Military Spouse Life

Happy Mother’s Day….Stay Away….

Therapy is in general, a good thing…..right?

Usually.

While Bill and I agreed the couples therapy might not be a great fit for us (and I haven’t bothered to reschedule the last appointment) I start my own today.

I don’t know if I want to go….but I feel like this is the only person I can talk to now….

I have to go because I’ve had this appointment literally two months and it’s just hours away from now. I can’t call and cancel now….but I don’t know if I want to sit and rehash all the crappy stuff that comes along with being a military spouse.

I also feel like, unless this therapist is a military spouse herself, she’s not going to get it.

It’s such a lonely place here…which brings me to living in Illinois.

We’ve been here a year, and while his family is nice (with the exception of  a Mother’s Day incident which literally left me in tears and extremely hurt) they aren’t my “friends.”

The Mother’s Day incident isn’t something I’m really ready to talk about, but Bill drank last week, (of course he says he never will again….) upset my MIL, and she basically told us to stay away from the farm for the weekend….on Mother’s Day……you know since we moved all the way here to be close to them. Talk about heartbreak. She also sent it in the form of a text. I was shocked and probably spent three hours crying about it. I know my husband was in the wrong, but I’m dealing with his behavior every day, and being pushed away doesn’t help. They really just ignore his PTSD and don’t seem to understand.

So a new movie is out. Book Club starts some of my favorite actresses (I’m not sure how Jane Fonda still get’s roles….she stinks and she kind of ruins the all-star cast). The movie looks great, and Bill tells me to go see it. The reality is, I literally have no one here I can ask to go with me. How sad it that?

Between taking care of VA appointments/medical appointments for Bill, taking care of kids, and working, I’ve made no real friends I can just text and say “Want to see this movie?”

So instead of going by myself (I just have no interest in that), I’ll spend today working for the hockey team, and then I’ll work on my own book.

While it’s nice to work on accomplishing my own goals, it still stinks to be so far from anywhere I’ve ever called home, and not have someone I can do anything with (as far as friends). I also think it’s a little sad I’m about to go tell all this to a complete stranger at the Vet Center.

This life is so lonely. Being a military spouse is extremely hard, and it’s making for a long @$$ summer.

What are your struggles as a military spouse? If you’re not a military spouse, do you know any you can reach out to? Sometimes it might be just what they need!

 

Military Spouse Life

Here’s to the Military Spouse

Today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day!

Usually I find it strange when people find out Bill is a Marine and they thank ME…

It’s weird, right?

Because I never went through a long deployment with Bill, I’m NOT the person to thank!

Having never served, I didn’t have to endure boot camp, 4 am wake up calls for PT, and dealing with command. I never had to go overseas and sleep in a tent, go days being shot at, worrying about roadside bombs, sent home a body of a deceased team member….. I was home, in the comfort of the United States, in a job of my choice, where I was always relatively safe.

There are, however, the long days of post active-duty responsibilities ranging from fighting with the VA (my personal favorite) to dealing with the side effects of PTSD. This week alone we went through a bad episode which involved me crying, hurt, upset, and scared. He doesn’t remember all of it…. I thought for sure it was over and I was going to be on my own with the kids.

I’m grateful I never had to give birth while he was in another country. I’m grateful I didn’t go months on end without seeing him. I never had to live on a base (we lived right near the base…actually right under the flight line, but that’s another post!)

I feel like when people say “thank you” or we are appreciated as a military spouse, it’s because of all those things active duty spouses have to deal with on a daily basis. What people don’t see is what happens after.

I was only a part of the active duty life for such a short time, I feel like I don’t deserve the “thank you.” What I do deserve it to have the VA treat my husband and family with respect. I deserve to not spend hours on the phone to get an appointment for NOVEMBER for him, when it’s still May (that happened this week). I deserve to get him his benefits without fighting tooth and nail AFTER I discover what is owed to him…because they sure as hell don’t make it clear what he is eligible for!

