Tuesday, February 17, 2009

When Change is Good

Edit---problems, especially combat stress, PTSD don't go away, and they return to haunt now and again.  Our attitudes and fears about seeking counseling have changed over the past year or so, and its hard, but worth it to be seeking help to straighten out our heads.  I say "our" and "we" because my warrior isn't the only one hurting because of the stress he's endured and had compounded by trying to "act normal"...acting normal isn't being normal. Its been 7+ years since JP returned home from combat, it seems like an odd time to be seeking help, but it is what it is, and we're fortunate to have been contacted by the Wounded Warrior Project people to offer guidance and assistance in finally crossing some of the hurdles in healing.  I wanted to repost this poem today, because its been on my mind.  Unfortunately, you can't deal with a problem without thinking about the problem, and so it goes.

original post~
**I've been going back and forth, back and forth, trying to decide whether to hit "publish" on this one or not.  I love to keep things light and silly around here, but you know, you can't appreciate the sweet without knowing the bitter.  Its good once in a while to look back and see change, positive change.  It keeps the feelings of gratitude fresh.
I wrote this poem just exactly 2 years ago.  If you've come to know our family even the tiniest bit through our blog, it might surprise you that this poem is about us and our struggles through what was most likely undiagnosed PTSD.  Its hard for veterans to ask for help, especially when there is a perception that asking for mental health counseling might jeapordize their ability to obtain gainful employment.  Its something I hope will change someday.  We had a miracle in self healing...but not everybody does. 
The light, fun tone that you read on our blog most days is truly representative of the overall tone of our household now.  I'm grateful for the experiences which have shaped us, and most of all, I'm grateful for a happy, healthy husband who is no longer haunted by the "red boots" of the Fedayeen.
Red Boots 
Red Boots haunt you
Flashes of light
Sand flying stings like bees
White robes wave like flags
False hope

Gasping for air
The oxygen is not lacking
Thrashing, running

The embrace feels warm
And still I feel the shiver
You are changed
The Light is gone

You see danger
An invisible threat
Anger flashes then burns
long and hot

Red Boots haunt you
The haunting came home
Red Boots haunt me.


Heatherlyn said...

I'm glad you recieved the blessing of your husband overcoming his mental/emotional distress. I know that what a man experiences as a result of war can simply snap the mind. People are not prepared to deal with certain things. I wish that there weren't any stigma about getting help. There shouldn't be.

The last stanza of your poem is the most powerful.

I'm glad your family was able to get back to where you emotionally wanted to be.

Lara said...

Thanks so much for sharing that. So many times we only see what is good and happy and we forget that everyone has their trials. Everyone has something that hurts their hearts or that they struggle with. When we share those things, we seem more human to each other. That's what I think, anyway.

I am glad that things are better. I just can't imagine having to go through anything like that. I also can't imagine being a wife whose husband leaves you for war and then comes back with PTSD.

Your poem is beautiful! I hope you share more of your poetry.

clan of the cave hair said...

Lara, that's exactly why I decided to hit "publish"...I am a real person, we are a real family, and I think our experiences are what make us who we are, but we don't often share the things that made us grow.

Not too much hope of more poetry though, since that's the only one I've ever finished and kept.

Vanessa said...

Great insight on what you are going through. Thank you for sharing that with us...I'm sure it was hard!

Kristina P. said...

I'm so glad you published this! I know very little about the kinds of things vets go through.

Melanie J said...

Oh, wow. What powerful imagery. I never hear this talked about, just in movies and stuff. I'm glad you guys were able to put the pieces back together.

Erin said...

Thank you for sharing that! Yes, we all have our ups and downs. Sharing with others helps us realize that we are all normal.

So said...

That poem is so haunting. What a difficult thing to struggle through. I'm glad to know that you are all working through it. It is good to know that not everything is all wonder bread and goodness all the time. It makes me feel more normal.

The Smiths said...

Amazing job on the imagery. I think when words come together in such a way it's through inspiration of the spirit. Those things are good to be shared, but like with your expirience sometimes the time to share is later. You should share that in a military forum, too.

rachel said...

I'm so glad you shared this Lisa! I'm happy things are going better and I am so grateful for what your husband has done for our country! You are a beautiful writer and I would love to see more poetry :)

ramsam said...

That poem is so powerful.
I am so glad you are in a better place..... thank you for sharing this. And reminding us how fragile freedom and peace really are.

Bee and Rose said...

That poem is so powerful. You captured so much emotion with your words. I am so glad you decided to publish this. Words are powerful healers and someone will read this and be helped by them.
I'm glad your family is doing better:)

~ Straight Shooter ~ said...

Holy Crap!
I loved it.
Thank you for opening up.
It will only make us love you and your fam more.
Please tell him thank you from a little fam in OK.
And thank YOU for being his support while he serves.
We appreciate you.

...tom said...

UUUMMMM...wow. dont generally have an appreciation for poetry but this is TOP NOTCH. like a couple of other comments it is very visual. cant imagine what JP and other service men and women saw and experienced over the last eight years. we are greatful for his service and I hope he knows that. It doesnt make it better but I hope that they all know that there are those of us that apprieciate the sacrifice that is made by individuals, families and communities. thanks for having the courage to share.

Juracan Family said...

you know what I love about you? your honest depiction of what life is like! Thank you!

elesa said...

I think being able to put difficult thoughts and feelings into poetry is an amazing gift. This poem is really good. Thanks.

J. P. said...

I dont know about the poetry (sorry, Im an insensitive brute) But what I am thankful for is the sacrifice that Lisa and all service wives go through. I know it wasn't easy for her (or my family), and I have heard over and over how they were glued to the TV's watching for a glimpse of me. They SWEAR they saw me once or twice. To me, it was literally like the scene in Apocalypse Now with Col. Kilgore standing there waiting to surf with rounds still coming in around him. Another day at the office.
I have seen some stuff in my career (then and now) that unfortunately will not go away, but, I think now we have got to a place where my temper and attitude are much better.

Thanks for the words of support and encouragement.

If you REALLY want to support the troops, look into the USO or toys for tots, etc.