Saturday, August 12, 2017

"Cause When Depression Starts to Win," We Fight Back For Them

What Are You Willing To Do For Love?
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
August 12, 2017

"People talking without speaking. People hearing without listening." That is our life. That is the life for millions of lovers. The rest of the people read about it in news stories online or Facebook posts and they think they know what it is like for us. But they don't.

Disturbed - The Sound Of Silence [Official Music Video]

They "walk in restless dreams" and we awake in lonely rooms. We look in the mirror, getting ready for our day, and remember when we knew we were loved by them. Then we wonder what happened to make them turn from our hearts.

Kisses become a thing they do out of habit. Tender touches replaced by coldness. Making love ends up being more like an act out of anger. We think it is our fault. We lose weight, change our hair style and buy new clothes, but they never notice. They just keep pushing us away right we we're sure they need us the most. We're lost. Confused by what family members and friends say, telling us to walk away, when all we want to do is stay. 

When those darkest days were what we lived with when no one was talking about any of it, we suffered in silence. I couldn't talk about it with coworkers. They were too busy complaining about their husbands, apparently being destroyed by such trivial things, they'd never understand what true destruction of love was like.

In the darkest days that became all we knew, we fought our battles alone. No internet to find others like us, we found them within the groups our husbands joined. We found some solace in opinion pieces in our local newspapers when other wives tried to explain the war came home to them.

None of us signed up for it. None of us knew what we were getting into when all we wanted to do was build a future on promises as the quicksand of PTSD was dragging us into oblivion.

We knew our Dads had problems but our Moms never talked about it. They knew their Moms had problems, but did not dare do more than what they had to do from one moment to the next. It took our generation to stand up and say no more silent suffering. 

The only way we were able to do that was to stop being ashamed of our husbands and ourselves. The only way to do that was to learn about a part of them we never experienced with them. The only way to do that, was to find the experts researching it long before we ever knew what it was like to live with someone after they survived combat.

We not only respected what they had to teach us, we made sure we learned from it. After all, we knew this was our fight to win for them and our families, we needed every weapon we could get our hands on.

For me it was sitting in a library with a pile of clinical books and a dictionary. After I understood it enough, I opened my mouth because I knew it wasn't just me. Others were suffering and hoping someone would break the silence. None of us knew, others already had done just that. Vietnam veteran wives disturbed by the silence we thought we had to live with, decided to destroy it.

This is from For The Love of Jack, His War My Battle with a poem I wrote after a monument dedication back in 1984.

One of the vets said, “It boggles your mind to think about what happened.” The poem started out with that thought.

The things I’ve seen and done would boggle your mind.
I’ve seen the death and destruction created by mankind
in the living hell that I walked away from but could not leave behind.
It all comes back to haunt me now and makes peace impossible to find.
The ghosts of the past that find me in the night
make me wonder if my life will ever be right.
I have tried to forget what I have done,
and now there is no place left to run.
All this in the name of glory!
There is no end to this horror story.
It still does not make sense even now that I am older,
why, when I was so young they made me a soldier
and why I had to be a part of that war
when I didn’t even know what we were there for.
At eighteen I should have been with my friends having fun
not patrolling through a jungle with a machine gun.
I did my part just the same, just for my country
and stood helplessly watching my friends die all around me.
I felt a surge of hate engulf my soul for people that I did not know
and saw children lose their chance to grow.
All this in the name of glory!
There is still no end to this horror story.
There was no glory for guys like me
only bitter memories that will not set me free.
I can never forget the ones who never made it home
some of them dead and others whose fate is still unknown
and the stigma that we lost what was not meant to win
most of us carry that extra burden buried deep within.
All this in the name of glory!
Will there ever be an end to this horror story?
I am not a veteran but I listened when they decided they were safe enough to talk. It was their words, heard by a breaking heart. It was heard by a woman in love, with a man with painful eyes.

The thing is, if you are newly arrived in our world, then you better decide if the veteran you love is worth fighting for or not, because if you walk away, the questions will follow you.

Every time you read about a veteran committing suicide, it will haunt you. Every time you read about the body of a homeless veteran being found, it will gnaw at you. Above all that, every time you read about veterans and their spouse sticking it out and fighting back as survivors, you'll wonder what could have happened if you stayed.

Next month is our 33 anniversary. We went through the worst of it but I was not willing to let PTSD win. I was not going to give him back to Vietnam. It lost and I won, not just for his sake, but for mine and our daughter. My weapons were love and knowledge. His will to fight back was the fact he refused to be a victim of anything. He survived combat in Vietnam, so the will to fight was already there. All he needed was the support that came from me and what I was willing to do for him.

What are you willing to do for love? 

Right By Your Side
(Remastered Version)
Give me two strong arms
To protect myself
Give me so much love
That I forget myself
I need to swing from limb to limb
To relieve this mess I'm in
'Cause when depression starts to win
I need to be right by your side
When Tomorrow Comes
Do you want to save their lives after they were willing to die for the sake of others? Then learn what they live with!

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