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The true meaning of Memorial Day

I have to tell you what happened yesterday! Craig was watching videos online where people were asking others what they were doing for Memorial Day and in these recorded interviews they were misleading people to what the meaning of Memorial Day is, on purpose, trying to find out how many people actually know the true meaning of Memorial Day.

I was in TOTAL SHOCK at how many Americans, of all generations, do NOT know the true meaning of Memorial Day! So if you want to pass the following along, you are more then welcome to… Memorial Day is a day that EVERYONE should understand the meaning of!

Memorial Day

Many know this as a long weekend, a chance to take a short vacation, time for parties and/or family gatherings, a time to start the grill and have a cookout, time to hit the lake or beaches. It is a start to summer time. However, what is the TRUE meaning of and for Memorial Day?

Let us not forget…

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday, it started as being known as “Decoration Day” at the end of the Civil War to honor and commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who lost their lives in the Civil War. It was a time when ladies placed decorations/flowers on the graves of the fallen, a tradition which carries on today.

Today, Memorial Day honors and remembers all of those fallen during military service, man and woman. It’s a time of remembrance and a time of respect to all of those who gave their lives for us.

As you honor this time this weekend, please don’t forget the true meaning of this day. If you fly a flag in honor of this time on Memorial Day, please remember to fly it at half-staff until noon, then raise it back to the top for the remainder of the day.

Memorial Day can be a difficult time for veterans, military, and loved ones. Please keep that in mind if you are celebrating this weekend. If you know of a veteran that is alone this weekend, take a little of your time and visit with them, many of them have lost a battle buddy or a loved one who served and did not come home.

To those that know someone or have a loved one who suffers from #PTSD, here are a few things to remember and/or things that can help through this time…

* Remember that many suffer from survivor’s guilt. This can make this time a very difficult one for them, even more then normal.

* Don’t push them to participate in gatherings. Let them set their own pace of what they are comfortable doing.

* Talk to them and be there to listen.

* Be careful with your words! Be respectful with things you may say or ask regarding service time.

* If you are setting off fireworks, PLEASE make sure you let them know ahead of time or let them know if your community will be setting some off. Even if it is not loud or from sound, remember the smell can be a trigger to some. By mentioning it ahead of time it can help keep triggers down or help them be able to control them.

* Some families remember by setting up small memorials or even place settings for an empty seat at the dinner table as a sign of remembering those lost in battle. If you have someone joining you or in your family with PTSD, PLEASE be careful with doing this, if they have survivor’s guilt and/or PTSD this could easily trigger bad memories. If you plan on doing this, ask if it’s okay first.

* Allow one to grieve during this time if they need to, don’t push them to be happy and join in events, let that be up to them.

* Know the signs of suicide and be cautious to them. This is a difficult weekend for many and PTSD could be more severe then normal.

And PLEASE, teach your children the history of Memorial Day, and what it really means.

These are just a few things to keep in mind this weekend. If you are out and about please try to enjoy yourself, be safe, but always keep in mind the true meaning of Memorial Day.

Those lost in battle may not be with us in body, but they will never leave our hearts. Each and every one of them gave their lives for each and every one of us.

Not one of them, will ever be forgotten! 

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

PTSD and Movies

PTSD and Movies

With some of the new movies out, I have heard many debates and have had a lot of questions come to me about mixing PTSD with certain movies. It is in reality something very real and also something to think about on many different levels, good and bad. 

Again as I always say, I’m not a doctor or in any medical field, just a spouse  So the information I provide is coming from personal experience, from other’s experiences, and/or through research.

Majority of people love watching a good movie! Movies bring together or family time, help get your mind off of other things for the moment, bring a different sense of fantasy or reality, they might be a way to get one out of the house… if they can manage movie theaters, they even in their own way help exercise the brain.

Craig is actually a huge at home movie buff. Which he never was before PTSD. Movie theaters are not a place he can manage. But with PTSD and the different symptoms it does bring, we have to be picky about which movies are watched depending on the symptoms present at that time. Some days he can watch a movie that might not have been an option yesterday, some movies he has to completely avoid, then with others that he really wants to watch but we know might trigger him, we have found ways to be able to manage PTSD but still watch them, just different from “normal” movie watching.

So it really boils down to what you put into place, your coping skills, and being honest with yourself if that movie is something you can or can not handle based on what you know about the movie. Sure, there might be that surprise in some movies you were not ready for or expecting, but knowing how to manage it if that happens can help.

