Monday, July 16, 2012

Not Just Army Strong...FAMILY Strong

My husband served in Iraq with an Army Cavalry Scout unit from October 2006-Oct. 2007, stationed at Camp Spiecher. While he was stationed there, his brother was with an Infantry Army unit stationed
in Baghdad. It was very hard going through our first deployment...all the "what if's"...all the sleepless nights...all the sadness and heartache...all the stress. It was even harder because our daughter was only 4 years old at the time, I was in college full time working on my second college degree, while working part time as a nurse. I tried to stay busy with school, work, our daughter, volunteering with her preschool, and running my own non-profit program that I started during his deployment. I
have worked as a psychiatric nurse for most of my nursing career, and I was trained in PTSD. Even though I was trained and made sure that I had plenty of research completed on PTSD before my husband arrived home and though I was already expecting him to have PTSD, nothing could have prepared me or our daughter for what was to come.

My husband came home from Iraq in October 2007, but he never came home completely. I often said that my husband died in Iraq, and the Army sent home a stranger for me to learn to love. He was a complete stranger. Everything about him changed. PTSD changed his life and our lives forever.
We grew apart. Our marriage was being destroyed by this evil monster known as PTSD. The little bit of help we were able to get didn't do anything for us because the most evil part of PTSD is how it makes the Soldier feel like nothing is wrong with him or her, and most Soldiers do not think they
need help. This was the way my husband was for a long time. Five years later, my husband has been redeployed to Afghanistan. These past five years have been a constant roller coaster ride...five years of not knowing what would happen next or what would set him off. Divorce has come up many times. Sometimes I feel like I want to throw in the towel, but then I remind myself of our wedding vows and what I promised...in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, in good and
bad times. Those three statements make me hold on when I want to let go. My husband and I are finally getting to the point where I think we may make it through all this. He is finally starting to realize what has been going on these past five years and has finally decided that he doesn't want our past to define our future. He has plans in mind of getting the help he needs, when he returns from Afghanistan. His plan is to do whatever it takes to make sure that this time around...he doesn't lose us to his PTSD...like he has in the past.

Submitted by Jami VB

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