Image courtesy of veteranstoday.org
In case you don't know, today is PTSD awareness day. I've written here that Brendon does suffer from it. Every day. I don't go into that much detail about everything that has happened, I always thought people might think I'm crazy for sticking around and dealing with it. I'm all my husband has and if I go, he'll most likely not be here anymore. The kids and I are his rock. If I didn't love him so much, I would be gone in a heartbeat.
I know there's this website out there called Battling Bare. Basically, a "support" and "awareness raising" site for soldiers suffering from PTSD. Mostly male soldiers. I think there should be more awareness but is stripping your shirt off really the answer? Is it the way to go about this? I really don't think so. It's not anything about me feeling self conscious. I think the more families discuss their situation, that would definitely make people more aware that it's happening more often than people think.
That's why I'm going to go into full detail about everything I've experienced with Brendon. Right now. I'm not going to be the "silent" one. It started in 2008, Brendon's best friend was killed in Afghanistan by a road side bomb that their convoy hit. Trimble died and his NCO suffered severe lacerations to his legs, amputating one leg. I believe now he has both amputated, and now is finally living back in middle TN since moving back from Walter Reed. I don't think anyone ever gets over seeing someone die in front of them, even more when it's someone you're so close to. When I found out who was KIA, I instantly knew my husband would be struggling. I didn't expect to be handling this like we do four years later. To add more to this trouble, during that deployment(his first), he also hit a IED but he wasn't in a humvee thankfully. He did suffer a concussion, and a little hearing loss.
Fast forward to 2009, homecoming. Things seem great, it was amazing to have him home with Braden and myself. We were getting ready to PCS to Fort Carson, Colorado. That's when things really just got out of control. He went on money spending sprees, drinking insane amounts of alcohol, just neglecting us, yelling at me most nights, slinging me around, choking me. Some nights I would sleep with one eye open because I was afraid he might think I was a Afghan prisoner. I've been slung around, screamed at in my face, and so much things similar to that.
My grandma passed away the next summer and while we were in Georgia, he spent so much money, I didn't even have enough to buy Braden some medicine to keep his temperature down(he has a history of severe febrile seizures). What did he spend this money on you might ask? Alcohol. Alcohol has been such a major part of our lives and I've grown sick of it. When he asks to drink, I have to be the only giving him what he wants. So he's only allowed so many beers, so much in a cup, ect... He gets out of control after a while. Drinking is also when he opens up the most.
Coming home from a platoon party one night(I was pregnant with Jacob), he finally opened up to me about Trimble. He wished it was him instead, he thinks about that all the time. How his death left his two girls and wife fatherless, husbandless. That really upset me, but I knew it was the alcohol talking. How could he say these things? Did he think about them even when he's not drunk? He would leave me, Braden and then would be Jacob without him. He struggles to collect his thoughts sometimes. He has nights where he can't sleep, and some nights where all he does is sleep.
We've come to a point where we separated for a short time. The beginning of the year, actually. We really needed some time apart to think things through. I'm not going to leave him. We're not getting divorced. He needs me, he needs his boys, he needs SUPPORT. Again, without us, he has nothing. He starts to see someone once block leave starts, so that's a step in the right direction because I actually spoke up and said we can't take it anymore. We can't let him suffer silently and "hope it goes away".
I really hope more people come forward, open up about their stories, because then that is really raising awareness.