Life

The Therapy Backfire Conundrum

We went to therapy.

Couples therapy.

It was supposed to help.

We were supposed to engage in couples therapy for an indefinite amount of time.

It was supposed to make it all better.

WE HATED IT.

Crazy, right? Therapy is supposed to help!

Let’s back up a bit, shall we?

My husband gets out of the Marine Corps and we are still living in Charleston, SC (USA). We decide to move to Illinois (his home state) a few years later. His PTSD has worsened, my depression isn’t always great, and we want to be near family.

We wait 10 months for the VA to get my husband into any type of therapy.

Read that again…..

We wait 10 months for the VA to get my husband into any type of therapy.

I would call and call and call….eventually we find out the therapy is better if we go to the Vet Clinic. The VA is a complete waste of time. They did nothing to help us keep him in therapy when we moved between states. The suggestion to go to the Vet Center is a God-send.

We do as we are told.

First we get Bill into therapy, but then couples therapy is offered to us.

We went.

It was a shouting match.

We went again.

This is stupid.

We literally went into the appointment fine, and came out ready to punch each other in the face.

So what did we resolve to do?

We WILL go back next week, because we have the appointment, and it must be helping on some level, but we talked about resolving to work on our marriage ourselves. Waiting for a 1 hour therapy session once a week, which actually made us more mad than we went in, isn’t what we are looking for.

I will say this: Our therapist is wonderful.

I just don’t know if this is the right approach for us.

There are a bunch of things we both have said we would work on ourselves. So hopefully we can do more at home, than a 60 minute shouting match (which, think about this…he’s a Marine, and I’m Italian-American…….it gets SO LOUD). Our poor therapist.

Working through relationship problems are hard, especially when you’re working with mental health road-blocks, like having PTSD, TBI, or depression. It means we need to work on those things AND the relationship.

We haven’t given up.

We resolved to stop saying things like “well then move out” or asking “do you just want a divorce?”

We feel like taking those things out of the vocabulary may help the healing.

Be well,

Tina

 

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Life

It Makes Sense…

When you’re a military spouse, and/or when you have toddlers running around, nothing makes sense.

This morning was a perfect example. I gave our three-year-old a new sippy cup. It did not have Minnie Mouse on it…. We had an appointment at the Vet Center for both Bill and I, so I did not have time to dig out requested Minnie Mouse sippy cup.

Our daughter proceeded to act as though I had ruined her entire life, by throwing herself on the kitchen floor and wailing for a solid three minutes (which felt like a lifetime) and then only stopped when I pointed out to her she had forgotten why she was upset.

In the end, she took the sippy cup because her brother was about to grab it from her.

Ugh…

The sippy cup war is not the point of this post.

Since writing the other day about how I felt as far as life of a military spouse whose husband has combat-related PTSD, I have felt better about things. This blog now has a purpose. I feel as though I have direction. I need to share my story of pain, and share how we are healing, because the more mil-spouses I meet, the more I realize, I am not alone.

There are times when being in a relationship with someone who has PTSD is lonely. It’s worse when you factor in my own Major Depressive Disorder. It’s like a whole house of craziness (just kidding….sort of).

So where do we go from here?

Well, there’s a lot of hurt and healing in a military marriage, so I will be open and share that with you. As a yoga instructor who focuses on helping people with mental health, I will try and help there too (just remember, I am not a doctor, I don’t play one on TV, and I can only tell you what I have experienced and what has helped me.)

I am working on a page of resources for other mil-spouses going through the same thing. Check back next week to see how I am coming along there.

Most importantly, be sure to share this website with other mil-spouses who are in the same boat. It’s lonely. It can be scary. It’s nice to have a friend.

I feel as though there are some really great blogs out there about being a military spouse. I’ll be sure to share those as we go. I just am yet to really find one about the mental aspect of military life and mental health, so here we go……

Life

A Thousand Painful Words….

I’ve tried writing this post a thousand times, and each time I write over a thousand words…then I delete it all.

So let me try again.

The premise of this blog is the crazy adventure I’m on with my husband, kids, and our zoo of rescue pets…but it’s hard to update a blog and keep it funny and REAL when there’s so much background pain.

I have never hidden the fact I struggle with mental illness.

I do not hide the fact my husband had combat-related PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury).

What I have hidden from everyone is the pain and hurt it has caused.

I came to the realization last night, the relationship with my husband is in trouble and I feel emotionally abused.

