Friday, June 28, 2013

21 years and...

Yesterday was our 21st wedding anniversary. Might be the first year I forgot. I was driving back from the camper with my daughter, and got a "Happy Anniversary" text about 11:30 AM. We had both forgotten, but that's really not a surprise. 

He was at the movies with the boys when I got home, but walked in the door with these two things. A sweet, sweet card, and chocolate.  This might be the first time he had something for me, and I didn't have anything back.

Since he's been back in the house, we have been civil. No fights, just kind of sharing space, living our lives. Hanging out here or there. A hug here and there, a kiss hardly ever.   Like strange friends.  

He helps if I ask, he grumbles about anything more than rides for kids or dishes and laundry. His head is really stuck in a place where doing ANYTHING is a pain in the ass. I constantly have to remind him to try and change the way he is thinking about whatever task has him thinking "this is bullshit."  Like a teenager. But mostly he does what I ask. He just doesn't do anything UNLESS I ask. Placing me in mother/boss/leader role, I don't want to be in. 

His therapist told him in the last session that he has one of the worst cases of PTSD she has ever seen. (This doesn't mean he will hurt anyone, so don't believe the hype the medial puts out there).  

Now, I'm just finishing a bachelor level CD counseling degree, and I'm sure she has WAY more education than I'll ever get. But what a stupid thing to say. Where is the hope in a comment like that?  She says the reason his is so bad is because he hid what happened for so long (18 years) and didn't deal with it. He is tortured by his brain.  He lives in a constant state of extreme remorse.  

Note to people who experience trauma, GET HELP NOW!

She believes he needs another exposure therapy treatment. I'm not the expert, but I disagree with this more than anything. That's just another 2-1/2 month inpatient treatment where they make him go over that day, every day while he is there to help him get desensitized to it or learn to live WITH what happened. Then they will release him and give him a half hour of therapy a week and probably more meds.  What the fuck?  He's done that treatment already. He's done every inpatient treatment they have.  Some of them multiple times.  It's the AFTERCARE that sucks. They just leave him hanging to fix himself.  

After the last exposure therapy treatment, he should have had programs to help him get back into society. Volunteer programs to help him outside of himself and helping others.  Group therapies with other vets, social stuff that ISN'T at a VFW or a Legion and DOESN'T include drinking. The Vet center in our area is no help either.  Their groups are conflict specific. And there isn't one for Bob.

There is no reason to put him through another exposure therapy. His guilt and shame for what happened that day is drowning him.  They need to slowly get him out there, helping others. Get him involved with some positive stuff.  I think that will help with his guilt.  He doesn't need to keep reliving it, and then being left alone to deal with it.  

I read the post from our last anniversary. I feel bad for Bob. He should have married someone with more compassion. Sometimes I see glimpses of him in there. I still love that man. I never imagined that we would be here. It was a strange anniversary for me.  This year I've been positive we will be divorcing when I'm done with school.  Today, I have no idea.  One day at a time.  

PTSD is the devil, if I believed in the devil. And if your only access to help is the VA, well...the devil lives. 


  1. Betsey...I have learned alot from your wisdom-filled columns and its very helpful even if you are my little baby! Sincerely, you write very well. My experience with depression the last 8-ish years wasn't recognized until 3 years ago....strange....but with meds, its getting better....I almost feel normal. So Bob, who really had a reason to be depressed, did go along time without help. He probably didn't know what was wrong for sure. Anyway, I am glad you guys are trying again. As you said, you don't have to be his don' as you are doing.