Wednesday, September 7, 2011
And... and... and... (aka When It Rains, It Pours and How Writing Makes a Difference)
This is the time of year when my hubby's PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) gets really bad. We manage to keep our heads above water (sometimes just barely) for the rest of the year, but beginning in September each year and lasting until around the first of January, our world becomes hellish. I wish there was a way to sugar coat that, but there's not. It's "batten down the hatches and prepare for the perfect storm" time here... and oh, my goodness, it sucks.
And, we have the "bonus" this year that all of this started happening almost a month early. Can't figure out why yet... there weren't any of the normal "triggers"... yet here we sit.
And, in the last few weeks, other things and situations... from every angle and possible location... have gone haywire. Our daughter has been sick. There's a leak in our kitchen that I just can't find (and while I can't find it, it's ruining our laminate floor). My husband has fallen twice in the past few days. We have a VA-related money issue. A house-related insurance issue. Family members who have had pretty significant medical scares. Our grass looks like a jungle and there's something wrong with the lawnmower. The ice dispenser thingy on the front of our refrigerator is broken or jammed or something. And on, and on, and on. The list of things I have to "handle" is growing... while I'm feeling my own self headed towards that needy, sad, yucky place that bad PTSD times can bring out in me.
And, I have to tell you that these are the times that exquisitely... and painfully... highlight how much I miss my "first" husband... the husband I was married to before Iraq... before PTSD and TBI and canes and hospital beds. The husband who could fix anything... who was wonderfully mechanically inclined (and made up for my own severe limitations in that area). I can't add to his "plate" right now. I can't really even discuss how incredibly, monumentally overwhelmed I feel... something akin to a drowning mouse in the middle of the ocean in the path of a hurricane. Every time I start to swim a little... another stupid freaking wave crashes on top of me. I want to SCREAM, but can't. I want to have a nice long SOB, but can't. I want to THROW something... BREAK something... find someway to runaway from this feeling of suffocation.
But, I won't.
Instead, I'm writing. It may seem like a simple thing... but it's not. It's liberating - beyond anything I can describe - to just put everything out in front of me. The good, the bad, the really ugly... in black and white. Somehow it takes the sting out. It helps put things in perspective. It liberates me from some of the deep, dark places that are trying to grow within my thoughts.
This is the exact reason why most of you who have asked me for advice about coping with "Beastie Boy PTSD" (and all the crap he can bring), have heard the exact same response: DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING TO GET YOUR FEELINGS, THOUGHTS, AND EMOTIONS OUT! I never say that from the "cheap seats"... I say it because almost every caregiver I know who is truly surviving this life does that on a regular basis.
So, fellow hard-working, overwhelmed, "at the end of your rope," spouses, parents, children, and loved ones... please take my advice! Don't be scared... don't be frightened... and don't worry about what someone will think! After all, if I can bare my soul to the vastness of the internet... I have faith that you can share your secrets with (at the very least) a pen and paper.
Come on. Get started. I promise you'll feel better. (I certainly do :) ).
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!