But let’s go a little deeper. Why would one with PTSD push to see a movie that they and/or others know will most likely trigger their PTSD?

In a way, the best comparison I can relate this to… Why would a woman want to watch a “girly” movie that she knows is going to make her cry? 

It fills a void or pushes an emotion. A situation, feeling, or an emotion that one actually longs for OR feels the need to experience.

There could be many different reasons for this, rather one realizes it or not. The most common seems to be they are missing a part of their life that that movie reminds them of. The movie let’s them for a brief period be back in that time period, experience the feelings of the rush, what they loved to do (especially if job related), or something that they themselves have experienced… it gives them a sense of normal and something they can relate to. Other times, it may just simply be a way of fitting in and feeling normal, being able to talk with others about a popular movie.

I have noticed over the years that movie watching is extremely common for those with PTSD. It does make sense, think about all of the PTSD symptoms, then how movies trigger or even help process those symptoms.

Anger and/or Frustration.
(Hypervigilance or Hyperarousal)

Have you ever noticed that when there is anger, frustration, high alert coming from PTSD, which movies a person wants to watch? A high power military movie, a boxing movie, a high speed chase, bad guys good guys shoot-out, mystery, spy movie… a thriller.
The rush!

In a way it can be coping with the anger, frustration, high sense of being on alert mentally without it coming out on others. BUT at the same time when those feelings are experienced you have to make sure they do not escalate to the point they roll over to real life more then normal once the movie ends.

Depression, Sense of Sadness, or Loss.

These seem to bring about the want to watch movies that are sad or have a not so happy ending, a relationship that did not work out, movies where one of the key actors died. These movies experience the alone feeling, the sense of loss, the feeling of “normal” to experience things that might not be such good positive feelings or emotions. Many times they allow you to cry or push you to experience the emotion.

Inability to relate to others.

Ever see a “manly man” want to watch a romance movie when it was something he would never have watched before? Yep ladies, he’s doing it for you! To understand you, get a sense of your needs or wants. PTSD brings numbness. It goes back to what I have said before “motions lead to emotions”, those romance movies give a sort of guideline to help with the numbness. 

What about movies that have an actor with a disability? These movies bring a sense of normal to the disability and relation that others are experiencing the same or commonly related things.

Reliving the trauma.

One of the main things of PTSD. Many wonder why someone would want to watch a movie that has a similar experience to their own trauma… what happened to them. My guess, most of the above. It brings a sort of exposure, facing it head on in a different way that seems “safe”, come on, it’s just a movie so that in a way makes sense. With all of the symptoms PTSD brings, some handle it in different ways and that movie may bring the face to face to battle all of those feels and emotions, a way to say “I’m stronger then you are PTSD”.

Okay, so there are a few examples of how movies play a role with PTSD. But now, what can you do when it comes to movies being watched, and the good or bad that can come with them?

* Know your limits.

Don’t push too hard to watch a movie that you know for a fact is going to send you into a flashback or be highly triggered beyond your coping ability.

* Pace your watching.

If you are watching movies at home and find yourself not coping well, step away from the movie or hit the pause button! It is okay to pause a movie, do your coping skills, then return to it.

* Listen to others.

If you are watching a movie and are having negative effects from it, listen to what others are telling you. Now to the “others”, don’t limit watching on the “what if’s”, if one feels they will be okay or can manage watching a movie they want to see, let them try! Have your coping skills and how to handle triggers ready for that just in case, but don’t over react.

* Retreat.

If you are able to go out of the house to watch a movie, but the movie becomes too much for you, it’s okay to retreat to a bathroom or in the lobby away from others. Gather yourself, then return if possible. If you can’t, don’t feel guilty about it! YOU made the effort to go, you tried, and that is an achievement! You can always try again another time or watch a different type of movie next time! Don’t look down on yourself if you can not finish watching a movie.

* Use your coping skills.

If you see you are drawn to a certain movie, think about why and if you are coping correctly with your symptoms. Does not mean you can’t watch the movie, but knowing the why or what you are feeling can help. Use your coping skills! They can make your movie watching experience a good one.

* Reverse psychology.

HA!  This one can actually help with symptoms, and I have personally seen this work. If you find yourself drawn to one type of movie and recognize why, such as anger, try watching a movie that brings different meanings or feelings, in a positive way. This can help lessen negative feelings and bring a sense of positive things.

