Official Diagnosis: PTSD

I met my husband in the fall of 2007. He had already been to Iraq by then. I met and fell in love with the man he was. I didn’t know though, that he was a different person from the man he was before he went to Iraq. 7 years later, he was finally diagnosed with PTSD.

When he got orders for Pendleton last year, it was to get fixed. He had some physical issues that couldn’t be fixed in Okinawa, so he was sent here to go to the Wounded Warrior Battalion. Once we got to California, the tests started. I never thought he had PTSD because he was the same before he deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 and after. I did think he had a TBI and related issues though, which was confirmed. Since the VA has gotten ahold of him though, he’s got a laundry list of things wrong with him.

PTSD is different for everyone. My husband deals with it by shutting himself off from the world. He doesn’t have anger issues, he doesn’t lash out at people, he doesn’t drink, he just avoids the world. That doesn’t bode well for me though, because I like to get out and do stuff and no one can live like that forever. Most of the time, depending on where we are going, he doesn’t go along. If we are going to a friends house for dinner, then he is fine. He knows everyone and knows what the situation will be. He functions normally in society, but he prefers to not have to interact with the general public.  If I decide to take the kids to someplace like the zoo, he won’t go. There have been times where things have set him off. You can see that he is raging in his head, but then he also calms himself back down.

For the past few months, he has been going to therapy. Then he started group therapy. He was skeptical at first, but I convinced him to have an open mind and to realize that everyone’s situations were different. He is now in an 8 week outpatient therapy group. This has been the best thing for him. I was talking with the wife of another Marine in the group and she said she has seen major changes in her husband too. These guys know they are screwed up, but they might not know why. This group is teaching them why they are the way they are and teaching them how to effectively deal with it. It’s weird to think that 3 weeks in I’m seeing a difference in him, but I am. He is learning how to talk to me about what he thinks. Little things. Last week was the anniversary of one of his Marine’s death. He told me about it, so I knew to leave him alone to deal with it. Before he wouldn’t tell me then we would both get mad and frustrated with each other. I wouldn’t understand why he wouldn’t want to talk/hang out/whatever and he couldn’t understand why I just wouldn’t go away! He must have some women counselors who are telling these guys that us girls tend to take stuff personally. He has talked and explained more stuff to be in the last few weeks than he has in the last few years.

PTSD gets such a bad rap. I wish people could see how these guys struggle with normal life. I wish people could see that they aren’t crazy. They aren’t psychopaths. They just experienced something that screwed them up. They were hyper alert for months, sometimes years the way units were deploying. It’s hard to just shut the alertness off. It’s hard to reintegrate yourself back into everyday life. Yes, they may be screwed up, but who wouldn’t be after the things they’ve seen and done? My husband doesn’t talk to me about Iraq because he doesn’t want me to know what happened. He doesn’t want me to think less of him for things. I’ve done my best to convince him that I wouldn’t think less of him for doing his job, but at the same time, I don’t want to know everything. He needs to talk about that kind of stuff with those who have been there and who understand. That’s not me.

My husband is a great guy. He would do anything for anybody. He is the old man of the group he is in and on more than one occasion, he has brought a Marine home. I don’t know why he brings them home, but they are always young, single guys, so I feel obligated to make them a home cooked meal. Then they just hang out and watch sports together, while the kids beg them to play board games. I’m sure he just wants to give these guys a little normality and get them away from the military for a bit. He wants to help them just as much as he needs help. I’m just so sick of seeing people (who in most cases aren’t familiar with the military) make comments about our military and PTSD.  PTSD isn’t just reserved for the military. A lot of people have it from being raped, assaulted, natural disasters, you name it. It doesn’t make you a bad person.

Honestly though, it’s so nice to finally be where we are. To finally start to learn how to deal with it. It’s a huge stress reliever for both of us. I love my husband to bits, but he’s not the easiest man to live with. He is finally getting the help he needs. Without this, I honestly don’t know what would have happened to us.

This is a brief explanation of PTSD, it’s symptoms, and stress reactions.

Support The Wounded Warrior Project By Shopping With Coupons

Being married to someone in the military means I worry. A lot. We all pay at least some attention to what is going on in the middle east, but it makes me worry in a more personal way. Is the military going to start sending units back? Does that include my husband’s unit? Are we going to have to start deployments all over when a lot of us thought they were dwindling down?

The last deployment left me with a bundle of nerves. I was good about going about with my day to day life and not thinking too hard about it, but then I would see or hear something and I would be a mess. During that deployment, I ran into a guy at work who had been injured in an IED blast. We got to talking and it turns out he was in my husband’s unit. I felt for the guy, but it’s hard not to picture your husband in his place, even if your mind only goes there for an instance. Hearing him tell me he was in the same unit as my husband though, I barely managed to hold the tears in. That poor guy didn’t need some blubbering woman on his hands on top of all his other problems.

Truth is though, my husband wouldn’t deploy. He is in a Wounded Warrior Unit. His injuries for the most part, aren’t external. He does have some physical injuries, but you wouldn’t look at him and think he was a Wounded Warrior. I’ve met a number of guys in this unit and you wouldn’t think they were supposed to be there either. The past decade of war has left large numbers of our military broken. While many have obvious physical injuries, a lot of guys don’t. That changes the definition of a Wounded Warrior. There are so many who need help, but is there enough to help them?

