Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Florida Caverns – #CelebrateTheSmallThings – 27 March 2015

Waiting for our tour selfie2

Last week we were at The Florida Caverns State Park so I couldn’t write a post for Celebrate the Small Things. But this week, I have so many pictures to show you! I hope you enjoy them.

A few weeks back I wrote about “When Going Outside Hurts” and then TheHubs decided to get out and do something. I planned this little trip in the hopes everyone would love it. TheBoy loves science and getting out and doing things. TheHubs, well, he just shrugs and goes along with whatever I come up with. Me, I have dreams, a bucket list, places I want to go and things I want to see. But, one day… For this trip, though, I wanted to spend the night so I could explore Marianna a bit more, then go to The Gulf the next day. The only time I’ve been to the Gulf side is when I visited Tampa, but I never made it to the beach. However, with this being his first outing in about 6 months, I opted for little baby steps. Plus I found out that it was also spring break for ‘Bama and I didn’t want subject him to such a crowd. We’ll get to it again some other time.

So without further adieu, here’s some pictures for you.

caverns3 caverns4 caverns1 caverns2

And if you wish to see the entire album, please feel free to visit my Facebook: here.

What are you celebrating this week? 

Thank you to our lovely host, Lexa Cain for taking over and continuing the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop. I would also like to thank her co-hosts, L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge and Katie @ TheCyborgMom – without them, I’m sure this would be a daunting task!

To be part of this blog hop, all you have to do is put your name on the linky list on Lexa’s Blog, and then post every Friday about something you’re grateful  for that week.  It can be about writing or family or school or general life.  This is the funnest and easiest blog hop ever! (Originated by VikLit)

 

Related Articles you may like:
When Going Outside Hurts
There Are Always Positives

LadyJai

The Sins Of The Father

I’ve never pretended to know everything that he thinks, everything that he’s been through, everything he blames himself for. I think it is a part of depression, PTSD, or whatever label you want to place on it. No matter how much they trust you, they will never give themselves over to you, completely.

I accept that.

This is where faith comes in. I’m learning more about God in my own way than I ever did sitting at Mass every Sunday with my mom for 17 years of my life. CCD, or Sunday School, and Vacation Bible School never really went into more than the popular stories everyone knows and reads from childhood. I have had to do my own research as my trials came to me in order to understand how The Bible addresses them. The problem I still have with it all is the dichotomy within The Bible itself.

It is my understanding that God is a loving god. He loves all His creations. He only asks that you come to Him with your burdens. He knows you will sin. He knows your pain. He knows the evil in the world and He cannot stop the free will He has given His children. He patiently waits for you to come to Him, ask for help, ask for forgiveness. He will wipe away your tears and pain. If only you ask.

The Old Testament is full of stories about a wrathful, vengeful, jealous God. I think He was learning how to parent us with the whole free-will thing. When controlling us through fear wouldn’t work, He decided it was time to step back and let what will happen, happen. He did give us a path back to Him, through his Son, and let our free will decide how we will live, think, and do. While our choices make Him sad sometimes, and all he ever craves is for us to ask for His help. He sits and waits. He is the most patient being.

I do not understand how He can endure the pain of watching our failures and waiting for us to as for His help. This is where I sit, at the moment. Watching my husband beat himself up, simmering in his murky darkness, listening to him berate himself, watching him self-destruct.

My heart hurts so much for him. I do my best to show him positives, to keep his hopes up. I can understand because he suffers all day, every day, the pain. I come home and see it on his face. But what he shrouds behind his eyes, I cannot fathom. He’s only told me bits and pieces. I used to believe that everything was my fault. His pain, his suffering, his lack of love of life. It was my fault I couldn’t love him enough to fix him.

That was my guilt. I still struggle with it today, even though I know it is not my fault. But, as I always say, my emotional heart and my logical brain NEVER play nice with one another.

My therapist calls me a fixer. I want peace and harmony in everything I do. I want everyone to like me and no one to be mad or upset. Conflict is the bane of my existence. It’s my job to create peace, harmony, and love. And if it’s not working, I have to fix it. If I can’t, that’s when the guilt manifests.

I want to fix my husband, but I know I can’t. I know he’s the only one who can fix himself, and the first step is to WANT to be fixed. He’s taking the steps, but I don’t know if it’s because I begged him, nagged him, or what. But he’s going to my therapist.

