Rising from the Ashes
Who I am, where I stand now is not where I always was. I have risen from the ashes of a life that fell apart. I have risen from massive struggles of my husband coming home the way he did.
When he came home, I lost the Lord somewhere on this journey. Instead of leaning on Him, I grew further away.
I can remember the countless fights. He was just so angry. It made me angry. I remember begging God to do something. Maybe that is why I lost Him. But the reality was: WE needed to do something. I never stopped to look in the mirror to look within myself
A Fork in the Path
Explaining the ups and downs of this life changing event would take a lifetime of detail. The bottom line was-I love him. Leaving him was NEVER an option.
He began seeking inpatient PTSD treatment, counseling, and reaching out to other veterans with Veterans Community Response, and the Veteran Outreach Center, etc.
I can recall a very deep regret. It makes me cry typing it. My husband came back from an inpatient stint. He, for the first time since he had been home, admitted that HE was spiraling out of control. He admitted everything including sorrow for the way he treated me.
I remember I was sitting on the ground working on my truck at the time. I was so bitter. He had run me down for what seemed so long. I remember looking up at him and saying it didnt matter, they were all words.
I can’t imagine the courage it took for him to finally admit his problems and the pain it caused for me to not accept the journey to the healing process. It absolutely is seared in my heart…the look on his face. He thought that conversation would have been much different.
See, that’s the thing in all marriages. Things go wrong. People fight. This is a journey, one you must do together. There is good and bad.
Strong, not Perfect
So, how did I become the Strong Homemaker? We had to do counseling. We had to find ourselves in 1 on 1 counseling and together in marriage counseling. We had to learn how to communicate, how to not escalate disagreements into huge arguments. Here is the key: take responsiblity for what is yours. No more, no less.
Again, painful to admit weakness, but when he came home, not every fight was his fault. I was exhausted taking care of him (didnt comprehend self care). I was worn out from his PTSD symptoms that caused him to easily reach anger and lash out. I was bearing all of the burden. I began to feel like everything was my fault. I thought if I can just be perfect he won’t be so mad all the time. AGAIN I MUST STRESS, THERE WAS NEVER ABUSE AT ANY TIME. Of course, none of my strategies worked. Being perfect isn’t even real. I felt like Atlas, shouldering the world.
What does a tired–in every sense of the word–person do? Often times, they lash out. So, I said regrettable things that sear my heart to consider. At 19, I did not know enough about PTSD. If I knew then what I knew now….it wouldn’t have been so hard.
Here is the thing. When I shouldered everything I walked on eggshells.
In reality the best I could do was change myself for the better. So I did. I began studying PTSD, how to avoid triggers, how to communicate or walk away when necessary. Our marriage was forever. That is what I said, and I meant it.
Through many methods, he began to take back responsibility of his life and well being. Thus, here we are, risen from the ashes. Yes, sometimes I crave the man of the past. That will never go away. But now, I can look forward to a brighter future having the tools and wisdom to deal with challenges ahead.
I hope this article encourages anyone going through any sort of marital difficulties, combat veteran or not. These lessons can apply to every married couple in some sense.