Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving -Taking time to be thankful... even when thankful is a challenge!

So, this time of year in our household (as many of you who regularly read the blog already know) is a "bad" PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) time.  We just kind of bare knuckle it from the beginning of September until the middle of January.  There are endless nights of nightmares... days of edginess... a general sense of unease that seems to spill over onto everything about our lives.  We're all (to put it mildly) crabby!

To be honest (perhaps too much so?), even though I know I have a multitude of blessings (a roof over my head, food in my belly, a healthy child, a husband who came home to me from combat, family and friends who love me, freedom to worship a God I love thanks to men and women who are still in harms way even as I write this, etc., etc.), I sometimes find it hard to find that thankful place within me on Thanksgiving.  It's something I'm loathe to admit... but one of the "rules" at FOV is we're honest... even when what we're saying may not even be something we particularly like about ourselves. 

But, I also find the exercise... the challenge if you will... cathartic.

It's a chance to put behind me the swirling chaos that is my life at this time of year and focus on the many things that anchor me among that chaos.  And it frees me, if only for a short time, from the storm.  It shifts my focus.  It lightens my load.  It reminds me of how good I really DO have it (despite all of the crap that tries to get in the way of that!).

So, dear readers, today on Thanksgiving, I issue the same challenge to you! To take time to make a list of the things and people that add light and beauty to your life despite anything else that attempts to overwhelm them.

There is no doubt that life after combat can suck at times... but coping... surviving AND thriving, means fighting back.  And celebrating Thanksgiving by giving thanks is a kick "grass" way to do that!

And, in the spirit of that challenge, here is a section of my list (I won't make you read the whole thing!):

My Faith - without which my days would simply crumble
My husband - a man who despite the challenges of PTSD, TBI, and the personal costs of combat is still here beside me as my life's love

My child - a bundle of energy and love who keeps me on my toes and fills my days with wonderment

My family - who stand beside and encourage me, without whom my life as I know it would not be possible

My friends - who really have become family... sisters and brothers who may not share blood, but instead share life and laughter and love with me

My mission - the opportunity to give back to the heroes and families that I came to love as part of the military community and whom I now have the privilege and honor to continue serving, something I feel deeply called to, even when it challenges me

Happy Thanksgiving to our heroes and families everywhere!  May this post find you together, enjoying peaceful time while creating beautiful family memories.  You will be in my thoughts and prayers today (as always).  For those who are serving today in harms way, I will stop many times today to think of you and say a special prayer of thanks for you and of protection over you... both for you and for your families at home.  May God bless each of you... and may He continue to bless the land we love.

Brannan Vines
Proud wife of an OIF Veteran
Founder of - an organization dedicated to helping heroes and their loved ones survive and thrive after combat with real world info about PTSD, TBI, and more!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing ! I can relate to pretty much everything you say. Thank you also,from the bottom of my heart,for educating people about PTSD and TBI. As you know,the general public STILL doesnt understand what PTSD even is and just HOW real it is . It is an ongoing uphill battle,the symptoms of PTSD and TBI are just one thing we all thatcarefor and love a PTSD Vet are dealing with,what's even worse is the people,often times family,that just dont understand that even though a Vet LOOKS just fine he is farfrom FINE. Thank you for your hard work.You are the Angel PTSD Vets and their families needed for so long !
    May God bless you and your family.Thank you for what you do,it is greatle appreciated !
    Natasha,wife of a PTSD Vet

  2. Natasha -

    Thanks *SO* much for such kind words! You're right that there is still a lot of work for all of us to do... but the only way for it to get done is for us to stick together and keep working at it :) I'm so glad you're finding help at FOV!