As always, these are just a few examples of many. Whatever the reason or the “why” behind watching certain types of movies, or a simple love for watching them, maybe this will bring a little more understanding when it comes to PTSD.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

To “my” Vietnam Veterans this Veterans Day

To “my” Vietnam Veterans,

To those of you that know me, know I hold a very special place in my heart for “my” Vietnam Veterans. With Veterans Day coming I just wanted to say something to ALL Vietnam Veterans. And if you are reading this please finish reading it and don’t click away!

A date just a little while before my own birth, the last US combat troops left Vietnam. I know to many of you the years since that war have been very difficult, old memories coming up of what it would be like to return home with the way so many in the country were protesting, knowing that this country sent many to war when that really was not in their cards of life… but yet the cards dealt, and everything else that I’m sure I could not even begin to imagine in this lifetime.

But I want to say something! YOU made a HUGE difference and impact for and on this country! My words can not even begin to express what our Vietnam Veterans mean to me! YOU have made so many changes in this world and I know coming home back then was almost, if not worse, then the war itself. I know the PTSD that developed from all of what you experienced, and I also know I could not begin to imagine what my personal life would be like without each and every single one of you!!!

You all paid the ultimate price but I have some serious news for you, YOU changed MY life… and for the good!

I could not imagine my life if a Vietnam Veteran had not been here to reach out a hand to me when Craig needed someone the most, when PTSD was at it’s rock bottom worst… which I know is one reason Craig is still here today. I could not imagine what life would be like for me if those Vietnam Veterans had not taken the time at the VA to sit by me, talk to me, and tell me their stories… you taught me how to live life beside PTSD and other disabilities, and showed me it is possible. I could not imagine my life without the Vietnam Veterans that still to this day provide me with backup when Craig has bad days. I could not imagine my life without the Vietnam Veterans that send me messages to check in on me to make sure I’m hanging in here and doing okay. I could not imagine my life without each of you!

I know the wounds to that war cut deeper then many can imagine or even see as real. But I know something else too, because of each of you I have a wound that has been bandaged and a chance to in a different way heal. You have given me the strength, the knowledge, and the kindness of your hearts to fight this battle, side by side, that my husband goes through each day.

I know many of you still to this day wonder why you were the one to make it home, wonder why you are still alive now, wonder if anything will ever get better in your life, carry the guilt of war, and some of you with your head bowed down to what you went through for this country… wounds that don’t heal very well if any at all.

I know there were no welcome wagons for you back then like our troops get now, no I was not here to experience it… but I know your stories, I feel your pain, and if I had the power and strength to change things I would do it in a heartbeat!

See, when I say “Thank You” those are not just words to me, I mean it from my heart! I mean it sincerely. YOU, our Vietnam Veterans made a change in my life, and you helped save my husband, and that will be a change that I am always grateful for. I was not on this earth during the war, but I sure know how you have made a change in this world, a good change! And I am not ashamed of any of you! I stand proud to call you my elders and my Heroes!!!

MY HEROES! That is exactly what you are to me! My husband might not still be with me on this earth if it were not for you and your sacrifices. Without those sacrifices history could not have changed the way it has for our current troops. I know it’s not fair to you what you have been through and still go through every day, and again if I could change that I would, but I can’t. All I can do is let you know how much I appreciate you and what you have personally done to change my life and my family’s lives.

If there is ever a Hero to me, that my friend is YOU… Our Vietnam Veterans! I am proud to have you as my elder, my friend, and my family! You do still have a mission and a very good reason to be here with all of us. Life is not something to turn away from when you have so very much to offer. YOU are worth life! YOU are what helps life in this crazy world of PTSD! YOU are what leads the next generations and helps us find a better place and ways to cope!

YOU “My Vietnam Veterans”.. I proudly claim you as “mine”… YOU are my HEROES! Raise your chin if it is down, and know that you are loved and do have the respect that you should have had years ago… you have it from me! I stand proud of YOU!!! And you will NEVER be alone!

Your strength, your stories, and kind hearts have shown me what life is about, I am forever grateful!

“Welcome Home!”

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

2013 Veterans Day Offers

The following link provides information on Veterans Day offers listed on The American Legion website.

Thank You for your service and Welcome Home!

Veterans Day 2013 offers

~Bec

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

 

 

 

Broken

Broken.

I want to talk about something that really hit us hard yesterday. A lot of things started making total sense to me and it’s a pretty serious subject even though there are many people who just blow it off, to put it nice but bluntly. I know this is long but please take the time to read it.

