a bit of news

I am pregnant (yes, again) with our fifth baby (yes, fifth).  This changes things here on the blog just a bit.  We will now be a family of seven!  Aaaannnnd.....it's a girl, so I'll need to be changing the entire blog name soon, since she will be arriving at the end of April. 

from the other side (a spouse's struggle with PTSD)

I would never have dared speak of my struggle during the depths of Kevin's struggle with PTSD, in fact, there are few with whom I shared my side of the journey.

Now it is different, Kevin really has experienced healing, he really does still struggle, but he also knows there was a struggle on my side as well, and acknowledging it doesn't make him angry, but thankful for God's overwhelmingly sufficient grace.

I will say with confidence every spouse who has dealt with a veteran who struggles with PTSD has felt very alone.  Strangely, the veteran feels totally and utterly alone too.  This seems paradoxical, to have two people fighting against the same thing, but both feeling so alone.

My experience was not my husband's, but I don't hear many spouses tell their story, mainly because we're afraid to and even feel we are not allowed to express our hurt, struggle, or fear.  Because of the REACH program at the VA, I've actually spoken to other wives, and I was amazed at the shared feelings among all of us.  So I decided to write.  About our side, our side of the fight.  

There were days I felt like I had PTSD, days I wanted to lash out in anger, days I wanted to give up.  That is where the greatest challenge lies:  the man who you knew as a rock, who could not be shaken by mortar rounds, by incessant patrols, by days on end without your companionship, now seems unable to bear your 5 year old's fits of frustration or even just being in a room full of people.

I finally learned the worst thing I could ever do, was to get angry when he got angry (even though that is exactly what I wanted to do).  I learned how to cope with this new man, how to give him space, how to take the blame for every argument, how to always say sorry and expect to never hear him say the same words.  I learned his triggers, how to avoid them (as best I could), when not to leave him alone with our children, and when not to leave him alone.

I felt afraid, alone, and unsure about our future.

What do you do?  In that place of fear and uncertainty.  Trust Jesus, pray, believe unswervingly in the power of the gospel, pray, wait, and pray more.  As a spouse, you must remember you are not alone; yes, because God is with you, but also because there are thousands of wives fighting this fight with you.  Most often, they are fighting silently, just as you are.  Help is out there---for you and for your spouse, you are not weak if you get it, and neither is he.  Some days stick with the Army motto, drink water and drive on, but not in desperation, rather clinging to the hope of Christ and the knowledge that God is still God, and nothing will change that.