Heather’s Fight

What follows are a series of letters that have found their way to our site, What I think we can all do is relate. We can share stories and show how we have weathered the storm or are dead smack in the middle of it. So read on, lend your thoughts to Heather and her family and lets all try to help.

Hello
I hope this message finds you well. My name is Heather xxxxxx and my husband is a Combat Veteran, he served in OEF VII. He is currently suffering from PTSD, Personality Disorder, Severe Depression with Substance Abuse, and is being tested for ADD. Right now, he is sitting in the Milwaukee County Jail. On April 6th, he was sentenced for his 2nd DUI to spend a minimum of 45 days in Huber. Since he has been there on Thursday, April 8th, he has not been given any of his medication and only yesterday did they take his paperwork to prove when he needs to be released for childcare, school, and counseling appointments. I found Patricia Clason on the Dryhootch website and read more about the Listening Sessions and weekends away. I have been Jason’s primary advocate through all of this and have found out how horrifying the system is for Veterans returning home. I am utterly disgusted with how they are treated. I went County yesterday trying to figure out why Jason hadn’t had any treatment yet and the nurse told me, “well, he didn’t complain.” Only after I spoke to someone did they say they would set up a medical appointment for him today. I am hoping once Jason is out of the system and done with everything that he will be willing to share his story of mistreatment and injustice. I guess I am writing to try to find more support for not only him, but myself as well. It is very difficult to navigate the system and it has been a constant struggle to even receive any kind of help. Many of the resources are very disconnected. I am trying to activate as many resources as I possibly can to fight for the mental health of my husband. I can only imagine how many individuals and couples are lost and suffering through all of this because of the difficulties. I am going to visit Jason today, we’ll see how he is holding up. I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,

Heather

Thank you for letting me know. I did not have the capacity to do any extra thinking yesterday…I have been so utterly tired and just exhausted. I don’t think I have had restful sleep in a long, long time. Between Max waking up at night, me being sick, worrying. I fight to get out of bed everday to get up and go to work. I have been seeing a psych myself for about 2 months now and things have started to become more intense in my own life, at work, and just everything around me. I was in the quiet of the storm for a long while and now it has been non-stop intensity for the past month. I struggle with anxiety and panic attacks. Sometimes I wonder if PTSD is contagious and if I have caught it, so to speak. I continue to hope that I will be able to cope and get through it all. I have off this afternoon so I plan to make some follow-up phone calls, etc. Let me know if you hear anything.

Also, Jason and I had an appointment today at 2pm with Roberat at the Vet Center, but from the sounds of it, Jason will not be able to go today. I’m going to get in touch with him today and reschedule. Hopefully we can work something out. I’m having a hard time keeping track of everything on paper and in my mind. It’s overwhelming. I will be in touch.

What she has shared with us is incredibly powerful, please share with her and attempt to help her and her family through this rough time.

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One response to “Heather’s Fight

  • Domenica Campbell

    Domenica Campbell- Heather,

    I read your story and was truly touched and wanted to let you know you are not alone and there are many of us veteran spouses out here ready and willing to support you in any way we can. Initially I began writing about life with PTSD and TBI as a form of therapy, I was frustrated with my situation, there was no one I could to talk with who truly understood what I was going through without thinking I was being overdramatic or irrational.

    Not long after I started writing I began sharing my stories on line and within days other veteran spouses began emerging from the woodwork to contact me. Spouses who felt what was happening in their relationship was somehow their fault but were now grateful to learn there was someone else out there that understood their dilemmas. Feeling alone and isolated they questioned their ability to keep their family together, they wrote about feelings of despair and hopelessness “…I just want my husband back.” “…I don’t recognize him any more.” “…It’s like living with a stranger.”

    Unfortunately, the stigma attached to mental health issues can lead some veterans to conceal the true havoc PTSD is wreaking on their lives deterring them from seeking the help they so desperately need. After all, a soldier is supposed to be strong both physically and mentally, they may have concerns about being perceived as weak, or someone who could no longer be counted on.

    As a spouse, there is a stigma attached to admitting you are feeling overwhelmed, and uncertain what to do for the best. It is easy to become angry about being the one that makes sure everything keeps functioning as it should… the laundry, the housework, the cooking, the finances, the kids… it can leave you feeling swamped almost to the point of breaking. But how do you say I’m hurting too, when your loved one has just returned from combat? They have been through so much and your urge to shield them from any additional trauma, to protect them from the stress of dealing with the minutia only heaps it onto your plate making matters worse. For me, I worried admitting to my own issues would somehow be in direct competition with my husband’s needs, a fear I now know was irrational and totally unfounded.

    I write about my daily struggle on my blog The Combat Veteran Spouse – Living in the Shadow of PTSD http://www.combatvetspouse.blogspot.com

    You are not alone, please do not be afraid to reach out as often as you need.

    Warm regards,
    Domenica

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