Thursday, March 31, 2011

Just Some Misc Resources and More

So as I keep searching for the ever elusive resources for PTSD, I did come across a few that I have added to my blog resource tabs (located on top in case you missed them). First off, as many have you wondered....I finally broke down and got a Facebook page for Living with PTSD and TBI. Not that I didn't already have enough to do right? Haha! Never really thought much about it, but seems like the peer pressure thing to follow along with these days especially with emails asking "Hey do you have a FB page?". You can find me under Living With PTSD and TBI, just like the ol' blog here.

There are several resources I mentioned in an earlier post but you will see some new ones added such as Horses for Heroes, Team River Runner, and Healing Waters. These are programs that are not affiliated with the VA BUT are referred from the VA if your caseworker knows about them. From what I have seen, there are quite a few states who have these programs, you will just have to research your area. I also added some others, so feel free to wade through them.

I am adding on Chase Bank as they now have a program since so many of us have them as our mortgage lender. We were given this resource through another organization and was quite surprised to see the programs they had to offer. Just a tidbit here:

Military Modification Program
Beginning 4/1/11, Chase will introduce an enhanced modification program for all members of the military who have served on active duty as far back as 9/11/01. The program will be offered to those who are delinquent or having trouble making their mortgage payments. Subject to the required regulatory and investor approvals, the program will go beyond the government's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) requirements. In addition, in cases when we modify any Chase-owned or Chase-serviced primary residential mortgage, if there is a second mortgage on the same property that is also owned by Chase, we will modify the interest rate on the second to 1%.
Home Ownership Assistance
  • Chase will not foreclose on any currently deployed active military personnel. This change goes beyond current SCRA requirements, which protects military borrowers against foreclosure only if they took out their loans prior to going on active duty.
  • Chase believes we now have the systems and controls in place to avoid wrongful foreclosure proceedings on any military covered by SCRA. In cases where we have mistakenly foreclosed on military borrowers who should have been covered by SCRA, in addition to rescinding the sale, we will forgive all their remaining mortgage debt. Going forward, if we ever have a wrongful foreclosure sale on an SCRA covered customer, we will forgive all of their remaining mortgage debt, as well.
  • Chase will donate 1,000 homes to military and veterans over the next five years through our non-profit partners.
  • By the end of 2011, Chase will open five new Chase Homeownership Centers in cities near the following large military bases
    1. Ft. Hood (Killeen), Texas
    2. Naval Station Norfolk (Norfolk), Virginia
    3. Ft. Bragg/Pope Air Force Base (Fayetteville), North Carolina
    4. Camp Lejeune (Jacksonville), North Carolina
    5. Ft. Campbell (Clarksville, TN), Kentucky
  • In 2011, Chase will host 10 borrower outreach events near large military bases.
  • Chase will staff all of its Homeownership Centers with employees specifically trained in SCRA, military issues and Chase special military programs.
I have been talking to them and from what I was told, once you get in this program.....they can either lower your percentage rate, defer payments, remove all late fees, lower your monthly payment based on your income and affordability, no eviction or foreclosures and much much more depending on situations etc. Now we are NOT active personnel and just Reservists, but that didn't matter to them as long as my husband served after 9-11 and well, he is a disabled veteran according to the VA. I was surprised at how nice they were and willing to work with whatever YOU are able to do; not what the bank wants you to do. Kind of nice to know that they have changed their evil ways and are starting to appreciate the military! You will need to call and get to the military services department but here is the number: Chase Military Services at 1-877-469-0110 (Overseas: 1-318-340-3308, TDD: 1-800-582-0542) Be prepared to have your DD-214 or copy of orders if you have them...hey, there are a lot of people out there who say they are military when they aren't!

**Uncle Sam's Mistress is not getting paid for an endorsement from JP Morgan Chase, they just impressed the hell out of me enough to get on my blog!**

A few new others were some retreats I thought were interesting such as the Warrior Beach Retreat and the Angel Fire, NM PTSD retreat for couples as listed here.

"The National Veterans Wellness and Healing Center in Angel Fire (NWVHC) will conduct ten (10) retreats at Angel Fire in 2011 for Veterans suffering from PTSD and TBI. These retreats are funded by a grant from the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services

These are seven (7) day retreats for couples (spouces/partners/care
supporters) and
includes 58 hours of Individual, Group, and Couples counseling and training in traditional and non traditional treatment modalities. Certified therapist experienced in working with Veterans with PTSD are available 24 hours a day. Couples will be assigned a therapist and will attend Individual and Group therapy as part of each plenary session and traditional "team building" activities. Non traditional treatment modalities include Guided Imagery, Tapas Acupuncture Treatment, Emotional Freedom Technique, and Neuro-Linguistic Programing. Acupuncture, Yoga, Breathe Work, Massage, and Reiki are included in the schedule. Native American Ceremonies and Equine Assisted Therapy are an integral part of each retreat.

Retreats are scheduled for 2-9 April, 16-23 April, 7-14 May, 21-28 May,
4-11 June, 18-25
June, 9-16 July, 13-20 August, 10-17 September, and 23-30 September.
Couples will be
housed at the Angel Fire Resort Hotel and all meals will be provided either at the Hotel or at activity sites. Housing and meals are provided at no cost to participants.
Attached is an application form for one of the retreats. I am available by phone or e-mail to provide additional information or answer questions you may have. I would request that you distribute these forms to those in your area diagnosed with PTSD or TBI that you feel could benefit from one of our retreats. Please have them return the forms to me and I will work with the individuals to determine which of the retreats would best fit their schedule. I will then provide them with conformation of which retreat to attend.

