I have always described my marriage as a fairy tale come true. I believed that my prince valiantly rescued me and made me his bride. We would live happily ever after. Simple, easy, right out of a fictional book. The problem was the fairy tale was mine but the story was not over. In this open book of genre filled titles, I am the narrator and reality became the author.
My prince was my high school sweetheart. We married from one day to another. I just celebrated 23 years of marriage in 2015. My husband retired in 2012 after 23 years of service to the Army. I looked forward to making some great intimate new memories with my babe. Sadly, life after retirement, seemed harder than when he was on active duty.
My fairy tale marriage would succumb to an invisible entity that slowly conjured its way into my world. It would change every aspect of happiness into a nightmare. It was clear that it was not going away. My soldier had no reason to believe it would overtake him. Little did he know that he was already under its control. It was a poison that produced anger and hatred feelings. It transformed his thoughts of worth to thoughts of despair engulfed in a darkness that had no escape. I tried to comfort him, hold him, encourage him; it was hopeless, I was losing him. I knew in my heart that my babe was still there but he was slowing fading away from me. I recalled everything I ever learned as his wife. He taught me to be independent, to be a leader, and to be soldier. My first instinct was to fight. I had to fight to get him back. How do I fight and what am I fighting?
I observed my husband, I monitored his ups and downs, I felt like a spy in search of in tell. My mind set became a field full of strategies. My defenses were on alert since I feared the enemy had infiltrated his mind. I was not going to allow it to destroy what I built as my family.
My fairy tale was under attack by something unknown but extremely powerful. I had to find out what it was that was holding my soldier captive. What was I dealing with? I had to find out what name does my enemy go by? I knew I had to get to know this poison, this monster, this disease.
My enemy is known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, aka PTSD. The saying goes, "Keep your friends close but your enemies closer." I was angry knowing I needed to have a relationship with PTSD to get my soldier back. My anger surfaced with questions of, why fight? Is he worth it? Can’t you survive without him? I am capable of surviving without him, it wouldn't be worth my time to fight. I have a life to live.
As soon as I was ready to throw the towel in, an overwhelming sense to fight stopped me. I am not a quitter. PTSD is not a quitter, either. PTSD and I had something in common beside not quitting, it was who gets to be the undeniable influence on this soldier's mind. The winner would be who wants it more? Do I? Sure, I still have MY life. I still have MY children.
My thoughts took me back to an overcast day, when I cried. I spoke my vows to my soldier, in front of my family and the Lord above witnessing this holy matrimony. I do, I do, I DO, I DO! I do want it more. Since that day it was no longer MY life, it was OUR life. We made OUR children. It was not my husband's fault that PTSD was a part of him. It was also not his fight. It was to be OUR fight. PTSD has been a very cocky, selfish, backstabbing, ungrateful pain in the @$$!
I knew PTSD and what it was doing to my husband right in front of me. The advantage was that PTSD had no idea who I was. PTSD had no in tell on my mindset, my beliefs, my values, and my capabilities. Oh, there was going to be a fight. There was going to be casualties. There was also an answer to the questions. The answer was love. I fight because I LOVE him, he is worth all my LOVE, it was his LOVE that won me over and it is his LOVE for me and our children that is the center of my life with him.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever; believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life
Through all of our obstacles, deployments, vices, disagreements, arguments, issues, heartaches, drama and mistakes, it is love that allows the crying, the healing, the forgiveness, the sacrifices to maintain and never forget the reason we fell in love.
PTSD is not going to leave my family. PTSD will be a familiar uninvited guest in our family. PTSD cannot be cured but it can be contained. I love my husband, I cherish our moments together, I stand by him and support his dreams. Every second of every minute that I quote scripture and acknowledge the love I have for my babe, I win. My fight with PTSD will have battles, they will be short lived because in the end, love conquers all, and love is what will ultimately win the war of ME vs PTSD 2001- till death do us part.
Mrs. Soldier for Life