Archive for » April, 2012 «

Almost a year and the numbers are growing of PTSD…

Rebecca puppy hugging

A year ago this week I made the choice to start this website…my birthday gift to myself, to reach out to others in the same situations as my husband a I are. The past year has not been an easy one, but living everyday of your life battling PTSD and Depression is never easy. So, I will keep plugging along and working on getting the site completed. The one thing that you will learn about these serious illnesses and disorders are they really do take up a lot of time to battle. So, I no longer set a date to have this completed, in reality all it will do is grow in time as we learn more about what helps…or doesn’t help. 😉

A lot has happened over the past year and each day you push to make it to the next. You battle keeping family together, relationships, keeping your head above the water with finances and dealing with whatever you cannot accomplish in a timely manner…oh let’s all face it lol, it’s about survival. Everyday you hope the one you love that suffers from these medical issues makes it through another day, and is able to have a few good days in there as well. It is literally a fight for life itself.

Over the past year we have tried to come up with different things that can help make life a little easier…so we can enjoy it a little more. Fact is, life is not easy at all, but we will never give up! This past year we have struggled with getting my husband the proper care he needs and at this point I have taken a lot of his what I call at home therapy into my own hands when I see before us a broken system that is failing him. I am lucky to have him still here with us, many days he wants to just give up, but as a family we push him to live!…and he does to the most he can.

I am VERY thankful for the VA Caregiver Program! Without it I do not want to even think about where we would be right now…it would not be a good place. See, since 2005 Craig and I have struggled to make ends meet (still with incorrect benefits and no extra government or state help) and keep our family afloat, with many failures in the process. BUT, we keep trying. I get really worn out sometimes, which I’m sure you are nodding your head yes right now if you know the shoes we walk in. It’s all a part of it. The trick to it? I remember what these illnesses can do and watch it first hand everyday of my life…and don’t let them take over the rest of us. People look at me and ask me how I do it? I really don’t have a good answer to that one lol. I was raised by wonderful parents that taught me to never give up in things I believe in…that would be my marriage and family I would have to say.

This past year I had many heartbreaks, personal ones. With Craig’s medical and the need for me to be here for him full time, I had to close my dog training business…my dream. It sat untouched for too many years already and was more of a stress then what I needed to continue to face. Then I struggled with if I should keep my dogs or not, besides my dear Alex…which has really turned out to save ME even though he was meant for Craig. I lost ME to this illness. I mourned my losses…then started learning to pick myself back up again. It still hurts and my pride is a little shattered, but that’s okay. I learned this past year that when one door shuts another one might open. In all of this, I was given an angel. When we discovered that Alex, my German Shepherd mix did not grow to the size Craig needed for a service dog, I had to find what I felt was best for Craig. And this is where I am finding more then just service dogs! I found life again! They are the organization that the VA is using as the provider of service dogs for the Veterans suffering with PTSD, but they are much more then that! They are family! After all of my heartbreak and tears of my personal losses…myself doing what is in the best interest of my husband and his needs…the founder and “Lou” saw my need for saving! And they are doing just that! Over the past few months they have done something magical that a broken system could not do, they put a leash in my hands! I don’t know where this will lead in the future, I take life one day and one step at a time, but they have opened the door for me to have the “self-help” that I just could not find, the one thing that is my love after my family…training and being a part of something that helps others! I found me again! 🙂 Not only that, the facility is a place where Craig and other Veterans find comfort and understanding…and realize they ARE still able to live! It’s still VERY difficult to get Craig out the front door to go there, or anywhere for that matter, but once there sometimes I get a glance of my husband which I don’t get to “see” much of anymore. What was started as a service dog organization helping Veterans has much more then the VA could have ever dreamed of!

I have watched us as a family grow and become a part of something very special. We have been able to talk with other Veterans and their spouses. It has shown all of us that we are NOT alone, we all go through much of the same exact things, and in that somehow we find comfort and someone that truly understands! There is not a medication out there that can replace what we have found. I have watched a change in people that suffer from these illnesses. I have watched men and women who were ready or already tried to end their life learn how to live again! Before my eyes I watch Veterans push each other to live! They now have a place to go that gives them meaning again and they can help their “brothers and sisters” who are lost to this illness. Okay lol…the fact is I could write a book on this! PTSD keeps one at home and away from society, that’s a fact. Another fact, 18 Veterans a day commit suicide, and that number does NOT include the spouses and family members that do the same. Life does NOT end with PTSD! There is hope, meaning, and life still out there…and I think Craig and I have found it! Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not a cure, the symptoms and down days are still here and everyday is still a huge struggle…but G.A. sure has made life a lot easier for us and the others we have seen through/from there. The organization is like a second home to everyone who enters their front door! They believe that everyone has something good to “bring to the table”, they allow you to be who you are, and they welcome you as family. It’s not a “I will see you at the next appointment” or “Here’s another pill to try.”, it’s a hug as you leave and “We can’t wait to see you again and wish you didn’t have to leave yet.” How could that ever be wrong? 😉 It’s what is needed to cope with PTSD!…and win! (And for those who do not know me personally, I put the facts on the table and do not back things that don’t work. There is NO gain to myself by anything I write. I write from my heart.)

So… I bet you can take a wild guess to why my site is not finished now lol! I needed a little more self-help then I was getting! I told the founder as I cried on the phone to her several months ago that I was getting “stuck” and I knew I could not let that happen…she and the others are making sure none of us get or stay that way! I told her to push me, and she has. Today? Today my chin is up no matter what PTSD “throws” at me and I have the strength to battle it and stand by my husband without loosing control of Me. 😉

And I think I have a website to finish for ALL of us! 🙂 I was lost, some days still am, but that’s okay it’s all a part of this. The key is being able to pick yourself back up when you fall and having the support system there to push you when you need it. No one deserves to be alone and if I can help it, you won’t be!

My love and heart goes out to each and every single one of you! PTSD is a serious battle but with the right “equipment” we will all make it! 😉

~Rebecca

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

 

Note from T.E.

 I really admire the time you spend putting into this page, it has helped me learn how my illness effects others around me on a daily basis, i learned that at times we cant control it, but most of the time we can, we all have our unique ways of dealing with this horrible illness, and understanding and learning can only help improve us, for your love, support and dedication – We Thankyou <3  xx -T.E.

A Spouse’s Story PTSD

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