Monday, April 18, 2011

Hanging by a Thread

There are days when I go to bed feeling on top of the world and as though we have accomplished and overcome so much.... Then there are days that I feel the rope is beginning to break and I am just hanging on by a thread. These days leave me in a whirlwind and always trying to calm the storm while picking up the pieces.

The past week was taken over by briefings! What a week it was, to say the least. I had to take place in the ACAP, DTAP, TAP, and VA briefings with Kevin due to him not having the memory he use to as well as him not having the patience and tolerance as he once had. Parts of the briefings were very beneficial, while others left me feeling quite restless. Yet, all of it had Kevin on edge, especially sitting around some of the soldiers in the room. There were privates that have never had to experience what so many of the other soldiers have, yet they were being chaptered out. There were the few female soldiers that tend to make all female soldiers look bad by getting pregnant or pulling the family care plan in order to avoid the upcoming deployment by getting out. There were the ones that complained about the army, yet have never seen the war because they would rather do drugs and be discharged other than serve their country as they signed their name for. Honestly, they should have the briefings in separate rooms for the ones that have experienced the war first hand and the ones that have gone to the field or less. The ones that are being discharged for medical reasons that have come from combat or are retiring had disappointment and some anger and frustration in their eyes as they sat in a room with these soldiers.

This past week has left Kevin on edge and in a "mood". I have not updated much on any sites nor have I spent anytime on the internet because I have been purely exhausted. I am tired from last week and being on the go so much. I have learned that my body still cannot handle being busy and going nonstop, which has left me a little upset and frustrated. I am tired from trying to figure out ways to make Kevin happy when he is having his "days", "moments", and "road rage".  I feel as though I am in a time that has me pulling away and searching for answers and truths. I understand why my husband is how he is now and what the war does, so I don't need anyone trying to help me grasp it all. He tells me more than he tells anyone else. I also know there is not much I can do to make the moments better, except to just be here. Last night and this morning I have felt more out of it and helpless than ever, just wanting to scream and cry. The past few days I have felt myself on edge and wanting to just breakdown into tears. Will I? Probably not. How healthy would it be for my children or Kevin to witness that? What gets me even more is when my close friends are going through something, I tend to be the one sending emails and calling or texting. When I see on fb they aren't around or don't post when they typically do, I instantly get in touch with them and find out what is going on. One person did this over the weekend... one that I have known for the past two weeks, yet in many ways feel like I have known her for so much longer. I could never express my gratitude towards this person and how much she has helped me over the past two weeks. Why is it that friends are so quick to turn or "not notice" when someone is going through something. Why is it when the optimistic one hits a rough patch she is expected to keep going with that smile and knowing that everything is going to be okay. Yes, I know it will in the end. But, right now, I feel overwhelmed and anxious. I have mixed emotions on everything and honestly, I am scared as to what the future holds for us when Kevin is out of the army. Speaking of him getting out, the VA and Fort Bliss are behind with the MEB process, so it could be as late as December before he is out. I am okay with this because I know the day of him getting out is in our near future. I also see it as anything before December is a perk and something we will gladly accept.

I wish there was a way I could make people that have never walked these steps understand. They think I should have no worries and be excited for us to no longer have to worry about deployments and him always away. I am excited over this. I am very relieved that he is not participating in NTC as I write this in preparation for this upcoming deployment. This makes three deployments in the five years that we have been here. Three!!! He should be heading out again this summer, but he's not because of the mental and physical injuries he has sustained from Iraq. I am not even sure where I have gone or am going with this post right now. I am just writing to write I suppose. There are moments that I would gladly trade places with him just to take the burden off of him for awhile.

We left here for a bit on Sunday and not even five minutes into the drive road rage showed it's ugly head! I cringe when road rage takes over and he gets angry with other drivers. Things that people vent about, yet have no compassion or understanding that he isn't driving like a jackass for no reason....Yet, how do you explain to people this is just one of 'those' things that PTSD and TBI do to a soldier. They don't care, they just say "well, he shouldn't be driving then". This road rage is a reason that we don't take our leisurely drives anymore like we use to. A few years ago we would get in the car and just drive to wherever our vehicle ended up at. We use to go out and find some really cool towns and cities, get out walk around and explore. I remember in Germany, we would do this every weekend when the weather was nice. We would even take a picnic with us and stop off somewhere with an amazing view and just relax. Now, this rarely happens. When it does, within minutes of being on the road his mood changes. It's like a light switch at times. The same thing happens when we go to the store. Even when he wants to go to pick up a few things. Within a matter of minutes he is frustrated and angry from all the people. In the end, I feel helpless.

