Published: June 26, 2010
Conversations on the Spouse Calls blog often show military spouses supporting each other with information and understanding. As you can see, the Spouse Calls blog has a new format, but one thing hasn’t changed: Reader comments are essential to the conversation. Your words are welcome.
Here are some questions and answers between bloggers about delayed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder:
Carla: Can military men or women have no signs of PTSD and all of a sudden change? My husband was in the first Gulf War. All these symptoms (described on the blog) are exactly what is going on with him now.
He's all of a sudden having an affair! He used to be such a good soul now he has turned into a monster. He is going to counseling, which is a good thing. At least he acknowledges this is a big problem. But, The affair continues, and I continue to pray for him, be there for him, try to understand him. My question is, “Can PTSD happen to Gulf War military men and women18-plus years later?”
Wildflower: Yes! My husband seemed to be fine until he retired and then “Bang!” The bottom fell out. From my experiences and from my reading, I’ve learned that it doesn't have to show right away.
You're right about the importance of him getting counseling. Support him on that and don't lose sight of your own needs. The affair will hurt for sure, I know from experience, but perhaps in time that too will run its course. I had the good fortune of finding a telephone counselor through www.wellSpouse.org.
A counselor explained that often a PTSD victim will have an affair because it doesn't matter who they are to that person. They don't want to hurt those of us who they have a commitment to so they withdraw from us and turn to someone else.
The friends I've heard from here have been my great source of strength. Many of us are going through the same things so don't feel like you're alone.
Sarah: My husband is a US Army veteran. He just informed me the other day that he doesn't have any feelings, and that he feels dead inside. He told me that he is not sure what love is, and doesn't know if he can keep “pretending” anymore.
The truth is we have been together for 5 years, married for 6 months, and I know he loves me. He was diagnosed with PTSD about a year and a half into our relationship. Now he says that he doesn't know what he wants, and feels inhuman for not feeling any emotions.
I feel so lost and don't know what to do. We're trying a separation right now to see if that helps, all his family and mine are trying to get him help, but he is reluctant. I feel like my whole world is crumbling around me.
Wildflower: Welcome to the world of many. Many on this site have had or are experiencing the same issues that you are right now. Though that doesn't … make your life easier, it does help to know you have a safe place to go to vent and hear from many who will support you.
My husband was diagnosed with PTSD when he retired. We're now separated because he “has no feelings for me anymore and wants to go away and start his life over alone.” He is finally getting help with a wonderful counselor through the VA.
Let your husband know it's okay to seek help. Thousands have. The National Center for PTSD Web site could help you to understand some of your challenges. Just keep coming back here for friends who will support you.