Thanks, Michaela

Have you ever felt like you’ve had your guts stomped out and then handed back to you? (Post-high school, I mean). Like you turned yourself inside out and tried to share the best of yourself with people, only to have them stare back at you with a mixture of disinterest and vague recognition? I’ve been feeling like that since the end of my husband’s deployment and I stepped down from FRG leadership. There were no I.E.D.’s for me, no rockets, no mysterious local vehicles driving up to my door to possibly bomb the crap out of me…but this deployment left me feeling gutted. I have felt tired, bruised. It’s been hard for me to make new friends. I’ve not really been cooking or taking pictures or blogging effectively. I haven’t had my hair done in months. I’ve been hiding in my house.

I’ve been Blue. (not The Mean Reds…I haven’t had the energy for those.)

FRG and the people who went along with it were a much greater part of my life than I realized. Even now, as I think about those folks, my eyes get misty. We helped each other through some really, really crappy times: I.E.D.’s, rockets, deaths, injuries; all down-range, but felt to varying degrees here at home. Why did I think it would be easy to walk away from the Grandma’s and wives and kids? Do spouses and FRG leaders get PTSD? I don’t know that it should be called that, but there needs to be some sort of name for the tremendous let-down after a redeployment.

Enter: Michaela. She’s been my co-leader for the past year, one of my rocks, a Sushi eater, Starbucks drinker, give-me-a-hug-when-I-need-it Sistah. She came by my house the other day and was in her usual bubbly mood. Sweats. Hair up. Smile. She hugged me and watched me work on my quilt and listened to me gripe about taking up knitting of all things. She told me about turning over the FRG to the new commander’s wife and her school and her husband and her daughter. She told me about how she and her neighbor started doing the Couch to 5k program. She said she’d like me to run with them because I’m not “one of those” runners.

She encouraged me when I needed it most.

Michaela popped into my fabric-filled house and kicked the cobwebs away with her perky, cheer-leader, blonde, pink-wearing self. I really needed that. I didn’t realize just how badly I’ve needed to see my Army friends and I really didn’t want her to leave.

So now I’m running again. I’ve started the Couch to 5k program, using it to help build up my speed. Since I’ve completed two full marathons and several half a dozen Half-Marathons, I know I can complete whatever distance I set out to, but my speed has always been…non-speedish. To that end, when the little voice says “jog”, I sprint. Well, it’s my sprinting, which is every one else’s strolling. I walk when it says “walk” and I sprint when it says “jog” and I’m having fun. The program won’t take me 9 weeks to do because I run every day or every other day, but that’s okay, because it’s fun. Running is fun! I’m looking forward to some races later this year and hope to be able to squeeze in a trail run with Toy. I hope to be able to keep up with my husband when he goes galloping through the woods. I hope. I hope. I hope.

Thanks, Michaela. I heart you.



2 thoughts on “Thanks, Michaela

  1. Since Scott’s last deployment I have wondered about PTSD for wives (and FRG Leaders). I looked into it at one time and found ONE article on it.

    PTSD does not require a near death or in-harms-way experience. It requires a traumatic experience. That could be a child being jumped on by a well-meaning dog or a military spouse being without their mate for a year (whether it be in Afghanistan or Korea). The part that (in your situation) gives it the extra “umph” is that you (just in case) create a safety net of sorts and cling to others around you when you know your husband is in harms way. You work hard for 12 months to maintain and flourish a relationship so that IF the need arises, you have that someone to call for an emergency babysitter, hear something horrible on the news, or [gulp] have to make burial arrangements. So, more than you ever intended, you have nurtured a kindred spirit. Then, suddenly, your spouse returns. You’re happy to put your all back into your mate’s life. But once the honeymoon period is over, you start missing something that’s been by your side and become a habit for 12 months. You miss your Battle Buddy.

    I don’t have the solution for spouse’s PTSD, but I am very familiar with it. Just know that you’re justified in feeling it, and you’re not alone. ❤

    1. Thanks. 🙂 I’m surprised at the number of responses I’ve had to this post. Lots of others, it seems, have experienced the same feelings. It helps to know that I’m normal (ha!) and that I’m not alone.

      It’s a strange and unsettling feeling to have my soldier home safely and still feel that I’m missing something, that something horrible could still happen at any moment, and I don’t have my Battle Buddy. It’s also strange because I know that I have friends to help (you, Toy, etc) but its not the same. It’s kind of scary. Raw. Weird.

      Thanks for understanding. Maybe one day I’ll be able to think about things without ruining my eye make up. ❤ Hugs!

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