Saturday, August 5, 2017

Maybe Your Own Tears Will Start Your Battle For Love

For to love you to me is to live
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
August 5, 2017

I was listening to a countdown of American Top 40 and heard our wedding song. I cried. There are certain songs we hear about lives we are living and we find comfort, reassurance and, if we're lucky, hope.

When I met my husband, one of my favorite songs was "A One In A Million" and we picked it for our first dance. This picture was taken while that song was playing.
It was the second chance for both of us to find happiness. He was divorced and so was I. No one would have guessed we would end up being married this long. I never would have guessed that our life together would have started the war I had to fight standing by his side.

Yes, a war. He went to war in Vietnam. I went to war in Massachusetts. I saw what PTSD was doing to him and needed to know what I was getting into before I took those lifetime vows again. How could I understand something I never lived through?

My life up that point was actually the reason why I could understand what combat did to him. I survived enough times when I could have lost my life, including the day my ex-husband came home and decided I needed to die. He couldn't understand what all those times were like for me anymore than I could understand what it was like to risk my life for strangers. Now all I risk is my ego.

The thing is, back then, the only way to learn about war and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, was to go to the library or college. I went to the library with a dictionary and a stack of books on psychology and Vietnam because of my Dad. He was a Korean War veteran and my uncles were WWII veterans. It was my Dad saying the words "shell shock" that sent me on this mission of my lifetime.

At first, it was about discovering what I was getting into before it was too late to end it, but then it was about how I could help him find happiness and know that he was loved.
ONE IN A MILLION YOU
Larry Graham
Love had played it's games on me so long
I started to believe I'd never find anyone
Doubt had tried to convince me to give in, said, "You can't win"
But one day the sun came a shinin· through
The rain had stopped and the skies were blue
And oh, what a revelation to see
Someone was saying "I love you" to me

A one in a million chance of a lifetime
And life showed compassion
And sent to me a stroke of love called "You"
A one in a million you

I was a lonely man with empty arms to fill
Then I found a piece of happiness to call my own
For to love you to me is to live

A one in a million chance of a lifetime
And life showed compassion
And sent to me a stroke of love called "You"
A one in a million you
A one in a million chance of a lifetime
And life showed compassion
And sent to me a stroke of love called "You"
One in a million you
A one in a million you

My Dad tried to get him to go to the VA for help. He had the same attitude his Dad had. My father-in-law was a WWII veteran, and so were his three brothers. They believed that the VA was for veterans who couldn't work and they'd be taking their place in line.

So, we just accepted the nightmares, flashbacks, mood swings and everything else that came with mild PTSD. It all became normal for us just as it became normal for me to help other veterans and their wives understand what I learned at the library.

It was not until something happened and his mild PTSD took over our lives, that I knew it was my war to fight. By 1993, when I got my first computer, the fight went online. If we were going through this, then I knew there were a lot of other people out there feeling as lost and alone as I was.

I won't bore you with the details since I already wrote our story back in 2003 and self published it because of September 11th. I couldn't find a publisher to get interested in 2000 but I kept trying until that day this country was attacked. A couple of psychologists I knew were sent to Washington and New York and we talked about what was coming in Vietnam veterans before sending troops into Afghanistan made the news.

I did some editing on the manuscript and kept trying for a while until I gave up and went the self-publishing route, praying it would help someone. Then I was encouraged to start a website to reach more people. Fast forward past countless websites up to this one, and it is all vindication of what I've been saying all along. This is a war about love because it is based on the love they have to the point where they are willing to die for it.

In 2006 I started to make videos on PTSD and put them up on Youtube took them down and put them back up again.

By 2009, I knew enough about all of this to predict a rise in military suicides when they should have been going down. After all, there was never another time in this country when so much was being done to help our service people and veterans heal. It should have worked and we should have seen more living and thriving but we saw more suicides.

We saw more divorces as more and more families fell apart and more veterans existing on the streets. Men and women just like my husband. For a long time I blamed the families for walking away but ended up being shocked by the fact they stayed that long without know how to understand it. It was almost impossible for us, and I knew everything I needed to know. How could they have done it for so long without knowing anything other than the fact they loved them?

Combat PTSD Wounded Times is ten years old this month but knowing these men and women, completely blown away by what they have inside, behind the pain in their eyes, is the reason I keep doing this. I remember 35 years ago when I was just as lost as everyone else.

Listen to the words of this song and then maybe your tears will cause you to start your own battle for love. They are worth it! 

Larry Graham - One in a million you


UPDATE August 6, 2017
I stay out of blogs and simply do not have enough times to read website threads. Every once in a while, I'll get something in my email that I am compelled to read. It happened this morning. It is a comment on Michigan Medical Marijuana. The author is "Garrett" and well worth the read.

Here is part of it. 

How can we explain, how can we help our loved ones to understand ... when we don't understand ...
There are times, lives, like mine, when wives simply cannot understand ... and decide they don't want to be with us ... we're erratic, we withdraw, we need to protect ourselves, we fear leaving our homes, we have fears that we can't articulate, can't express in words that will help a loved one understand ... Yet we live ... every day, every minute, with thoughts no one should ever know ...
A terrible outcome of our struggle is we can't talk to our wives ... we can't explain the things we "see" ... again and again, moment after moment, day after day ... but we never share those visions ... which of us would want our wives to know the true terrors that we see ... to let them honestly "feel" what we always feel ... how can we condemn them to our fate ... knowing the pain of understanding ... of knowing ... what we truly feel ... 
So they leave us ... and we know, somewhere inside, that it's for the best, for their health, for them to continue living ... 
That leaves us alone which may seem like an answer ... to know the terrors that we see is something we pray others never know ... never, ever, experience ...The problem with that logic is that we isolate ourselves ... we do save others from our terrible struggles ... but we leave ourselves alone ... that often feels best to us .. but it is wrong
We need love more than most because we can't find self-acceptance, self-worth, self-hope ... within ourselves 
There is no perfect world ... we have only this one ... 
We need to support each other because only we can understand the horrors we face ... 
I pray for each of us ... I understand the pain of a wife leaving ... mine left me ... Please stay with me ... let's live together ... share our lives ... work to build something we can live within ... 
We are never alone no matter how bad it feels ... we always have each other ... we are the only people that understand the terrors ...
If you want to stay, then you better be prepared to fight for them with everything available.