I deserve to not worry about the side-effects of PTSD/TBI…but these are the things people forget the military spouse deals with.

So on this day when everyone is thinking about the spouses who dealt with moving 100 times, or long deployments, I want to send a shout out to all of the Military Spouses who are left with the aftermath….. The PTSD/TBI issues, the VA fight, the war at home.

You are not alone.

You are loved.

You are enough…and one day a year does no justice to the battle we endure long after the active-duty war!

Be well 🙂

Military Spouse Life

You’ve Got Mail! (and a friend)

How many of you read the title to this post and heard the old AOL “You’ve Got Mail” voice in your head? Be honest!

Last week I came home to a package, and not the usual Amazon package (don’t get excited…I literally order EVERYTHING from Amazon because it’s easier…including toilet paper…so usually it’s not that exciting.)

Bill asked if I saw the package on the bed.

I told him I hadn’t.

“You mean you walked into the bedroom and missed the whole cooler sitting in there???”

I must have been tired, but this is what was waiting for me….(excuse my desk mess!)

Operation Homefront has a program called Hearts of Valor for us Military Spouses ONLY!!!!! If you’re a caregiver/spouse, or know someone who is, sign them up for this support group PLEASE!

 

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While you might wonder why a group would send me toothpaste, it’s not the point. The point is, there were people out there who donated some items which then came in this cute (thirty one) cooler and mailed it to me. It also included some Arbonne products which I’ve never tried.

Someone was thinking of me when sometimes I live in a world where I feel alone as a Military Spouse! (Also, we needed toothpaste!)

What is your favorite Military Spouse Support Group? Comment below and I just might add them to the resource page!

Life · Military Spouse Life

Run, Talia, Run

Trying to raise well-rounded children is tough! When they are so little (Liam is 1.5 and Talia is 3) it’s hard to know what they will enjoy and excel at….so we try different things.

Talia didn’t exactly take to the ice at hockey like we thought she would (the kid is obsessed with watching hockey, but when you put her on skates, she stands there and cries on ice until someone helps her….)

While we are still working on the ice skating (when we pull her off the ice, she wants to go back and do it again…..so we keep going with it)….we also saw the chance to do a Healthy Kids Running Series started by one of my yoga students in town. It’s meant for younger kids to get them interested in running.

Talia

Loves

Running.

It ended up being a perfect fit for her……and I’m worried she’s going to be disappointed next weekend when we don’t have her race.

She only ran 50 yards, but she loved every second of it. Yesterday she got her medal for participating! She was pretty proud!

 

Then I tried to get a family photo…..the results were hysterical! I’m sure all parents out there can sympathize with me….

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Who is in control here?

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Talia’s face is priceless here!

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Somehow he kept Liam from eating dirt…I was laughing too hard to help.

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The face of a man who wants help but his wife just keeps laughing!

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Again with Talia’s face!

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Everyone is OFP as they say in the USMC!

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Now it’s Bill’s face making me laugh!

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Right before he gives up!!!

In the end, we didn’t really get a group picture, but these are great!!!! Bill also got out of having to do the parent run because it suddenly started to rain HARD!!!! He was relieved. He hasn’t really run since the Marine Corps!

How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun?

Life · Military Spouse Life

PTSD and the Blackout Effect

I swear the next time the VA decides to mess with his medications, I’m sending him home with them for a week……they can live my nightmare and see what they are doing to all the military families out there.

As much as I love my husband, his PTSD/TBI (Post Traumatic Stress / Traumatic Brain Injury) causes lots of issues. It regularly makes me think we won’t make it (though deep down, I know we will).

The VA decided to switch his medications, yet again. The result? It’s the same every time. He gets angry, spiteful, depressed, and basically, in short, turns into a jerk. It gets to the point where I’m in tears and heartbroken.

He says things I don’t think he really means…and half the time, he says hurtful things and then doesn’t remember later. I’ll call him out on the things he’s said, and he is genuinely surprised and doesn’t remember.

