Thursday, January 20, 2011


Safety is something that most people take for granted. We get in our car and put on our seat belt without even thinking about it. Why do we do this? To be safe. We make our kids wear bike helmets when they ride their bike to be safe. I could go on and on with examples of things we do, without really thinking about them, for our own safety. We have entire government departments that deal with safety. There are warning labels on EVERYTHING, for our safety. It is something we just do, without even thinking about it most of the time. It is something we expect and simply take for granted.

I too, am guilty of taking my safety for granted. I have even take my families safety for granted. However, for families like ours, who have a loved one with severe PTSD, safety is something that becomes a top priority. Those little things you have never thought about before, suddenly become top priority. It becomes the most important part of your life. Anything else is just a bonus some days. There are many, many reasons and examples of this. All it takes to see just what I am talking about is to read a newspaper or talk to someone like me.

I've spent quite a bit of time with my counselor discussing this. I just emailed her to make an appointment for tomorrow to talk about this very thing. It has been very difficult for me to grasp the fact that I can't protect my husband from everything, nor can I protect the world from him. Sometimes, he does some very scary stuff. He dissociates and acts out whatever it is that is going on inside his head at the time, which always involves some kind of combat. This is often terrifying for me, and I know him. I can't imagine what it would look like to someone who doesn't know him. During these dissociative episodes he has also done some very dangerous things that have thankfully not ended with anyone getting hurt. However, I can tell you that a couple of the episodes could have very easily made headlines had they went a little bit different than they did.

I've followed a story out of North Dakota very closely. A young veteran suffering from severe PTSD led police on a high speed chase. He had several guns in his vehicle and more than enough ammunition to do major damage. Thankfully, it didn't have a tragic ending. No one was hurt, but this young hero is now facing several felonies. He is currently in treatment for his PTSD but will have to face the judicial system soon. This very easily could have been us.

These stories are becoming more and more common all across the United States. Just google veteran and police encounters. Another big thing to google is suicide by police. This is becoming an epidemic in our country and it doesn't look like there is an end coming any time soon. We are grasping at ways to treat these guys. We simply do not have much out there for them to get help.

Pile all of this onto a family this hits very close to home to, and it is all incredibly scary. Is there somewhere residential, that guys like this can live to keep them and their families safe? Not that I know of. Instead they would end up in a nursing home on an alzheimer's unit. Really? Is this the best we can do for our heroes? How is a young guy going to be at peace or have a little bit of happiness in their life living in a nursing home? How are our families going to be safe? Could you live with yourself if you were the one that had to make these decisions? For some of us, we have to. We have no choice. We can't take our safety for granted.

Now as a little disclaimer, I am not currently having to make decisions like this. However, I'm also very aware that I may face this at some point. I pray this isn't the case, but I also have to be very realistic and know that God will never give me more than I can handle. I am strong and I have grown so much through all of this. I know that if the time ever comes that I am facing this, I will make it through. Also, if anyone you know is facing anything like this, you are not alone. There are many of us out there that live with this uncertainty everyday. I, for one, get "it."

Even Now........Gina

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