Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Just Some Rambling

A couple Saturdays ago Jay went in for some brain testing. We are still waiting for those results. Hopefully they will be able to help pinpoint where (if any) damage occurred. Why does this matter? I don't know. Maybe I just want to see it on paper. Maybe I just want to be able to slam that paper on someone's desk and say, "FIX THIS!!!! IT'S RUINING OUR LIVES!!!!" Will it change anything? No. Not one bit.

The day of the test Jay had to miss two doses of some very important medication. I knew it was going to be a rough day but I had no idea exactly how bad it could get. To make a long story short, by the end of the day Jay had demanded a divorce, took the car keys, and drove himself into the city. I said a lot of prayers and was more than relieved when he walked back thru the door, safe and sound, a couple hours later.

But, honestly, and embarrassingly, I was also relieved that he had asked for a divorce. I wanted to run away. He'd been so mean and I was so tired of always trying to say the right things that for that bit that he was gone, I was actually excited to have been given my ticket to leave. I know that I don't really want to leave. I don't want my marriage to end. But, just for that little bit of time, I was free and I felt better than I had in weeks.

We managed to work things out and after his medication leveled back out, things returned to normal. He has not had any angry outbursts since then and I think this combination of medications is the key. We have still had moments of frustration that were never a part of our lives before PTSD, but at least we are at a place now where we seem to get along. I know we love each other. Thankfully, we have many years of that love behind us as a foundation.

Nearly everyone in Jay's therapy group (all soldiers with PTSD) has recently divorced or is on the verge. It's so sad. It's sad because the marriages are ending. But it's more sad to me because when I ask Jay why it's happening his reply is always, "The wife just doesn't get it" or "He says his wife's a bitch."

I've never met these women so I can't say if these things are true or not. But I can say this--it is VERY hard to be the wife of someone with PTSD. It's not like he's just in a bad mood sometimes or he's a little paranoid. PTSD controls our entire lives. He's in a bad mood ALL the time. He hates everyone and everything. It makes him stutter. It makes him shake. It keeps him from sleeping. It turns him away from his God. It scares his children. It keeps him from being 'him'.

Those wives were probably just like me. They married someone who was sweet and kind and loving. And then before their eyes their husbands morphed into some monster that they barely recognized. Why did their marriages end? Was it really because the wife just didn't get it? Or was it because she was just broken down and couldn't deal any more? You never know what goes on behind closed doors. That is such a common phrase but I think that it is one of the truest.

Will that be us someday? Will this stupid disorder claim our marriage? I'm hoping not. I cannot let Jay live alone like this. This disorder isn't his fault. What's happened to him isn't his fault. And as long as he's still trying to get well, and as long as he's still trying to not be swallowed up by drugs or alcohol, then he deserves for me to ride this out with him.


  1. Hi Emme,
    Sounds like it's been a rough one. You absolutely don't have to feel bad or guilty for feeling pressured. You are a unpaid-one-woman support group, case manager, and care worker (as well as all that other stuff that you did BEFORE!) It's OK to feel overwhelmed, but you're doing great.

    I know that the divorce statistics (heck, ALL of the statistics regarding TBI/PTSD) can be a bit disheartening; but they're aren't the only story. Really they're not.
    It takes wide-open eyes, patience, understanding, bravery and grace to keep a relationship together under massive pressure. And those are things that you have TONS of.
    We're thinking of you.

  2. Aw Emme, I don't know what to say. But I do hope that those brain scans give you some type of answer about your husband's condition. And I am so very happy you are so supportive of your husband. He is one lucky man.

  3. Erin, I think I am going to put "wide-open eyes, patience, understanding, bravery and grace" on a bracelet and wear it as a reminder to keep trying. Kind of like a 'What Would Jesus Do?' sort of thing; such a beautiful string of words. Thank you.

    Justine, thank you for the kind comment. I believe he is a lucky man too;)

  4. Wow...I feel as though you are writing MY life out in words in this blog! My husband is also a Vet...of the Gulf War. He is ...no WE are struggling with PTSD...that he has had since returning from Kuwait...20 yrs ago!! I often feel like I have been living in HELL...but yet i stay. I just wish my husband would go and stay in therapy!
    Thanks for being so real, so raw.
    Good luck.

  5. Emme I am so in awe of your commitment to your husband and your marriage. I am divorced (ex cheated and left me with 3 kids under 7) and remarried to a wonderful man!!!!

    Your strength and perserverance is amazing.

    Please thank Jay for all that he has done to help ME and MY FAMILY while sacrificing all that he has (and you and your children too). It is heartbreaking that families have to endure the effects and aftermath of war.

    My prayers are with you and your family!

  6. Jenn, thank you so much for your comment. I am happy to connect with someone who has 'been there'. I cannot imagine living like this for twenty years so I definitely tip my hat to you! I am very sorry to hear that your husband will not go to therapy. Since we are at the beginning of this journey (less than six months in treatment)I am in no place to tell you what is right for your family. But as a wife I know that TRYING to get help counts for something and I will pray that your husband has a change of heart. I know that it's hard to live with this disorder hovering over your household, so I would love to hear some of your coping strategies someday!

    AnnMarie, thank you for your comment. But, I checked out your blog and it's YOUR STRENGTH that is amazing. I know your blog is new and you appear to be a very busy girl, but please keep it up. I would love to read more about your journey thru breast cancer as well as your experience being left to raise three small children on your own. Everybody has a struggle (and no one is guaranteed to just get ONE) and I think we can all learn from each others' experiences.