Aftermath and Lessons Learned:
Emotionally spent, my wife and I sat down and talked about all that had happened. How I made myself emotionally inaccessible to her and our daughter, the obsessive behavior, the anger coming to a slow boil, everything. We decided I needed to make a list of things to watch out for and a list of reminders to stay in the here and now. I thought about it for a day and then typed it up on the computer. It sits next to the TV in the bedroom and I read it every day. I use it to remind myself of what my real priorities in life really are: My wife and my daughter. One of the things I discovered when I was thinking this all over was that I started really deteriorating at an accelerated pace when I stopped blogging. So, here I am - blogging my heart out.
This next part I hope fosters a lot of comments and discussion, especially in the PTSD community:
One of the major observations that my wife made during all of this was that she had to 'emotionally re-traumatize' me to get through to me. That may sound worse than it is, so let me explain. Dani said she thinks that the emotional trauma I experienced over in Iraq rewired my brain to only take notice of extreme emotions and emotional hurt. She had learned through this experience that the only way she can get through to me when I am submerged in my PTSD is to say something extreme or hurtful to snap me back to the here and now. She hates this more than anything. She can't stand that she has to hurt me to help me and is frustrated that she can't find another way to get through to me. I know we can't be alone in this. If you haven't thought about this before, think it over. Discuss it with your loved ones. Discuss it with each other. Discuss it with your doctors. There has to be some precedent that this has been addressed by someone somewhere. Let's work together to find a better solution to this - for us and our loved ones.
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.