Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Bad Afternoon

Those of you who followed my first blog,Little Cottage In The Country,know of the struggles that Rick has had with his PTSD and TBI  since 2005.. His Canines For Combat Veterans Dog,Richie,has been so very helpful to him.They have such a wonderful bond with each other.

The other day,Richie was sitting on his lap,and it looked so cute that I had to take a photo:

Yesterday,Rick had a very bad afternoon. Everything seemed fine,I went grocery shopping as normal,and Rick helped me unload the bags from the car. He did the dishes,and then sat down to watch the noon time news.

I was in the kitchen,and I happened to look at over him and he was crying. I immediately went over and sat on the arm of his recliner,and asked him what was the matter. He explained that his hypervigilance was really bad,and he was "seeing everything." Every shadow,even me in the kitchen,was putting him on guard,and it was overloading him. He couldn't control breaking down. It wasn't fair,he said. He didn't' want to be like this. It wasn't fair to Zach and I. He thanked me for staying with him and putting up with all this. I hugged him and told him I loved him and tried to reassure him. There was nothing else I could do. He went into the bedroom to rest,and was in a there a bit,still crying. I checked on him again,and he was upset because he couldn't stop his hypervigilance. He was upset because he has no concept of time. Years seem like a month to him. He can't remember Zach growing up because of his memory loss. A picture might trigger a brief flash of something,but even though he was there,he can't recall it,so it's like he's missed it. He looks at Zach and doesn't know how he is now almost 16. When he went to Iraq,Zach was in first grade. He can't remember if  he has spent enough time with Zach,which is why he will drive him to school sometimes instead of letting him take the bus.He can't remember time with me. Sometimes folks will say,"Oh,I lose track of time a lot." It's not the same thing at all. He worries sometimes that I will say I've had enough and leave him. He can't come to grips with his limitations. He tries to be who he was before and do the things he did before,but winds up putting pressure on himself because he tries so hard and it's not the same. He only really remembers military things because,over there,you had to  know your stuff otherwise you might get killed or get others killed. 

I felt so very helpless. Rick hates breaking down,and never wants Zach to see him like that. I told him that Zach is very smart young man,and that if he ever cried in front of him,Zach would not think him any less a man for doing so. That crap has to come out. I don't care what sex you are,holding stuff in is not good for anyone mentally,physically,or spiritually.You have to purge it.

Richie was right there,putting his head on Rick's leg,his shoulder,and lapping the tears from his face. He knew that Rick was upset,and he did his job well. Rick took some Valium (which is prescribed for something like this to) and took a nap. When he woke up,he felt better.

Folks may wonder why I put something as personal as this out there. I want folks to know about PTSD,and how people struggle with it. I have Rick's permission to do so. I wouldn't do it otherwise.

I told him he was still my knight in shining amour. He always will be.


  1. I realize this is about Rick having a bad day, but I also see this as a beautiful post about the love of a family even the fur member nurturing and caring and rallying around each other. It brought tears to my eyes because I think it says something very powerful about you, and the strength you have as a family to work through these times together with love, kindness, and compassion as a family should. The journey you travel as a family is unlike anyone else's journey, but by sharing, you allow us to understand and have compassion for not only your family but others when we hear of their struggles, because we know from your open and honest sharing how difficult it can be. Please tell Rick thank you for allowing you to share a glimpse of what life is like. He is very much a hero and a good role model. He tries hard and is a very loving, kind, father and husband.

  2. Amy,your eloquent,kind words brought me to tears and and wrapped around me like a hug. Thank you so much !

  3. Dear Donna - I hesitate sharing this, but I hope you'll understand why I do. My circumstances are not the same in so many ways, except that of knowing what it's like to fiercely love someone who is struggling. My 29 yr old son took his life five yrs ago after several years of dealing with both physical illness and serious mental illness. I wish every day that I could have made him understand that any struggle we endured was nothing compared to the pain of not having him around. I wish so badly he could have hung on to the hope his family had for him, even on the days he couldn't find it for himself. I've been reading your blog for a few years now I think, and I've been so grateful for you. In a world where we hide so much from each other, especially about the dark days, it is not only a breath of fresh air, but an absolute necessity to be open about these things. I try daily to surround myself with what is good and true in this world. Each bit of good I can find keeps me tethered, and keeps me putting one foot in front of the other. Yes, I have good friends and family to surround me, but we sometimes need to know that farther afield, many other families and individuals are struggling as well; maybe in different ways, and for different reasons, but struggle we are. I've told you before that I read your blog because it's clear you are good people, with your priorities exactly where they should be, trying to live a simple and good life, despite its many challenges. The fact that you share both the good days and the bad, and that Rick allows you to share his hard struggles and the very dark days, makes you both such amazing people in my book. You both have no idea how you might help someone else who is really in a dark place to hang on for better days. Whether now or in the future, someone coming upon your words will find a beacon of hope, healing, and love. A Balm in Gillead. Thank you.

  4. You are very welcome Donna. (((hugs)))

  5. Julie,
    I am so honored that you shared your story. I am so very sorry that your son felt like there was no other way to deal with his physical and mental pain. I can only imagine the heartbreak you went and still are going through. (HUG) I am truly blessed to have such lovely,kind,and warm people as yourself follow my little blog. Your comment touched me greatly and brought me to tears. My hope when I started blogging about our family was to help me process and come to grips with what was going on,as well as hoping that someone who was going through the same issue or something similar would know that they are not alone in this world,because,as you know,when you are in the middle of it,it feels like no one else understands going ,even though mentally you know very well that others are dealing with the very same issues. I am so glad you are finding kinship in our story.

  6. Thank you, Donna. Your words mean so much.

  7. I appreciate your openness about what your husband has to deal with every day. It has certainly opened my eyes to what happens after these very people who serve our country go home. I know that what you're doing is out of love for him, but you are truly special. :)

  8. Hoping and prayer for a better day

    Teri Whitten

  9. Thank you for your kindness,Laura :) (HUG)