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National PTSD Awareness Day 2011

Today is National PTSD Awareness day. I started my day by sending my husband a heartfelt message. This is what it said; “Today is National PTSD Awareness Day, and I just want to thank you for the things you have been through, and for continuing to fight every day. I am so proud of you, and how far you have come. I love you baby.”  For me, knowing was half the battle. When my husband first got home, things got really ugly, really fast. I was quick to jump to the conclusion that he hated me and didn’t want to be with me, but it took me a while to realize that there was more going on.

I was always the girl who thought PTSD was a joke, something people made up to get out of things, and maybe that is why I have been chosen for the life I now have. Or, maybe it’s just because like a good percentage of other people my age, I just didn’t know.  I didn’t know it was a diagnosable thing. I didn’t know that it effected just about everything you do, everyday. People suffering from PTSD can experience flashbacks, nightmares, a feeling of detachment from those they care about most. They can also have a general lack of interest in things that used to matter to them. It can affect their ability to concentrate, their sleeping patterns, and their desire to leave places that are most comfortable to them.

You may be shocked to know that not only do individuals suffer emotionally, but PTSD can present itself physically as well. Some of the things that we have experienced in our home are fatigue, vomiting or nausea, chest pain, weakness, breathing difficulty, muscle spasms, grinding of teeth, profuse sweating, pounding heart, diarrhea or intestinal upsets and headaches. I had to learn the hard way that PTSD is VERY REAL. I know that if I didn’t know about PTSD there are probably others who don’t know as well, so lets change that! My challenge to you today is to educate yourself and others on PTSD. Learn something about it and share it with your friends and family. The more aware and educated the world is as a whole, the more support we can provide for these men and women who are suffering! Not sure where to start? Here are a few links that might be of interest.

Forgetthedognotthebaby – This is my personal blog, and while it is not clinical, it can provide you some insight into the life of a wounded warrior and his family.

VA’s PTSD Page – The Center aims to help U.S. Veterans and others through research, education, and training on trauma and PTSD.

Family of a Vet – A site is dedicated trying to figure out how to handle the “after shocks” of combat.

About Kristle

Kristle Helmuth is a 26 year-old Army veteran, wife of a wounded warrior, and mother of two children. She is currently working toward her B.S in Communications and digital media. Kristle is the author of http://www.forgetthedognotthebaby.com, a blog that chronicles her journey through healing and self-discovery. Kristle has used her broad skill-set to increase awareness of the issues facing our nations wounded heroes, share resources, and provide hope for Military Families. Kristle is always there to offer support, encouraging words, and a kind open heart to all Military Spouses.