We have conducted two of these retreats in 2009/2010 and the positive results from participants has been phenomenal. In fact participants from both retreats have attended reunions and formed their own retreat support groups.
Hoot Gibson

(575)595-5330 (c)

 Also, since there seems to be an influx of new ones to the blog, I am going to restate the information regarding the Wounded Warrior Wives and Wounded Warrior Project. be honest with you. I wasn't too keen on the Wounded Warrior Project until oh, just last week. I had a hard time getting signed up and well, a few years ago they weren't really taking on PTSD and TBI Vets like they do now. I have to admit, that when they get you...they really go all out trying to help you. I bet I must have talked to seven different people all assigned to help me meet the areas of need I was desperate for. Now for Wounded Warrior Wives? I really don't know what I would do without them. The ladies that run it, want to be there...they want to help and well, they were my life vest thrown to me in my drowning period. That's all that needs to be said about that! You can find WWW's on Facebook as well, so no excuses! Don't wait, sign up and remember with WWP you can register yourself as a spouse! This way you can get notified of any retreats that come up through them. 

On to USA Cares, which is a non-profit organization that was born in 2003. Now I got this tidbit of information from the VA hospital where my husband is attending the PTSD Rehab program. Many have applied and received help through their Warrior Treatment Today program.  Here is a piece of what they can help with and worth mentioning because if like us, we kept waiting til we could afford to go. Of course always make sure you have a back up plan! 

Warrior Treatment Today

Removing Barriers to Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury

Warrior Treatment Today helps bridge the gap between personal financial demands and the need to receive treatment. Specifically, our program seeks to remove the financial barrier that exists for many service members who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI), but cannot afford to leave their employment for treatment.
  • A Rand study suggests over 300,000 suffer from PTSD/TBI
  • National Guard and Reserve members are particularly vulnerable
Warrior Treatment today pays essential household bills while the service member/veteran is attending residential treatment:
  • Rent
  • Mortgage
  • Utilities
  • Car payment
Allowing the service member or veteran to attend treatment by removing financial barriers is the goal of Warrior Treatment today. 

For others, there seems to be a lapse on the information regarding the Vet Center . I have had a lot of emails questioning my earlier post comments about it. Not sure why you haven't heard it, but do check it out! Anywhere there is a VA, there should be a Vet Center near by. What I really like about this particular program is that they are staffed by "been there done that" men and women and who are all Veterans themselves. My husband's therapist has been deployed three times, has PTSD and well, about the only one my husband trusts enough to really talk to. Now our Vet Center isn't equipped to handle spouses/couples but they are working on it...however, many others do have such resources if not more. They don't have rubber hoses or padded rooms, don't just look at you and hand you 50 scripts for medicine and you don't have to be in the VA system in order to utilize them. Now they will eventually help you get there, but I think its all based on what you are comfortable with and on your own pace. I think after my husband's "bottom falling out", I called my friend for sanity purposes, and then the Vet Center counselor. I promise it's not scary at all and most veterans would rather talk to someone who knows the real deal, not what they read in textbooks. 

Hope this helps some of you in your search. If I come across anything else, will keep adding! 

Monday, March 28, 2011

You Can't See The Forest For The Trees

"Too much light often blinds gentlemen of this sort. They cannot see the forest for the trees." 
Musarion [1768], Canto II  

This post is dedicated to
"Tarzan, Jane and the Cheetah"

We often come across this quote and usually, it's shortened down to "don't see the forest for the trees".  I bet that most hearing that, often do not really give it much thought of what exactly it means. It's an analogy that we use in reference to someone who is focusing so much on the details of the situation at hand that they miss seeing "the big picture" or the problem they are facing.

This past weekend, I met a wise man who told me "A good therapist doesn't part the trees so the patient can see through them, but shows the way to part them". This comment was made after having a good talk about issues, programs and such with the VA.  While we, as the spouses, families and Veterans, often bitch about the VA and having to "play the game" as it's called; we forget about the good people who do work at the VA and it's programs who are really there because they want to be. After talking with this man, I learned a lot in an hour of his time...than I did in the two I spent with the therapist who is at the Rehab program for PTSD. I walked away and he had me thinking, which of course, is always a way to this Mistress's heart! Mostly though, I thought to myself  "He is going to make a difference and be that stranger who becomes a savior for one/some of our Vets".

I think when we fuss, and yes, I am most definitely one of those who has done it.....we lump the VA in a whole and don't break it down by individuals. There are some who are wet behind the ears, coming out of college with paper degrees on the wall who have absolutely no clue what it's like to be a Veteran, let alone one with PTSD/TBI. There are some (military or non-military related) who are simply there for the decent benefits and watch the clock waiting to go home. There are though, some who are there because that's where they want to be and they care. Some of the lower ladder employees have been deployed and have had serious issues in the past with PTSD which is even better when you have a chance to meet them.