The other night, he told me that the therapist had something profound to say. “Only you know when to stop tormenting yourself.” I asked him if he will ever stop. His response was, “I don’t know. There’s a lot I need to pay penance for.” I also mentioned that he’s not just punishing himself. He’s punishing his son and I. Maybe if I opened his eyes about that, I thought it might start him thinking that maybe he needed to change. But his immediate response scared the hell out of me.

“The sins of the father.”

That stopped me in the tracks. How could he believe in that. What did it really mean. It couldn’t mean what everyone thinks it means. Could it?

I did tell him that I don’t believe, no, I CAN’T believe that God will punish a child for sins the father did well before the idea of the child was ever conceived? Children are innocent in His eyes. This is another issue I struggle with about the Catholic religion. Children go to Hell if they are not baptized; therefore, the Catholics baptize the child as soon as possible. How can they make the conscious choice to follow God’s Word? But I digress…

So, with that weighing heavily on my mind, I began to research the meaning of “The sins of the father.” I’ve read The Bible a few times. Once as literature for a college course and once for my own purpose. However, I find it quite difficult to understand the language and the meanings of the words. I struggle with “lost in translation” because, how many times has The Bible been translated over the years? I know that meanings of words change with the times. I know that there are certain words that you can get the jist of the meaning, but the direct translations usually fail. It’s just not quite right. Or the meaning is completely lost. Maybe I over-analyze?

 

So here I am, looking at the words in Exodus.

Exodus 20:5 “You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me.”

Exodus 34:6-7 “The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

Four generations of God’s wrath? Really? This is how I read the words. That God punishes the children for the sins the father committed, and will continue to punish them through the fourth generations. Why? Why would he do that? I kept trying to understand those words. But all I could see was the negative in it.

I am of the mind that God is all loving. Ever since he gave His son to us, He has removed His vengeance and wrath. He loves. Exodus is in The Old Testament, before Christ. So maybe that’s why He punished the person through four generations.

I brought this all up to my therapist. He’s a Christian therapist and knows a lot more about The Bible than I. And he brought me to another understanding in the Exodus passages. That the Lord will punish the one who hates Him, and their generations. Not just anyone who sins.  I need to show this to TheHubs and let him see the context.  No one quotes the whole passage, it seems, and that’s where I get so confused.

Ezekiel-18-21A few other passages my therapist brought to my attention, regarding the sins of the father, is found in Deuteronomy and Ezekiel.

Deuteronomy 24:16 Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin.

Ezekiel 18:3-4  As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child—both alike belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die.

Both of these books are in the Old Testament as well. The dichotomy of The Bible still holds. However, I was not reading Exodus properly. And, as I said earlier, the quote is always half-quoted. Now that I can see that the sins of the father are “of those who hate me,” I can better understand the meaning. I hope this will show my husband the same things I now see.

Ezekiel18.20

The challenge I face now, is showing this to TheHubs and allowing him to process it and come to his own conclusions. My challenge, is patience. I am not God. I am not perfect. I cannot fix things. I want to be my husband’s guide, showing him positives and hope, and showing him the path to getting better. I pray, now, for the Lord to show him its OK to let it go, to forgive himself. I pray the Lord to give me the patience and strength I will need as I watch my husband walk his own path to getting better.

prayer-waiting-ibelieve

LadyJai

 

Related Articles you may like:
Guilt
Alone
Anxiety, Depression and Secondary PTSD

There Are Always Positives – #CelebrateTheSmallThings – 13 March 2015

DontThinkLast week, I just couldn’t bring myself to post anything on this subject. It was extremely hard to find anything positive worth writing about. Don’t get me wrong. I found the smallest of positives. The sun came up every day with me on this side of the ground. Beautiful weather came back. I have the love of my family and friends. I just couldn’t find anything worthy of writing about.

I posted that in my Facebook group, and then I had several people open my eyes. I helped another caregiver friend, again, with her own issues she’s going through. I guess because it’s in my nature, I just don’t see it as a big thing to celebrate. And out of all the frustrating things that happened over last week, another lady kindly reminded me that I didn’t beat someone upside the head or ended up in the back of the hall closet whimpering. Definitely a win.

So there’s last week’s celebration. On to this weeks!

