Like the soldiers, military wives are trained by the military. While a soldier’s wife may not go through the same physical training as her husband we do have support, support and support pounded into our heads until we know nothing else. Most are happy to be that good military wife and we support our husbands.
When our soldiers are sent into combat their wives go into superwoman mode. We can do it all and hold it together on our own. We know how to take care of even the biggest disaster at home all the while making sure our husband has everything he needs and more in a combat zone. We are military wives, we are strong, we are proud and we forget that sometimes we need support as well.
Most military wives do keep it together during a mobilization. While our soldier is gone there is nothing we can’t do but for some the problem begins when the threat is over. Once our soldier returns from combat and life should be getting back to normal seems to be the time many wives fall apart.
The military prepares us for everything relating to our soldier and the aftermath of war for him. We are told what to look for and the sign of PTSD. They forget to tell us that we may experience some symptoms of PTSD as well. We watch for their nightmares, outbursts of anger, trouble relating with others and trouble with sleeping along with many other “red flags” yet wives are not warned that they may experience very similar symptoms after their soldier returns home.
After a year of living in constant fear, jumping each time the phone rings and looking out the window, praying that the person at your door is not wearing a uniform combat, also takes a toll on the soldier’s wife.
One of the causes for PTSD is “the person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness or horror.” That pretty well sums up the way both the soldier and the soldier’s wife live during a combat situation. So, is it so impossible to consider that even though a wife did not walk into the combat zone with her husband that she might also be combat weary? Is it possible that a soldier’s wife might also suffer from PTSD once her husband is home and safe?
As wives we are not expected to suffer from PTSD nor are we expected to be anything but happy that our soldier has come home safely. When we look at it realistically, we realize that both the soldier and his wife must adjust to having someone around again, both must make changes in the way they do things. Therefore, it is entirely possible that both might also suffer from PTSD.
It is time that military offers treatment for PTSD not only to the soldier but also to the soldier’s wife. Instead of marriage counseling when the problem is not actually the marriage but the fact that both are suffering from PTSD. It is time to offer individual assessments with individual counseling and then add the marriage counseling if the need still exists.
It is past time that the military realizes that the wife of a soldier also goes to war and she can also come home with PTSD.