Friday, February 25, 2011

The Joys of PTSD

I hate PTSD.

He tells me something and then contradicts himself 10 minutes later and then yells at me for not listening to him when I question it.

Then he follows that up by telling me not to talk to him anymore because he's frustrated with me.

Maybe if I didn't have to pry information out of him practically with a crowbar and learned how to just simply read his mind we could avoid the usual sequence of events.

I used to go to some of his appointments with him so that I could ask the list of questions that he would forget to ask himself. Or when he'd go see his psychologist and claim that none of the PTSD meds did any good, I'd go to the appointment and call him out on his BS.

Finally I just took a step back and let him deal with it. Now he yells at me that he told me to attend these information briefings and to come to his appointments so I would know what was going on so why should he tell me anything at all.

It doesn't take long to learn that when you're married to a wounded warrior with PTSD that you can't do anything right sometimes.

When he's done stomping around and having his fit like a 3 year old we'll go have breakfast and he'll just move on like the whole argument never even happened. Scream at me one minute and then be perfectly calm and back to "normal" the next.

He's also pissed that now that he has his retirement orders in his hands and can finally start out processing but the orders say that he's in the National Guard when he's actually active duty. So since he's pissed about the mistake and it has to be corrected in the system, that gets taken out on me too.

Life is tons of fun sometimes.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I keep thinking things should be smooth sailing from here on out. I waited for this time to come for almost three years and I should be excited about moving forward. Finally our lives aren't so much in limbo anymore waiting on the military and the VA. Finally I can pack up and move on to the next chapter in our lives and start getting settled. Life should be good, right?

Instead I find myself spending most days hiding away from the world, barely able to get myself out of bed. I feel completely buried under this huge cloud of darkness leaving me with little to no energy. Having to schedule appointments and make commitments suddenly makes me feel anxious and I never want to leave the house. I drag myself to the store as little as possible and only during times when I know there won't be as many people out. I know what I need to do, what needs to get done before I leave and yet I waste each day that comes along and hide under my blankets afraid to go out and face the world.

By all accounts this could very well be due to my hypothyroidism, an automatic gift courtesy of my thyroidectomy 10 months ago. It could also be causing my daily headaches and constant digestive problems. Whatever it is, it's taking away my quality of life in a big hurry and I'm not liking it. I push myself to try to get stuff done but I seem to have this short supply of energy that never goes away. There's so much I want to do and it all just feels like it's out of reach. I struggle to make goals and plans and consistently fall short. It's like I'm trying to keep my head above water and someone or something just pushes me back down.

I keep trying to understand why my plate just feels so full and why life just feels so overwhelming to me when there's plenty of people I know with 10 times as much going on who seem to manage to get stuff done and don't get so burned out. This should be the home stretch of our journey and I should be excited and looking forward to what's ahead, not panicky and feeling sorry for myself. We've been talking about this the entire time he's been here recovering so it's not like it's anything new to me, but I can't seem to get myself out from under this depression. I worry about money and the transition and second guess everything I do. I told someone earlier that I'm not as strong as I seem, I'm just pretty good at hiding things and wearing that fake smile.

I hate that this is happening now, right when I need to be literally moving forward. Although honestly, it's been like this for the past few months. My husband has taken to telling me that I'm lazy and I'll say that I'm going to leave but I never will. Part of me feels guilty for having to leave one of my kids behind with him but I need her to be able to stay in school until we know for sure where we're going to live. I know a big move like this is extremely disruptive to a child on the autism spectrum and she's already starting to have behavior problems at school and at home. By the same token, I desperately need to get my son out of this house and into a new routine. His pediatrician said that we need a referral for a child psychologist where we move because he's feeling some stress because of the chaotic situation we're in. As a parent, I think I'll feel guilty no matter what but if this were just a regular military move, I might feel less pressure and maybe less guilt because it was out of my control.

I think the most frustrating part of this whole mess is that I recognized that there's a problem that needs to be taken care of yet I've gotten no where. I don't understand how anyone else can walk into their doctor's office and ask for some kind of antidepressant and get a prescription, yet I've asked my counselor for a referral and practically begged my doctor (at separate visits) for something to help me and I can't get it. Somehow I fall into the mild to moderate category because I guess I seem pretty sane and don't fall apart. They'd rather just check my thyroid and then simply tell me that it's a side effect and we'll just watch and wait to see how things go. Although if I ever felt the need to harm myself or others they'd gladly lock me up in the psych ward. So does it matter that I'd like to hurt them for not listening to me when I say over and over that I need a little help to balance out my life? Where's the fine line where I can get something so I can at least function a little better? Do they need an itemized crap list of things that come through here and add to the stress?

All I'm asking for is just a little help trying to put our lives back together piece by piece. And just because my husband has come to the end of his military career, does not mean that his recovery is over by any means. Our lives will never be normal again. Most days I can accept that but sometimes I need a little help keeping my sanity. I don't think that's asking too much.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

It's Always Something...

