Monday, November 12, 2012

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD Crashed Into Our Lives

The Nightmare

o say it has been difficult would be an understatement. For me it has been a living nightmare from which I can not wake. For him? That is a little hard for me to answer. He has been dealing with it for almost four years now in secret. He didn't share anything with anyone. He believed    he was going insane.

The Accident

e could tell you the exact year, day and time that it happened. It has been burned forever into his memory. 

Not me. Most days I can't remember how old I am. Ya, I feel dumb admitting that but it's true. I don't even remember if the accident occurred in the winter or summer.  

He called me at work on the day of the accident. I could hear his voice quivering as he spoke then he broke down. I didn't know what to think or how to react so I just listened.

His coworker, his friend fell from the second floor of the house they were working on, head first into the cement. My husband ran to his friend's side. His friend was not moving and his eyes were wide open blankly staring into space. 

He's dead.

I can't image.

Gary yelled out for help and stayed with his friend till others arrived and took over.

That was the day everything changed. The accident killed the man my husband was but his friend survived.

The Next Day

he man who hired Gary walked across the parking lot to join him in the car. Since my husband’s transfer to a different department, Joe was no longer his supervisor but the two of them had kept in touch and I suppose they were friends. 

Joe knew my husband enough to see there was something wrong. They spoke briefly then went into work.

The company had brought in some sort of specialist, a counselor to speak to the crew. My husband was the first person to go in the office. This woman was there to counsel the employees. What were her credentials? Where did they get her from? She told my husband to get plenty of sleep, eat properly, exercise and keep happy thoughts. My husband scoffed. What kind of ridiculous advice was this? And he left the room to return back to work.
The Storm Clouds

Where is My Husband

e worked a lot. I'm not sure if he worked more . . . but it seemed like he was working all the time. When he wasn't working he was sleeping. If he wasn't sleeping he was miserable.

 I remember brief appearances where he would come down from the bedroom to get something to eat. His pacing; the scowl on his face; the swearing because he couldn't find something.  We couldn't do anything without agitating him. We couldn't do anything right. We were damned if we did and damned if we didn't.

The atmosphere in our home was awful. We felt it the moment we walked in the door. It just got worse the longer we were there. Oh, sorry I forgot to mention that this atmosphere was only present when he was there. We walked on egg shells whenever he was there. 

I was so grateful for the hours he worked. He left for work just before the girls got home from school and returned when we were asleep. Those times were great. The girls and I could relax and enjoy each others company. We laughed, sang, played games, watched movies, did homework together . . . 

The weekends were unbearable when he was around. I would take the kids out as much as possible because anywhere was better than home. We spent much of our time at parks, beaches, the homes of family and friends.

I can chuckle to myself now but then? He would get so angry he looked like a rabid dog! His face would get red. The blue vein in the middle of his forehead got huge and pulsed with a life of it's own. He would clench his teeth and you could see his jaw muscles throbbing. Spitting mad? I thought it was just an expression. Not true. His spit got frothy and gathered at the sides of his mouth. Some spit would shoot out at me when he was yelling. I would have to dodge it or get it in the face!

But honestly, it wasn't funny at all. I could see his outbursts coming. It started with him being easily agitated. The smallest things annoyed him. He paced back and forth on the dining room floor. Before I knew it he was bitching and complaining. (He'd say, men don't bitch.) I'd ask what's wrong. We, meaning the girls and I, were the problem.

Yep, it's time to run and hide now. Daddy is getting grumpy again.

Do you know someone with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? I would love to read your story.

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