You know how you hear veterans or active duty say “I’m broken”? It’s true, those are real words, and come with very real feelings. I have had many say to me those exact words, and normally followed by “why can’t anyone fix me.” I know I’ve heard my own husband say those things probably thousands of times since we have been battling his disabilities.

But do you know why they say that? I can only describe this from the point of view I have been told, I myself have never put on a uniform, only stand beside someone who has, it might not be the same for everyone. Why would a person, a human being, say they are broken? They are not a car, or a computer, or an appliance, that is “broken”, they are a living breathing human being with feelings…

Because that is the word that they feel. They are trained for a specific job, and when something happens to where they can’t do that job or have to switch to something else different than what they were trained to do, or they are released completely from their duty/career… they do view it as they are “broken” and discarded like a broken object that just gets replaced by another one. They view themselves as a tool or weapon that once broken it’s not of any use anymore.

Then you have the second part, “Why can’t they fix me?” They don’t say “make me better” or “help me get well”, they use the word fix. Then the strongest words of all may come, “If they would just fix me I could go back to what I was trained for.” I’m sorry, but that’s heartbreaking.

But see, there is a huge problem that comes with all of that. They are not an object. They are a human being with emotions and feelings. They worked hard to get where they are or were. They value what they were trained to do. It’s what they know, what they are great at, what they were trained for, what they stand for and believe in, what they stand with honor and pride in. It became their life. Those are real human feelings, and they are extremely strong ones, and you are not in this lifetime going to change the way they view things. That strength and honor is what makes them a great “soldier” (which ever branch of service they serve/served).

That job comes many times at a great cost. The term “broken”.

What happens next?

I can tell you. They try to hide their disability if possible. They try to carry on with what they know and who they have become as a “soldier”. They suffer in silence. Until they no longer can.

“I can no longer serve my country and fight for the freedom it stands for because I am broken. Fix me.”

They (hopefully) reach for help. (Then there are many that don’t and the cost is the greatest of all, their life.) They then have doctors, not just one doctor in most cases but many, telling them what is wrong with them, trying to help them through these new “broken pieces” as they view themselves as. And the whole time the “soldier” is saying “Just fix me so I can get back to what I was trained to do.” They carry the feelings of guilt that they let their country down, that they are not there for their brothers and sisters, that they have let their family down, and I’m sure there are many other feelings that can be added to this. They just want to be “fixed” so they can return to what they were trained to do.

Many don’t have the option of returning. The disabilities and injuries of their military career were too severe. Now it’s learning a new way of life, learning to cope with their injuries, learning how to hold their family together. Their battle changed, their entire life is now changed.

Many are having to rely on someone else to help take care of them now, to make sure they make it from today to see tomorrow. Many struggle every day of their lives trying to feel normal again, any type of normal. Many have memory issues, anxiety, nightmares that haunt them nightly and cause them to fear going to bed. Many have a severe issue with even making it out the front door of their own house. Many have hallucinations, hear voices, and/or have flashbacks. Many have lost friends and even family members because of the changes they have experienced due to what happened. Many have children that don’t know what it’s like to have a mom or dad there full time, even though the parent is right there under the same roof. Many have relationship issues and it takes an extreme amount of patience, communication, and understanding to hold that relationship together. Many have anger and frustration that causes damages in their life. Many have wounds that will never heal, and they can only hold onto hope that things will get better then they may be right now. Many don’t know what the word “normal” life means any longer. They battle their disabilities every single day of their life in order to make it to the next. My husband is one of these “soldiers” (he was NAVY though) I am speaking of.

Then they are told, “You have a real disability, it’s not just going away, you need to file a claim for this disability that occurred during and because of your service duty.” Well okay, that sounds simple enough.

You see, I want to explain something. A service connection claim is not always about money, even though many view it as such. Yes, there are many that can not work or can not work to the extent they could before, due to a service injury and that money is indeed needed to survive, support themselves, and their family. However when you get to the root of it, it’s not about the money at all. It’s about recognition. Recognizing that the disability that “soldier” suffers from is real, it exists, it’s not all in their head and they are not crazy, and it was indeed caused by their service time. I know this for a fact, because I have heard my own husband say it many times. Yesterday I got an up close view of how real that view of recognition really is.

