Old Glory

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

PTSD... This is frustrating

I am not naive enough to not know that even people that have not been to combat can suffer from PTSD.  There are lots of situations where this can be the case, however, in my opinion. George Zimmerman does NOT fit this description.

To me, this is exactly why it is hard for many people to take PTSD seriously enough to make sure our troops and those truly suffering with it, because I believe it is too easily thrown around as a diagnosis. 

When I saw this article about George Zimmerman, I truly felt ill.  I pray for the guys that served with Chad that they get through life as happy, healthy, and alive as they possibly can after all they have been through and the ones that PTSD ends up taking from us far too soon and the families of those left behind and then I see something like this it breaks my heart.

I don't want to make anyone believe or feel like I do by any means, but I do hope to at least spark a little thought behind what PTSD really is and how devastating it is for the person dealing with it and the families and friends that love them. 


Still learning about myself

I have had quite the last couple of weeks.  I believe most of us think we know ourselves (at least I did), but I got a pretty good look at myself from my sister's perspective this past week and confirmation from another one.
Let me explain.  I'm the first born out of 7 kids (blended family) and I typically find myself being the surrogate mother and take care of things when they pop up.  There have been times when one might be in trouble for something and I could be two states away and they would call me to help fix the mess or tell them what they should do.  I actually love this role of my life and I really have never known anything different.
Well, last week I was talking to my youngest sister and she asked me what was wrong, I said, I don't really know.  I just feel like I've been in a funk and I can't put my finger on it.  She said, "you don't have me to take care of anymore".  I'm like, what?  She said, "I don't have cancer anymore".  You finally find yourself without someone or a project to focus on she basically said and you don't know what to do with yourself.  At the time I said maybe you are right.  After we hung up the phone I started thinking about what she said and I thought, she might actually have a point.  Then I thought to myself, do I always do this?  Do I find "projects" whether it be people or foundation or reorganizing my house a thousand times over just to avoid facing my own feelings or grief? 
So, I asked my other sister if this really is what I do and I made her be honest.  I'm pretty sure she didn't hesitate to say, um, yes! 
Well, there you go.  Even now, after I thought I knew myself pretty well by now, I discover something I guess I never realized.
I knew when Chad would deploy I would try to find a project to keep me busy and my mind off the danger he was in (if that was even possible), but I always figured that was more for Tebo and my family than for me.  Then when Chad passed away apparently I've been keeping busy with various other "projects" that I truly did not realize what I was doing.  I'm not really sure if I have even gone through a large portion of grief yet as I haven't had some of the stages "they" say you go through yet.  I'm not so sure I want to, honestly.
So after having two sisters states apart from each other confirm this to me, I guess it is time for me to face the fact.  I would rather take care of someone else, or work on our foundation, or a project than for someone to take care of me or to face my true feelings.
I would like to say that I will change that about myself, but I'm pretty sure that isn't going to happen any time soon.  I actually prefer to help someone else or take care of them than to think about how I might be feeling, because honestly, I don't know if I want to uncover that just yet.
Is that healthy?  Probably not, but right now, that's all I can promise.
So don't be surprised if you are going through something and I find out about it that you don't become my "project" for the moment.  Apparently no one is safe from me.  LOL!  I will say this, I'm glad I have family and friends that just accept me for who I am and just let me be me.  I am pretty sure I would drive myself crazy if the shoe were on the other foot.
Before my world blew up...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

WFOT supports those struggling with PTSD and their loved ones

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

PTSD is not only effecting our military

Our service men and women that are diagnosed and suffering with PTSD are not the only ones suffering.  Have you ever stopped to think what this does to their family and close friends?  Moms and dads have to watch their child suffer and feel there is nothing they can do.  Spouses watch and many times are pushed away and feel helpless and abandoned.  The children of these service men and women don't understand.  All they know is mommy or daddy is different now and they just can't figure out why and there is always that chance they may even blame themselves.

We as a Nation owe it to these service men and women and their families to do all we can do to help them.  It could be a simple card/letter, an encouraging word, a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen, anything.  It doesn't even have to cost you money or that much time.  It would be amazing to these folks that are suffering just to know there are people out there that do really care about what they are going through.

I can only imagine how alone each of these people must feel at times and I think that is what breaks my heart the most.  I would never want them to think they have no one to turn to.

It has been my experience so far that many of our service men and women suffering chose to suffer in silence for several reasons (I believe).  One, I believe they don't want to burden their families any more than they feel they may have already done.  Second, I'm not sure they know how to take that first step and just open up.  Third and probably most importantly, I believe they view this as a weakness and they have been trained not to show weakness and to be brave and strong at all times.  This makes me sad.

They have been trained physically and emotionally to be protectors.  How can they lean on someone else, especially family and friends, if they continue to feel it is their "duty" to protect them?  I believe many of them feel this way.  I could be wrong, but based on the ones I've talked to, I don't think I am.

Stop and think how these parents must feel.  I will speak specifically about the moms as those are the ones I've actually spoken to so far.  They not only feel helpless, but they feel a since of failure and abandonment.  You might ask yourself why since they didn't cause this.  Well, speaking as a mom, it is our job to protect and care for your child regardless his/her age.  I know for me, it wouldn't have matter how old Chad was or if he were married (which he was) or how many children he had (which were none), I would have still done anything and everything to take care of him and make sure he was healthy, happy, and just ok.  I believe all moms have that in them, always.

As for spouses, can you imagine?  First, the love of their life is different and sometimes very different than the man or woman they married.  They want to continue to love them and help them through this and feel helpless I'm sure.  Think about it, they know their spouse is different and sometimes someone with PTSD can be mean, certainly angry at times and depressed.  It may take them months or years to figure out this is the issue.  Can you imagine what a toll this would take on a marriage and sadly, I'm afraid, most don't make it through this.  It takes a mighty strong couple who are determined despite anything thrown their way, they will make this marriage work.  However, I can tell you, that is easier said than done when you feel there is no way out or no help for the situation.

There is hope and there is a way out.  There are so many organizations out there willing and waiting to help.  There are support groups not only for the service member, but for the families as well.  Please take advantage of these resources.  If these organizations are anything like our Wings for Our Troops, they are desperate to help.  We long for the next service member to send home and when we go months without one request it gets disheartening.  I am certain that is how these other organizations must feel.

I was recently told that there is a military veteran that is looking into a business to train dogs that can sense when someone is about to have an episode or show symptoms of PTSD and will prompt the service member to take his/her medication.  Now I also have to tell you that I have yet to find such an organization out there, but I will continue to look.  I did, however, find that there are PTSD dogs that have been trained to be companions and they are seeing that it helps the patient cope when he/she has one of these dogs.  I'm not much of a dog lover (ok, not at all), but if this is something that helps our service men/women suffering with PTSD, I'm all for it.  I have a few links below that you are welcome to check out and see if any of these are a fit for you.

By all means, if you are a service member and you have been diagnosed or feel you may be having symptoms of PTSD, talk to someone.  If you don't want to speak to your family or friends then find someone else.  I am an email or post away and there are so many out there with open arms ready to help lift you up.  That is certainly the first step in truly getting the help you need to live a long, healthy, and happy life.  You deserve it!






Please do not suffer in silence any longer and do not allow PTSD rob you of the life you deserve. 

Pain in a little boy's eyes that has to watch someone he loves suffer with PTSD (picture courtesy of easyreadsystem.com)

Picture courtesy of photo bucket

The look of a wife or mother that feels helpless in helping their child or spouse (picture courtesy of urbanchristiannews.com)