Hello to everyone stopping by “This Army Life.” I just wanted to remind everyone that I really don’t take the time to write in this blog anymore. My new blog can be found at www.eatpraylovelive.com.
I used this blog to get me through my first experience of deployment as a US Army Girlfriend and Fiance as well as the first month or so of my soldier returning home. Our life took a different turn when we decided to try to have a family, which started being chronicled at Eat, Pray, Love…LIVE! For those who don’t know, my husband and I separated early into our marriage due to increasing agitation, violence, and anger that resulted from PTSD going undiagnosed. We are now working on healing the hurts that this disorder has caused in our lives and again, all of it is being chronicled on the new blog link above.
I hope you will join me on our new journey. This blog continues to receive views from those of you experiencing deployment for the first time and or adjusting to military life. I’m thankful for the continued emails and comments.
I was contacted recently by a blog reader named Tim Elliot who wanted to share with me his thoughts and knowledge on the invisible wounds of war. I gladly invited him to participate as a guest blogger on “This Army Life.” Here is the result of his writing.
“The Difficulty of Dealing with Invisible Wounds”
By: Tim Elliot
There’s no overstating how difficult it can be for families when a service member is deployed overseas, but increasingly military families have been facing an entirely different set of difficult circumstances. Not only are thousands of soldiers returning home wounded, an increasingly high number of those wounds are so-called ‘invisible wounds’. Invisible wounds, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and mesothelioma, can be particularly difficult for family members to cope with because at first they may not appear to be directly related to active duty. For example, the symptoms of PTSD include feeling numb and hyper arousal- both of which can be difficult to family members, especially children, to recognize as symptoms of a disease. Similarly the symptoms of mesothelioma and TBI are often difficult to recognize. However, allowing invisible wounds to go untreated is a grave mistake. Without treatment TBI can be deadly and cut off the needed oxygen flow to the brain, and the mesothelioma life expectancy is only between one and two years because it commonly goes untreated. It can be extremely difficult to have a service member return home after their tour only to see them distinctively changed by an invisible wound, but it’s important to remember that, just like any other injury, with the right resources these wounds can be treated. A soldier with a TBI can receive extensive rehabilitation that involves physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, a soldier with PTSD can receive counseling and group therapy, and with careful attention to the early mesothelioma symptoms it’s possible for the tumor to be surgically removed. And, of course, throughout any of these treatments any soldier will need the support of his community and family.
Tim can be reached for comment at creative4lyfe(at)gmail(dot)com
Happy 2011 to all of those who read “This Army Life.”
It’s been quite an adventure for me these past two years and I’ve encountered so many great people in this military family. Some who continue to help me with the trials I’m enduring and others who are just all around great people. I’m thankful for each and every one of you who despite the fact I’ll soon be leaving this “bubble,” still love and care for me like no other. I wish I could meet with each of you in a room, give you a hug, and thank you for being just plain awesome.
I said it a lot before, but I’m really glad this blog seems to still attract so much traffic and help others. I hope you can learn from my experiences and apply them to your own situations. This life is extremely difficult but it can also be so rewarding. My circumstances in leaving my husband were a little unique, but as tough as it was, I really enjoyed being a military spouse. I’d say I’d do it all over again, but at the same time…I think I’m a little scarred from my experience. Marrying someone in the military at war time is extremely fragile. Everything changes.
Anyway, I wish everyone the BEST for 2011. That your family and friends who serve are always safe, protected, and know how much we love them. Please continue to read, leave comments, and let me know how I can help you all.
The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:
The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.
The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 21,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 5 fully loaded ships.
In 2010, there were 66 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 144 posts. There were 77 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 17mb. That’s about 1 pictures per week.
The busiest day of the year was November 24th with 328 views. The most popular post that day was My Thankful List.
Where did they come from?
The top referring sites in 2010 were twitter.com, facebook.com, blogger.com, sempergumbythelife.blogspot.com, and search.aol.com.
Some visitors came searching, mostly for thankful, sad couple, dear john movie poster, pcos, and army girlfriend.
Attractions in 2010
These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.
My Thankful List November 2009
I Am A Military Girlfriend November 2009
Dear John January 2010
Post Deployment Blues December 2009
What is PCOS? January 2010
Most of you are obviously part of a military family or will be someday in the future. Perhaps some of you are missing the one you love at your Christmas table this year. I know from personal experience how all of that can feel and I hope that you’re at least given some sort of comfort by those who are around you. There will be many people praying for you, including myself this weekend. Thank you for your sacrifices and all you continue to do to support the ones you love and our country.
*I started writing this post over a month ago. Just never got around to finishing it*
For those of you who keep up with my other blog, it will come as no surprise. But to those of you who don’t, my husband and I are getting a divorce. I’ve watched my marriage go down the tubes for quite some time now, hence the reason my last post was in June and I mentioned a new blog and my life going in a different direction. This blog represented my life in the military family, that life is now coming to an end any day now. It was short, it wasn’t always sweet, and this has left me with an entirely different perspective on military life.