I used to think that it was because they were on the lower levels of the employment ranks, or the "peons" as the wise man called himself that made them more human. It's not that that makes them so different or more comfortable to be around, but the fact they know what it's like and still have that understanding of what it's like to have been there. I have always maintained that in order to treat such issues such as these, it's best to have some type of personal knowledge of it whether you are the sufferer or living with it. A paper degree is wonderful and something to be proud of in the race for life's almighty accomplishments, but does it really educate you on what's really going on? Are you really helping individuals in the long run if you don't know what exactly it is that you are dealing with?

When it comes to the VA, we as the beneficiaries of the system wonder why it is that something so simple or something that makes sense...doesn't make sense to the upper echelon of the VA system. I have often heard or seen online the comment of "If it makes sense, then you aren't at the VA" which is rather sad but most definitely true. I used to think that it was perhaps budget issues, or maybe state and federal regulations and politics...which I am sure does have a role in it. Mostly's just the people who work there. You may have 30 good guys and then one bad rotten apple who comes along and ruins the whole damn show.

As this wise man was speaking to my husband and I, I stood there thinking "Why isn't anyone listening to this guy and implementing the ideas he has?" He works there, he is going to school to further educate himself and his goal is to work with Veterans with issues. He is also a Veteran and has PTSD himself. Even more impressive to me, was his passion, drive and the thoughts he had to better improve the faulty errors in programs or Veteran's lives. Take what does work, but take what doesn't work out. Makes sense to me and more so, because we are on the side of the not working part! So why is it that the VA system isn't seeing this big picture? More importantly, are they even trying to get that view on the inside? When he spoke about missing the forests for the trees, I thought to this not the case for all VA employees? They get so wrapped up in the coming and going of social security numbers, issues and health problems, have they truly missed the point of why they got that job and why they wanted to work with Veterans?

I felt comfortable around him and his girlfriend who was with him. Perhaps it's because they are another PTSD family themselves. I knew that both just "got it", and they probably knew I "got it". It's a shame to admit that I learned more from him in an hour than the two spent with the therapist, but it's the truth. We will be walking away from six weeks lost of our lives for a Rehabilitation Program for PTSD that didn't work (which I will blog about later), and all I can say is I learned more from this couple than in all of the program. It's not just's our VA and many others. I wish sometimes when you take your Veteran to the VA and get treated like dirt, that it be mandatory that those working there...should endure about two weeks of that same type of treatment. It hurts me to see that our US Veterans coming back home and who served proudly, get treated so shabbily by some of the VA employees. It's almost as if some of them just can't stand being there or act as if the next number called up, is just exactly that.

The ones who are there and care, especially the ones who have that personal experience and knowledge need to be heard and their input used. It's very easy to design a program from behind a desk, and then say "Yep, it's working" because you want it to work. It's another, to be on the floor with the Veterans themselves and know that it's not. I don't know if I could do such a job when I knew that things just weren't right and can't do anything to change it. I think I would self implode! "Peons" isn't what the good ones need to refer to themselves as and it made me feel badly this weekend, to not have acknowledged the good ones more in the VA system. There are several I have been in touch with that work with Veterans and make it enjoyable to go. I just wish there were more of them and that they were heard more often.

If this wise man works with so many, sees the issues, tries to help as much as he can...why can't the VA see that and take into consideration these that do have the knowledge and experience. Why keep wasting time, effort and of course...our hard earned tax dollars! Some days I feel like yelling at the ones who are horrible to us or just don't care. I want to scream, "this is what we went to war for and fought for? Is this how you repay that?"

I have gotten quite a few emails from other VA employees who are reading my blog and I have enjoyed reading their statements especially of their ideas or thoughts. I guess I am writing all this because I have been guilty of lumping all our bad apples and tossing aside the good ones when it comes to the VA. Speaking to this wise man this weekend, made me more appreciative of the good ones and I thought it was important enough to write about. Getting emails from other state's VA employees, is well, just freaking awesome! Mostly because I hope that when they read it, it will encourage them to keep going and not lose their "self" in their jobs and forget. Maybe enough VA employees read my blog, they will remember what hardships I have spoken about and gives them a new purpose and drive.

So for all the "peons" out there who work at the VA and care....keep up the good work. I promise from now on, I will be more outspoken and appreciative of the ones who do...and of course, be outspoken on the ones who don't! For all of us spouses, take a second when you encounter someone as this and just say "Hey, thank you." Even if they can't help you because their hands are tied, just reminding them that you appreciate their kindness will be a nice way to keep the good ones there. You never know in the future how that person will intertwine in your lives. We have most definitely met some interesting and unusual individuals who have helped us in more ways than they could ever know and all because they cared when no one else did. That's what it should be all about.

 Giving My Thanks to All the Caring, Concerned, Non-Clock Watching, Hard Working Peons in the VA System, 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Taming the Adrenaline Beast

So as many of you know, I have gone through about four years of my husband longing and seeking the "outside the wire" rush of adrenaline, which is like searching for the Holy Grail. As my buddy, Beau, said in his blog...."PTSD is an Adrenaline Addiction" in which in my experience, he is totally correct. I walked away from reading his blog and thought, "Yes, that's it!".  I think that is a good way to put PTSD for Combat Vets into one single category of explanation if you ever needed to do that. With this acute PTSD program my husband has been in, they have been teaching the Veterans how to find a good rush without seeking the troubles and issues that come with the bad stuff, with such activities as kayaking. I have worried about this because we seemed to have the "addiction" under control somewhat, although his impulse buying and such does from time to time, get out of hand. Now I wonder with him coming home, what kind of issues will arise when we can't reproduce this secondary high he found in treatment. In preparation of the program coming to an end next month, I have been searching for anything my husband can do to hold his interest, keep him busy and give him a rush of sorts so he isn't looking for the wrong ones like he did in infidelity, alcohol and lying. 