Maybe from all of this I am just down because even when his mood perks up I am expected to present myself full of smiles and laughter, when at times I just want to crawl in a hole and cry because I can't always hide myself behind a smile. This time is one of those times. I can't just smile and pretend I am not upset. Instead, I have been keeping to myself since last night. I asked him a question and he sounded irritated in his answer, so I just walked out of the room. I climbed into bed and just layed there. At one point he did ask me if I was going to sleep, feeling pretty groggy I think I told him "probably". However, I am not too sure. This morning once we were both up, we didn't even hold a conversation, not because either of us are angry or upset with each other, but because he is not a morning person and even though I am I had nothing to say. When he left we did tell each other that we love one another....but, that is it.

So, maybe my feelings and 'mood' right now stems from this past week and maybe I feel upset and helpless because I know I can't take this away from him, I can't make his experiences better. All I can do is keep going. I can keep pushing and remain positive with everything in life. At the same time, maybe just for today, I can stay in this mood and just ride it out. I can continue being my chipper self tomorrow or this afternoon. Right now, I just want to sort through my own feelings...especially when I know he has to pull a 24 hour duty today and I have time to get over whatever it is that I am feeling and going through.

Just for today, I will do what I can and accomplish what I can. I will not lose my faith or get lost in this day of helplessness. As always, I will see the brighter side of things and make the most and best in all that I do and am faced with. However, today, I am not going to push myself to anymore than I mentally and physically can. I know all these emotions are only from Kevin and all that we face together, some have to do with my health issues. The health issues are also getting to me and building up. Especially when I hear that someone else is pregnant or that someone is not cherishing their pregnancy or enjoying their baby. My health issues are getting to me because I am no longer the person that I use to be and am totally dependent on medications.... Enough about that. Save it for another day.

Right now, I am just going to pray and hope that as the days goes on, things get better and brighter.

~Brittney Biddle
FOV Community Blog Coordinator


  1. I dont know you, but I feel like you took the words out of my mouth. You are not alone, even though I KNOW you feel like way at times. I know I do. My husband was injured in Iraq on his 3rd deployment. TBI PTSD, neck and back surgery last year, and ankle knee and shoulder sugary in the near future. He signed a waiver to go to Afghan in 08. That washis LAST deployment. He is now in the WTU having his surgeries, and MEB is in our near future. It has all brought me to my lowest point mentally, so my heart goes out to you, as I know the hell you live in. I read your blog out loud to my husband and cried through he whole thing. It's all so familiar. We are stationed @ Ft. Campbell. I will pray for you and if you want you can look me up on FB. My name is Natalie Cawthon Lloyd.

  2. Thank you for reading and thank you for your comment! You are right, there are times that I do feel alone. This life takes so much out of us as spouses and families of combat vets. My husband is currently going through the MEB process. They started it so quickly that he was not able to fall into the WTU. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers. I can never put into words what it means to me. The same goes for you, I am praying as well for you and your family!

  3. Sounds like my life on a daily basis..the extreme highs and the extreme lows...somedays I want to run away from this life but I stick it out and keep going because I love my husband...I keep hoping that someday things will get better..til then its nice to know that I'm not alone...

  4. Keep your faith and always know that you are never alone! We are all in this together. We all keep pushing and find a strength in us that we never knew existed. Let the good times overpower the bad.

  5. I am having one of those days, right now! It seems like you just told my story. My husband has mTBI which may be upgraded to moderate and severe PTSD, combined with anxiety/depression, I swear it is contagious some days! I miss my greatest champion and supporter, my husband! There are days where my ambiguous grief just has to win and I have to accept that I am going to be sensitive and cry and not see the light. Or that i will be angry because I am scared about his health and treatment and angry he is not yet in a place of acceptence. So, he goes to his appointments but isn't really present.
    Know that you are not alone and that it is a rational reaction to an insane reality to feel sad and hopeless sometimes. Remember to take care of yourself!!! Thank you for speaking out.

  6. You're welcome! Thank you for all that you said! You are never alone in this battle and the daily challenges that we face. Always know that. It's hard at times to face the reality that the person you married is no longer that person after war. Just take it one day at a time, or even one moment at a time. One of the worst things you can do is plan for the future and not live for today throughout this. Cry and be angry if you need to, just not towards him. They can't help the range of emotions and the roller coaster ride they put us on at times. Send me an email if you need to just to vent! It's okay to be scared and it's okay to just let it out. We can't always be the strong ones. On quite a few occasions I have broke down into tears and feel as though I am losing my faith, but somehow the strength is found and I am able to put one foot in front of the other. Hang in there and always take care of yourself!