It started off pretty disastrous really, with TheHubs’ admitting to me that he gets a severe anxiety attack just going to check the mail. I wrote about it this week. It helped me get through it. That, and the fact that I finally managed to get him to see my therapist. So that’s a good thing. Now, I hope he likes him and will want to help himself through this. I know the pain will never go away but his attitude about it may change, eventually. If he will help himself. And this is the first step to that process.

This therapy session MUST be working, though, because I woke up on Wednesday morning to find him working on his book again. He hasn’t done that in over a year. I was giddy but didn’t show it because I didn’t want to jinx it.

And to top it all off, he asked me to take a few days off during TheBoy’s Spring break next week so we could do something. I asked what. He just shrugged. So I’ve been planning a day trip, since that’s all that TheHubs’ can muster, really. Maybe an overnight trip. I think I’ve got it pretty much figured out. We travel 3.5 hours to the Florida Caverns and spend the day there. If we stay overnight, then the next day we could go to Shell Island in Panama City. It’s on the Gulf Coast and I’ve never been there yet. So it will be an all new experience for all of us. I’d love to go back to The Keys, but that’s more of a long weekend thing. Maybe next time. I’m a bit excited. And nervous. And worried he won’t enjoy himself because of the pain. But we’re going to try. And try is better than not.

Wish us luck!

What are you celebrating this week? 

Thank you to our lovely host, Lexa Cain for taking over and continuing the Celebrate the Small Things blog hop. I would also like to thank her co-hosts, L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge and Katie @ TheCyborgMom – without them, I’m sure this would be a daunting task!

To be part of this blog hop, all you have to do is put your name on the linky list on Lexa’s Blog, and then post every Friday about something you’re grateful  for that week.  It can be about writing or family or school or general life.  This is the funnest and easiest blog hop ever! (Originated by VikLit)

LadyJai

When Going Outside Hurts

notallwoundsarevisible

It comes and goes.

I notice it.

But I don’t say anything because I don’t know how to address it. Or even, what to say.

He sits in the house all day and all night. He does not come with me to family outings or even the simplest of errands.

For me, it starts off ok and I don’t notice it much because when I come home from work, I just don’t have the energy to go out anymore (fibromyalgia is kicking in full-time now). I just want to stay home and do nothing. But he’s been doing that all day every day when I’m at work and TheBoy is at school. I know he needs to get out and do something. So when he’s in the mood to go out, I suck it up and charge on.

Then I start noticing that he stops going with me to the grocery store, or when he says we need to go get the supplies so we can take care of the yard (or anything we ‘need’ to do) it gets pushed back. I always see him sitting on the couch with that pained look on his face and feel so horrible. Guilt because I want him to go with me; but I know that he’s in pain so I let it slide.

Then, when he can’t get out of bed to take our son to the bus stop, I start to wonder. Is it really this bad? His pain levels increase in cycles I’ve noticed. I wonder if the depression feeds the pain, or the pain feeds the depression. But then, I rationalize it. He’s receiving Botox every 3 months and we are in the latter part of his last set of injections and it always wears off before the 3 month appointment for his next round. So, I deduce that this is part of his pain, that every morning it’s harder and harder for him to get out of bed and I may have to take our son to the bus stop for school sometimes.

The next thing I notice is that I come home from work and he hasn’t gone outside to get the mail in 2 weeks. I can still see the pain behind his eyes. But is it physical pain? Or is it the emotional kind? Probably both.

He starts cancelling appointments (or won’t make the calls to make the appointments at all), next. This is the frustrating part. I work full-time so I cannot be there 24/7 for him, to make him go, to drive him all the time. His fear is that if I take off work every time he has to go, that I will lose my job. He doesn’t want that. Neither do I. But, I am his caregiver. My boss knows this and is ok with it. It’s just not comforting to him enough to allow me to leave work every time he needs me to drive him. He usually can do local, but even that now has gotten too much.

He feels the guilt. He feels like a burden.

And now he tells me that he doesn’t want to go outside anymore. It hurts. He panics. Just going to the mailbox now throws him into a full on panic attack. Driving makes him panic. It’s not so bad when I’m with him, but it’s getting worse. And if he drives with me and TheBoy in the car, it is insanely worse, especially over water. And we have a lot of water around here. He used to be ok if he took his anti-anxiety medication before we left. That doesn’t seem to be working anymore.