I’ve noticed some people on my Twitter feed saying things like “Just because it didn’t work out for you, doesn’t mean this whole lifestyle is bad.” I don’t know if those messages are aimed at me or not, but one can assume. I feel I need to clarify my position on this whole situation. I don’t have less of pride for this country or for our military, but I am deeply saddened and disturbed by all that is happening with our men and women in uniform and their families. I completely understand that not every service member is like my husband. I am so thankful for that. I understand many are more resilient than others and others can cope and manage better than others. Heck, even some wives do better than others right?
I write this because I’m not the only one I know who has been in this situation or is currently going through this situation.
It breaks my heart that there are women who sit in silence in unhappy marriages and deal with violence, anger, and abuse on a daily basis. They feel that this is what they signed up for. They knew it was a possibility as a military spouse and they have to own it. They’re stuck, with children or without a job and financial independence. They are consistently told things will change and they cling to the hope one day those words will be true. We all know domestic violence knows no boundaries and it isn’t JUST a military thing. However, with what our men and women are exposed to on a daily basis…it makes them more susceptible to act out in violence themselves on those around them.
I can’t fathom what it is like to experience what my husband and what other service members have been through. I will never understand and that is something my husband reminded me of when we were dating. My heart hurts for my husband and for others who serve. That may sound like pity, but that’s not what I mean. I wish I could make the wars go away. I wish daddies were home for their babies births. I wish mommies could be stateside to take care of their children and see them in other ways besides photos and webcam. I wish all military members came back 100% whole, both physically and mentally. I’ve always been a supporter of military and if that means war, it means war. Most of you know I am a conservative, so I support military action entirely. I would never be one to say “End the war and bring our troops home!” Now, I find myself saying just that. The hurt, the pain, and the destruction it causes in the people we love just sucks. I don’t care what ANYONE says. Anyone who is deployed and is called to action, is never the same again. It will change you.
My heart hurts for my husband. Our marriage was on many occasions a nightmare and our divorce has been extremely exhausting and ugly. I could spew 1,000 words of disgust right now but in truth…I love my husband and I’m sad it has come to this. I am sad that I feel the military had a major part in his behavior. They claim he has Multiple Sclerosis but I feel STRONGLY there is something else going on. MS has nothing to do with violence and anger. I feel like though not entirely to blame, this life is what ended up turning our lives upside down. It was not the sacrifice. It was not living in Texas. It was not separations, late nights, or low pay. It was how he came back a different person.
Many who know our story may say it was probably the fact our courtship was “not normal” and was quick. We both agree that had we lived together prior to getting married, we probably wouldn’t have gotten married. We’ll never know. I do know the man who I knew for 11 years and the man I knew in Iraq was not the man who came home to Fort Hood, Texas. That hurts. Really bad. I’d give anything to shake this out of him and get that man back. I knew it would never happen and I made the choice to leave, sooner than later. We started therapy, counseling, programs, everything right from the start. I am thankful that his chain of command recognized the seriousness of the problem and got him help right away. I encourage any military spouses or partners out there to seek the help of the COC and/or Family Advocacy if they are experiencing violence or abuse at the hands of their service member. This includes verbal, financial, emotional, and physical. NONE of it is acceptable.
I was walking in the grocery store parking lot today and had this overwhelming feeling that I was marked. I’m marked as no longer a military spouse. No longer a wife. Alone. Out of “the club.” There are many things I will miss about being a part of this life. I met some incredible people and connected with so many on Twitter and through this blog. I will miss the unity, the understanding, the compassion, and the closeness this life brings. It takes some kind of woman to stand behind a man in uniform. Though my time as a military girlfriend and wife was short, I have learned so much. I will forever have some amount of digital ACU camo in my blood 😉
To those who have shown me support over the past two years, I appreciate it so much. I came to some of you early on when M and I were dating and expressed concerns over some issues and you were right there with me. I’m thankful to my milspouse friends who I still speak with and continue to encourage me, even though I will soon “no longer belong.” I am in awe of all of you who stand behind your husbands, boyfriends, sons, etc. If I could reach out and give a hug to each of you I would. I admire your strength, your courage, and your sacrifice.
I am not sure what place I will take within the military community. I still feel drawn to champion military causes, but in what aspect I do not know. In time, with healing and a clear mindset, I’m sure it will become apparent to me. I will continue to pray for all of you and ask that you do the same for both myself and “M.”
Thank you for all of your comments over the past two years. It amazes me this blog still receives TONS AND TONS of hits and continues to help those who are starting out on their journey. I pray it continues to do so, long after the dust has settled and this chapter in my life has closed.