Spouse and Family Support - You are Not Alone
It's Okay to Love Your Veteran
Is This You?
Drowning In PTSD,
Finding Your Lifeboat
The signs and symptoms of PTSD can be overwhelming; avoidance, combat, insomnia, blame, depression, alcohol, irritability, rage, numbness, dreams, abuse, guilt, hyper alertness, drug, nightmares, stress, shock, substance abuse, heightened sense of danger, low self-esteem, shutting down, violent outburst and the list goes on. Living with any, most or all of these can make you feel like you are drowning. You feel like you have lost control of your life. You desire a normal life. Living with PTSD day after day has left you exhausted. You have lost yourself. You are ready to run away, but you love him. How do you even begin to take control and stop drowning?
There is Hope!!
I am no longer drowning or hanging on to the edge of one of those rings that as a lifeguard I tossed out to people who were drowning. I am safely in a lifeboat with my Veteran by my side. There are days that the seas are rough. There are days that I want to throw him overboard. There are days that I am sure that he wants to throw me overboard too. There are many more days that the skies are blue, and less days they are gray.
When Spouses and Family Become Warfighters at Home - Your Field Manual
Our Veterans All have something in common. They all experienced basic training. They all got off that bus. They were issued the clothes they would need. They were trained on the weapons they would use. They were trained to perform their jobs. They were told what to expect to become Warfighters.
Unfortunately, the spouses, partners and family were not trained on what to expect when they came home. We learned as we went. We did not understand what they went through. We were not trained to recognize triggers. We were not prepared. After years we still are not. What we have learned, we have learned from trial and error
No one ever told us what PTSD is or how to be prepared for this enemy of war. No one ever told us about TBIs and how they can change our lives. We were not trained to deal with this injury of war.
Had our veteran came home with a physical injury we would have been taught how to help care for them. We would have learned how to dress wounds, deal with prosthetics, and manage their physical limitations.
We did not get that. Many of us are still trying to navigate our way through with little to no support. We rely on friends or family to help us through the tough times, but most don’t understand. We reach out to other families who are going through this, but many have become bitter and are too frustrated with their own situation to help or offer sound advice.
Many of us find that the war has come home. It is in our living rooms. It is in our bedrooms. It is in the grocery store or a restaurant. There are triggers everywhere and we often find ourselves on edge, like looking for a roadside bomb.
Our family becomes a victim of this war that we fight at home. Our relationships become victims of this war. Our children become a victim of this war. We become battle fatigued.
We need someone to help us. We need a little R & R. We need our own field manual. We need someone to listen and understand. YOU HAVE FOUND IT HERE with Loving My Veteran
This journey is not easy. There is no manual. This often makes it difficult when we try to figure out where to start. In this video Stacy DeMouth will help you find a starting place. Stacy talks about the Warfighter mindset, communication, and self-care. Are you ready to begin your journey and build a healthy, happy, loving relationship with your veteran? Watch the video and get started.
Loving My Veteran - Facebook Support Group
Loving My Veteran Facebook Support Group has over 2000 members, who believe that it is okay to love your veteran. It is a private group to share your stories, ask for advice and seek help without being judged. Our Loving My Veteran Family will lift you up and put our arms around you. We will share our experience in hopes of helping others navigate this journey.
Walking In My Shoes
Walking in My Shoes is about helping spouses, partners and family members navigate through the sometimes difficult challenges that Loving a Veteran with PTSD can pose. It is about developing a sense of community that allows caregivers to talk openly and honestly about the challenges that they face living with and loving a Veteran with PTSD. It is a place where we can come together to offer support and advice that may make the journey a little easier. There are real life stories from the families on the front lines as well as resources and tips to make the journey a little easier.
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Loving My Veteran wants you to know you are not alone. Listening to the stories of other Caregivers provides a sense of comfort, strength and courage. Caregiver Stories are real, raw, and honest. They share their pain, struggles and accomplishments so they can help others.
The pain of being the spouse or family member is real. The struggles can be painful. Loving My Veteran wants you to know that there are Victories in this journey. When we focus on our successes we see or journey in a different light.
Take Your Life and Your Relationship Back
PTSD is their disease. It is their illness, but it affects everyone. Now that you know it is not you how do you move forward in healing yourself and making your relationship work?
Learning everything you can about PTSD, using multiple, reliable sources.
Remember that PTSD does not affect everyone the same.
Find a support partner, someone that loves someone with PTSD and understands the issues that you face.
There is no cure for PTSD, but it can be managed most of the time.
There is no blanket treatment for PTSD. What works for one person may not work for another.
There may be other diagnoses that go with PTSD that may include, anxiety, depression, or traumatic brain injury.
Triggers are not the same for everyone.
Making Time for You
I know you have heard this over and over again and if you are like me you are thinking, yeah right. How am I going to find time to make time for myself? I spend every waking moment just making sure that my family is taken care of. I work, I cook dinner, I clean the house, I take care of my veteran, I make doctor appointments, I do it all. When do you expect me to make time for me?
There are 24 hours in a day. That is 1,440 minutes or 86,400 seconds. Our lives are made up of moments. Moments in time and by just carving out a few moments for us it can make all the difference in the world.
Take a step back, maybe two or three steps back and remember a time when you did something for you, something that made you happy. It could be something simple like reading a book, or writing, or a puzzle, or playing cards or a craft. The list can go on and on. This list may even take you back to a time that was before kids or even your spouse. Take a few minutes and make a list of what makes you happy.
Eating a corn dog reminds me of my childhood
Spending time with my Mom
Having conversations with my friends
Those are on my list. What is yours?
Are there moments of the day that you can do any of them? I am sure there is if you look. I have downloaded a few games on my phone that I use when I need a break from the world.
What It Was
Imagine your life with your veteran in a world without PTSD. Do you remember why you fell in love with your veteran? It is hard sometimes to even begin to imagine a life without PTSD. All the anger, rage and frustration can make you forget why you fell in love. You may find that you have even developed resentment towards them and are asking yourself why you love them. That is not an uncommon feeling and should not be thought of as a failure.
Take a few minutes and write down the things that made you fall in love in the first place. Do not include any of the negative. Make sure you include the little things they still do.
Just a Little Normal, Please
Many spouses, partners or loved ones just want a little normal in their relationship. They want to go out on a date or a family outing. Getting your veteran to go someplace as simple as the grocery store with you can be like pulling teeth. Having a simple conversation that does not turn into an episode may seem like a dream. We long for those moments of closeness and intimacy. Finding just a little normal may seem like a fairytale. It's not. The hardest part is defining normal. Normal can mean different things to different people, so you must find your normal.
List some of the normal you want in your relationship with your veteran. Make it like a wish list.
I wish we could go out to a restaurant and dine in
I wish he would hold my hand more
I wish he would spend more time with us as a family and not on his phone or playing a game
I wish my veteran….
You are well on your way to finding yourself and getting your relationship back on track. It is hard to see past the PTSD on some days. PTSD somehow manages to slip into your life and turn things upside down. It is time that you take your life back and put PTSD in its place.
Check Out Loving My Veteran Blog for even more support and stories.