Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Want to know what I fear?

I was so touched by how open and honest people were when I posted my question asking for wives to tell me what they fear. I expected answers to be a little more vague but I'm so glad everyone spoke up! We got comments and emails from spouses who just wanted to express their gratitude. From experience I can tell you it rather sucks to feel like you are the only freak in the world who feels a certain way. So, I can't just let this issue go by without laying out what I fear.

Naturally, I fear the fundamentals of Milies everywhere. I worry about G.I. Joe getting hurt, medically discharged, captured, tortured, never being found again, never being the same again and I definitely fear "the worst."

Beyond that though I have other specific fears that I have to face each day. Some days I don't think about this stuff much but others I have to work a little harder to live above it.

The number 1 fear I have is that G.I. Joe will forget that he loves me. I know that probably sounds insane and he laughs a little when I say that. But you have to know what his PTSD is like. He doesn't get angry or irrational like the image everyone sees when they think "PTSD." When he came home from Iraq he was checked for TBI (traumatic brain injury) a couple times and it came back that he didn't have any. He does though have some little issues with his memory. Work, weapons systems, terrorism, keeping his family safe...those things tend to push other things out of his mind. Its like they over ride basic stuff every now and then. We'll have a conversation and he will say something like "Hey, this one time I blah blah blah." And goes on to explain in detail this big funny event. The problem is he won't remember me there, he just sees what directly happened with him. Or to the reverse he'll tell me about a movie we saw together in the theater when really it was his best friend with him, not me.

Don't get me wrong, he doesn't forget everything about our relationship but it does hurt when he forgets that I was there or wasn't there for something. It just catches me off guard. This stuff usually happens when he's stressed out and the PTSD starts to show up more. I have to work really hard on my patience when it comes to this. There will be mornings when he'll leave a kitchen cabinet open or forget to clean off Lucy's high chair after breakfast. Sometimes I get so annoyed at having to remind him about these things and I just snap. In my own world I feel like I shouldn't have to go behind him and check everything. He never ever uses PTSD as an excuse for forgetting things or not doing something so I forget that he isn't doing it on purpose, he has the doctor's proof that this is part of what he brought home from Iraq. I forget that and I get so frustrated. I fear that one day he'll see me mostly for my forgetfulness and that will cause him to forget that he loves me.

Another big fear of mine is that our friends and family judge him when his PTSD flares. Besides forgetting some things he gets very focused when he's stressed. All his senses are heightened so he's alert and aware of everything around him. Because of that he focuses extra hard. This can almost come off like he's anti-social or in a foul mood. He's not, he's just concentrating on whatever comes to his mind. I consider us very blessed that he handles the effects of combat so well. G.I. Joe has never taken any medication because that only eases the symptoms. I'm proud of the way he deals with stress and flashbacks so I want others to be proud of him too. But I know that's hard when no one but us and his closest war buddies really understand it all.

My last "biggest" fear is what happens after the worst. If I let my mind wander it takes a train that I really don't want on. I think about what it would be like if he were gone and I just fear I'm not strong enough to handle that. Whatever happens in our future I still have Lucy to take care of. I want her to have a strong mommy, not one who has no clue how to put one foot in front of the other.

So...all this is just to say that I have fears. When I post soon about my "freshman Milie year" you'll find out exactly how hard I work to keep my fears under control. I certainly don't have it all together. If you read my blogs or articles and think that, well, its just not true. The reason I can pass for having it all together is because I work at it. Its not easy living with fear. It can cripple you and steal your joy for living. But one day I just hit a point where I said "No more!" I can have these worries but still make the choice every day to not surrender to them.


Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh. I just sat and nodded my head "yes" as I read your post. Those are some of PTSD fears too.

I have a hard time trying to NOT finish my husband's sentences when he starts to stutter. He started stuttering after his last deployment.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading this. Your openness of discussing it was very comforting. I think we, as spouses, can totally relate to your fears. PTSD affects not only the soldier, but their family as well. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I love you <3 that is all :)

Stephanie Hartman said...

What a great post girl. Those are some very understandable fears.

