It is not often I willingly will talk about War or the after effects but here we are finishing out the month of March and marking the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the Iraqi War.
I remember when my husband was training up to deploy in 2003. Separation was not too much of an issue for us since he had been a commercial fisherman in Alaska, we were used to being apart (not that we LIKED it, but it worked). The thought at the time was 'why in the world am I getting ready to send my 34 year old husband to war?' "What did we get ourselves into?" "How can I do this full-time by myself?"
I never wanted to be a single parent, not that many people want that for their own life. I knew I could handle everything by myself but I didn't want to at all. We lived in a remote area with no military support structure at all. We had only lived there a few years so we really didn't have many friends.
Needless to say I survived deployment so did the kids and so did my husband, to a degree. Flash forward to Spring of 2005 and a homecoming. He looked like my husband but I wasn't convinced. This man was hard in mind and spirit. He expected things to be a certain way and if they were not and he had to do it there would be trouble.
There were fights, OCD moments we had never had before, there were outbursts, freak outs in the grocery store...I had no idea what was going on but I knew he wasn't on drugs but he was drinking quiet a bit. What was going on? We were not prepared for the fighting to continue once they got home, no body prepared me for the after effects of war.
Physically, my husband is 85%, he has a knee injury but mentally is a whole other ball game. For the last 8 years sleep is hard to come by, the slightest noise is cause for alarm and vigilance. What can be worse is if I hear the noise and I end up anticipating what he will do if it wakes him up. Sleep is a distant memory.
To look at my husband you see nothing wrong...live with him and you will see the difference. Like many things there seems to be a cycle when it is worse than other times thankfully I have support and resources available to me 24/7. The VA Caregiver Program has allowed me to keep my husband safe and stay home with him permanently.
For a further look inside click here.