October 08, 2005
Raven1 got some great advice from his chaplain before returning from Iraq. One paragraph won't do it justice; you have to read the whole thing
When my husband was home on R&R, he had a bit much to drink and accidentally told me a story he hadn't intended to repeat. He was genuinely surprised that the story didn't freak me out, and it opened the door to telling me a bit more. When he got home at the end of the year, he told me some of the worst things that happened in his time in Iraq. I'm glad that he thinks I'm strong enough to hear them.
I think stories after the fact aren't nearly as frightening as what we wives imagined on our own while they were gone. His reality was no match for my creativity! We who stand and wait read blog posts and news reports about everyone's most exciting days in Iraq, so it's easy to forget that not every day is a battle.
My husband is quiet with his stories though. He and Red6 have talked, but for the most part, his year is his own. He doesn't want to try to explain his experience to anyone, for the only ones who can truly understand it are his platoon sergeant and the other three men in his tank. Sometimes I feel sad that he doesn't get to see any of those guys anymore; it would be nice for him to spend time with people who didn't need to hear the stories because they were there with him.
Posted by: Sarah at
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My boyfriend is in Iraq now, and I hope he feels like he can tell me what he needs to get off his chest when he gets back.
Posted by: Julie at October 08, 2005 10:37 AM (ztpAP)
My son-in-law had some very gruesome experiences in Vietnam and is finally getting help for PTSS. He had never really talked about it until about ten years ago when he found the letters he wrote his mother and told her only what he wanted to eat when he got home and how unharmed he was. They were all not true, he went over them with one of my sons and they wrote a book, never published of his letters home and what was actually going on at the time. This seemed to help him a lot.
But then Sept 11th happened and the Iraq war and he became increasingly more depressed. In Feb at the advice of some long time friends who were there with him he started getting help. He is better but... I think the fact that they live in Louisiana, right between both storms, and he was very actively involved with helping survivors, sent him into another tailspin. He is very fragile and I wish I could help him more. His therapy partly consists of sessions with his two friends who were there with him. They all understand. I wish he had gotten help when he first came home. Encourage those you know to talk with each other and get help if they need it. Nip any really bad depression in the bud.
I know a lot of people never get into this bad a condition, but I grieve for those who do.
Posted by: Ruth H at October 09, 2005 11:59 AM (iKlAZ)
Sarah - Thanks for the link to Raven1, it's always good to find another blogger from WA.
It's a testament to your marriage that you and your husband have been able to talk through some of his experiences -- I am sure that there are times when the men in our lives protect us from what they fear will cause us harm. Which, of course, is just part of feeling safe and secure.
I know what you mean about your creativity! Imagination is a cruel thing sometimes!!!
Posted by: Barb at October 10, 2005 12:57 PM (u8Zgq)
My spouse has told me stories before and more of them come out while he tells a friend over a beer. I used to be hurt that he was reserved but then I realized he was trying to keep me sane.
This deployment he asked me if I wanted to know right away (OPSEC maintained of course) or to not know until later when he's home. I opted to hear right away with the right to change my mind. So far this works and works well for us. He sometimes needs a vent to someone outside of the whole picture and I provide that for him. It doesn't mean that it doesn't scare the crap out of me but I listen when he needs it.
Posted by: Household6 at October 11, 2005 06:37 AM (T+Tkq)
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