Those of you who have been following me for a long time know that the main reason I started this blog was to have an outlet for our journey with Rick's PTSD and TBI.I wanted to have a place to not only vent but also to let other folks in our position know that they are not alone. It has been a long process,from when he came home in April in 2006 to now. When he came home,he was the opposite of the man I married. He was no longer outgoing,filled with humor,affectionate,and easy going. He was quick to anger, quiet,kept to himself,and had emotional walls built up. I knew it wasn't going to get better if he didn't get help,so I gave him a "choice"-either get help,or live alone. I was not going to have my son brought in up walking on eggshells,nor did I want to live like that,no matter how much I loved my husband. Or should I say,I loved the man I married,which I knew still existed inside of him somewhere.
Rick has not told me everything that he experienced in Ramadi,but I do know that he was under attack everyday,was in many firefights,,did have to take lives,saw friends die,kicked down doors and took prisoners,gathered intelligence,and had some situations where he was involved in hand to hand combat.Some things he cannot remember,and whether that is due to his brain injury or just blocking it out we don't know.
What I do know is he has come a very long way. He has his sense of humor back,he is more outgoing,and is more comfortable in public.He is affectionate again. That is not to say he still doesn't have flashbacks,or doesn't get anxious in public or unfamiliar surroundings or situations. He will always suffer from PTSD and will always need meds to help him out. He will always have effects from the brain injury-he gets confused when he reads,and filling out forms is alot for him. He still spells as words sound,not as they suppose to be written. He forgets things. He has to have sound on even numbers on the TV.He is on Ritalin,and that has been a big help in making him focus on tasks. He will never work again,and that bothered him greatly for a long time. He says he is now coming to grips with it. Now that his knees have been fixed that has helped as well.He is no longer in agonizing pain,and is no longer on morphine. Physically,he can now do many more things,even if it can still be overwhelming for him mentally.
Our marriage took a hit for quite a while. I won't lie and say it wasn't difficult. There were many times I would look at our marriage photo and cry because I wanted that man back. It was hard being shut out and being kept at arms length,when I had always been happily wrapped in his arms! Those who have been through it know what I mean. It made me sad,depressed,and angry. The wall was between us for a few years. However,we worked through it together,and we have our old relationship back. It took 5 years,but we are now in a good place. Rick is in a good place. Which is why I changed the theme of this blog. It's now more about our daily journey here,less about Rick. Things are on a much more even plane now.
Each day we get up and are happy with our lives. We love each other,our son,our home,and plodding along on our little piece of heaven.It's wonderful to see Rick be able to work his own property,at his own pace,and get such a sense of accomplishment.Right now he and Brother B are outside with the tractor,in the drizzle,putting fill in the backyard. He loves it! I am so proud of how far he has come,and am grateful that he can work as hard as he can and have purpose. We are finally back to where we were. I hope that other families who are dealing with PTSD and TBI and survive and come out on the other side as we have.