Spouse Calls: PTSD spouses should seek support
October 28, 2007
Shortly after my husband and I were married, he was deployed for his third tour of Iraq. We had been together going on ten years and had seen two tours, so I didn’t expect this to be much different. I could not have been more wrong. I found out I was pregnant two weeks into the tour, and miscarried several weeks later. My husband took it exceptionally hard. He attempted to come home but could not.
He seemed to regroup and came home for R&R. (He had scheduled his R&R eight months in so he could be home for the birth). R&R was a little rough but at first I thought it was just how he was dealing with the disappointment of just seeing me, as opposed to coming home to the birth of our first baby.
But things got really bad. He became violent to the point the police had to be called. Before this tour my husband did not have a violent bone in his body.
When he got a psych eval, they diagnosed him with severe PTSD. They believed it stemmed from his first tour, but until this third tour exacerbated his symptoms he was able to control it.
Things are an absolute wreck now. The arguments are frequent and intense. He’s on medication and in therapy, but he still overreacts frequently.
I feel like my life is falling apart. Last night, we had a blowout disagreement that ended in my losing all composure. I usually try to be the calm one, but this time I just lost it. I went to bed early. He slept on the living room floor, and I just lay in bed and cried.
I feel so hopeless, like the man I fell in love with went to Iraq and never came back, and I’m afraid I’ll never see him again. What do I do?
I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your baby, all the while wondering if you have also lost the husband you once knew.
In light of your comments about your husband’s violent outbursts, I must say that if you feel physically unsafe, you need to take measures to remove yourself from that situation. He needs you, your love and support, but you can’t help him by allowing him to hurt you.
If your husband reacts in violent ways, even with medication and treatment, you should inform his doctor. While your husband is receiving treatment, you also need a place to discuss your own feelings. There is hope, and you are not alone.
Your clinic might have information about support groups for spouses of PTSD sufferers and for those who have experienced miscarriage.
A chaplain at your installation may be able to counsel with you or direct you to other sources of help.
Another option is to contact Military One Source to find a counselor in your area, with whom you can meet face to face. Six sessions are provided at no cost.
Also, blog sites for spouses of those with PTSD could help you get connected with other women with similar experiences. Choose a site with healthy discussion and encouragement.
While blogging can be helpful, please pursue avenues of face-to-face counseling, groups or friends to meet with in person. A human connection is important.
I will post Web sites on the Spouse Calls blog to help you find more information. Go to http://blogs.stripes.com/ blogs/spousecalls, and please write and let me know how you are doing.
Terri Barnes is a military wife and mother of three. She lives and writes in Germany, where her husband is stationed at Ramstein AB. Send questions or comments to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.