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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Before I start writing about how PTSD affects families, I want to mention that PTSD can have a delayed onset and it is also the gift that keeps on giving, haha.
PTSD can hit you when they start the next war. If you have had some help and are doing well, it can hit you again when they start the next war. Other traumas bring up the symptoms, your spouse gets sick, someone else is raped, a natural disaster. This is called human nature.
You know what the young soldiers will be going through and it hurts you and brings up pain you may have thought you had dealt with.
My suggestion is if something helped before, go for more of it. This does not mean the therapy didn't work. It means PTSD comes back in normal people when there are further traumas.
PTSD can be held off for years by acceptable "efforts to avoid thoughts or feelings associated with the trauma," like workaholism, hidden sex addiction (affairs, porn), religiosity, food, exercise. The list is endless. Then it is the 50th anniversary of your war and Boom! PTSD.
You can also be hit by PTSD when you reach a point where you can't drink anymore, or your wife gets sick or dies, or you get sick and feel helpless.
I am not going to be able to cover all the effects on families in one post, but I will start out with what happened to me.
I had no idea that war was anything but glorious, having been raised on WWII movies, documentaries, and books. I actually wanted to be either Combat Kelly or Sgt. Rock of Easy Company...
At 14 I realized wishing would not make me a boy, so I gave that up. It didn't occur to me to join as a woman. They couldn't be infantry.
In that era we were brought up to believe you could do anything if you tried hard enough, and you were responsible for the happiness of your family. If they had problems, you could and should fix them.
So when Bob came back from Vietnam, thinner, jumpier and leaping up at night, I started trying to fix it. Booze helped him sleep, so I got it. I made friends for us because Bob started isolating. I read self help books and passed them on to him and got mad when he didn't read them and immediately get better.
I also spent a lot of time telling him "Don't be sad" because I thought if he was sad it meant I was not a good wife, "Don't be mad," because if he was angry it meant I was not a good wife, "You shouldn't feel that way," if something annoyed him.
All of these stop recovery. Vets need to be mad, sad, annoyed and whatever else they feel, but I was always there helpfully trying to cheer him up. This is because I could not tolerate his pain. I did not see it that way. I saw it as being nice and as my job.
More tomorrow.

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