American Civilians view the return of a veteran as being a happy time. Online videos romanticize the soldier surprising his un-expecting family with the homecoming. But what happens when the cameras quit rolling and the veteran returns to a civilian world as a changed person; one living with PTSD?
A deployed soldier lives a life of high intense emotions. At every second, they are on high alert of enemy forces, staying alive, keeping their fellow soldiers alive, all while completing a mission. This becomes the soldier’s new way of living. When the soldier returns home, it is hard for them to turn this mindset off.
Returning to family/civilian life is completely different from what they have lived for months. Often times, all the burdens of taking care of the family are still left up to the spouse of the veteran.
In addition to the soldier suffering from PTSD, the VA is now recognizing the effects of secondary PTSD on family members.
One of the biggest changes a spouse may endure is caregiver burden. Although the veteran is home with the family, they are still detached, leaving all the family decisions to the spouse. The spouse not only takes care of the “normal” household burdens but now they have to learn how to adapt to the veteran being a part of the family. The spouses learn to watch for the PTSD triggers in an attempt to prevent the veteran from disrupting the flow of family living. Sooner or later, the spouse loses a sense of self and becomes like the person they are trying so hard to protect.
Help is all you need
It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of PTSD before things get out of control. While PTSD is not curable, it is treatable. Life, as it was once known may only be a distant memor