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Friday, June 13, 2014

Detach with love, Day 13 of PTSD Awareness Month

With all the additional information on PTSD ( although none of it is presented the way I see it) it is hard not to get annoyed when people will not go for help. Why is that? And what can a spouse do about it?
People are human and American, and human Americans do not like to think they need help. They are fine (F*ked up, insecure, neurotic and egotistical, but they don't know it) and you are somewhere between nag and nut case to think they are not.
Detach with love.
Let him be where he is at. Let her be where she is at. Our society tells us we can change people. If this were true, there would not be a new self help book out every week. The only person I can change is me, and that is slow and hard and I have not lived through a war and had the symptoms of PTSD hammered into me by traumatic events, over and over.
So if change is hard for me as a civilian, it is going to be harder for a veteran. He will have to face pain, devastation, horrible memories of blood and guts and fear and despair and anger and vengeance and destruction. It is easy to think he should man up and just do it.
We start out as rescuers: Oh, honey, you should go get help, or read this book, or do that. We do not know what healing from war involves. We have no way to know. I had a lot of advice for Bob, none of which he took, so when I was writing the book, I realized that not taking my advice was evidence too. 

In combat, things are out of the person's control. Wishes will not stop bullets or explosions or someone bleeding out. Those are just words to us. As Bob once said to me when we came out of the movie Platoon, "It's worse when it's real." 
Not following directions is evidence that following directions put them in danger. 
It is evidence that they need to regain a sense of control in their lives and if they do what you say they lose that. 
So even if what you are saying is the right thing, saying it may be the wrong thing.
More tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. I wish I had found this blog 10 years ago when I got serious about trying to get some help for my husband, myself and my family. He was a Vietnam Vet as well. He passed 18 months ago after years of a self-destructive downward spiral. I now attend monthly meetings of Veteran's Heart Georgia in order to work on my own healing by being part of a group of vets and citizens that believe in working together, in community, towards healing. I just wanted to take a moment to thank you and your husband for the time and energy you give to this work. Even though it is too late for my husband, it isn't too late for me, my family, and many others out there. My sincere thanks, Sue.