Wednesday, April 21, 2010

getting acquainted to the new man

I haven't been writing anything lately because I think deep down I've been waiting for something to happen. For him to get better or worse I suppose. But the scariest thing I've started to realize is that this man he is now is who will be by my side for a long time. That man I kissed goodbye and sent off to Iraq is really gone. Now of course he still has so many of the traits I loved and still do love about him, but I hope that some of those other spouses out there know what I mean that my husband is a different man and changed for good. The isolation of the PTSD has left me with very few supports that I can talk to about this and zero military wives going through the same thing since I respect that my husband avoids the entire military community and wants nothing to do with anyone that isn't getting him out of the military. The few spouse friends I have locally don't know the dirt b/c my man doesn't want their military affiliated husbands in on it which is a reasonable request as he is higher ranking. I just find myself wishing for some veteran's wives whose husbands don't all know each other to magically find me and invite me to their imaginary group across the street to let me know how these next 20-30-40 years are going to go now that PTSD is a third wheel in our marriage.

Things were going better when we had full tricare benefits for those first 6 months after the deployment and he could be seen at the local post by a great therapist on a weekly basis. But now the VA system has only been able to guarantee appointments every 6 weeks and maybe there is potential for a PTSD weekly group. But so far my hubs has not seemed to be a group therapy type of guy so I'm not going to count on that. There's potential for the VA to provide financial reimbursement to see an outside provider if it's determined he needs more care than they can give him (which is clearly the case) but so far my husband has not been interested in pursuing this option despite my encouragement that it would greatly help. So for now I'm just waiting in hopes that he will realize on his own that he needs more help than an hour every six weeks like he did before when he asked for more help.

*sigh* I'm exhausted.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rating Decision

Yesterday my husband's packet finally arrived from the VA. It was decided he has service connected PTSD at 50%. While this is not unexpected news, I think it changed the mood around here a little bit. Like that packet smacked us in the face and said "this is for real now, it's going to be long-term, and the last few months of hardship was just practice for the long road ahead." Things definitely have improved since the beginning of all this but it's still a complete lifestyle change. I think I'm going to marinate in all of this for a little while and post my thoughts when I've figured out what exactly IS going through my head about all of this...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl...

Oh, this week certainly has been interesting. We've really been working on "us" primarily and went out on a few special dates. One night we went to a concert and another night went snow tubing in the FREEZING COLD. (I HATE being cold but it was still a nice date). We had some really great days together, snuggling and talking and just plain being happy together. Good times.

Then I thought I was pregnant.

So much so that I actually took an at-home test. I've never thought I could be so much that I've wanted to test. Maybe just felt a little uncertainty waiting for my next period to come a few times. But anyway, it was negative, and while relieved since we live in a tiny apartment and are both unemployed searching for jobs, I was still disappointed. Although financially we are not in a position to have a baby, I have been ready emotionally,mentally for our family to grow for some time now. So I was a little upset about it, he was flat and emotionless about it, it bothered me, and I stirred the pot. So the last couple days were rough. So much that one night he almost spent the night on the couch. That is very unusual for us, we have not spent a night in separate beds as long as he is home with me. But I convinced him to come back and we're slowly trying to get back to the place we were a few days ago. All of this though, is another reason why it's not a great time for a baby.

But I think most of the disappointment after the test stems from the place we are at in life right now and how different it is than what I expected. I went to grad school we the hubs was in Iraq and finished up a couple months ago (Master's in Social Work). I thought when graduation time came around we'd be getting ready to move to wherever he found a great job that he loves (he holds a Bachelor's degree in Biology) and I'd be job searching wherever that place was for my own career, next would be buying a house, buying a dog, and making all the babies! Instead, he has been unemployed for 5 months now and been rejected for a pile of jobs. He also isn't drilling with his unit currently because of PTSD. I've been searching like crazy for a job now to start this process from my end instead but it's no surprise that the economy is crap right now. We've been working with our counselor to not focus on the process and enjoy what we have right now (hence the unusual dates). I mean, it's pretty awesome to just hang out all day with the guy I love and not have to go to work or change diapers or any grown up stuff :) But I'm getting tired of it. I've been tired of it for a few months now and it puts more stress on our relationship. I really do need to find more ways to enjoy it though, who knows how long this will take...