For those of you who don't really understand what I am talking about, I will explain. When our Vets return home from war, they not only have changed so dramatically, but they come home with an addiction to adrenaline. My husband once explained to me that every single day he would go outside the wire in security convoys and stayed pumped up. The thoughts of "This is it. I am going to die today", "am I going to get shot?" and "Thank God I made it back inside the wire" incessantly ran through his mind the whole time he was outside. Even while on the post he was assigned to, there were constant incoming rounds and mortars going off so he never really had that chance to come down off that rush. 

After enduring a year long deployment with nothing but adrenaline, it's often very very hard for these guys to feel normal or find that rush once they come home. They are automatically expected to fit back into society, fit back into their families and be expected to be "old" so and so. Couple this with the yanking of the constant adrenaline rushes they are used to, it's a recipe for disaster. Therefore, much of their issues such as screwing around like in our case, wasn't about sex or that they had feelings for that person...merely, the thought of getting caught by their spouse arouses that adrenaline. I was surprised to hear this very comment from several other OIF/OEF Veterans as well. I had to stop and think about this for a while, and well...I can relate. I recently, after saving change and tightening the belt on our budget, went to see my sister in AZ for a couple of days. Now my life, has been nothing but a ride on the old stress carousel. Once I arrived, I found that I couldn't relax no matter what I did. I couldn't find a way to really just lighten up and chill out. Having a couple of days with no children, no husband, no PTSD or problems with that, you would have thought that I would have been in heaven but I felt weird and out of sorts. I tried, I really did and I had fun...but inside? I felt empty without that stress and holy cow, I hated to say this...but almost missed the constant kick in the ass I get every day here! My sister looked at me one afternoon and said "It's official, you are addicted to stress and drama so badly you can't even relax anymore". She's right...I can't. Life without stress doesn't live on the Eastern side of the United States, and even traveling West, four thousand miles to leave it all behind me...I felt the familiar tug of withdrawal. 

After my husband explained the"rush" at first, I didn't get it. After talking with so many veterans and other spouses...I find that this really is common amongst our PTSD families.  After being so long in that type of environment, they really do just get used to living that way the same as I have adapted our stressful lives. After my trip, I spent the plane ride home thinking about my rush of stress, and how I felt abnormal without it. It dawned on me that I am probably experiencing what my husband was talking about. You think of our returning Vets and the issues they come home with, but this part isn't really talked about much. Everyone talks about drugs, alcohol, nightmares, mood swings etc etc...but never the adrenaline seeking issues that they battle constantly. 

I can't spend my time wasting on worrying about what's going to happen when he gets out of this program, but simply expect the worst and hope for the best. I think that should become Living with PTSD's mantra. Rather than focusing on how I can't find things to meet his adrenaline needs once home, I am focusing on how to give him something to soothe that addiction and needs. Similar to that of methadone for drug addicts, I am trying to find things that will give him just a little but not a lot of what he needs. I find that when he feels normal, we have an easier time combatting the rest of the symptoms of PTSD. So online I go, with my fingers flying across the keyboard searching for those "anythings" I could find that could fit into my husband's needs. As always, I really can't say enough "educate, educate and educate" yourself as the spouse/caregiver, because that education? It will be your safety net when all hell breaks loose and you can think of what you learned. You will be more prepared to handle and facilitate if you know what the hell to do or in our case...expect.

While speaking to our OIF/OEF Caseworker, I explained to her my concerns about this "fulfillment" of adrenaline they were teaching my husband. She understood where I was coming from and told me of a couple of non-VA related programs that I didn't know existed. One of these is a kayaking program for wounded Veterans called Team River Runner. This is at no cost and is something nearby for us. The other one is Project Healing Waters, which is also free and equipment is provided. I am so thrilled with these because my husband loves the rivers, the kayaking meets his needs, and the fly fishing used to be one of his favorite hobbies prior to war. It's also therapeutic so it's meeting and fulfilling our needs. The kayaking hurts his back still pretty badly, but he says its worth it because for that time he is doing it, he feels that rush and normalcy like he did in Iraq.

Another one I found out about was Horses for Heroes, which is an equine therapy program for the Veterans themselves. Again, non-VA related. I loved the equine retreat I went on with the Wounded Warrior Wives at Quantum Leap farms. When my husband said he was asked about it and was unsure, I told him to jump on it. He is so glad he did! He absolutely loves it! So much so, it gives him something to look forward to as he told me. I thought to myself "I can give this same experience when he comes home!".He hasn't had much to look forward to in a very very long time.  It looks like there are programs like this all over the United States, so ladies or Veterans, let your fingers do the flying online and see what you can find. Trust me, it's not just going to come to you so easily. 

I am hoping this tames the Adrenaline beast somewhat, at least so it's not eating away at my husband or kicking my butt every time I turn around. I am looking for other programs such as these. There is a service dog organization in our area as well as a Horse Rescue farm which are always in need of volunteers. Such things are low impact, which is what I am needing because of his lower back and knees. Anyone else know of other programs out there such as these that are available? I shared feel free to share yours! If I come across anything else, will place them in the tabs above my blog. My husband has his weekend pass and will be home this evening, so hoping all goes well. It's been a rough two weeks for him, so somewhat leary of this visit but again, expect the worst and hope for the best right? 

