Friday, March 2, 2012

did i say that out loud???

Just a warning right from the start - this post might piss a lot of people off.  That is NOT my intention, however, human nature being what it is, I know that it is a likely result.

My intention in sharing this is actually twofold - I need to get some negative crap off my chest, and I want to bring awareness to the struggle that so many other spouses like me are going through RIGHT NOW.  Maybe you know one, and maybe you'll approach her differently after you read this (?)  Or maybe you'll just sit down and write me a nasty email for being honest.

So, you know that scene in Jerry Maguire, where he basically has a nervous breakdown & then a manic episode, during which he writes his mission statement (the title is something like, 'the things we think but do not say') and he makes sure that EVERYONE in his company gets a copy........then he wakes up, realizes that he wants to take back EVERY WORD, and then realizes it is too late?  Yeah, THAT moment.  Have you ever felt like that?  I have a feeling I will feel that way within about 15 seconds after I click "PUBLISH POST" but I am posting this anyway, knowing that it actually NEEDS to be said.  My integrity won't let me delete this post for the sake of being politically correct, or for the sake of looking like the dutiful, obedient mil-spouse I am supposed to be.

FUCK THAT.  Oh yeah, sorry, language advisory. *AHEM*

Anyway, the thought that has sprung into my head at least a couple of times in the past 14 months, the one that will probably make you want to slap me, is one that I really can't SPEAK OUT LOUD.  I'm actually shaking as I type this, because even putting it out in the blogosphere is so very taboo.  The horrible thought is this little tiny voice in the back of my head, that I can barely hear over the wails of despair over a particularly rough day/night/week dealing with my (invisibly)wounded hubby.....the voice is mine, and whispers, "why couldn't he have just DIED over there?"

Before you rush off to write me hate mail for saying this, please read the rest of this post!

I absolutely do NOT wish that my hubby was dead!  Nor do the other thousands of women who are the primary caregiver/support to a wounded warrior - whether his wounds are visible or not, treatable or not. These men return home but are no longer themselves, and we, their wives, girlfriends, or mothers, take on the daunting task of helping them figure out WHO they are now, and how that new man fits into society, into our families, into our LIVES.

In my case, my hubby has refused to get help for what I am now certain is PTSD.  Some days I would swear he is bi-polar, other days schizophrenic, other days BOTH.....and some days, very very rarely, I would say he is HIMSELF, the same man who left here in May 2010, kissing my pregnant belly goodbye.  Those rare 'good days' are such a gift, but at the same time they leave me hurting SO MUCH MORE.  Those days are part of what makes me subconsciously 'jealous' of the brave war widows I know.  Not really jealous, but I can't come up with a better word.  You see, a widow has to endure an entire life without ever seeing her love again.  She KNOWS he is gone, and is never coming back.  She can grieve publicly and privately, and move forward with whatever new life she's able to make for herself.  She gets to cherish the memories of her hero as she last saw him.....maybe he even kissed HER pregnant belly goodbye.

For me, the random glimpses of my husband's old self - his REAL self, are just such a merciless tease.  Those moments make me think that maybe he really IS coming back to me, completely whole.  And when he slips farther away from me, having a terrifying blowup, or meltdown, or just plain shutting down altogether, I GRIEVE all over again.  Hate me for saying this if you must, but emotionally, it is as though he has DIED several times just in the past six months.  Every time, I go through the cycles of grief all alone, in private, and if I get to that lowest of low points and hear that little voice whispering 'why didn't he just DIE over there'....then I go through days, weeks, or even months of GUILT just for having that thought.

Again, it's not that I WANT him dead, but when this burden becomes so heavy, I secretly steal a glance at one of my amazing widow friends (you know who you are!) and wish I could trade my load for hers.

Any wife of a Wounded Warrior will admit to having this very thought at least ONCE.  If she denies it, she is either lying, or hasn't walked this road far enough yet.....she'll get there, I promise.

The important thing, of course, is when we DO get there, when we hit our emotional rock bottom, we have to learn to BOUNCE.  And I think the first step is to talk about what 'rock bottom' actually looks like, feels like, and sounds like.  Even if it is just a little whisper that we don't want to acknowledge, much less say OUT LOUD.


Anonymous said...

I was waiting for something that would make me want to write you something nasty, but alas it did not come. Perhaps someone will think I am nuts for saying kuddos to you for speaking up and saying what many probably could not say.

I've wrote some things that I have gotten not so nice messages about... not about this subject, but either way it was one of those things that you know others think, but would probably not say. However, I needed to say it to start a healing process for myself and despite those comments and notes I am at the point of ... oh well... cause I don't really care. I did it for me and I was being honest and it's my blog and it was words of truth. So if someone says something harsh I feel it is because it was the fact that it was a slap of reality (like tough love) and they just can't handle the truth yet... like you said eventually if they walk that particular road long enough they will have those same thoughts.

So again I am proud of you for speaking your mind and getting it out there. Even if it was just to help you heal in some small way. Hugs to you as well... from one military wife to another.

Samantha said...

We all deal with things we have no control over. The worst part is to bottle our feelings up as if they don't exist.
You said what you needed to say and that's the first step for you.
Forget what others think or say. They aren't going through what you are going through.
Thank you for sharing something so deep. I really hope everything starts taking a turn for the better.

Ash@Life As Lucy said...

<3 words do not exist for me but tears are falling. i know this feeling all too well =[ as much as i love my husband--- i miss the person he was before he deployed... i miss that more than i care to admit most days... you're not alone and anyone who writes nasty anything to you doesn't know what it's like

Marine Wife Unplugged said...

I have been there, with the same thoughts, and the same horrid guilt for having the thoughts. This hits home. Thank you for writing about it.

Amanda said...

I know the feeling you write about as my soldier has been dealing with PTSD since coming back in 2007. He is in counseling & medication but still we have moments like when he decided he didn't need the medication anymore w/out talking with me- yeah- saying it sucked is putting it mildly. Taboo in the military life needs to go away- we are a military at war a long long war & we have scars both seen & unseen that we all have to deal with. No one person's cross is any harder then anothers just a different burden to shoulder. Remember to speak up, remember to talk with a friend so they know whats going on- taking care of your self is the only way you can continue to care for your wounded warrior.

Jessikuh said...

I think you are an incredible woman who is much stronger than people will give you credit. All of you are very strong, and I credit you for being such a strong woman as to put it all out on the table like this. My prayers are definitely with you and what you are facing.

Allie said...

Hi! I just wanted to stop by and let u know I posted your button on my bog! :)

Anonymous said...

*hugs* I know the feelings and the emotions of what you are going through. We've been dealing with PTSD since 2003 when he came home from Iraq the first time. I felt like the man he was died over there and the man who returned... well, I didn't recognize him. He looked like my husband but he wasn't my husband.

You're right, many of us are never 100% honest about how we're feeling. It's taboo, it's a stigma... and it's terrifying to be so upfront and honest. I applaud your honesty!

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