In military relationships, many spouses will tell you the hardest part is the separation. The deployments, TDY’s, trips to the field, and overnight duty all add up to time away from your spouse. Most are relatively short amounts of time and don’t involve trips to dangerous places, unlike deployments. Deployments are hard on everyone and hard on a marriage.
Call me crazy, but I think the time after the deployment is the hardest. I’m not talking about the initial reintegration. The days and weeks after they get home when they are trying to fit in at home again and you and the kids are changing your routine to fit them in. I’m talking about the months and even years after that deployment. The time when all the problems start to appear. The PTSD, the complications from the TBI’s, and everything that wasn’t there before the deployment.
My husband deployed to Iraq and came back basically the same. He had a few issues, but they weren’t major. It wasn’t until 9 years later that he was diagnosed with PTSD. There was other deployments in there, but everything mostly came from that first deployment. As time goes on, it has gotten worse. Since we know what is going on now, we have both learned his triggers and are trying different things to lessen the troubles.
A Dutch study found that veterans need to be screened for PTSD for a few years post deployment. “Overall, the average level of PTSD symptoms increased during the first six months after the soldiers returned home. One year after returning, the average level of symptoms tended to drop back to the pre-deployment level. However, there was another increase five years after the soldiers returned, which was larger than at all previous times.”Five years after the fact, many of them aren’t even active duty anymore. At that point, their chances of getting help are just slim.
The VA says that many veterans can go years without having PTSD, but it can still show up, as many as 50 years after the fact. One would think it would lessen over time, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. This is referred to as LOSS, Late On-Set Stress Symptomatology. “The symptoms of LOSS are similar to symptoms of PTSD. With LOSS, though, Veterans might have fewer symptoms, less severe symptoms, or begin having symptoms later in life. LOSS differs from PTSD in that LOSS appears to be closely related to the aging process.”
Everyone says deployments are the hard part. If you can get through them, you can get through everything. I disagree. If you can hang around, stay supportive, and stay married after everything that is involved with PTSD, I commend you. It’s the hard part.