I've been discussing PTSD with a friend who's husband has recently been diagnosed. Not something that I would have ever imagined I'd be giving advise about in my lifetime. But there it is. During this conversation, I brought up how wives change. And this could be any wife, not just military wives. We bend and change ourselves to fit into our husband's life. And it's true. I've changed so much in the past fives years. Not that it's a completely bad thing. I do have things about myself that are better. Okay...let me explain.
I'm in counselling to help learn how to handle my husband's ptsd. One of the topics that gets brought up alot is "me". What do I do for me? What has happened to "me"? How do I feel? What do I think? So many times since my husband came home from deployment have I pushed back the true and honest me in order to be more. More like what I think he wants me to be. More of a devoted wife. More of a caregiver. More of everything but myself. Granted, I am made up of all these things. But they shouldn't be all consuming to the point that I no longer feel, act, or think the way I used to. I've gotten lost in the day to day shuffle of husband, home, family, army, work, and PTSD/TBI.
This is an existence. Doing what is expected of you and never having a voice. I'm a drone. Created by my own insecurities, fears, and worries.
I'm working on a new project. Although, it's slow to get started, I have quite a few people signing up to work with me on it. (more info to come later about this)
The overall jist of my project is for women (Army wives in particular) to have a day that they are themselves. To reconnect with who YOU are. We all need to remember who we were that our husbands fell in love with. Who we were proud to be. Our individual persons. We're all wives. Mothers. Sisters. Daughters. But at the root of it all, we're women.
I've lost myself. And I'm learning how to get myself back. It's a slow process, but a process I must go through. I don't want others to feel lost like me. I want others to learn that we can be it all. We can do all these things and still have 15 minutes a day to be ourselves. We have to.
In the world we live in today...in this lifestyle of being in the military, there are so many ways to lose ourselves. So many obstacles and challenges out of our control. We need to remember who we are.
I had a counsellor tell me once, you can't take care of everyone else if you don't take care of yourself first. And it's so true.
So, why is it so hard to take all this advise for myself? How do I practice what I preach?
By sharing it with others and passing it forward. It's all I know to do right now.