A lot of people want to support the military and our Wounded Warriors, but they either don’t know how, don’t have the funds, or keep saying they’ll do it later. I’ve got the easiest way ever to help. Grocery coupons! Seriously.

This is the 5th consecutive year that Believe in Heroes® is raising funds and awareness for Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). Between now and November 11, Veterans Day, Believe in Heroes® calls on Americans to show their support and appreciation for the newest generation of veterans through the common household task of grocery shopping, while enjoying great savings and sharing how they made a difference to help raise awareness. The campaign has generated $16 million for WWP to date and has helped enable the expansion of its critical veteran programs that now directly serve more than 40,000 injured service members.

You Can Help By:

  • Downloading over $25 in coupons (while they last, so print them early!) and using them before Veterans Day.
  • Purchasing Believe in Heroes® merchandise in stores or online.
  • Sharing this on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, where ever! The more who know, the more help can be given.

For more information on Believe in Heroes® and the Wounded Warrior Project®, click here.

Disclosure: I’m participating in the 2014 Believe in Heroes® blogger campaign and received compensation as part of the program. 

What She Wore Wednesday

Her new favorite outfit, the boots especially. She begs to wear them. 

Shirt, Boots – Target / Tank Top – The Children’s Place / Jeans – Old Navy

Baby Safety Month Link-up and Giveaway

Did you know September is Baby Safety Month?

Join me and the lovely ladies below in sharing why it’s so important to take child safety seriously.

We all obviously know how important it is to keep our children safe. We baby proof our houses, research the best car seats, and analyze everything that could possibly be harmful. Are we doing everything though?

When my daughter was around 18 months, she was all over the place. The girl had no fear. One day, she was playing with my car keys. No big deal, right? She took off down the hall to her room. When she came back, keys in hand, she was running. She then tripped on the rug in the living room and fell. With keys in hand, she fell straight on them. I can still see it all in slow motion. I contemplated taking her in for stitches, but once the blood was cleaned up, it wasn’t so bad. She still has a scar on her forehead. I don’t know that the incident could have been prevented, besides me taking the keys away, but there are so many little things that happen to them everyday, so why don’t we keep them safe and prevent what we can?

That’s why Baby Safety Month is an important one. We need to learn all we can about keeping our kids safe because what’s more important than them?

Link up with your tips for baby safety or story of why it’s so important. Please link up your story. Don’t make me feel like the only terrible mother out there!

Go give these ladies some love and enter the giveaway below!

True Agape
This Ole Mom
Krafts & Kiddos
Munchkins and the Military

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Decorating A Dollhouse On A Budget

Growing up, I had a dollhouse. It was one of those kits they sell at Hobby Lobby, but my dad painted, wallpapered, and assembled that whole thing. He either had the patience of a saint or he really liked me because there is no way I’d want to put one of those together. I loved that house. I could rearrange the furniture in it for hours.

I’ve occasionally looked at dollhouses for my daughter, but they are either too expensive or not exactly what I want. My mother-in-law snagged this one at a garage sale for $20. She brought it down and we went to work. First, it was repainted blue. Then, we made a trip to Hobby Lobby for furniture. Holy crap that stuff is expensive. The majority of the furniture came in sets for a room and ran about $50 a set. There was no way we were paying for that. Heck, I wasn’t even paying, my MIL was, but I wasn’t letting her pay that. We started brainstorming and came up with a few good ideas for furniture. Then we started looking at the wallpaper and flooring. Those were also expensive, but not as bad as the furniture. 

For the wallpaper, we ended up buying sheets of scrapbook paper. They were $.44 a sheet and we bought 3 sheets for each room, compared to $5.99 for 3 12″ x 18″ sheets of wallpaper. The plan was to just do accent walls. There was obviously a larger selection of scrapbook paper than dollhouse wallpaper and it was loads cheaper. To put it on the walls, I measured the height and width, cut accordingly, and ended up using 2 sheets per room. A thin layer of glue on the back and it was on. My daughter decided the family who lives in the house should have a son and daughter, so we got boy and girl paper for the upstairs bedroom.

We decided the main floor of the house, which contains the kitchen and living room, needed appropriate flooring, so we bought the dollhouse flooring. The kitchen got a black and white vinyl ($7.99 for an 11″ x 17″ piece) and the living room got hardwood floors ($11.99 for an 11″ x 17″ piece). For the bedrooms, we searched the fabric department until we found the perfect amount of shag. None of the flooring was glued down, but we haven’t had any issues with it moving around a lot. The fabric was $6.99 a yard compared to the 12″ x 14″ dollhouse carpet priced at $7.99.

Every house needs area rugs, right? The store had a large selection of 9″ x 12″ pieces of felt for $.50 each. They came in a variety of colors and designs, so we bought a few to coordinate with the wallpaper with the plan to cut them down and make area rugs. This gave us an obviously larger selection, compared to the one dollhouse rug that was priced at $7.99. We did end up buying the set of living room furniture and a few individual pices of furniture, like a pie cabinet, that were cheaply priced. 

We didn’t spend a ton of money and we’ve got a little girl who is in love with her dollhouse. She talks about how we made this or did that. She’ll always remember how much love and effort we all put into it.

I’ll get into decorating and furniture making next time.