I've covered this topic before in blog posts, but truthfully, tonight's post is more about "journaling" for me. Hope you don't mind, world...
I've lived with a hubby with PTSD (severe and chronic according to the VA) for more than four years. When you throw in traumatic brain injury (TBI) and physical issues resulting from too many close calls with explosions, life is never UNinteresting... but over the years, as my knowledge and coping skills have progressed... I have adjusted. I'm far from "normal" by most standards... but my life works.
But crap if today Mr. Hyde (aka Beastie Boy PTSD, aka the stupid illness that has transformed my once kind, doting hubby into something far from that) hasn't started to very vocally claim his prominence in our life again. PTSD is a daily part of our world... impacts when we go places... if we go places... how I react in every situation... always there nagging at the back of my mind, warning me that the smallest thing could cause an explosion... but days where it suddenly takes over every ounce of my husband (though not unexpected) are always heartbreaking.
Days like this bring up all of the emotions that are there always, lurking just below the surface. They remind me that I miss being able to trust my Love, the man I married, to be kind. I miss the simple freedom to speak my mind. I miss the security that comes from knowing, no matter what, the arms of my spouse are there waiting to shield me from the world. I miss tenderness. I miss communication. I miss peace. I miss the feeling of not being lonely.
And then, there is the anger that rises up... the anger that has no where to go... no place to explode... because the priority has to be HIM. It's a role every caretaker accepts... the role of never truly being able to be "you" with the one you care for... the fact that HIS needs, his illness, his injuries in these times outrank anything I'm feeling.
I know all of the PTSD facts in my head... all of the reasons that a brain injury further fuels his anger... but there are those vulnerable times when none of that matters. When my heart overruns my head... when emotions outweigh reason... when tears are hot in my eyes and lumpy in my throat... when the heartbreak of living with Mr. Hyde shadows over the dim memories of the real true Dr. Jeckyll... my sweet, happy, dearly romantic hubby who once carved statues for me and wrote beautiful letters of love that made me feel like the most treasured woman in the world.
I miss that man. I mourn that man. But tomorrow morning I'll wake, just as so many thousands of others living my same life will, and remind myself that I may be married to a "new" husband, but he is still the husband to whom I gave my heart almost fifteen years ago and to whom I said "I do.. promise to stand by you in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, through storms and sunshine" almost twelve years ago.
I won't let Mr. Hyde defeat me. He may knock me down sometimes, but I'll put all of my pent up anger into knocking him right back. He can't have my home. He can't have my dear hero.
So, dear friends, here's to continuing. Here's to putting one foot in front of another... taking care of ourselves while caring for our heroes... and to soldiering on.
HUGS (because I need them to!),
Proud wife of an OIF Veteran
Founder of FamilyOfaVet.com - an organization dedicated to helping heroes and their loved ones survive and thrive after combat with real world info about PTSD, TBI, and more!