Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Silent Siren: What's New

Silent Siren is our program that we have started in partnership with the Karla Smith Foundation.  We are still very much in our infancy, but we are moving forward and we are really excited.  So, just wanted to give a little update about Silent Siren and it's development.

We have our website up and running and we think it looks great!  We also have a facebook page that is relatively active and growing each week.   Please take a look at our website and let us know what you think.  Also, join us on facebook and share us, so that we can continue to grow and spread the word about Silent Siren.

We have our advisory council in place and working hard with our core team in developing different aspects of our program.  Currently, we are in development of our educational programs for emergency services personnel as well as for family members supporting a loved one with PTSD.  These programs are a crucial part of Silent Siren and we are engaging key individuals from a variety of backgrounds to get these programs right!

It will probably be a few more months before we are officially launched in a community.  We are in talks with some communities that are very interested in starting Silent Siren.  We will keep you posted!!

As with any non profit organization, fundraising is an ongoing concern and project!  We will be having some events in the near future in order to raise funds in order for us to stay in business!  If anyone is willing to help us in this manner, please let us know!

 The mission of Silent Siren is to build strong community collaborations that enhance and expand existing community crisis intervention/support for military service individuals and their families.

We believe that the following actions and approaches will help achieve this mission:

       1.  Empower persons supporting an individual with PTSD to utilize local emergency support services.

        2. Educate emergency support personnel and military families and caregivers about PTSD and the fundamental approaches to responding to PTSD crisis situations.

         3. Engage local community counseling & support resources who can be readily available to navigate family members and caregivers through crisis situation.

Please watch for more updates here but also visit us on facebook and at www.silentsiren.org.

Even Now.......Gina

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Remembering to Take Care of Me

After all of the excitement our family had the second half of 2011, I had to take a step away from some things.  I needed a break.  It was extremely hard for me to take that step back, but I couldn't afford not to.  I was quickly becoming burnt out and overwhelmed with everything.  We had a huge spot light put on us, which brought many blessings to us, but it also added a huge amount of stress.  I managed to hold it all together until after our episode of EMHE aired, but after that I pretty much crashed for a couple of months.

This break ended up being a break from technology to some degree.  I rarely got on my computer, didn't watch much news, and pretty much vegged out as much as I could.  I felt really guilty during this time, but I had to do it in order to take care of me.  Everyone in my family also happened to get sick a couple of times during this hiatus I took, so that just confirmed to me that we all really just needed some downtime.

I have had a bit of a slow start in 2012 getting back to it all, but I feel that I finally am getting back into the swing of it all.  I feel energized and ready to get back to advocating for families like ours as well as continuing to take care of my family.

Our program Silent Siren is really coming together.  We are still in infancy, but we are making some serious strides in development.  While working on some of the education pieces last week, the topic of self care for the caregiver was brought up.  It really got me thinking about taking care of myself and how I do that.  It is so often to forget this part when I get caught up in taking care of everyone else!

One of the things that I do to take care of me is to read.  I read a lot of things about PTSD and other "work" topics, but I LOVE to read just for fun too.  So, I've spent quite a bit of time the last couple of months reading, just for fun.  It is a great escape for me to read a novel, that has nothing to do with my real life.  I can travel to a different place, or time and just get lost.  I realize how much I've missed it the last year when my life felt so busy I didn't have time to pick up my kindle and just read.  It has been so great to get back to this great escape for me.

When my life gets crazy and hectic, I have to remember that I need to still take care of me.  Sometimes I forget this and it takes someone or an event to remind me.  However, this year as we all seek to find balance in our life (what my family is focusing on this year), I have to constantly remember it's ok to take some time for me.

Now, a little update on Allen.......we saw his psychiatrist last week and we made a medication change and will see him again in a couple of months to see how things are going.  I still see him struggling, but I have to say that he is so much better, even on his bad days, than he was a year ago and we are so thankful.  I'm going to close this with a picture of Allen and I from an event with our partner organization, Karla Smith Foundation last November.  I LOVE this picture of the two of us.

Even Now.......Gina

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Ups and Downs of PTSD

Even when things are good, are they really?  For those of us who live with PTSD everyday, the good times are good, but there is still always that question of when is it going to drop.  We never know when something is going to trigger the PTSD and send the entire family slipping down a very slippery slope.

Overall, our family is in a much better place these days.  However, I notice more and more days and even weeks, that are not turning out so well.  Twice this week, Allen has gotten up in the morning to help get the kids out the door for school and then climbs back into bed the first chance he gets.  I understand wanting to do this, the idea of it is what makes me get up everyday!  I tell myself I must get up but after the boys are at school I can go back to bed.  The difference is, I never do.  When Allen does, we can kiss the whole day goodbye because getting him up again is next to impossible.

This has been going on now for several weeks.  I kept telling myself that once he started taking his class this would change.  He would have something to get up for, some motivation, something to look forward to.  He loves his class.  It makes him feel productive and alive.  It did get better the first couple of weeks so I thought we were on the up and up again.  Well, not so much.  He's really struggling with the depression side of PTSD right now and I feel so helpless.  Once again, I find myself not sure how much to push him, and how much to just let him be.  After all, he is a grown man, and he deserves to be able to make these choices.  He also deserves to be able to go back to bed if he's tired, once in a while.  The problem is, I'm afraid it's becoming a habit.  A more often than not kind of thing.

Thankfully, he sees his psychiatrist at the VA next week.  There may be some medication changes coming which are also usually not a very fun time.  However, we've been through much worse, and I know this is all just a part of the normal cycle of chronic PTSD.  I also know that God is in control and has a plan for all of us.  I find great comfort in that!

Even Now......Gina