Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ripping off the band-aid.

Also might be titled: He's not the only one with PTSD.

I've breezed by this subject on here a number of times. A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my first year as a Milie. I didn't really know what I was doing back then, if my feelings were normal, or how to get help. So I developed some bad habits and my emotional stability took the brunt of the punishment that followed. After G.I. Joe came home from Iraq in 2007 I kept expecting to "get better." I kept thinking eventually I'd start dealing with stress and emotions the way I used to. Towards the end of that year I started having more panic attacks again and getting sick a lot because my nerves were just fried. I couldn't understand why I didn't "feel normal" yet. He'd been home for 9 months, 10 months...Finally the only thing that changed was I got pregnant. Then there was a whole new definition of normal. I had the world's greatest distraction from the fact that we had been married 2 years and he had been stationed away or deployed for those entire 2 years. I thought everything was fine and basically convinced myself that Lucy cured my PTSD. She just seemed to make it go away. Really what happened was I still had all these issues there under the surface but dealing with the pregnancy without G.I. Joe home was like looking at myself through a frosted glass window pane.

Ever since then I had been able to move through life by staying extremely busy and project oriented. Every second that I didn't need to be holding, feeding, or playing with Lucy has been filled with some sort of project. Not the relaxing therapeutic kind either. Earlier this spring and summer I was working my butt off to finish my manuscript about my first year as an Army wife. This was not really therapy. It forced me to relive my worst memories and then I just sort of left them under the surface instead of dealing with them.

Later this summer as we started to deal with all of our re-enlistment issues I started slipping back into my old habits. I didn't even realize I was doing certain things, like keeping all my feelings bottled up tightly so it doesn't affect G.I. Joe's PTSD. That first year we were married was traumatic for us both. We've spent all this time making sure he deals with his aftermath from combat but I've put mine on the back-burner. Now, I have the super fun task of undoing all the hard-wiring in my brain. Lately I've had more panic attacks than I care to mention, my energy level plummets and when I get sick it takes me forever to shake things. I've spent a long time avoiding having to deal with my PTSD but I can't do that anymore. I can't be afraid to show a weakness or to express certain emotions. After all this time I'm finally going to unpack the baggage in my mind and do something with it.

I'm excited now about getting counseling and using this as a way to actually grow. Even just telling G.I. Joe and my parents that "Hey, its time for me to get serious about dealing with this. I want help" has done wonders for me. Since Wednesday morning I've felt lighter than air. I know taking the dive into some of the issues that surround my own type of PTSD is not going to be pleasant. But I have an awesome family to support me and an incredibly understanding husband to experience the joys/pains of it with me. That afternoon I wish I could have captured on camera this look he gave me. I cried and told him I kept thinking these issues would just go away the longer he was home. He looked into my eyes with more love and empathy than I have ever known. I really don't see why military wives out there would want their husbands to think they are 100% perfect or that the difficult stuff never bothers them. Its the hardest things sometimes that can strengthen you the most.

So...what does all this mean for the blog? Well, for those of you who really don't love what I write about you get a break! Haha. I am going to keep blogging but for the next 3-4 weeks* its going to just be pictures (you can probably guess who will be in these pictures most of the time) and probably some videos too. I'm not going to be writing blog posts because I just need a break. Especially with all the drama that's gone on lately I certainly don't want to add the stress of posting about something so incredibly personal at this point. I plan to keep a written journal for a while and do hope to share that when I come back to writing posts. So I hope you will all stick with me! Instead of doing so much "work" (freelance writing, book editing, and future book research) in what down time I do have I plan to be away from the computer. I'll still be around doing stuff for The Milies and I'll respond to emails so feel free to chat anytime you want!

Next week I have so many incredible pictures to post, including pics from the pumpkin patch! And I'm also working on a few little changes to the blog which will hopefully land here next week!

*ETA~This is going to be a longer process than 3-4 weeks, and I know that ;) But I seriously doubt my self-control when it comes to not writing posts on here. It will be a miracle if I go that long with just posting pics!


