On National PTSD Day, someone asked me, "Wow, how do you handle being the wife of someone with Combat PTSD every single day without help?"
To be frankly honest, after doing it for 6 years, that's the easiest part of my day!
I get up in the morning and am instantly a mom to our 7 year old son and our 3 dogs. I check to make sure Prince Charming's phone is on the charger, his wallet where I can find it later (without moving it) and his keys in their home along with his glasses. I take care of the house and manage all those "housewife" details I loathe to complete with every waking moment praying for the day I can afford for someone to do it for me. I stink at keeping house. I'm trying - it's a work in progress.
Meanwhile, while I'm juggling life, Prince Charming is slumbering away because he works nights. Lucky him. :)
Mid day I serve lunch, educate my son because we homeschool, and try to get a breath of fresh air while still trying to take care of the house. I make sure we address midday prayers, prep for school for next week, and try to figure out precisely what goo is stuck to my wood floor today.
Sometime in the mid-afternoon Prince Charming wakes up and I have the chance to give him a hug and tell him I love him. He goes out to the garage or down to the basement to work on whatever project his brain is wrapped up in this week.
I mop the floors, scrub the wash, battle soap scum and grime. I grade papers, play fetch with the puppy until my arm falls off (Who wanted a Retriever?? Oh yeah - me.). I thaw whatever we need for dinner, grade some papers, and make a science project in my kitchen.
He takes out his frustrations of PTSD, TBI, and general life issues on whatever he's working on be it one of our vehicles or some other creation he's attempting to keep running this week.
I make dinner, feed everyone, clean up after dinner, and get the leftovers in the fridge. I clean the kitchen, throw the dishes in one washer and the clothes in the other - with any luck in the correct one for the type - and try to shine my sink with FlyLady guilt.
He sits and watches MythBusters with our son.
I go downstairs, get him clean clothes for work, bring them up, make sure everything's ready for him to go to work (cell phone charged, etc.) and tell him when it's time for him to get ready. Once he leaves I quickly vacuum and handle any bedroom and bathroom cleaning since they're next door to each other. Then I get our son ready for bed, read classics, and sing lullabies. More prayer time. Off to bed the little guy goes.
I stay up late for him to call when things aren't going right at work while handling your lovely emails and FB needs. I plan next week's radio show and work on new articles for FOV. I research, I make Power Point presentations, I drink a LOT of coffee.
Eventually around 2-3 AM I go to bed and start my prayers and night time reading. This takes about an hour. I wake up at 8 to start it all over again.
The keen PTSD/TBI wife sees the reality in the above.
Juggling PTSD/TBI in your household isn't something you can stop your life for. You fit it into your day. You make it PART of your day.
I check his phone and find his stuff in the morning because I KNOW later he will ask me where it is. If I check, I know. I don't have to spend 15 minutes looking for it when he needs it in 3 minutes or he'll be late for work.
I wait to do loud cleaning until he's gone so it doesn't agitate his TBI and cause a headache making work impossible. If I want to get sleep, HE needs to get sleep and have a peaceful time at home.
When he wakes up, he's free to go out and work on projects or do what he needs to do - not what I need him to do. If he wants to help he'll stay local - but it's not a mandatory thing. The less I push, the more often he IS available.
His "quality time" with our son is watching tv. That's OKAY. It's better than no time at all.
One of the biggest keys to making PTSD and TBI work is to WORK AROUND it. Stop trying to make him fit the mold and fit the mold around HIM. It really does make life so much easier.