Anonymous said...

This really touched me, i cant even put my self in those shows to imagine what it can be like but my prayers are with you.


L.C. said...

Very legitimate things to be worried about. I'm so glad you shared :) you are stronger than you seem! Adore you :)

A Lady in Waiting said...

This post if fantastic! Very well written and genuine. Thanks for sharing your fears with all of us! We all have different fears...some of them being the same. But it is how we overcome these fears. We can still have them, but have to remember not to let them take over!

Wife of a Wounded Soldier said...

Hey girl! Thanks for writing this.

PTSD is something I deal with on a daily basis with my husband. I work for Operation Homefront's Wounded Warrior Wives program. I think you would be a great asset to our group as a lot of wives deal with PTSD. This group is not just for the severely injured and not just for wives. It can be issues with PTSD and female caregivers in general. Check out the site and sign up at It would be cool if you could write a blog about it too. Spreading the word is something I am working on now.


Kassie said...


I'm not a military wife, and nor do I plan on ever being one as of the moment anyways.

I'm joining the navy, however I just wanted to say thank-you for letting these things known, it helps alot.

I know that your done with guest bloggers, but i think it would be interesting to hear about the Military husband's experiances. Just to help the future woman soldiers know what may happen with their spouses.


Anonymous said...

Thank you. This was a great post and I loved reading it, relating to everything your saying and it made me feel great that others think the way I do as well. I deal with his PTSD and I catch myself getting frustrated and worrying about him with others and it does scare me.

Thank you, this was wonderful!

Goodnight moon said...

I love you! Seriously...your one VERY strong milie!!!!! I think that all your fears are just that! Having hubs have PTSD, and then you having to help him deal with it and at times get frustrated at having to go behind him to do things that he has forgotten about...that is a daily reminder of what he does in the military, and what you do for him to support him. There is no way he could ever forget to love you. I can only imagine that your his everything! I'm sure he will always be able to remember all your support and love throughout the years to come.

Mr. Superman & Mrs. S. said...

I'm so glad you shared this. It does help to know you're not alone in your fears.

Granny said...

It's taken me as a mother-in-law time to digest the whole PTSD situation. When I'm at my most frustrated point, that is when I am trying to figure it all out and want so badly to help ... and yes (like a certain Granddad) "fix it". I know that I can't, and it's something that spouses and service have to deal with on a daily basis.
But please just know that you all have the love, support and prayers of those who are so close to you. Sometimes we parents / grandparents may not always know how to show it, and may not always know what to do, but we are here for our kids no matter what and no matter what you need. Granddad & I are so very proud to have our kids living for something that is greater than just "self" -- our country and most importantly God.
Our support and prayers to ALL of our military and spouses who are dealing with PTSD.

Anonymous said...

This is a very honest post and I thank you for it. As an Army officer, I am a leader and have seen the damages PTDS can cause on a Soldier and his/her family. I have to deal with it every day. However, I don't get to see very often what happens when the Soldier goes home and how he handles those situations that sets them off. It took me getting engaged to a former army officer with PTSD to REALLY understand what it means. So, I truly feel ALL of your concerns. The one thing I can be honest about, having also a father that is a Vietnam Vet and never had treatment for his hard core PTSD, is that the Army hears all the families concerns about PTDS. Being in the Army I can tell you that one thing the army cares about is Wounded Soldiers as well as Soldiers with PTSD. The programs currently in place are so amazing that even my father says so. He is very glad for it. I don't want to sound like an Army propaganda machine because that is not the intent. Is just that families are so very important to all of us leaders, you have no idea. And finally, pray. Pray every day because there are days when it can be difficult. But God is there with us every step of the way. And finally, if you ever have any questions, please feel free to contact me. After being in the service for 12 years I can probably help somehow. :) Hang in there, girlie!

Bradley said...

I have a friend whose husband is fighting with PTSD and possible TBI, and he forgets a lot of things, but the one constant that he has never forgotten is His love for his wife. He might forget who was where/when and what happened, but every morning he looks at her and loves her. I hope and pray that this never changes, there is hope.