Thursday, September 16, 2010

Invisible Illness Week - my husband

I thought about a post to write for Invisible Illness Week - what medications I take, what I do to help myself, etc.  Sometimes I know I'm helping others, but at other times I get tired of talking about myself LOL.

I want to write about Rich, my husband, my long time love, my best friend.  He has PTSD - post traumatic stress disorder.

I "interviewed" about dates, etc. and he told me some things I've never asked, or he's never told me.  I met Rich in November 1982, and he had been in Viet Nam July 1972 to May 1973 - he was only 21 years old.  I didn't realize that he was drinking heavily to probably make all the pain he felt and saw go away.  He was married when he was in Viet Nam and he came back and drank heavily, and divorced about 4 years before we met.  I didn't realize he had a really bad drinking problem until he told me he was checking himself into the Navy "rehab" when he got back to his home port in Jacksonville, FL.  I had known him all of two weeks, we dated every night and he proposed marriage and I accepted.

I wanted us to get to know each other better, so I stayed at home and worked and we talked by telephone and we wrote cards and letters.  I did go and visit and was so proud of him.  Alcohol and drugs runs rampant in my family and I was glad he was getting help.  Nothing ever really came up about Rich in Viet Nam, we never really talked about it.  I know my uncles went there and one you couldn't come up behind him - he got really angry.  I didn't understand it way back then, and I'm sure a lot of people didn't either.  I didn't realize how much it would effect me and our daughter Amy either.

One night we were in bed sleeping and Rich all of a sudden stood up and ran screaming towards the door.  He didn't really tell me about the nightmares he had.  He also slept on the couch for a number of years, and that made me really sad.  Now I know why - he wanted to protect us.

He got out of the Navy back in July 1983, and went back in a few years later.  The first time he was gone for 6 months it was a great homecoming.  When he went to Desert Storm I knew when he came back he wasn't the same.  He went in the Naval Hospital in June or July of 1992 for depression and wanting to commit suicide.

He got out of the Navy and we moved to Salem.  He was still going through a depression and he was misdiagnosed with clinical depression and manic-depression, along with medications to go along with each of these illnesses.  He was depressed and had outbursts of anger.  He finally went the the Vet Center and got counseling, along with Amy and I sometimes.  His counselor retired and the next counselor wasn't really meeting his needs.  His counselor now is great, and Rich has been hypnotized to bring up what happened and release it.

He's doing better - not as many dreams, he talks to me about things a lot more. He is a funny, generous, kind person - the person I feel in love with and love more every day.

I'm reading a book recommended to me Many Faces of PTSD by Susan Rau Stocker.

PTSD is an invisible illness.  There are over 7.7 million people that suffer in one form or another of PTSD.  I hope people reading this realize that people with mental illness are people that deserve love, kindness and compassion like anyone else.  All it takes is knowledge and taking away the stigma that mental illness still has.

Here are some links for today:

Pam is blogging daily about fibromyalgia for Invisible Illness Week
I was encouraged to write something for this blog and I will eventually.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your love with us. This has been a very important topic in the life of a friend recently, as she lost a family member to PTSD and suicide. I will recommend your blog to her. I wish you both many years of happiness <3

-Maya from

CanPharm said...

You should write all the things what happened to you last week .as what was the symptoms. Causes and all other medications.

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