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!

 

0427181743.jpg

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….

0506181641g.jpg

Who is in control here?

0506181641a.jpg

Talia’s face is priceless here!

0506181641b.jpg

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

0506181641.jpg

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

0506181641d-1.jpg

Again with Talia’s face!

0506181641f-2.jpg

Everyone is OFP as they say in the USMC!

0506181641i-1.jpg

Now it’s Bill’s face making me laugh!

0506181641h.jpg

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!

Military Spouse Life

God Broke My Oven

Yes, you read that right. I feel like my busted oven is God giving me direction. Sound crazy? Well, I get that a lot!

I have always been super active. Even as a child, my parents were called in by my kindergarten teacher so they could ask my parents what to do with me. I wasn’t a bad kid…I just never sat still…for a second. I naturally brought this over to adulthood. I now work full time in hockey (NAHL), I run my yoga studio, I blog, I’m working on my third novel, I have two children/6 dogs/3 cats, and a husband….. I also have a million ideas for other projects. If I had all the time in the world, I would have my own vegan skin care line, and a hockey clothing company supporting youth hockey. I wish there were about 10 more hours in the day.

So I started to pray.

I know I’m a shitty Christian…I’m the first to admit it.

I prayed anyway.

I wanted to know what my purpose was in life. My pastor talks all the time about purpose….so what is mine?

I needed clear direction. I’m 36 years old and I feel like I’m just walking in circles here. These circles are full of half completed projects which are getting me nowhere.

So I continued to pray and try and weed out the things I was not meant to do.

I stopped some of the smaller projects because I just felt they weren’t “it” for me.

Then I decided I should work on my freelance writing and building up my clients, while making room to write novels on the side. I started pitching new clients, but everyone who was interested had a “limited” budget or no budget at all. I could feel this wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing.

Then I debated. Maybe I wanted to go back to baking full time. Maybe I should re-open my bakery. My mom and I had some killer ideas for Biscotti and selling them across the country. I knew where I could use a commercial oven….I thought I should make a go of it.

Then God killed my oven.

I had an order for a cake, and thank goodness it was for a friend….because my oven died half way through the baking process, leaving me a giant sheet cake pan, half-baked.

It was gross. I mean, how do you clean that???

Because I already filed our taxes, I knew we were getting a return. We figured we would use it to buy a new oven.

Then our taxes get held up for 45 days with no explanation from the IRS.

I’m aggravated, but I get the message. It’s not baking.

Then last night I get the whole message.

I was teaching my regular yoga class and just enjoying it. I hate being away from my family at night, but I have cut back to one hour, two nights a week. I contemplate how I can just get everything worked out to teach more. I also want to really get some more education on my chosen area of yoga, which is mental health.

My husband has combat related PTSD and I have Major Depressive Disorder, so naturally, yoga for mental health just clicked with me.

I really started making plans (while on the mat) to keep moving that education forward. I had been granted a scholarship for Warriors at Ease. I can do the class in a self-paced manner, but I need to put the other projects aside and step it up.

Then I started to think about the struggles my husband and I have in our personal/family life, especially with his PTSD…..I was waiting for him to get home last night and while talking to him on the phone, I opened up Facebook (I told you I couldn’t sit still). An advertisement popped up for a teacher training to work with Veterans in St. Louis, MO. It’s only about 90 minutes from me AND it’s over my birthday weekend. How perfect for us to spend the weekend as a family in St. Louis? (Here’s to hoping the Blues are home that weekend for pre-season!)

It seemed too perfect…and it seems maybe between the oven breaking, the desire to only write novels and closed freelancing doors, this was the answer.

I suppose it’s too soon to say, though I also found another online free training for businesses who work with veterans just on accident last night.

I ran all of this by my mom who also believes all these things are happening because I am faithfully asking for God’s help (but remember I already know I’m a shitty Christian) so sometimes it seems like he should not have the time or desire to answer me….but I guess I can start on this path and find out!

Military Spouse Life

Happy Birthday, Talia

Today is our daughters 2nd birthday. I haven’t had time to do a true blog post, so I’ll post some pictures of the coolest kid ever….and a few celebrities. 




Brendon Ellis of the SC Stingrays during a benefit for Breast Cancer. 




Our favorite radio guy in Charleston, Mr. TJ Phillips. We were in line with my sweet friend Missy to meet…


Trisha Yearwood and her sweet sister!

Yes, it’s Paula Deen, her very lovely husband, and my sister from another mister, Beka! Paula Deen grabbed Talia right from my hands!

















The last three were today! Happy birthday, baby girl!