(I have approval from Craig to share the following)
See, Craig was discharged honorably in 2005 after experiencing severe memory issues, decrease in his job ability (unable to do his job), and had also been diagnosed with West Nile the year prior. Discharged with conversion disorder (which has now been changed to Depressive Disorder) and a couple of physical injuries service connected. We tried to start a new life, but his disabilities just became worse. It was a chore to get him into the system to be seen after his first intake appointment in early 2006, but we finally did. In 2009 he was officially (we had been verbally told before that) diagnosed with PTSD. There was not one doctor, but several as well as the PTSD clinical team to work with him on treatment… and continue to.

We were told that he needed to file a claim for PTSD service connection and to stop delaying it. See, Craig’s goal has always been to get better, it’s never been about the money, but it is about recognition that what he and we are and have been going through since 2004 is real and it is indeed from what happened while he was active duty. He delayed that claim for a long time in hopes he would not need it, that he could get past this, and he could return to work as an Air Traffic Controller, which was his dream job and the NAVY promised him that position and followed through with it. He loved his job, he was awesome at it, until disabilities happened, and he loved the military.

There finally came the day in 2012 that the claim was filed, we have learned how to “manage” this new life with PTSD and other disabilities, but the disabilities have not gone away and they haven’t decreased by any means. He still battles the symptoms everyday, they have drastically changed his life as well as ours, he still needs my help to get him through each day and we go through everything I described above that many suffer from and he still needs further treatment… it’s a very real disability.

Without dwelling on too many details, we found out yesterday, September 13, 2013, that his PTSD service connection claim was denied in May 2013. The service connected trauma was not denied, the criteria for PTSD was denied from what we have been told. We still have not received a letter and had called and called back several times regarding it with different responses and it was stated to us it had not been mailed out yet. This week we were told we had to request it, so contacted his VSO.

I now truly understand what a slap in the face is when someone suffers from a disability that is so real, and is service connected, but yet there is no recognition of it except by the treating doctors. I now understand why doctors have kept saying this is real, you have a real disability and need to continue getting help for it, you are not crazy and we know this is not made up. I understand those comments now. They never made sense to me before. I always thought well why are we sitting in your office and begging for additional help if it’s not real? We would be living the lives we lost, sure not living like we have to with disabilities at hand. (NO disrespect to Craig) Makes sense now.

And this was not only a slap in the face to Craig, which was a huge one within itself as you can imagine. It was also to myself and our family as well. We live with him, we know what he goes through and the struggles he has, I hear it all when he screams out during nightmares and as I help him through each day. I see how many friends we have lost. I see how my social butterfly has turned into a caterpillar in a cocoon. I see the change in the way we have to live and how it takes every ounce of will power and strength he has to even step out the front door, when he can do it. I knew him before this and I see the dramatic changes in him now. I love him no less, just stating the facts. I’m the one standing beside my Veteran and helping him survive these disabilities and helping him be the best he can be every day. It hurts the soul when that recognition is not there for him.

I have been telling our story for two and a half years now, helping others survive PTSD and learn how to live with it and manage it, I can bring the knowledge I have because we live it. We did not want others feeling like they are alone like we did. Yes, this denial was a huge slap in the face to both of us. And no, we won’t stop fighting for what’s right, we are no different then anyone else that goes through this, we won’t stop helping others, but this sure tore at my soul yesterday. And I sure don’t have to tell you what Craig is going through. Just to state this up front, Craig is not suicidal right now, but I do understand why so many are. It’s not only because of the disabilities they are battling, it’s because of the lack of recognition that their disabilities are indeed very real.

I want to say something to each and every one of you. You are NOT broken. You are injured, with real disabilities, and you deserve recognition for your service injuries. You have real feelings and emotions, you are human not an object, and disabilities do indeed drastically change your life. Please don’t allow a broken system to break you. YOU are worth more than that.

Much love and the hope of peace to each and every one of you.  <3

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

WELCOME to those who wear or have worn a Uniform…

I want to say a special, deep from the heart, “WELCOME” to all of the new faces here that wear a uniform, or have in the past. I know in your position it makes it much harder to reach out to others, we were there once ourselves. And  you just found a huge family that is full of support for each and every single one of you!