It’s painful.

I feel like I live on the edge with this. He could snap at any time and have a “PTSD episode” where his anger just takes over. He basically turns into a monster…. then after a few days, things calm down, and he returns to himself. It’s the time when he’s angry and mean that puts me on edge. I worry about what will happen. I’ve even worried about him hurting me.

I don’t tell you this to bash him.

It’s actually not his fault. It’s the fault of the combat-related PTSD/TBI. It’s the VA not helping us.

I know there are lots of military spouses out there going through the same thing. I see it daily in all the support groups in which I belong.

It’s like living with two different people, and the VA isn’t aggressive about taking care of our veterans. Sometimes they don’t take care of them at all.

All those things you see and hear about the VA are true….sometimes it’s worse. It’s worse when you actually live with it every day.

Sometimes it takes months to get an appointment. Literally months……then you get there and it was cancelled and no one told us. They tell you to call the appointment line and start again.

Last week they then called me to tell me they would call to make an appointment….yes, that actually happened. JUST MAKE THE APPOINTMENT.

Then he has to drive 90 minutes each way for a consult. It’s hard on his back. It’s aggravating to his knees. No one should have to drive 90 minutes for a doctor consult.

I watch him suffer. Then I suffer.

The circle continues.

It’s lonely.

It’s painful.

I cry…. a lot.

I spend a lot of time on the phone with my mom, upset and asking why he is doing this. I fear I have to take my kids and leave. I fear he will never get the help he needs. I fear our lives are over as we know it.

Then he comes around like nothing happened. He doesn’t remember half of what happened. He’s seemingly okay for awhile….then the cycle starts again.

This past week it was a phone call to me at work freaking out about the dogs, threatening to get rid of all my dogs. He was so angry and threatening…I grabbed my computer at work, told my (very understanding boss) I had to go, and flew home.

It’s a long 30 minute drive.

My dogs were okay.

He’s fine with them now. He was upset one got into something she shouldn’t have….

He actually has the biggest heart of anyone I know. When it comes to animals and rescue, he would take every abandoned or hurting animal and save them. When he has these “episodes” he’s just a different person.

The medication switch makes everything so horrible. The best part? The VA MAILS his medications …yes, through the MAIL. So we have to wait for them to fill it, mail it, and for it to be delivered. Meanwhile, they have him decreasing the one he was on and he’s off balance. We’ve done this at least two dozen times already. Medication only masks the problem. It’s not a solution…..changing it constantly makes it WORSE!

Is there really no way to have a regular pharmacy fill a prescription and bill the effing VA so we aren’t all suffering?

By the end of the weekend, things had returned to normal, but when will it happen again? When will I feel alone? scared? hurt? When will I feel like I can’t take it anymore? It’s a lonely place to be!

Today some new medicine came. I also got a letter they sent us the wrong disability pay, so they will be taking it back. Do you know how frustrating it is to have pay constantly messed up? Then our normal pay is reduced to fix their mistake, and I can’t plan for bills…..

If someone were to say they are thinking about joining our military, I would tell them to thing twice. It’s a noble and amazing, selfless thing to do, but it’s not appreciated by the government who continues to leave the veterans and their families out to dry.

I will be updating the Resources page over the next few days for those finding themselves in the same situation….hopefully we can find things that actually work!

Life

May Day, May Day, We Need A New Goal!

You know how Facebook has the “On This Day” feature? (I guess it’s a feature, but sometimes I don’t WANT to look back!)

Today is May 1st and Facebook was kind enough to remind me a year ago today Bill and I bought our first home.

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I know it looks small, but it is actually really big and I still love it!

So then Facebook reminded me about two years ago. Two years ago I graduated with my Certificate in Professional Writing:

Look how little Talia was!! She was only a few months old and just a little “nugget!”

So fast forward to today….

I feel compelled. Compelled to accomplish something. The funny part? I didn’t really think about May 1st as being the day we bought our home, and I completely had forgotten the date of graduation. Why is it funny? Because I set today as a launch date for a new project!