It’s painful.

While he is absolutely the BEST father in the world to our children, I am currently living in a hell on earth.

My struggle has been, do I let this out? Do I put it out there for all the world to see? Or do I just suffer in silence and wish we had a better relationship?

If I DO put it out there, it could negatively affect my writing and yoga career. If I continue to hide it, no one else struggling with the same issues will see they are not alone.

It IS lonely in this place. There are others in this space. I know they are there….in the distance, suffering, and in pain. So I decided to let it out.

Though I know I should blame the combat and his eight years in the Marines, it’s hard to find solace in this, knowing we don’t connect, knowing I feel alone, worrying about the drinking, cheating, lying, money spending.

It sounds like a mess.

It is a mess.

It’s painful.

I could sit here and tell you all the horrible things he has done, but that does nothing to help anyone. Some of it is unbelievable….like when I thought he was going to kill me in the garage when he was on a drunken rampage talking about things from his deployments, specifically Iraq.

Can I hang on?

What about my kids?

I guess the focus of this blog must change.

I guess I need to refocus my life in general.

I’m 36 and in a lonely place, when I wanted to be settled, accomplished, and happy.

I am none of those things right now.

So if you’re a military spouse, if you know someone with mental illness, if you have mental illness…you…are…not…alone in this lonely, lost place.

 

Life · Writing & Publishing

Happy Birthday, Fix Your Liver

It’s been a busy few weeks since I last posted, but I wanted to stop and check in with you!

A few weeks ago I started teaching yoga again! I rented a space on Monday nights at a pop-up shop in the next town, and it’s going GREAT! Sadly, this cuts into my writing time, but I really love my time on the mat. Three straight hours of yoga is great for the body….especially as it ages!

Right? Wait! What?

If you count back 40 weeks from this week, you land on New Year’s Eve/Night. With the most popular birthday being October 5th, you can pretty much assume all of us first week of October babies are the result of some hard core partying on the part of our parents as they rang in the New Year. I apparently am no exception, with my birthday being October 6th.

Last week I went to the doctor for a routine checkup and to refill my depression medication. No big deal, right? WRONG. She thought it would be cool to stick me with a needle and draw some blood. (I had Talia with me and she scored not one, but TWO toys even though I had to give up the blood!!) Anyway, I didn’t think much of it, and moved on with my day. The next day though, the doctor called….and told me she needed more blood. Apparently, Dracula didn’t care for my elevated liver enzymes and wanted to do further testing.

Seriously? I’m turning 36, not 86!!!! (Though we all outlived Hugh Hefner, which I did NOT think would happen!)

So after I told Bill what was going on, and called my mother in a panic, and then my dad (demanding an extensive family history…none of which included liver disease) I turned to the World Wide Web for answers….

Here’s a pro-tip for you….if your doctor tells you something might be up, don’t get on the web. If you do this, you will convince yourself you are dying of some foreign disease not in existence for the last 300 years.

Me? I thought I was dying of liver cancer…..

I’m not dying of liver cancer.

My doc called back today and told me I had high cholesterol and had to stop my medication for ADHD because it could EFF you up! (I’m looking at you Lily Pharmaceuticals).

Thankfully, I just need to take a new medication and stop they other medication. I did however jump on Amazon and order liver cleanser…..I know, I know, but what can it hurt? It made me feel a bit better for about an hour.

So tomorrow is a new start. I’ll be 36 (still in my MID-30’s…..not late 30’s yet) and I hope with the new trip around the sun, I can be more diligent about posting on this blog! Be assured, if you don’t hear from me, I’m okay. I’m working on writing my next novel and doing a lot of freelance work! OH! How could I forget??? Hockey is also back as of tonight (I write as I sit in front of my TV). Hopefully I’m a better fan this year. Last year I was working so much, I didn’t log in much fan time.

#GoBruins

#BruinsForLife

Here is a picture of Talia when she turned 1!!!!! #HockeyBabyHockey Baby.jpg

 

Life · Writing & Publishing

I’m Still Here

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated this blog, alas, I am alive. I still think about you, dear reader, quite often. The reality is I’m working on a new project.

Let me back up.

We have settled into Illinois and I am sure we made the right decision to move here. I found a day job I enjoy (I literally get paid to drink coffee all day!) and our children are loving every minute of being with family.

