What is posted below is an attempt to process a very unexpected, unknown trigger to the trauma I experienced as a supporting military spouse.
History: My husband was in the military for 8 years. We were married in 2004, he was in the reserves. He joined active duty in 2005 and was deployed 2005-2006 and 2007 to 2009 ish (12 months and 15 month deployments) as a combat engineer.
He was honorably discharged in 2009 with a disability status. We’ve gone on to University and he’s working on his Masters degree very happily.
Present day: I am currently in Massage Therapy school a few states away while he finishes his school work. I have a class called “Personal Development” to encourage us to look at our own lives with the intent of making it easier to have compassion for potential clients and where they come from.
We were speaking about Trauma that day. The instructor led us thru a meditation and we wrote potential sources of trauma on the board. She handed out a journal that asked about people you know with Trauma.
I had never thought about my husband’s disability as trauma..but it is…Traumatic Brain Injury……..love and communication keep the worst at bay for both of us.
Trying to communicate about this event in my life, one I keep personal set me off. I thought of Fourth of July fireworks and how uncomfortable he gets…and how it has progressed over the years.What I do to settle him…my mind flew to those lonely hours and years and I felt completely helpless.
I never thought I’d be grateful for the anxiety disorder I experienced when I was 19. ( now 31) but thanks to that and the countless debriefs on PTSD, I knew what I was starting to feel. I closed my eyes, focused on my breath, tried to feel his calm, reach that calm center within myself. The minutes slowed and I was visibly crying very slowly still trying to breathe. It felt like someone had reached through my ribcage and ripped out my heart…finally showing me the emptiness and terror I’d boxed away for so long. carefully folded and tucked away.
My friend sitting across from em caught my eye and mouthed ” breathe” and I struggled against the rising wave of anxiety and fear that gripped my heart -now like a endless sea, the deep pulling me under.
I lost it. I rose as quietly as I could and swam for the door. I found the nearest corner and collapsed into it, tears washing over my like a great tsunami. I stayed there for maybe 10 minutes…time is hard in this space. crying, letting it go, practicing self-comforting gestures, hiding behind my auburn curtain of hair. focusing on my hands…i am here. i am now. i am…i am…i am. heartbeat- Kit, focus on your heart. “I can’t, I am alone” not alone just here. here. cry. knees to chest. small. i am small. i am here. sob.
I find my feet and make it to the school councilor’s office and go into hysterics there. Eek out ” husband. deployment……triggered. class.”
Actions: Thankfully again, we received a stupid amount of information on PTSD so I sought out my resources as fast as I could. I know I am going to seek psychiatric care alone and with my husband but the initial search for cases like mine…yielded very little.