Still Fighting Back,

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

PTSD: The Great Divider

It's a dark and rainy day that has just been a bad one today. I started missing my husband pretty badly this know, the missing where it kind of makes your stomach feel kind of hollow? I don't know why because most of the time, I feel like he could care less of how my day went or how I feel. I did however enjoy our conversation last night on the phone because it seemed like since he has been there in the PTSD program....he is a little more attentive. As always, this got the Mistress to thinking about how things are constantly on a roller coaster when living with PTSD.

Now what do I mean by more attentive?

He listens. Well, more than he does at home. Often times I can feel like he is in the same room yet we are planets apart from each other. We can be sitting side by side in the living room, and often I feel he just isn't really there. More times than not, I feel like I am bothering him with my flapping jaws when he is watching a show or doing something. I am like a child at Christmas because when he does stop and listen for a second, I am going ninety miles an hour because I am so afraid at any minute...he will shut down on me again. Most of the time, he pushes me away with just the looks on his face making me not want to talk to him at all. He asks me how my day is going, or listens about the latest issues I have been having with the kiddos. It's nice. It's nice to think on the other side of the state he is listening to me.

He laughs or chuckles. Now it's not that he just stopped all together, he just sounds happier or maybe a little more relaxed being in that type of environment. It's nice to snicker over something together on the phone, and smile. I don't believe he has really made me smile in a long time...........

He is more loving. Now none of that mushy, makes you want to fall in love all over again...but I noticed that he calls me baby. He hasn't done that in a very very long time. Most of the time, his term of endearment is "mommy" because of the kids. I have noticed though that a few times in one single call, the word baby pops up and well, it just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.

He cares. On this, I have sat here and debated writing because I know that he loves me, just sometimes I think I love him more. I know he cares, but PTSD has just taken over so much that often he leaves me walking five miles behind him. When you tell him how you feel about something or how you are angry or hurt, its this blank look that is empty of a thousand souls. He asked me the other night when he called, "How are you feeling?". I nearly fell over and really wasn't sure what to say. I sat in bed in the wee hours of the morning thinking that I hadn't really heard him nicely ask me how I felt in, well almost five years.

Of course, he is still having those outbursts on the phone and that's ok. I didn't expect a recovery or permanent fix of his PTSD with this program, and probably would have freaked me out if he didn't have these! However, I feel like there is something more cohesive with our relationship while he is away, than there was when he was home and I can't put my finger on it. Yes, Yes, I know....take it and run with it, right? Enjoy the moment. My issue is I get used to such things, he comes back home....then I am disappointed. So then anger, resentment coupled with that disappointment and pure longing comes back into play. It's like a bad tease at a strip show. (Sorry guys, the mistress has never been to one-but I saw one on the movies) You see a beautiful woman (or for us gals, a Hunky Chippendale Dancer), she starts taking her clothes off....she gets almost the point of being completely nude....and THEEEENNNNN.... it ends. My analogies and references really suck today, but if I had to compare the same disappointment and let would be to that. PTSD has simply become a cock tease to put it bluntly and to the point.

So as I sat and listened to the rain last night and thinking of the positive things I have seen so far. At the same time, I wondered why it was so different now. I thought long and hard, and somewhere out of came to me. It's because we aren't together. We are separated in two different states with only phone communication unless he comes home on a pass. So why does everything change to the warm and fuzzy, when we are literally separated? I absolutely could not wait until I heard from him throughout deployment just because he was very mushy and this old gal is somewhat of a romantic. (shhh don't tell anyone) Deployment ended and I with very built up hopes, new dreams and newly discovered relationship found myself face to face with a monster who had no feelings. So is this PTSD program really helping him and it stick? Or is this merely a short termed deployment with the same ending coming?

I notice when we are apart, we miss each other. When I am not there, he appreciates me more. I don't feel like I am whole without him with me, even on the days when I really would just love to take a cast iron skillet to his head. When he is away he misses the little things. When we are separated for a long time, the sex is incredible...the attention is wonderful and we can smile and laugh. So what is it here at home that prevents all this from being part of our lives when we aren't separated? What makes PTSD become so much uglier at home than anywhere else? I would hope that it's not me, or our children....but he isn't like this at all when he is here.

The only thought that rings in my head over and over maybe PTSD wins as far as being the better partner than myself, for my husband. There is something wrong with our home or our relationship, when you love someone so much when they are gone...but just can't stand to live with them or you act that way. Is it better to be separated and love each other, or be there and just fight back with high hopes? When we are together, I just feel like I have the room mate from hell sitting directly in between us and there is this huge divide. When he is gone, it's the only time I feel anything that remotely feels like closeness in a marriage. Hope any of this makes usual, just getting it out there so it's not swelling in my chest all day. Anyone else going through these types of thoughts?