Sadly, my paternal grandmother passed away in July. Bill and I had to take the kids to PA and then CT to say goodbye. I won’t get into the sadness of it all. The lady was 95 years old! She lived a good life and now it’s time for her to be with her youngest son and my grandfather again.

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I was able to see my her in April at my cousins wedding. Here is the last photo of us together. Please note my daughter had on pants which were too big, so the last picture of her with my grandmother entails her pants being around her knees….only my kid!

My own kids are growing like weeds, as they say…and Liam was kind enough to wait until we were in a hotel in CT, completely tired and stressed out, to break his first tooth. He’s much happier now, and since getting the second tooth in, he has taken on everything from pasta to Pop-Tarts (the Pop-Tarts are his fathers doing!)

Talia is talking up a storm, and just when I thought she was already into everything, she finds something else to get into.

Back to the project.

I completed the book Seeking Sita. I’m still working on finding a Literary Agent to work with, but in the mean time I am writing The Legend of Lavinia Fisher. Because it’s a historical fiction novel, I have had to do an extensive amount of research, hence my lack of updating this blog.

I did start another website, http://www.LaviniaFisherLegend.com to detail the book. I’m hoping to put together a book trailer once the manuscript is complete and edited. I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, I am almost done with research and I’m outlining the book so I can start writing.

I’m also baking again, going back to teaching yoga, and finally finishing my degree. I have chosen Forensic Psychology as my major, since most of my coursework has already been in Criminology and Psychology. I feel it will help my writing, since the main theme in my books has been setting the main character free from whatever their struggles have brought them. I can talk more about this once this next book is finished. As crazy as it sounds, I also have ideas and themes for the next two books as well. Basically, I need about 10 more hours in each day!

Until next time!

Life

11 Things I Learned in the South

I’ve been in Illinois a week and thankfully I have not had too much in the way of culture shock! I was a bit surprised when I tried a new grocery store and they required a .25 deposit for the cart, then charged me for bags, then made me take my groceries back out of the cart to bag my own bags…which I just paid for, but nothing was as surprising as the things I encountered when I moved from New England to the South. Some of them are funny (now) and so in no particular order….

  1. Texas Pete is not a biker dude. When I first moved to the south, I left the world of law and my position as a paralegal to wait tables. The money was much better, and I was not stuck behind a desk. A rather large man with a Harley Davidson shirt asked me for Texas Pete. The restaurant was loud on a Sunday morning for brunch, so I did not clearly hear the way the question was phrased….I just heard the name. I was taken back for a moment. I know I have tattoo’s, but what about me made this guy think I hung out with a guy named “Texas Pete”? When I told the gentleman I didn’t know him, he asked for hot sauce in an aggravated tone. It wasn’t until I got back to the server station and asked if anyone knew my mystery man, did I realize my mistake. Texas Pete IS the hot sauce. This was 10 years ago, and I’m sure Texas Pete has made it into New England supermarkets since then.
  2. Armadillos are roadside ornaments. In the 10 years I spent in the Carolina’s, I never once saw a living armadillo. I only saw them on the side of the road….dead.
  3. Alligators will fuck you up. I’m not kidding when I saw my first “Beware of Alligators” sign and about choked. I had no idea I was moving to the land of gator, and I thought they only lived in the Bronx Zoo. Not only do they walk about freely, there was one found at a drive thru window in the heavily populated Tanger Outlets near our house, just looking for a burger. Not cool.
  4. They are still fighting the Civil War. This one is sad. As soon as I landed in North Carolina, and even more-so in South Carolina, it was evident racism is a BIG deal. Having grown up an hour outside of New York City, where you can be anyone you want to be, I was shocked. I can’t tell you how many times I was called a “Yankee” with negative connotation. Some people just automatically hated me because of where I was born. They have not realized the Civil War was over 150 years ago, they lost, and my family didn’t even get here until the 1920’s…..we really had NOTHING to do with it.
  5. They call Cockroaches “Palmetto Bugs!” Not only is this the state bug (gross), it’s a damn cockroach. Southerners can call it what they want…it’s a cockroach and it’s nasty!
  6. College Football is a Religion. It doesn’t matter if you even went to college, or where. Everyone has an affiliation they pull for on game day. Some of the major teams include USC, Clemson, Ole Miss, Florida State, and Virginia Tech. Like I said, you didn’t have to go there, you just have to wear their colors and carry their koozie around….which brings us to number 7….
  7. Everyone uses a Koozie. I had never heard of this until I showed up in the south. Everyone uses koozies for everything from soda to beer. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They even personalize these things. Having a bakery, I delivered cakes to a lot of weddings. Personalized koozies were so popular, I swear 3/4 of all weddings I did the cake for offered guests their own koozie commemorating the happy couple. Koozies bring me to the next thing…Moonshine.
  8. Moonshine exists. In high school and college I could drink a lot of people under the table….then I met moonshine. People in the south still produce the illegal substance in sheds and can it in mason jars. It comes in a variety of flavors and is often given as a gift…you know…on the down low. This stuff is no joke! My first sip almost knocked me off my stool. I’ll just stick to my Amaretto Sour, thanks.
  9. No One is Ever in a Hurry.  Dear Lawd I cannot express to you how frustrating it is when you’re trying to do ANYTHING in the south in a timely manner and everyone else is just taking their time! They don’t drive fast, talk fast, or just move fast at all. Yes, I grew up an hour outside of New York City where the term “A New-York Minuet” comes from, but seriously folks, people will just miss entire green lights and NO ONE will hit their horn AT ALL…EVER….. These same people enjoy sitting out on their front porch, just sitting. They aren’t even reading a book. They just sit there with dogs next to them…..doing nothing!!!! The dogs bring us to number 10.
  10. Hunting Dogs Are Working Dogs. Here is another sad one. So many people in the South actually use their dogs as hunting tools. When they are done with the dog, they abandon them. The most common of these dogs are Treeing Walker Hounds. I have had 3 in total….all abandoned.

