really rather snarky on the phone to me. I asked him if he was OK and he said he was...but he didn't sound ok to me. I found out later that they had changed one of his medicines and this was causing some issues with him. One minute he sounds like my husband and telling me something important or something that he needs, then a split second later...he is talking down to me and acts like he is frustrated with me. Before I can catch my head from falling on the floor, he is on another subject! He had to go and when I hung up, I just started tearing up. I didn't want my boys to see me crying yet again, so I choked it down. I thought to myself  "Just one day Lord...one day without my ass being chewed out or feeling horrible....is that too much to ask for all that I have given? I just can't keep going this way". On my way home on Sunday he called....I was so upset and hurt over the conversation earlier I just didn't even answer. However, he did send me a text message that he was sorry and to bear with him.

Bear with him?

It seems that is all I have done in the four years since he has been home. I have taken on so much that I am physically and emotionally exhausted. The weariness I feel some days weighs me down to the point of not being able to breathe and relax. The pain he is inflicting on me is like a bitter pill to swallow....you try to keep choking it down, drowning it with water..but once it's gone, that bitterness still just lingers. 

I am a little resentful too. I will admit it. My heart is overloading the thinking process here recently which is not what I intended at all. The conversations on his end are about the latest craft projects, Bingo, going Bowling, and the food. No where in there is he suffering it seems or unhappy. I know it sounds mean but here I am trying to figure all his social security disability paperwork (which is really hard for someone who has never done this sort of stuff), dealing with all the finances, dealing with caseworkers and coordinators...on top of a pre-teen, two toddlers, illness in all three of them, and then dealing with my very own enemy, my emotions. So much to do, not enough time and most days...I feel so yucky and lose interest, I have to make myself do some things. I am glad that things are not so horrible as he originally anticipated, but a part of me resents that safe bubble he is in and not having to worry about anything. I was afraid of what would happen when he came out of the bubble I have managed to hold together for him when he left...now I am worried about him leaving the bubble there after being used to it for 6 weeks or so.

Finally, I just told him how I felt and he said he appreciated everything I do for him.....but does he really? I explained to him that I am under a lot of stress...so much so I just can't take anymore yelling, screaming, fussing and cussing. If he is going to do that, then don't call me. I got off the phone after hearing his "I'm sorry" knowing that its just words....there was no meaning behind it. It sounded defensive and well, hollow. Almost like it was just an after thought and not a true feeling. He sometimes says "Sorry" like "I need gas for my truck". I cried because the heart thinking overloaded the brain and I felt bad for feeling resentful, for telling him not to call home like this anymore and mad at myself because I am coming apart at the seams...but my brain said "it's about time, you can't keep going like this."

The other thing that concerns me is I know some of these "fun" items they are doing are therapeutic and teaching them to focus their PTSD on other things. They held a Kayaking class in which my husband already knew swift water rescue and such but wanted to participate. However, on the trip back he called to tell me how "f**$#** incredible" it was. It was "an adrenaline rush..it was awesome...it was great..I missed that rush man". A part of me wanted to just shrivel up and throw in the towel. We have dealt with the "adrenaline rush" in so many destructive ways and finally got to the point where we could manage not having it in our lives or being able to manage it with smaller tasks. Now, he is wanting to seek other outlets. Maybe I don't understand because Lord knows...I am not a professional. I am not there, so I don't know what's going on or what they are teaching...I can only go by his excitement, his reactions and the way he talks to me. I should be happy that hey, at least it's not screwing around, gambling, or finding the way down to the bottom of a bottle....but what if he comes home and can't find that "new rush" he has discovered there at Rehab? More importantly, I wished more than ever, that he could find that same excitement and enthusiasm in me. What if he comes home with this new found "enthusiasm" for that ever sought after adrenaline/outside the wire feeling and can't get it? Will it suddenly switch back? I am so afraid that we are taking a few small steps forward, but then when he gets back....find ourselves backtracking through the horrors and the hell we have already traveled through.

In one conversation, he was talking to these other Veterans one evening and was telling me how nice it was to be around people like him that weren't afraid of talking about their problems. I was happy for him....I really was. I pray every night that he finds that healing there....some way to just patch up a few broken places because honestly readers, I am running out of tape here to keep patching it up. He mentioned my plans about starting a group for Veterans and families...and I said I thought that would be really good for him to be a part of and help others. Suddenly, out of nowhere....he said hatefully "I don't want to be a leader anymore....I'm done leading....I don't want to lead another damn person. I just want to be that person sitting on the fence, one of the guys...just be like everyone else." I told him I never expected him to lead anyone and I just thought being a part of that would help him.

I suddenly thought to myself after he said that "I don't know who this is". Here I thought I had everything kind of in place, somewhat predictable, somewhat bearable, somewhat tolerable. Here lately though, I have no plan B, and simply winging it. To have this sudden realization hitting me and the way he is acting, makes me scared, unsure and is causing me to second guess every little thing I do. I thought to myself  "I understand what he is saying....I really do....I don't want to be a leader either. I want to be one those that gets help, not help others because I have no idea what I am doing. I want to be sitting on that "fencepost" and not have to worry about anyone else but myself. Sometimes though, I guess you just have to pick a side and go with it. Other times, I think that fate plays a part of so much of our lives and I often wonder where this is all leading me because I sure as hell don't know................

I waited for two years for us to be able to afford to send him to this PTSD Rehabilitation Program....four years of absolute hell....two years of trying to figure out a way to get there...and now that he is there, I wonder if we even made the right decision or is this going to be another broken program of the VA? I don't have much faith anymore in the VA...I wish I did. No one is really listening to us as the spouses, the families, and the caregivers. What happens if all this fails....where to go next? Have we depended too heavily on this program to be our savior with his problems?

This has been long so I will close it out.....it's 2 a.m. in the morning.....I just had to get this out or I will explode on the inside. I am hoping that things will change. I just suddenly just feel so deeply alone, unsure of myself, and now my husband is more of a stranger than what he was before he left. This is uncharted territory for me....there isn't a map or guidelines, and frankly, that scares me the most. I don't know what I am doing here.

Just trying to find a way to breathe~


  1. Great post, have you being reading my diary!! I've just tried to email you by the way but it just kept giving me a 'fail' message. Any ideas what I can do?

  2. Hi

    I'm trying to send you an email but keep gettng a Fail notice. Any ideas?

  3. It may be the blogger site. I have had troubles with signing in today. You can always drop me a line at heiben25@yahoo.com

    So sorry the email widget is messed up! No peeking at your diary either! Hahahah! Think we are all just with the same person! ;)

  4. I have also redone the old widget and got a new one. It will take your email straight to me...or at least its supposed to! Thank you! ~USM


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