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I'm married to a soldier (with PTSD) AMA

18 replies

ThisIsMyDisguiseUsername · 12/07/2018 20:05

Questions about being married to a soldier, or, questions about being married to a soldier with PTSD. Happy to answer either ๐Ÿ˜Š

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TammyWincyette · 12/07/2018 20:09

No questions as such, just wishing you well.

ThisIsMyDisguiseUsername · 12/07/2018 20:13

Thank you, that's really kind ๐Ÿ˜Š

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MegEmski · 12/07/2018 20:19

Have you had young children whilst he (she?) was away? How was it and how did you manage?

ThisIsMyDisguiseUsername · 12/07/2018 20:28

I had a three year old when he was in Afghanistan.
It was really difficult explaining where Daddy was and why he was gone so long. Especially when he was away over Christmas. That was really hard for all three of us.
We talked a lot about Daddy helping people who were in a bad place and how he was going to work with them to make things better.
We had ups and downs, good days and bad days, but he was an absolute little trooper (excuse the pun!), he still is if I'm honest.

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flyingsaucersherbet · 12/07/2018 20:29

Does he get help / support with his PTSD? How do you cope as his partner to help him with that?

Also wishing you both well, thank you for all he has done Flowers

ThisIsMyDisguiseUsername · 12/07/2018 20:30

There's days where you think you just won't get to the end of it in one piece but the truth of the matter is, you have to manage. You can't just say 'sorry kid, I'm not up for doing today!' ๐Ÿ˜

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HeyDolly · 12/07/2018 20:31

What the longest time heโ€™s been away on tour for? How often do you get to speak when youโ€™re apart?

Do you live on married quarters?

ThisIsMyDisguiseUsername · 12/07/2018 20:34

FlyingSaucer he is receiving help.
It's taken a long time for him to ask for help, but he's now about 14 months into treatment.
He doesn't really talk much about what that treatment involves, but he knows he can talk to me about it if he ever wants to.
It's hard not knowing what's going on or how I can help but I think in reality, he just needs to know he can come home to a safe space.

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Atetoomanyjaffacakes · 12/07/2018 20:34

Army wife here too! My husband has also suffered PTSD after 3 tours of Afghan, he is much better now and he hasn't been out there for 3 years.

Are you living in the UK or overseas?

ThisIsMyDisguiseUsername · 12/07/2018 21:01

HeyDolly, the longest he's been away is six months, a few times now.
It depends what tour he's on to how often we speak.
Back in the dark old days, it could be weeks between contact, either a really short letter written by a man of few words, or a crackly phone call that had a rubbish delay and could cut out any minute. But just that tiny contact became so important.
These days things are more sophisticated, we've even managed Facebook conversations and the days of receiving hand written letters from him are pretty much over.

We do live in married quarters, always have done since we got married.
It's a bit of a bubble really, the prospect of being home owners is a bit daunting!

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ThisIsMyDisguiseUsername · 12/07/2018 21:05

Hi Atetoomanyjaffacakes!
There should be a solidarity wave, don't you think!? ๐Ÿ˜
Glad to hear your DH is doing better, it's a long old process but good support is vital. Hope you've got support too?

We're in the UK, always have been. Never had the experience of a post in a sunny climate!

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Cacti · 12/07/2018 21:09

Is it common for soldiers who have done tours in extremely hostile environments to avoid talking about their experiences? I know a few ex-military people and they generally avoid answering questions about their time in the military.

HeyDolly · 12/07/2018 21:15

Thanks for the response. Do you worry about how youโ€™ll afford to become homeowners (if you want to be) once your DH leaves the army?

How often do you have to relocate? Have you found it easy to make new friends each time you do?

ThisIsMyDisguiseUsername · 12/07/2018 21:15

Cacti, I don't know if it's common, but many soldiers that I know don't really talk about their experiences.
DH and I have been together a long time and there is a huge amount I don't know about his experiences.
I guess there's a lot of things that they've done and seen that they haven't particularly wanted to do or see, and they'd rather not have other people know about for fear of being judged.
Or, if they tell people things, there's a chance it might be brought up again at a later date when they might not be in the right place to talk about it. It's just easier to not talk about it in the first place, isn't it?

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ThisIsMyDisguiseUsername · 12/07/2018 21:21

HeyDolly, I do worry a bit.
We are lucky that he will receive a fairly decent pension when he leaves and there is support to help guide us in the right direction but I do feel that the clock is ticking a little bit.
But one of the things about Army life is that we spend a lot of our time not being able to plan very much, which I'm fine with at the moment, but it does mean that we haven't really planned our future much further than the end of this year and I think we're in for a bit of a shake up when he leaves the army!

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ThisIsMyDisguiseUsername · 12/07/2018 21:31

We've been really lucky with his regiment that we don't move around a lot.
In 14 years we've had five moves.
Our last move was the hardest for me as I had to leave some truly amazing friends, but we're not too far away so I can still visit them, just not as often as I used to be able to.

I've made some fab friendships over the years, some that will last forever, but, I've also leaned that friends will always move on and no matter how much you say you'll keep in touch, it's rarely ever the same friendship once you've moved away.
As a result, I have a lot fewer friends these days.
It does upset me sometimes that I don't have a 'best friend' just around the corner that I can share everything with.
I do love the fact that if my children are ever stuck in a situation, away from home, when they're older, there will always be a military friend nearby that I know will help them out. It's like is a big distant family really... if that makes sense!?

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sharkirasharkira · 14/07/2018 08:24

How did you cope when he was away? Did you worry a lot about whether or not he was in danger, getting injured, etc? I think that would be the worst bit for me, I don't know how I could go on with my life as normal if my dp or dc was in a warzone.

Do you wish he had chosen a different career?

ThisIsMyDisguiseUsername · 15/07/2018 18:01

Sharkira, you don't really have any choice other than coping.
The first time he went away was before we had kids. I stared at the footage on tv every minute I could, I listened to the news whenever it was on and I just about functioned as I counted down the days. At the end of each day I'd think 'well, that's another day he's made it through...'
He's had friends and colleagues that didn't make it, or have been seriously injured, and that hits you hard as a partner. Relief that it's not you getting the knock at the door, and then guilt that you could even think that when someone else has just received the hardest news.
Then the next big tour, I had a three year old and he needed things to be normal.
He got up on a morning and needed breakfast, then needed to be taken to nursery, then I had to be at work, then he needed dinner and a bath and a story at bedtime... I just had to cope.
Weekends were the hardest as there was no work or nursery to distract us and everyone else seemed to be busy with family which made me feel really lonely.

As for whether I wish he'd chosen a different career, no, not really.
I wish he'd had more support when he came home from war the first time. I wish he'd been able to talk to someone about how he was feeling instead of being told to keep quiet about his issues otherwise it would ruin his career. But he's only ever wanted to be a soldier. It's all he's ever known from when he joined as a teenager, and it's the only married life I've ever known.
We were only together six months when he first went to war so I was thrown in at the deep end pretty quickly! ๐Ÿ˜
We've been very lucky that we've lived in really great places and my children have had some experiences that they would never have had if he'd had a different career.
But I do wish there was a switch to turn off all the bad stuff in his head so we could do normal family things more easily.
It's a long journey but he's finally on the path to better health.

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