    This is Tremor. He survived one of the worst abuse cases in SC history (by the skin of his teeth) and was once a great hunting dog. Because he’s older, he was abandoned and given to a man who killed over 200 hunting dogs. Tremor was one of 45 to survive.

  11. BBQ is important. In Connecticut, we used to drive over an hour to get the best BBQ in the state….it was also the ONLY BBQ in the state. In the south, BBQ is so serious, each state has their own signature flavor or rub. Some people will only eat certain types of BBQ and I’ve even heard people fight over what is the best. Seriously, I was just happy to have it wherever I went! Some people take their BBQ so seriously, they drive around with smokers attached to their vehicle. I guess it’s “just in case?”

So there it is! The good, bad, funny, and ugly of living in the south.

Life

Tanski Talks: My Mental Illness

I have Major Depressive Disorder. It’s not a secret. I’m not ashamed. Sure, I know some people judge because of the stigma around mental illness and being “crazy” but remember, I am currently writing the book on crazy…literally! Visit my Author website to see an excerpt from my book Literary Crazy.

Anyway….. Scott Tankski. Scott Tanski plays for the South Carolina Stingrays (hockey). Last night we had the pleasure of meeting him in person. He organzied the Meet N’ Greet as a “Thank you” to fans who purchased his “Tankski Talks” t-shirts. Money raised from the shirts is being donated to the mental health clinic here in the LowCountry, which I might add, actually saved my life once.

Here is a picture of one of my BFF’s Mersadies, me, Liam, Scott Tanski, Bill, Talia, Big Garrett (Mersadies hubby) and their son, Little Garrett.

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Tanski was personally touched by the story of Daron Richardson, the daughter of a 20 year NHL player (Luke Richardson) who lost her battle to mental illness at age 14. He designed the t-shirts to raise awareness, get people talking, and support local organizations.

Click HERE to listen to the interview of Scott Tanski.

Bill and I purchased a shirt for each of us, one for Talia, and one for my therapist who I will see for the last time before our big move, at the end of the month.

Here is a picture I stole from the SC Stingrays website of all the guys sporting the t-shirt.

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Scott could not have been any nicer. He signed Talia’s shirt for her and I told him (almost without crying) how the organization he is donating the money to saved my life once. (That is a whole other blog post!) He seemed to be appreciative of hearing the story and gave me his full attention, even with a line of people out the door to meet him.

Also this week, I got another tattoo…this one is the semi-colon. It’s not because I’m a writer, but because it serves as a reminder I could have ended my story, but decided not to.

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Project Semicolon was founded  by Amy Bleuel who started the semicolon tattoo trend. Sadly, she lost her mental illness battle last week, so it was time for me to get my tattoo for myself, and for Amy.

Some people get cancer, some people have diabetes, others live with IBS or an array of other medical issues. Some of us have mental illness. We need to start talking about it. We need to accept mental illness like we do other forms of illness. Let me know if you want to chat!