Anonymous said...

I was wondering why my recent thoughts and prayers were always including you! I was sitting in church on Sunday, just spacing out and listening to the choir's prelude, and I kept thinking about you. Ever since you mentioned the crazy blog drama, you have been coming up in my mind over and over, and I thought I was crazy LOL but now i know why!

Kudos for your amazing perspective on counseling, and hopefully it will give you the help you are looking for! Can't wait to see all the picture posts :) Take it easy, and rest assured; We will all still be here when you come back to blog-land!

Rebekah said...

Good for you for getting help. I'll be praying for you during this time!

Adrienne said...

Good luck with your counseling! I know you will feel better soon! :) I am so glad that you are taking this challenge for you, and your family.

I love pictures, your little one is the cutest! You are pretty darn cute yourself. :) Please, do all that you need to do to 'get better'.

I will miss your posts though! I love reading about your ups and downs. I cannot wait to see how this all turns out for you!

Again, good luck. I wish you the best and cannot wait to see all of the pictures from your adventures!

Renee said...

I will miss your posts BUT am so happy for you that you have reached out for the help you feel you need! I hope that as this journey begins for you, that you will find a peace and understanding beyond measure!

A Lady in Waiting said...

Wow! Amazing of you to share this with all of us. I think it is incredibly important for us all to know that PTSD is something that those who serve experience, but all of us at home can too. So thanks for sharing! Good luck with your journey and I'm sure you'll get through it. You are one tough cookie. You better keep to your 3-4 weeks of pictures...because you need the break, and we all love the pictures! :-)

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

I commend you. I am finally starting therapy for PTSD over something that happened over a year ago but since Mr. Superman left, has gotten even worse. It is so hard admitting you need help, but once you do, its freeing.

I'll be thinking and praying about you mucho mucho!!

Sarah said...

=( I'm gonna miss you(r blog)!!!! At least for a few weeks, anyway. But, I know that the counseling will be really great for you.

Love ya!

Anonymous said...

Honey you take all the time you need :)

I called the behavior health a few weeks ago to get an appointment, and I got told that the nurse would call me back to get an appointment... I got nothing.

I called again the other day, and still nothing.

Anonymous said...

Good for you and I truly hope that it helps you. Counseling is a wonderful thing and I look forward to my counseling every week, it becomes something that you get excited over because you can go and be so open and work hard on helping yourself. It is a very freeing experience.

I will keep you in my prayers and can't wait to see the adorable pictures of Lucy :)

Anonymous said...

Good for you Girl!! I'll keep you in my prayers!! =)

Lora said...

Good for you! It is hard, I know, to show that we are "weak" because we fear how it will affect our husbands and not just how they view us, but when they have to leave again if it will add to their stress. But getting help for ourselves makes us stronger, for us and for them.

I start counseling on Tuesday. I still haven't filled out the paperwork I have to bring in with me. I'm the queen of procrastination.

Thanks for sharing this though, it made me feel better about what I am going through and a whole lot less alone.

Kathryn said...

Good luck with everything, I am glad you are able to get help.

trooppetrie said...

I have so much I want to say to you that is all positive but I need time to write it out. I understand your words, actually my chest tightened as I read it. my husband came home in 2008 with PTSD, I never understood the definition of those words until we lived with them. I am planning to go read what you wrote in the morning

R said...

you take care of YOU darlin!! we'll enjoy the pics while you're doing so, and I'll be sending lots of thoughts, prayers, hugs & good vibes your way. xoxo

NewLife4Me said...

I'd love to chat with you about the PTSD stuff if you'd be willing to. I have been separated from my soldier husband since September, knowing all along he had PTSD but nobody was diagnosing him. It was VERY BAD. Now, he's been diagnosed and we're considering working our marriage out...but it's scary AND confusing. I'm really trying to connect with other milspouses who might be able to offer me some insight. You can email me at ShanStinson (at) yahoo dot com