I know many think by the name that this is a page for spouse’s, it’s actually for EVERYONE! Military, civilian, spouses, loved ones or friends. It’s just based from our story and life through my eyes as a spouse. I found out a long time ago that the best way to learn how to manage life with PTSD being a part of it, is to battle it together, knowing both sides of the fence. So here, we all gather and lend a hand, a shoulder, an ear. I play no sides, I say things like they are from both the one with PTSD’s side and the spouse’s side, and I provide real life things as we know them or experience them. I’m not a doctor of any sort, not here to make a buck, and just completely here because I do not want others to have to go through as much as we did. Having real life information at the beginning is a great way to learn how to manage things faster, may help save a life, and may help to save a family.

PTSD is not easy, and it can be one hell of a ride at times. But I also know that knowledge helps you manage it and life is by all means worth living.

If you are one that is not comfortable with posting publicly on my social media page, there’s a small message button at the top right on there that you are more than welcome to use. I can also post things for you without your name attached, I don’t mind at all. I am the only one who runs this page, and I respond as I can around taking care of my Veteran and family… so if you have an emergency situation I do ask that you contact your local emergency help line or doctor, you are worth that call!

I, myself, have never worn a uniform… and was just the one watching the ship leave then waiting for the ship to pull back in, supporting my husband and the crew. But I proudly stand beside one who has (Love ya Craig!) and I know things through his eyes and his words very well. And Craig and I battle PTSD together.

And 😉 I am known for being detailed and long winded lol. So before I go there, I just want to say welcome and we are thankful to have you as part of our “family”!

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Military who suffer from PTSD

Military who suffer from PTSD

I know my last posting is going to pull on our active duty family, so I wanted to write something directly for you.

I know first hand that to one who serves their country, their job serving their country is worth more to them then their own life. You proved that the day you signed on that dotted line. And I have total respect for that. BUT… I have something I want you to think about.

I know that your greatest concern about reaching for help with PTSD is the fact you think you will be letting your country down by doing so. Come on  I’m a Veteran’s spouse, I know first hand and we have by all means been there.

However, I also know first hand that many with PTSD that reach for help soon enough, do continue their career with the military. I know that does not include everyone, but many still can.

I personally have a friend that retired this year. This friend reached for help and was able to make it to full retirement, and in fact, the military wanted this friend to stay enlisted and not retire! I also know a few others that are here that will be retiring soon. They are living proof that PTSD does not always have to be the end to serving.

Just because you have PTSD does not mean everyone is just going to be kicked out or let go. If you get help and you learn to manage PTSD, you have a good chance of remaining in the military if you choose to. You might not be doing the same exact job you were before, depending on what you do, but you could still be serving your country. And who knows, that new job might be something that helps you get an awesome job once you do retire!

It use to be, if you had PTSD, you were out of there. But times are changing. I am personally seeing more and more active duty that do reach for help, before PTSD gets severe, manage to be able to stay active duty and make it to full retirement.

And I also know for a fact what happens when you cover up your PTSD for too long, you can pretty much kiss your job good-bye, to put it bluntly.

Get help while you are still new to PTSD being a part of your life! There are so many things you will be able to continue to accomplish when you address the battle soon enough. If you think it’s going to be tough to face the stigma and everything that comes with PTSD early on, I can promise you it’s nothing compared to facing it once PTSD is severe and out of control, and what comes with that.

If you have a command that isn’t bending for you to get help, big deal! YOU are a fighter and proven hero, you can handle that. I know you can! You fight for your right to get help so you can continue to do what you want to for your country. Stigma is just words and the fear that comes from people who don’t get it. Don’t let that stop you from helping yourself in order to continue helping your country.

I know each and every one of you will gladly give your life for your country, but giving your life to PTSD without a battle is not going to help you to continue serving. PTSD is manageable, it’s not going away, but it can be managed so you can hold on to what you believe in!

You are military, you were trained to fight all sorts of battles, how is PTSD any different? It’s not! It’s just a different type of battle then you are use to. Don’t brush PTSD symptoms under a rug, fight it and learn to manage it so you have a better chance at that long term career.

I believe in you! I know you are the strong one who can make it through this. But you have to have help to do it. PTSD is not a sign of weakness, it’s actually a sign of great strength of making it beyond what a human being should have to experience. “The best of the best”, there are no other words for it! That is YOU! PTSD is not something to battle alone in silence, I know that for a fact! It will eat at your life on so many levels if you don’t do something. Get help.

Ever single active duty member that steps forward to get help is doing something amazing! You are not only helping yourself, you are helping your other brothers and sisters standing beside you. And that means more than any words can speak.

Just something to think about.