Little Down Today, 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The "Frog Boiling" Blogger and Blog Requests

Some days, my inbox gets bombarded from individuals who want me to consider them for placement on my blog either for advertisement purposes or for guest blogging positions. Between the emails from readers who don't like to comment for privacy concerns but have questions...I find that I can sit for eight hours and never reach the end of all the emails. I thought while I was reading some of these this morning, and debating what to say...I would just blog about it. While I am deeply honored that my blog has become popular enough to acquire such attention, I am not that kind of girl! I have received some fantastic pieces of writing from those who want to write about PTSD, but I must decline as the Mistress feels that some of these are not written from those who have experienced it themselves or living with it. You may be very educated, but sometimes living it or with it...can be more important than some degree hanging on the wall. My blog isn't written in medical jargon or big fancy words we just can't understand or relate to. I want to keep that type of point of view because I think that's why this blog is becoming so popular. 

I don't want it to become something of a variety show and while PTSD is in various forms...there is a HUGE difference in Combat PTSD vs Sexual Trauma non-military PTSD. Yes, the symptoms and issues are similar but my readers are here because they are concerned, living with it, or trying to get help for their veterans so I have to decline on the authors of such articles as the relevance is just not there for my military or military related readers. There were some great offers to write for me, some that really just want to get into blogging, and some who are bloggers and veteran operated business owners. I carefully weighed the pros and cons of adding people to my blog, and the decision was made to keep it just as I have it save a few. 

First off, if you are wanting to advertise something and I haven't tried it, know anyone who has or don't know what the heck I am talking about....I can't place it on here. My reasoning is, how can you talk about something when you don't know what you are really talking about? I don't want to place something on here that I feel that I would say, "what the hell is this?" and then keep on trucking by. The Mistress has gained a reputation of being a straight shooter, and there are reasons of my own....why tabs of references are placed up on top. If I truly feel there is someone out there reading who can utilize or find something of interest as I did, I will consider it. There is a reason why I place such widgets on my blog like the Equine Therapy program, or the Hearts Toward Home boxes....and it's because I have experienced it.

If you are wanting to write, or start blogging....guys, if I can do can! I promise's really not that hard and is free. There is no reason you need a jumping off point at all or need to be a guest writer for anyone. Once you set it up, give me a holler and I will add you to my roll. If you are interested in joining a community like Scott Lee's PTSD: A Soldier's Perspective, he has started a "Coalition of Combat PTSD Bloggers". Like me, he is a straight shooter and will review what you have to offer...but he wants that variety and different points of view. He would be a great place for consideration for guest writing. If you feel that you want to become a PTSD blogger, then do it! There aren't any reasons you need the Mistress as a platform when your writing is fantastic and most definitely interesting. I think the more bloggers unite, create blogs and offer a variety of subjects.....the more awareness is created on the subject of PTSD. For those that wanted me to pay you for your articles....darlings, I haven't made a dime off my blog so why would I pay you for your writing? Wrong place for sure! Perhaps doing a search for paid bloggers would better benefit but I simply don't need nor am I able to pay for writers. 

Now, because I know you have patiently made it this far to see what the hell the "Frog Boiling Blogger" reference is, I will explain. Through this blog, I have met some really interesting people such as Scott Lee (PTSD: A Soldier's Perspective) who encouraged my writing initially and to push it, other wives just like me who you can also find on here and some non-profit PTSD related organizations. It is here, that I met Beau Chatham who is a Veteran himself, runs his own business as a "Warrior Life Coach" and is definitely NOT a frog boiler. I just referred him to another Veteran and called him this, so it somewhat stuck in my mind. I received his very polite, interesting email and just about deleted it because I made my decision about adding advertisements that morning...but I kept reading. I am not getting paid for advertisement, really have no idea what a Life Coach does if you asked me (you will just have to ask him) nor do I know of anyone who has used him.....However, he is also a blogger and his writing just really appealed to me. I included him on my blog as you can see to the left hand side with his picture and link and on my blog roll. 

Beau has written some interesting posts but none so much that made me think like his "Observations on Boiling Frogs" and there are two parts. I am going to let you read these posts yourself so I won't spoil it and you can get your own opinion but there were some things that he referenced to such as PTSD being an "Adrenaline Addiction"....I have never heard that analogy before but it really rang some bells here with the Mistress. I deal with such addiction on a daily basis with my Veteran. I like the fact he is not so over the top, a veteran himself so he has that "I've been there" perspective and his writing is just a little different. I think you would sincerely appreciate his analogies, his experience and his interesting subjects. I don't follow too many male Veteran blogs other than the Jolly Roger, (Who's latest ode to Dr. Seuss post is fantastic) so it has to hold this gal's interest before I will add. Anyone's blog who keeps Uncle Sam's Mistress interested and wanting to see what you come up with next, is a keeper in my book and worth sharing! So if you get a chance, head on over to Beau's site,check his blog out and let him know that Uncle Sam's Mistress sent you. Who knows...maybe you can come back if you choose to use his services and fill me in on what his business is about! 

I encourage anyone who feels the need to write to blog. Even if you don't write or have in the it anyway for no one but yourself. It's a great way to relieve stress, is self helping and an opportunity to meet some fantastic people. It's amazing to write for months on end, then actually meet some of these people in person. I think you get to know someone more through the way they write than if they did living next door to you. Also, for those of you who are would be surprised to see how much you have grown, how much has changed, and its a living documentary of Living with PTSD. Even now while filling out Social Security, I use some posts as references to remind myself. Thank you to all who have written in and hope that you understand why some I had to turn down many of the offers. For those who want to pursue blogging....go get 'em! I bet you will surprise yourself!

