This week I spoke in public for the first time about the impact PTSD and major depression have had on me.
The process of writing about what the last 5 years have been like was helpful but to then speak it made it real.
I felt calm but just a little nervous. This is after all my story so I wasn't looking for approval or confirmation. I hadn't given much thought to my expectations at all.
This is part of what I said.
"His war experience will never be truly known by me.
I can only see the deep, detrimental, life long impact that it has had on him and in turn on us.
I knew nothing about PTSD before he deployed. I presumed if he returned home and he needed help then help would be accessible and be forth coming, the Army would rally around him and look after one of their own. How wrong I was.
As his capacity has decreased my responsibilities have gone up ten fold.
It’s been important that I learn about PTSD and depression so as to understand what’s going on for my husband and learn ways of dealing with situations as they arise so I can also manage my reactions.
I’ve fought very hard to get appropriate treatment for him, sitting in on most of his early appointments when we were desperate to find answer and solutions to his ever worsening condition. I’ve insisted we keep trying until we find the right people with the right expertise to provide the best care.
I’ve learnt much about myself, my strength, my courage and my ability to cope with a level of pressure I never even knew existed. I’m by no means perfect.
I still grieve for what has been lost and will never return.
I deal with, at times, an unhealthy level of anger and animosity towards a bureaucracy that should be helping and not hindering. I have been exhausted by their processes.
I'm now hyper vigalent when it comes to social situations or if we are out in public. I look for potential situations that I know my husband won't handle and try to intervene or remove us from them.
I am anxious and often fatigued.
I talk to only a few about my husband’s condition as there is still a high level of ignorance surrounding mental health issues and I don’t have the energy or patience to educate.
There have been periods when there has been no light at the end of the tunnel.
The impact on me has been life changing."
What have you learnt about yourself living with someone suffering from PTSD? Have you ever spoken publicly about your own situation?