Saturday, March 4, 2017

When Homecoming Euphoria Wears Off PTSD Awakens

Scars of War Set In
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 4, 2017

The thing you missed is that when the euphoria wears off, you came back with a different "you" inside. Homecoming feels great and folks are really happy to see you. You get to eat what you want, go where you want and do what you want to. It feels good to get into your own bed. All of a sudden, nothing feels "normal" to you. That is because PTSD came home with you.
Coming home doesn't have to be filled with heartache and hardships. It all depends on what you are willing to do with what you know how to do.

You left your civilian family to deploy with your military family. It doesn't matter where you were heading, which war or decade. It is always the same story. You get trained to be able to fight the battles and protect the others you are with. 

Sure, you're told about the reasons used to send you, as if you'll get the message it is for the sake of our nation, but the truth is, it is always about the family you risked your life with.

You became attached to them. Shared your meals with them. Experienced the same dangers and fears as they did. You endured all the same hardships. They became a part of you and you would have died for them. They would have died for you.

When you come home, that detachment from that family, hurts. No one back home can understand what it was like. Too few want to understand and they seem to want you to just go back to the way you were before. Some want to understand but they can't until you explain it to them.

If you hold it all in, you push them away. If you do, then they will become more and more distant emotionally. Sooner or later, you figure out that you are alone in your own hell. A hell, partly built by your own actions.

The thing is, in combat, you do everything you can to stay alive. So why not do the same when you come home? Why give up so easily? Is it because you think others will judge you for not being tough enough to just deal with it? Is it because you are supposed to be the strong one and never in need of anything from anyone? How is that supposed to work?

No one is ever in any kind of position they need nothing from anyone. You needed your brothers and sisters to watch your back in combat. You needed someone to take care of your meals and clothing. Someone else had to supply your weapons. Someone else had to find you to bring your mail. Someone else had to take care of the vehicles you rode in. Someone else had to make the plans for where you were going and when you were going back to the place someone else figured out you needed to be in.

Do you see where this is going?

Back home, no one is ever really alone no matter how much you want to pretend you are. How close you feel to someone depends entirely on you. You decide who you share your life with and how much you share with them. If you share your pain, then you share your healing. Same as being in combat, you have someone to share healing the scars created by it.

The only people able to really understand what it was like for you are other veterans. Sure, it is better to have members of your own unit to fight with you again, but if not, then try to find a combat veteran from your own generation. Then learn from older veterans how they took back control over their home-life after military-life. 

This is the battle you are in control of. Do you surrender to the enemy inside of you or do you do whatever you have to do to defeat it?