Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Momism: Write Your Own Sequel to Life with PTSD

Do you ever find yourself reading a book and the storyline ends up going where you least expect it? You were absolutely sure the outcome was going to be a happily ever after and suddenly, a main character dies; the perfect couple breaks up; a stranger takes over your life. What happened? You either walk away more confused than ever or you get deeper into it and find yourself absorbed by the experience.

Living with PTSD sometimes ends up being a chapter in our lives. How we deal with it, whether we are the veteran, the family member or the public in general ends up being how strong and into that particular character in the book of daily life we really are.

Ten years ago, I could have never imagined the roller coaster life I have today. Even though I was a single parent in the middle of raising three children, the eldest in the Army, in many ways I felt I had a wonderful life. We were all close, none had ever been in any trouble and I was grateful every day for my three blessings. When the oldest got out, he was planning to be either a police officer or a history teacher. Today, he is a combat veteran living with a physical brain injury, epilepsy, memory loss and PTSD.

The storyline in the book of our lives took a significant plot twist we never dreamed of. Shock, denial, fear, anger, disappointment, they were all feelings we had to deal with. Our happily ever after looked like it wasn't meant to be after all.

That's when I realized: okay, so there was an unexpected ending I wasn't happy with. Fine. Then it's up to me to write the sequel and I am. I'm working with other combat veterans, I'm writing and encouraging others to seek help, I'm getting up every morning with a thankful heart that my son may have been taken over somewhat by that stranger mentioned above but he is still here when he could have so easily died that day. I'm going to make my own happily ever after out of what happened by educating the public about what PTSD and a TBI really are.

I read about Vietnam. I even have a picture of when I was about six years old with a family friend I called Uncle Willie in his uniform. But honestly? War to me were the old black and white movies my mother liked and what I was taught in history class. I never had a real clue about what combat veterans and their families dealt with because my generation didn't go to war until we had teenagers old enough to go.

I want to encourage you today, if you are living with PTSD in your home, to find support. I want to encourage you to write your own sequel to the book that was written with a plot twist you never envisioned. If your veteran is alive, be thankful. Whether you are a spouse, a parent, a sibling, a friend, you can make decisions that can aid you as you go through the part of the war that came home with your loved one. It didn't turn out the way you dreamed but it can still turn out blessed and fruitful.

Write your sequel. It can be just as good, just as inspiring, just as awesome because it is YOUR story. It is OUR story. It is our heroes' story. Personally, I have faith we can make the sequels just as good as the originals, especially when we have the love and support of others who are experiencing the same storyline. Contact us here at FOV or email me at and we will help you realize you are not alone.

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