So now what do I do?

He’s told me he doesn’t want to go out of the house anymore because it causes him undue anxiety. Has he developed agoraphobia; I guess because of his pain and lack of social interaction? Or is there something deeper going on? I know that this is another symptom of PTSD, along with anxiety, obsessive compulsion, and paranoia.

I cannot help him. I cannot fix him. I can only be there for him. 

I’ve at least got him to agree to therapy again. He’s been through two different sessions with two different therapists through the VA over the years. He was not too keen on them. And they pretty much got to a point where they could no longer help him with his mental issues until he got his pain under control. How can they get his pain under control? It’s been 15 years and it just gets worse! He sees a VA Psychiatrist, whom he likes a lot, but only once every 3 months. The VA has offered him another therapy session, but they want him to go 3 times a week. It’s an hour and a half drive one way. He’s definitely not up for that drive three times a week. And he doesn’t want me to take off work for it, either. And if they schedule him for a time frame that interferes with get TheBoy to and from school, it is an inconvenience for sure. So, he has declined the VA’s help with that.

There are a lot of things I know I don’t know that’s going on in his brain. He’s told me that when he goes to talk he doesn’t want me to go with him because there are things he doesn’t want me to hear. He’s told me he doesn’t want to make me worse so he keeps it all to himself. But then my brain kicks in and I start wondering if it’s me that’s causing all this depression. If I can’t love him enough, then I’m failing. This is my brain. I ruminate. I start listening to those negative voices, my self-doubt, my insecurities, which then brings me down. I’m doing all I can to combat them, squash them, and put them in their place so I can focus on a more positive outlook, and inlook.

I know he’s protecting me from his demons. He feels guilty for not working, for not helping around the house, for not being a better husband and father, for not doing anything. He feels like he’s a burden and that he is the reason why I have to see a therapist now. I keep telling him that my vows said, “For Richer and poorer, through sickness and in health.” I love him with every part of my being and I will do everything I can to comfort and bring him some joy. I know I can’t take the pain away. NOW I know I’m not the cause of his pain, either.

I wonder, if sometimes, he punishes himself for the things he feels guilty over. And that he is keeping himself in a place of darkness as that punishment. He doesn’t realize that the more he hides from those demons, the more they eat him up. The more I see them chomping away, not knowing what they are, and not being successful in helping him see some light, the more he gets sucked in and I fear I will one day lose him completely.

Which would be worse? Becoming a statistic? One of the 22 veterans a day to lose their battle with their demons? Or to lose all sense life, the want and will to live and love, while all those around you watch your soul shrivel inside your shadowed shell? I think it would be easier for the one going through the torment of PTSD to end it all. Those left behind would be the ones who had to deal with their own demons forever after.

And then the question arises, which would be better for those left behind? To have your loved one physically gone forever? Or mentally?

I cannot answer this.

Nor do I want to.

I’ve been going to my own therapist locally since January. I’ve enjoyed him very much. He understands the military life. He understands PTSD. He understands my caregiver stress. It is very rare to find a therapist who can relate like that. I’ve been to a few before and none have been very helpful in that aspect. Ever since I started with him, I’ve been talking about him with TheHubs and reinforcing the fact that I think he would enjoy talking with this guy. My therapist has also been trying to get me to get my husband in to see him. After constant probing, and with the admittance to me that he no longer wants to leave the house anymore, I think I’ve finally got him to agree to go to my therapist. I’m now just waiting on a call back from the organization who will be setting it up and paying for it. (They’ve been under snowstorms all last week.)

Because I’m learning how to deal with the ebb and flow of things, trying to understand him better and possibly help my emotional health out as well as teach this all to TheBoy, I’m doing my best not to get back to the rumination I always seem to fall back on. Yes, I worry. Yes, my brain thinks of all the things that could be wrong, could go wrong. But I am doing my best to see the hope that is there, too. That he really does mean he will NEVER go back to that place where he wanted to kill himself again. But living in constant pain, fear of everything around, and the depression that ensues because of all this, he still tells me he doesn’t want to live anymore, that he’s a burden, that he’s useless.

My heart aches so much when he says this. My heart aches so much when he says nothing. Because that speaks volumes over words. I don’t know how to help. He has to want to change the way he thinks in order to stop listening to those negative voices. And I really hope we are on that path right now.

LadyJai