When we first met, 12 years ago, he was the most loving ,caring, most affectionate man you can imagine.I had never met a man like him before and I was so blown away and so in love. It all changed 10 years ago, with his return from Iraq. He was a different man. A quiet one, a "pulled back" one in a way.He wasn't affectionate , caring, nor loving anymore. Even so he told me he loved me , something was off, something was missing. The VA put him on medication and diagnosed him with "Major Depression" . The first round of medications made it worse. He was always sleeping or in a fog like state. He hated it and stopped his meds, turned to "self medication" , first alcohol, later Marijuana. I hated when he drank because he became even more depressed, even more unpredictable. He decided to stop drinking and did and I was proud of him. Then he started to smoke Marijuana. I hated that too because I was always worried about my children but he never smoked it around me or the kids and he slept without night terrors, he ate. For the first time in a year he ate more then a toddler would. In a way I accepted it and thought if it makes things just a little better and as long as he doesn't do it around us then maybe , just maybe we can pull through it. This lasted for a little while until he decided again, he needed to stop it. I was proud , am even still proud of him today for stopping. It came back with a vengeance. He stopped eating again and the night terrors returned but his goal was to be "free" of medication, "free" of alcohol and drugs. He wanted a job, wanted to work, support his family and he knew deep inside he couldn't do it while on drugs and alcohol. He found a job he loved and wanted to make it a courier and for many years after this was his "new addiction". Work , work , work, 60,70 and even 80 hrs a week he would work. He was never around and often I felt like being a single Mom since all he did was work. It being a salary position, it didn't make a difference how many hours he spend there. I hated it , I missed him. He was never around. I always was faced with struggles by myself. I missed him so much but again, I thought if it makes things easier, if we fight less, if he can function this way then I should be grateful and happy. For a while , he switched between companies. 3 different companies, always the same job but he seemed "ok", functioning. 3 years ago, he lost his job due to cuts and he fell in a whole. The one thing that kept his mind going , that kept him functioning, that kept the nightmares, the struggles at bay, returned - the evil beast was back.
At first I thought we could use this time to grow back together as a family, get to know one another again but oh was I wrong. By now we learned he didn't have just "major depression"but also severe PTSD . PTSD settled over us like a dark cloud. He started "living in" his computer. Everything and anything was about that computer. He would talk to strangers more then he would talk to us. He never got into computer games but got caught into network marketing. Talking to people all over the world, signing up to sell products no one really wanted. We fought all the time over money that was spend for these products, the time he spend on the computer, the time he spend talking to strangers instead to me. It was the worst time. He was here but he was so so far away. The daily basics,such as showers, eating, drinking, brushing teeth, etc. became unnecessary to him. I tried so hard to get him to the VA, get him help, get us help but he blocked everything. He swore he can do it on his own.He kept telling me how there are guys out there who are worse off then him and how they need help from the VA but how he doesn't need it. About a year and a half went by before he started a "normal" job and started working for the post office as a mail carrier. I thought it would make things better, get him away from the computer, away from network marketing , away from all these strangers who became closer to him then I was , then the children were. I was wrong, things got worse.While out on the street each and every day, different things started triggering his PTSD even more. He turned into the person textbooks on PTSD must have been written on. Everything you ever have read about PTSD - it was him. From Anxiety and panic attacks to the return of the night terrors , the screaming , the hiding in the closets and under tables , it was all there. It got as far as him calling me one day to scream at me to help him get through one of his anxiety / panic attacks , screaming how he was ready to kill someone because of a gesture they made , another time he called and said they are blowing me up. At the end of 2013 , I finally had him convinced to see our doctor. Not a VA doctor but a private doctor to get some help. Another round of medications were started then and it seemed to help some. Having a doctor who also is a Veteran, served in Afghanistan finally opened my husband up. Not completely but enough to understand it wasn't his fault, it wasn't him doing this but the beast finally officially had the name of PTSD. For over 10 years , we battled, fought, learned through online information that it was PTSD but now we had a official diagnosis. Finally he got help. Anti depressant medication, sleep aid and counseling with the VA , I thought we are on the up. However , he kept on living in his computer. 8 month later, we are ones again faced with unemployment. By now the count is 7 years, 6 different jobs. I would love to tell you more about how and why he lost his last position but at the current time I can't . I may at a later time when a variety of things are settled there.
He found work again and I am proud of him and oh so happy for him because it was the one job after his military time that he loved and enjoyed. The one he used o work 60-80 hrs a week in but this time it came with a restriction. 48 hrs per week and so much more happened just in the last few weeks since he started this job. He is FINALLY home again. He doesn't live in the computer no more, he works his 48 hrs per week , he is happy, he interacts with the kids, he talks to me.After a long close to 11 years since he left for Iraq, I feel like my loving , caring and affectionate husband who I have loved and fought for, for all these years, the man I missed and mourned the loss of , finally returned. He takes time to sit and talk, is being the most affectionate, most loving and caring man again.
However, even while writing this , I am afraid. I am so afraid to lose this again. I am afraid that it is just going to be a small time , a opening in our dark clouds to let the sunshine in and the dark clouds will return. PTSD " THE BEAST" is luring in the back ground , waiting to strike again. In my opinion that is one of the worst things about PTSD, you can have really good days , great days even but in a split second, everything can be gone. I am grateful for each great day but always on the look out and always have my guards up for the beast to return.
= never give up fighting, always will love him =