I thank you with every ounce of appreciation for the job you do for all of us. You are a strong hero, PTSD or not, and no one can ever make me feel anything less.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

September brings an increase in PTSD symptoms for many…

I hate to bring this up, but I know there are A LOT of people having serious PTSD symptoms right now. And it’s not just military, but civilians, first responders, medical staff, etc. etc.

Folks, we are within PTSD’s time range of a serious anniversary in this country. So if you are seeing increased symptoms in PTSD… nightmares, flashbacks, triggers, anxiety… keep in mind one of the most serious anniversaries of this country is within range.

September 11th is an anniversary date none of us will ever forget.

So please have extra patience, use more coping skills, see your doctor/therapist more if need be, and just all be here for each other through this time. Remember to lean on each other and don’t allow PTSD to come between couples or families.

PTSD anniversary dates can cause increased symptoms up to (more or less) a month prior to a month after an anniversary date of a trauma.

Then we have the holidays right behind this. September through New Years can be rough for many. This is the time we must really buckle down and use everything we have learned, so we ALL can make it through.

Many were lost, many suffer, but no one will EVER be forgotten. Please remember you are NOT alone!

<3
Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

Untied States: Veteran Caregiver Program

This is for EVERYONE! And I am extremely serious!

This is completely coming from my heart and knowledge, I hope every single person will read this completely and “share” it as far and wide as possible. This is NO joking matter, it’s not something to say “oh that is not about me” or “I am not military so who cares” to.

I am hearing a lot of rumors that just rip my heart out! And right here, right now, I am going to give you something to REALLY think about.

United States Veteran Caregiver Program

I am a POST 9/11 caregiver, and I want to tell you a little of our story and about this program.

My husband and I were two people that prided ourselves on our work. He loved his military career, this country is a huge part of him, and if he had the ability to still serve it, he would! I was a dog trainer and loved the work I did to help others. But, my husband has disabilities which require him to have someone with him full time.

Over the first few years of being out of the military, things became extremely rough. His memory issues are extreme, he fights unseen disabilities, he also suffers from multiple migraines per week which leave him impaired. His personal daily needs became even greater than we thought. To be bluntly honest, I had a choice to make. The day came where I honestly felt if I were not there with him full time, something extreme was going to happen. I would either come home to no home because the stove (or something) had been left on and would not have a home left, or I would come home to find my husband dead, from not being able to handle his medical battle by himself.

I was not going to allow either of those things the opportunity to steal our life away from us!

While we waited for treatment, then waiting on the doctors to figure out what was really going on with him, I did everything in my power to make sure we, and our family, survived. Materialistic things became just that rather quickly, as we watched them disappear. They were not what was important. My husband’s life was and our family’s.

I can honestly say to each and every one of you, my husband is still alive today because of our “elders” and this program. I can bring my knowledge, know how, and support to many others because of our “elders” giving me a path to follow. I am just another veteran spouse, I have no formal education past high school. I have the knowledge and know how that I have because our elders took the time to care about us and share their stories with us, and I took the time to listen and learn from them. They gave me the understanding of my husband’s disabilities so I could make our life, with his disabilities, the best I could possibly make it. Now every single day I take time when I can to pass the things I have learned and found that work for us, on to others. In hope that others will not hit that hard rock bottom place we had. I had someone reach their hand out to us and show me a way to survive this new life of disabilities. Those people who reached out to us in our greatest time of need? Our Vietnam Veterans and their spouses!

Then the post 9/11 caregiver program was created and I was told we NEEDED it. I was told that it would help me as my husband’s caregiver, it would give the opportunity for him to be cared for at home, in his comfort zone without being institutionalized, it would help make things to where I, as his caregiver, would not crumble while trying to take care of all of the responsibilities now at hand. They were right. Without this program I do not know how I would honestly manage caring full time for my husband physically and financially, as well as myself and our family. This program has made life with disabilities manageable on so many levels.

I am considered a “Maverick” of the post 9/11 program. I was one of the first caregivers for the program in our state. When I became a part of the program, I asked a lot of questions. I was told that this program for the post 9/11 Veterans and caregivers would be the grounds for deciding if the program worked, and if it would be in the best interest of the Veterans and their Caregivers as well as this country. It is the start of a path to help ALL eras of Veterans have what they NEED in order for them to be taken care of in the best way possible.

