My husband was diagnosed with PTSD in September 2007, over a year after being honorably discharged from active duty. It took us that long to realize that something was just not right.
The day we received his diagnosis was certainly bittersweet for me. There was a part of me that was relieved. Finally, there was an explanation for all we had been through in the past year! I was relieved to know that there was a reason for all the nightmares, the drinking, the paranoia, and the fighting.
However relieved I was, guilt followed suit. Shouldn’t I have known this earlier? The signs were obvious but why didn’t I see them? I blamed myself for not seeking more information and just hoping that things would get better. I felt like a terrible wife for not being able to pinpoint what was going on. After all, I have known my husband since I was 13 years old. I know him better than anyone else.
It might have been a simple enough explanation for me not knowing what my husband was going through. But what about his unit, the people who were in charge of him, his friends – how could they have not known? Or, did they simply not care? I started to get angry. I blamed the Army for not realizing that he had PTSD before they threw him back into the civilian world.
Now, several years since my husband’s diagnosis, I still feel many of the same things I did that day in the psychiatrist’s office. But I have learned not to focus on the anger or the guilt and appreciate the good this experience has brought us. I now realize that our situation could have been much worse. Hell, I could be writing this as a divorcee! I won’t lie, though – there have been (and will be) bad days, but for every bad day there is a good day, and that’s what keeps us going.
So, I look forward to sharing our personal experience with PTSD with all of you. I promise to tell you all about the good, the bad, and the ugly. I won’t sugarcoat anything in hopes of showing you that everything you are going through, or have been through, is normal.
At the end of the day, my only goal for this blog is that you feel like there is at least one person out there who understands what you are going through. I once felt like no one would understand what we were going through, and it made living with PTSD that much harder. I don’t want anyone to feel the way that I did, so here I am, ready to spill it all out.