Through my years I have gone through things, done things, put myself in situations I shouldn’t have, gone places I shouldn’t have, yet some things I wish I could speak on. There are some things I honestly want to talk about but I can’t. I am pretty sure there are some of you reading that know what I mean. You know there are some things you don’t think could ever put on paper or even speak on verbally. There are things going on that I want to talk about but cannot do it. I know I’m not the only person experiencing this but like many they just aren’t said.
Milspouses and veteran caregivers are among those I know feel the same. As much as we advocate for our spouses there are parts of us that feel like we are being pulled so many ways, so thin you almost feel transparent yet you want no one else to see your pain. I am not speaking for all milspouses or veteran caregivers but I do feel as if I can speak for more than just myself.
Yes it is true in way the argument of “you signed up for this” (By marrying an active duty service member) can ring true BUT do you honestly ever know what you are going to be dealing with in anything you ever do in life? Do you know with 100% certainty that the job you apply for is all you think it is ? When going out your door day in and day out you will never know what that day holds for you. It could be the worse day of your life. Do you think people who work in convenient stores ever think they will one day be looking down the barrel of gun all because there in front of you lies the one thing they will contemplate killing you for? I am sure they know there are always possibilities in their profession, but no one ever knows what lies ahead.
Do you think you could look evil in the face, knowing their only intention was to kill you and remain the same person you were prior? NOPE. I am a firm believer that everything you go through in your life will have some kind of effect on you. Some people will change more dramatically and some will show minimal change. Truth is no one knows how they will adjust to life after trauma/traumatic events.
The suicide rate of our veterans is #22 a day
They come home after serving overseas and after separating from the military having to somehow adjust to a whole new world. A world they will have to face with skills unlike another. We as spouses a lot of times are their main source of support. We help them do things they don’t realize they need help with. My husband sure as hell won’t admit to needing help. It has taken him a few years to admit to being in pain on a daily basis. Even now he doesn’t come out and say he is in pain. I will ask him if he has taken anything to help with inflammation and if he says no I will get him something. I say inflammation rather than pain. I try to remind him before I fall asleep to put his cpap mask otherwise he will fall asleep and forget. I also make sure Dusty does everything he needs to do before he goes to bed. Last but not least I have to make sure I take care of own needs like my nightly medications. As tired as I am when I go to sleep I still listen out for both of them. I end up waking up between 2-3 am to check on them. If James’s mask comes off or I hear him snoring excessively I wake up (or other things I hear) and make sure he is good and go check on Dusty…. then I will try to lay back down. I won’t always fall asleep but when I do I sleep for maybe a couple of hours, max. I sure as hell never get a full nights sleep.
“More recently, many caregiving scenarios are associated with injuries, wounds and polytraumas such as brain injury, chronic pain, amputations or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), incurred by service personnel in Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom. As these Veterans return to our communities, families are essential in providing care, assistance and facilitating community re-integration. However, many families are unprepared to cope with the cognitive, behavioral and emotional changes, including agitation, emotional dysregulation and disinhibition, which often accompany brain injury and polytrauma.- American Psychological Association, *When the care recipient is a veteran.(http://www.apa.org/pi/about/publications/caregivers/faq/family.aspx)
In our society, it is assumed that parents will take on whatever health care, home care and special programs their children require. Based on the hours they spend helping with activities of daily living and support services, caregivers of children with special needs have a more intensive caregiving experience than caregivers of adults (National Alliance of Caregiving, 2009). The stress these activities place on caregivers can become unmanageable at times.- American Psychological Association, *When the care recipient is a minor child. (http://www.apa.org/pi/about/publications/caregivers/faq/family.aspx)
I think the combination of my own medical issues and trying to take care of the things I do for them has taken a toll on me. Scary when I have forgotten several appointments. Even with a day/weekly/monthly planner and adding the dates to my calendar on my cell phone I forgot. I didn’t feel in control of things like I normally do. I need to find something more to help me keep things in order. If there is something that helps you please let me know. I am definitely open to suggestions.
I say to myself if I could just catch up on some sleep I can get “ME” back. Unfortunately, I am playing catch up with catch up. I just need to catch some Zzzz like folks are catching these pokemon! Just bare with me…please. 🙂
I almost forgot! (again)
Other Caregiver Resource and Information
SHARE YOUR CAREGIVING STORY – https://www.caregiver.org/submit-your-caregiving-story
ONLINE SUPPORT GROUPS – https://www.caregiver.org/support-groups