That is my goal today, blogger. The hubs is still sleeping now but when he gets up we will start this day fresh together and I will look for enjoyment in this life style that we will probably never have again the day one of gets that dream job we're searching for!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day

Haven't had the hubs here with me the last few years for Valentine's Day so it's not really a big holiday for us. Made cards for each other to exchange which I very much enjoyed and will be making a yearly tradition. We did a dinner and a movie date yesterday to avoid the crowds and saw "Valentine's Day" which was very sweet and I highly recommend. I especially enjoyed the ending =)

Today we had some very serious conversation about the roller coaster our relationship has been on lately. After some tears and uncertainty we resolved that we are both completely committed to the other and agreed to work very hard. It has been so difficult the last couple of months feeling so disconnected from each other. I get so easily frustrated when he appears so flat while I'm pouring my heart out. I forget that inside of him is a nightmare of waiting for bombs to explode or guns to be fired. He is so physically exhausted most of the time, the result of being hyper-vigilant all day and night. I crave more emotion from him. My goal is to appreciate what he can give me when he can give it and remember the rest of the time how much he cares about me and pull myself up. He promises to try and give me more communication and warmth as well from his end. Since we really stated to address the problems a couple weeks ago, a lot has been said that needed to be said. I do think we can see that light at the end of this long dark tunnel we've been lost in.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Smiles, keep 'em coming!

The last few days have been terrible. Lots of dealings with military related people/paperwork/places = anxiety attacks and detachment. But today he has been smiling all day. *sigh of relief* The romance and affection that have been slipping away was much more natural today and that gives me strength to make it though the next batch of difficult symptoms. I've been learning more and more to start every day fresh and really latch on and enjoy it when it's a good one.

After some difficult conversations SR surprised me and went running for the first time since his deployment. He loves running and he hasn't had one once of motivation to run since he left Iraq almost six months ago. Even while he was in country, it was an outlet and he inspired others to join him running for organized causes and events (LA marathon/breast cancer awareness/father's day appreciation). He said he wanted to show me that he's committed to getting through this terrible disability. It meant so much. Hopefully he will start to run for himself and not to "show me" but I won't push him into anything he isn't ready for yet. It was three days ago and he hasn't run since but it doesn't even matter. He proved to himself he hasn't given up. For our relationship that motivates me to step back and remind myself not to hold his hand through everything. go go supportive wife, NOT nursemaid!

In other news, his counselor tossed around the idea of intensive outpatient treatment versus his current once a week counseling. We'll see what happens. Hubby isn't too into the suggestion at the moment. He's struggling with the idea of people identifying him by his disability lately and to him this is one of those times.

But for now I will just delight in the smiles of today and sleep easy for once... of course only until I am awaken to be asked if I also heard the explosions or just to be told about a nightmare so that he can get it out of his mind :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Basics

I have known my husband for four years and we have been married for over one year. We currently live in a small town and have no children or pets (yet). My husband (SR) served three years active duty time then joined the Guard after finishing college. SR proposed to me a little less than a month before his deployment and we were married six days later in front of 18 friends and family. It is still the most beautiful wedding I have ever been too. We squeezed in a honeymoon and SR left soon after that and we made it through a year long deployment, coming out stronger than when we went in. Even before he came home though he was clearly depressed and hating all things "military." I supported him and he sought minimal help in country based on the time he had to spare but really just couldn't wait for it to all be over and get back home to me.

Now home for several months, he has been going to treatment, med management and especially weekly counseling. He has been diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, and depression by four professionals and we are working with the VA on C&P to see what will happen next.

In the beginning, his PTSD was manageable but now it has been affecting our relationship. We are strong and loving and committed but our marriage is tested on a daily basis as I continue to exhaust from slipping more and more into the role of caregiver and less and less into the role of wife. I am confident we will overcome this as we have many other obstacles but in the mean time I will confide in you, blogger, to vent and just to keep track of this crazy new life.