 No Actual Frogs Were Harmed in the Making of This Post,

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Great Escape At A Snail's Pace

Well, we made it through our first weekend pass from the PTSD Rehabilitation center and I have to say went pretty good. I know much of it was because we haven't seen each other in two weeks and we haven't been separated since deployment for more than just a couple of days. I had some sincere and justified concerns about him being able to come home so soon, but they were really somewhat unnecessary. I mean, we have been through so much much worse could it get?  Yet, past experiences seem to weigh me down and well, I pretty much expected the worst and hoped for the best. My husband didn't come in til late Friday night since they can't leave until after 4 so really we just had all day Saturday and part of Sunday to spend together. For a belated wedding anniversary, my husband wanted to take me out to dinner which was a shocker in itself. We really couldn't afford to eat out but sometimes you just got to say "what the heck" and do it. After a few things around the house to knock off some "honey do" things, we went to dinner early.

I learned that by going at an earlier time, say around 4 p.m. to such crowded more popular restaurants, you will hit the "senior" crowd which is really quiet. Often times, the loudness combined with the crowds means no dinner for us! On the way there, my husband was telling me a tip he learned from someone there in rehab and how we just needed to ask for a seat against the wall. Hate to say it Readers, but I couldn't believe how simple the idea was, it definitely made sense...and how dumb I felt over the fact that it just never crossed my mind!

When we went in, I asked the hostess to please sit us at a table where my husband's back could be against the wall facing outward with no one behind. She looked at me like I just told her I had landed and wanted to abduct everyone that was inside to take back to Mars! She looked at the other hostess who had the "deer caught in the headlight" and "we are going to get robbed" look but they managed to quickly figure I wasn't going to take no for an answer. I explained my husband was a disabled Iraq Veteran and he doesn't feel comfortable with people behind him...she had this immediate look like Ohhhh ooook! It wasn't five minutes, they had us in the quietest, far back booth with a seat against a wall. Our waitress was very sweet and wanted to make sure that this placement was acceptable and my husband said it was just perfect. She said "Good. I also want to say thank you sir for your service." which was kind of nice to hear.

I have to say by using this tip, it really made a HUGE difference. It was the first time in going on five years, that we a. got to eat our meal, b. didn't leave cussing and yelling at one another with me in tears, and c. we enjoyed each others company. I noticed that although nervous, he wasn't scanning the area or constantly turning around or acting jumpy. I made sure that when we left, that I stopped to tell the hostess how much we appreciated her doing that for us and she said it was an honor.

Throughout dinner, we caught each other up on home stuff and rehab stuff which was interesting. I enjoyed hearing about his new friends and some of the things he wanted to try and work on while there. I did notice though he came home with slight tremors that have me slightly concerned and just have recently showed up. The severity of them come and go, which really bugs me. I was so concerned that even with the smaller and quieter patrons there....maybe it was really upsetting him to be there. He said he was fine, but I just didn't believe him. He was nervous, but he told me he had the tremors since he has been there at the Rehab program. I do know they placed him on another medication just for nightmares and rearranged his others. We are hoping that this nervous tremble in his hands are just side effects from these changes. I also noticed the jumping of his legs, like constantly. At times during dinner, the nervous up and down jumping was making the table shake slightly. Not really sure what that was, but maybe it was a coping mechanism for the extreme nervousness he was experiencing? Or maybe it was just the side effects of the meds he was on. I worry a little because the nightmares have returned with severity, but I am sure its because he is having to face all of the hidden stuff once more.

We went to a couple of craft stores in search of the "dying art" of model car kits for him. Volunteer services at the VA didn't have very much and this keeps my husband busy. I also read somewhere that such items were really good for TBI sufferers. We really couldn't afford the two that we bought, but if its good for him then it's worth cutting back on something else. There with the crowds, coupled with the fact of not finding what he was looking for....the PTSD beast reared his ugly head a few times. I will say though, after his "moments"....he looked at me and said " I'm trying...I really am.". I wasn't really shocked because I had been mentally awaiting the beast with my numbing armor on, but was overly surprised that he noticed himself which is something he hasn't really fully admitted in the past. I also suddenly didn't feel angry or hurt...but felt more sorry for him. I knew he was trying, and really hard.....but I think no matter how hard they try, PTSD will always be there overcoming even their best efforts.

So during the evening, we just chit chatted and a few things came up. One of those was his "adrenaline" rushes in the forms of cheating, having emotional affairs, and drinking vs finding new outlets he is learning for finding the same thing in such activities like the kayaking . I am not sure how we came across the sore subjects but I felt during this "open and honest" time, I needed some answers to questions that have literally been eating me inside out.

My husband revealed that he never slept with this other woman he had been talking back and forth to recently and nothing was ever said of anything more than friendship. It wasn't that he needed her, or even that he wanted her...he just said it wasn't him at all. It was like another person doing it, and he wasn't aware of it. He told me he thought that maybe he was simply punishing himself but is learning through therapy its not only hurting him, but me. Not sure what to believe on that since infidelity was a HUGE issue when he came home. I will have to chew on that some more I think. Surprising enough, I never really concerned myself with the drinking (as in it to the point of being an alcoholic) or the possibility of using drugs because I can't even get him to take Tylenol for a headache or seen him drink more than one beer or so. Now he had a few times where he came home three sheets to the wind, so I asked him about it. Did you ever drink more than you let on other than the times you came home stinking drunk? "yes, and more than what you thought....I just hid it very well.". I was kind of taken back.....I mean, here I am thinking I know everything about my husband and somehow missed all the drinking and the hiding it? Had my husband become an accomplished liar after war? Or did I just subconsciously ignore the signs?