Lots of changes have been going on around here. So much craziness added into the mix of our upside down lives that when it all calms down I'm not sure what I'll do. The biggest news is that the Army & VA finally came back with a rating for my husband. We had discussed a certain percentage that we would appeal if they rated him lower and surprisingly it was a whole lot higher than we expected. As I type this we just passed month 31 since he was wounded and began his long recovery here. We went over the paperwork with a lawyer as well as someone who was able to answer all of our questions (and then some) and clear up some of the confusion that comes with the territory. I am happy (and scared to death) to say the time has finally begun to say good bye to the military and to our home here in TX. We've been here just over 4 years and I'm ready for a change of scenery. We've decided to move to east Tennessee. It's not our home state but it's somewhere that we've both spent a lot of time and my husband has some family not too far away. We went back and forth on where to move and just kept coming back because it just felt right to us.

We started out the new year with my husband recovering from one of his deadliest infections to date. Having seen first hand how damaging and fatal sepsis can be with my mom, seeing how quickly my husband's condition deteriorated was pretty intense. Being a military wife has taught me to be used to him not being around but all of that went out the window when he was in ICU. The stress was a constant that whole time, a lot like when he was first wounded. For me, it was mostly just knowing his organs were shutting down and that it was literally killing him. I went through the motions of everything but was barely functioning myself. At one point I turned my cell phone off and avoided my computer and just simply hid in my room with my kids close by. I usually think of myself as being strong and able to hold it together but that really tested me. I am happy to say that despite his respiratory problems from overseas, my husband has pretty much made a full recovery. I will stalk him and drag him to the ER if he ever insists that he's just fine if he ever seems that sick again.

A couple weeks later, in the span of 5 days, our refrigerator finally went out for good, our dishwasher stopped working and leaked water all over the floor and our furnace went out. Yeah, that was a fantastic week. The icing on the cake was that our landlord refused to fix the fridge and offered out of the goodness of his heart to split the cost of the repairs and new parts with us. The rental company said if we didn't like that idea we could pay to rent one and have the old one hauled away. We knew we wouldn't be here that much longer and didn't even hesitate to tell them thanks but no thanks. Sorry I'm not into throwing money away because you suck. Since we had participated in the amazing Heroes at Home program through Sears and I had only used part of one of the gift certificates to buy my kids some new shoes, and I had some commission sitting in paypal, we were able to get this for a mere $35 out of pocket. That's even after $100 for shipping and sales tax. I can't tell you how nice it's been to have cold food again!

The landlords begrudgingly fixed our furnace and dishwasher but the rest of the 8 year old house seems to be falling apart. I was informed that houses around here are built to only last about 10 years. Really? That just blows my mind. Where I come from houses last just about forever. We had thought this would be the last of our troubles for awhile but got a nice little surprise a few weeks later when we had problems getting our credit cards to work. I use the term nice very loosely and with the full sarcasm intended.

We've been saving whatever we can to prepare for this move and that's not easy when we're essentially a one income family. So imagine our shock when we logged onto our bank account and discovered that we had $4 to our names. Someone had gotten ahold of our credit cards and drained thousands of dollars from our account. We immediately called the bank and they were able to freeze the cards and tell us that the transactions came from 3 states away. Not only that but the thief/thieves had my husband's actual credit card and pretended to be him. We are extremely careful with our money and the entire time our cards were with us, however, the ones we had were approaching the expiration date. I had called the bank a few days earlier and asked them why they hadn't sent out new cards yet and was informed that they sent them out back around the first of the month. The lady I spoke with tried to tell me that it can take a couple of weeks but something about that didn't have me convinced. Sure enough, we were hit a few days later, right about the same time my husband's SSI check hit the account. It's not enough to steal someone's money but in my opinion there's a special place in hell waiting for you when you steal from a wounded veteran.

We think that someone, possibly our sucky neighbors who seem to be responsible for alot of suspicious activity in the neighborhood, could have taken the replacement cards out of the mailbox. It's not that hard to figure out our schedule and they know what time the mail arrives every day. It's creepy to think that someone has been watching us. I assure you this does wonders for an already paranoid wounded warrior with PTSD. The part that bothers me is that the thieves were able to activate the new cards and use them.

We received replacement cards a couple of days later and although I was not amused at the time, the bank issued them with the same exact numbers of the ones that were stolen and subsequently frozen. Rocket science anyone? My husband called then and explained what was going on and they said they would send out new cards but that it would take 3-5 days for the money to be put back into our account. He asked them if there was some way they could send out the cards via certified mail so we didn't risk having them stolen again and they said they couldn't do that but would overnight them via FedEx. Of course our FedEx guy left the envelop on our front porch in plain sight. So much for security. The best part was when we opened the envelop and while the card number was different, there was only one card. Turns out our bank forgot to send mine. I'm not sure how you just forget something like that but I was so exasperated by this point that I pretty much unleashed my fury on this guy. I think he had me on hold so he didn't have to listen to my tirade but I was so fed up.

To add insult to injury, we had another transaction go through leaving us a whole $1 to live on. Looking back, I guess I'm glad that we didn't overdraft the account but of course both vehicles were low on gas and since we were planning on moving days later we didn't have a whole lot of food in the house. Thankfully my husband's WTB was able to get together some gas and commissary cards for us to get through the weekend.

Nonetheless everything seems to have been pretty much resolved and back to normal now. Well whatever normal around here is. Now that things have kind of quieted down, I'm not sure what to do. I can handle constant ongoing stress because that's what I'm used to, but the quiet feels so strange. I feel like I'm just waiting for the next tidal wave to hit. I hope that someday I can stop feeling that way and just enjoy each day without assuming something is going to go wrong.


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