Several years ago I was the Editor-In-Chief of My Petz Magazine, Charlotte, NC edition.

I also was the head writer, editor, and sold advertising……it was super grass roots!

The magazine was successful, until payday came. My pay was based on the ads I sold, nothing else (so my “friend” and I could get the magazine off the ground).

Payday came and payday went. There was a lot of avoidance from the publisher…and then the email came.

I wasn’t getting paid.

All the money (allegedly) went to publishing the magazine and everyone was getting paid except me. This means the graphic designer was paid, the printer was paid, but I wasn’t paid.

I was beyond upset. I was counting on the money to …you know…pay bills.

Thankfully I had a second job.

The publisher of the magazine decided to fold everything (including the original publication in Atlanta, GA) and be done with the whole thing.

So here I am in the Midwest. I have tons of other experience in other areas of publication, I have just never owned my OWN magazine.

St. Louis (the biggest city near me) has no pet publication…

I decided to go for it and launch a magazine. I started setting everything up with the “launch day” set for today as far as social media.

It wasn’t until I logged into my FB account, I saw today is generally a day of accomplishment.

Now none of this takes away from all the other things I’ve accomplished. It just feels good to be moving forward when so many things have been rough! I need to have a plan…even if it changes along the way.

I know I need to write, and I need to be able to work from home as much as possible for my husband and my kids. I can’t tell you how many appointments we have every week for Bill alone. He sometimes can go to three different VA/Vet Centers in two days…it’s insane!

Pets have always been something I am passionate about, along with writing. There’s an opening in the market for a great, quality magazine in the area not too far from me, so I’m going to go for it and see what I can do!

 

Life

When the Mets Come Marching In

So I’m an East Coast girl. I was born in Connecticut, and grew up between CT and Pennsylvania. I’ve lived in both North and South Carolina….. I have no idea how I ended up in the Midwest….okay, so it was because of my husband, but still, I’m a total East Coast girl, and as much as I love Illinois, I’m a proud nutmegger (that’s what you’re called if you’re from CT because it’s the “nutmeg state,” which is crazy, since I’ve never been invited to a nutmeg farm).

So when the St. Louis Cardinals (Bill’s team) offered $5.00 MLB tickets, I jumped on the chance. Being he sometimes gets anxiety in crowds, and can have a panic attack, I was fine spending the money to see how he would do, and would not care if we had to leave early.

The good news is he did GREAT (organized seating seems to be better for him than a mass crowed. Some veterans, sadly, can’t do either).

The better news? I was able to get the tickets against the Mets (from New York…which is where my family is from) and the Mets WON!!!!

We had a great family night out, and aside from the unexpected fireworks (which again, Bill did great) we had a blast. (No pun intended). I just wish venues would warn about fireworks! We went to a fair one time and we had no idea fireworks were going to go off. My poor husband freaked out because we were in a metal building and it was just a horrible sound, especially if you’re not expecting it. It reminds him of gunfire.

Side note, next time get seats on the lower level, because we were almost at the top and I don’t do well that high up!

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Liam had no idea what I meant when I said we were going to watch the Mets, but he was excited to go! Talia wanted to stay home because it wasn’t hockey….she got over it!

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Once we gave these to Liam, he started practicing throwing balls to the front of the truck…..poor planning on my part, but he was into it!

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She has a Mets shirt on under there, but insisted on Stingrays over it (hockey).

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These two are best friends. Let’s see how long this lasts!

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It took 506 tries to get them all smiling, and Bill looks like he was over it at that point! Still!!!

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This is how mesmerized Liam was when the Mets took the field! I freaking love this kid!!!

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Second to the last row from the top….but it was still fun! Look at the arch in the background! (No, I don’t plan to ever go to the top……I’m not a tourist! HA!)

What new thing did you do this week?

What do you do about crowds when your veteran gets nervous?