I felt better knowing some answers strangely enough even though it was me who felt on the defensive and not really wanting to "go there" but it just happened. It was easier mostly because he told me in a calm manner and seemed to really be honest about all even if it did hurt a little. It was actually nice to kind of talk about such issues without him completely shutting down on me and giving me this blank look, or screaming and automatically switching between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

We didn't talk about much of the program mostly because he can't and I am not going to ask. I figure if he wants to discuss something, then he will. He did say it was a hell of a week and that the nights he called and poured the proverbial shit pot all over me....he was really using me as the usual "scape goat". I was a little bothered by this, but appreciated his honesty and while I don't know what all he is going through there.....I could feel that raw hurt and open wounds he was enduring while sitting across from him. This weekend it was like a light went on inside of me, allowing myself to accept that often times his "dumping" methods really had nothing to do with me at all....I was simply an escape route away from everything that bothered him and while that's often times the root of all our somehow made me feel better because, wasn't me. He is facing many demons on the inside, and it's just easier to take it out on me because I am physically in front of him. Is it acceptable? Absolutely not, and this is one thing he is going to have to learn how to cope with because I can't always be there to accept the blame or be the escape route from the pain. Hell, that's the reason my self-confidence and esteem are so low, so something has to change in that.

The only issues I noticed while here at home is of course, when the little ones got too noisy or fussy. I did caution him before he came home that they had been sick with strep all week, so still not feeling up to their normal selves.....I was concerned that since daddy had been gone, the kids would be a little on the hyped up side which they were. I did notice the antsy, jerky movements and the slight irritation coming on, but I figure as long as he is not throwing furniture or trying to kill was all good. Saturday night he started to get back to the "pod" person with the snappy comments and pissed off looks which I understood because I was feeling the same stress from the kids. I have found that living with PTSD has dramatically changed my patience, my temper and mostly....just because I know how it sets him off. I can't stand when someone makes a loud noise or drops something as I often will jump and be startled, then immediately cap my hands over my ass waiting for my husband to blow. After a while, it becomes more than just walking on eggshells as the spouse of a PTSD almost becomes a high wire walking act. After a while of the kids bickering and fighting to get them to bed....he started finding little things to fuss about. One of those being the idea of buying a new kitchen table and chairs. Well yes, its been a couple of weeks but we don't have the money to do so. Although slightly disappointed that the good mood had left, I understood what he was saying about that because it is a reminder of the day his bottom fell out. I feel that way every single time I walk into our home or that's a constant sore festering here. I promised I would start looking for something on craigslist or yard sales.

The hardest part sometimes is juggling your wallet with their PTSD. Not only are you sometimes dealing with all the issues of PTSD but the side issues, such as spending without telling you...or purchasing items that are detrimental like alcohol, drugs etc. While you can get those under control after a period of time and with help, I realized this will always be dealing with the "great escape".  This is what I call the sudden onsets of spending money to find an escape from what's eating at them or bothering them at the time. It's like the kitchen table and chairs he destroyed when his "bottom fell out"'s so easy to demand "I want one now, now, now! It's a reminder, it's won't go away" or "I have to have this particular item" and they will really give you this explanation of how it soothes them, or makes them feel better....It's a simple quick fix/escape to get out of a bad situation for them.  However, I have found that often times this puts more shit on us and stress. I wanted to say out loud that "yes I know it's a reminder but even with a set replacing it...that memory is always going to be with me" but I didn't. I am glad he has taken an interest in the model cars, but he is almost to the point of fixated on it and lord have mercy, some of these can be very very expensive! We simply just can't afford it and there I go right back into the "mean authoritative dictator" position I always seem to fill when common sense and saying no to him comes into play.

Overall, it wasn't bad. I can say the weekend pass sex was incredible. Or as we jokingly called it our "Rehab Conjugal Visit" Ok....that was probably too much information but hey, that's a huge part of complaints with our Veterans! It wasn't so much the sex as the attention he gave me and even more so the fact that we didn't have any issues this go around. We had fought so much before the admission date came around so sex was absolutely out of the question, especially since I was so angry and hurt. Prior to that, it was another excuse of the medicines, or the fact he would push me away. I know the bedroom will be often a hard place for us and for a variety of reasons, but it was nice to have a little bit of normalcy back in my life.

I awoke Sunday morning, got him ready to go back to KY and with a new sense of closeness. I don't know...I guess for the first time in a long time, I didn't feel like just a caregiver, but his wife as well. I felt like when he left, I had a new sense of purpose and strength. I started to second guess this program, thinking maybe it would be just another failed attempt on our part....but this weekend I did see some tiny changes and some in myself. I know this program is not going to take it all away, but even at a snail's pace, there are a few small things that have come out of it and I consider that a big victory. I figure if he can learn how to use some coping skills, learn to control some of the anger and redirect some frustration and consider his family through all of that....then I can honestly say that I am happy he went. I guess anything more from this program, will just be extras.

Slowly But Surely,

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 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 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 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 day without my ass being chewed out or feeling 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 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 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 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 was 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'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~