To All My Sister Combat Wives
This is not a poem, or a tribute, or story. It is just some thoughts I want to share after a very serious crisis that for some reason I just was unable to handle the way I usually do. I have certainly learned on my own what to do and how to get through since there was no help when PTSD came home when I was 18.
By the time there were programs, I had doctors reading things I wrote and nurses wanting to know what living with this is like. That is not patting myself on the back. It is just the way it happened because of what I had seen from the first time I saw my husband after Nam.
This episode was frightening and very serious. It caught me by surprise, it hurt me although I know it is not me or my fault, and in reality not what my husband actually feels. I have not been caught off guard like this or unable to handle what I have been trained and learned to understand after over 30 years, in over 7 years. It drained me, and some of my dearest friends on this site knew before I did just how serious it was and where my mind was without me saying a word.
It has taken me over a week to work my way back to who I am, and the strength we all have to live with this. What I want to share is that I was thinking yesterday about how we all go from serious crisis to calm periods in a matter of hours, days, etc. We all know the good men inside of this awful PTSD. We know they are worth it, and have chosen it.
But, when I go over the frantic e-mail during this crisis with 2 combat wives who saw through this ahead of me, and then the change when I started to regain my strength mentally & physically, I thought, my God I look insane, not real, hard to believe, almost like how bad could it be?
But then I thought some more, and I think this is why the rest of the world does not understand our men or us. You have to live it to know. You have to be there to realize how serious it can get in a moment. You have to live with it to know the wonderful men under all of this, and that they are worth it.
I have lived with this since I was 18 yrs. old, and the phrase PTSD was not even in existence then. But I knew my husband before, and I somehow knew there was something wrong that no one was acknowledging. I have been alone with this for a long time. Family (most) does not want to understand. Those who do are a gift, and I am so grateful.
But it is wonderful to have all of you, and I truly mean that, within reach. I can only imagine how many more are out there. A top specialist on this once told me 20 yrs. ago that 20 yrs. from then, men like ours and women like us would just start to surface. He was definitely correct.
I want to thank my dear friends for seeing what was happening to me before I did. Deb, you knew, and Mitzi who called me from so far away. They saved me in so many ways. They e-mailed me like they just were not going to let go. Mitzi even let out my anger for me, something I always thought I should not feel. Thank you so much.
And to other wives who e-mailed me even though I just did not have the concentration or attention span to answer all of you right away, I thank you for caring. I slept so much, laid down more than I ever have, full of hurt and then numbness. This site is just what we need. Thank you all. We are survivors, and I am proud to have met you all.
With love and appreciation ~Christine
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