I am here to tell ALL of you, rather you have any military ties or not, the caregiver program DOES work! It provides the ability for our injured Veterans, who served this country for each and every single one of YOU, to be taken care of in the comfort of their own home, instead of so many having to be cared for in hospitals or institutions which comes at a great cost. It provides the comfort for our Veterans to be taken care of by someone they know and trust, which is extremely important for cases such as my husband’s, which there are many of. It also provides support for those taking care of them and the option to do so. Those things come with an extreme importance.

We have now come to the time of what this caregiver program was all about. The program DOES work, and it’s time for it to be expanded to ALL eras of Veterans. It does not matter what era you are from, it does not matter if you are military or civilian, this is the time that we DO need to have each other’s backs and stand together for our military families, and as a country. WE need to make sure ALL injured Veterans, of ALL eras, have the opportunity of this program.

I can guarantee you this, if you were in the shoes of a Veteran or their Caregiver of any era, and have gone through what they have, you would back this program with every ounce of energy and every word you have! This program does NOT need to be limited to only post 9/11 Veterans. And I am speaking this AS a post 9/11 Caregiver. The program works, and it’s time it DOES expand!

I know one of the largest debates about the program is money, the root of all evil to be honest. When you compare the cost of a full staff, hospital/institution, and the stay per Veteran and their needs, to what the caregiver program in reality offers, is there really even a comparison? No, there’s not. The caregiver program is the best option, and all around in the best interest of the Veteran.

The hospitals, institutions, and doctors are already overwhelmed by the great numbers of Veterans with severe injuries and not only the ones from the present wars, but the past wars as well. WE as a country need to make sure our injured Veterans of all eras have the correct support and care they need. This program has truly proven itself as it works. Now it’s up to each and every single one of YOU to make sure it expands.

Again, it does not matter if you are military or civilian, this program matters as a whole to this country. Each and every single one of you can do something! Make a phone call, write letters, “share” this so others know about it. Let our voices be heard as a country that stands together!

Please give your support of:
“Caregivers Expansion and Improvement Act of 2013 (S. 851)”

For more information please follow this posting on my page or let your fingers and keyboard guide you!

This makes it easy to contact the right people! Contact your U.S. Senators now.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD

When one with PTSD puts space between themselves and loved ones…

I had this question brought to me, so I wanted to write more about it…

“This is my very first time posting anything … But I strongly believe my significant other has PTSD … this isn’t the first time that he’s stopped completely responding to my messages, calls, emails, ALL forms of communication whatsoever with not even a word to give me any clue of what’s going on… He just pushing me away by not saying anything at all. He’s an Army Ranger (has been deployed 4 going on 5 times in a short few months) and it’s been a little over a year since the last time he’s done this sorta “disappearing act” on me… I don’t think I’m strong enough to keep going through this. Can anybody tell me if this is along the lines of PTSD? Because it surely seems like it to me… Could just really use some words of encouragement. Thanks for letting me vent guys, may you all be blessed.” -Mia

I have found that this is very common, and there are actually several here going through this same thing right now. With him having another deployment coming up, it’s kind of normal for him to be reacting by pulling away rather it is PTSD or not, there are many that do the same thing. They get in almost a mode of preparing themselves for what is coming, their focus goes to their mission, and a mental and/or physical separation from those close to them can happen. I know as the loved one, this is when you want to be the closest to them and comfort them before they leave, but that’s not always how they view things when in deployment “mode”.

If PTSD is at hand, many times ones with PTSD feel as if they are a burden on their loved ones, many times feel the loved one can do better then them, have a better life if they were not a part of it, etc. It’s a way of them feeling like they are protecting you from what they are experiencing. Then you add another deployment to it, the emotional and physical distance can very well happen.

It’s not something to always take personal. If you want to be there, just reassure him you are there for him… just don’t over do it. 😉 That can sometimes push them further away. It can be a difficult balance to find when they pull away, and sometimes a blunt “Would you please let me know you are okay or not okay and what is going on, I’m worried about you.” Can help with communication.

It comes down to having to be open and honest with each other on how you BOTH are feeling, and in deployment mindset, that could be hard for him to even talk about right now. Rather this is due to deployment or a combination with PTSD, it’s one of those situations where you have to not take it personal and keep in mind what he may be experiencing right now. As hard as that can be.

Deployments and/or PTSD can make a relationship stronger in all reality, but you both have to find a balance in communication and understanding of what each other is experiencing. His distance may very well be his way of coping, and he might not realize what it’s causing you to feel.

~Bec
A Spouse’s Story PTSD