I understood my husband's fears, and suggested that we see a civilian psychologist. But since the military benefits program (Tricare) doesn't cover that, he suggested we wait it out.
waited, and then we waited some more. Last month, he had
ripped everything off of our bedroom walls. The next morning, he had felt down on himself that he hadn't "kicked it" yet. I got a
recommendation for a civilian psychologist who specialized in PTSD, and he agreed to go.
I called Tricare to figure out our options, and the told
me that all Active Duty servicepeople can only see military psychologists, and that although Tyler could request to see a civilian, he could only do so if the military
did not have the means to provide for him. Right away, it was obvious to me that we would not be able to see a civilian psychologist unless we paid out
With Tyler finally on board for receiving care, and even excited about the thought of understanding himself better, I haven't had the heart to tell him
that so far I've failed to find an alternative option that we can afford. He thinks we're just waiting for an appointment. I am a full-time student and nanny when I can; however, the only consistent paycheck we receive is
his. The military does not pay nearly enough for us to be able to pay for out-of-pocket care.
I called the civilian psychologist back. She said that other than paying
out-of-pocket, which we couldn't afford, we could use my insurance, which isn't Tricare, to cover couples therapy. This is obviously not ideal, since it
require me to be in the room with him, but at this point, it's the only option available to us and we'll take it. I am hoping that it will somehow lead to
the one-on-one therapy that he needs and deserves. He is a hero, and deserves to be taken care of physically and mentally when he returns from war.
My husband and most of his friends were roughly 19 years old the first time they stepped foot in Afghanistan. Most 19-year-olds' greatest fear is their
GPA at the end of the school semester, and theirs was living to see their twentieth birthday. With all they have seen and experienced physically and
emotionally, it is not a surprise that many come home with destructive outbursts. Another Marine that I spoke with, Corporal Fisher, has also served
two deployments, and he returned home with more problems than he and his wife could handle. I asked him what problems he experienced upon returning home and he
said, "I was constantly angry, and would drink until I blacked out. This wouldn't have been as big of a deal if I would just fall asleep like most people,
but the alcohol would make my anger come out and I would try and start fights with everyone, break everything around me, and scream at my wife because I
didn't recognize her. When I would do this, I would think that I was still in Afghanistan, and ask for my 'brothers.' My wife would hide and call my
friends to come calm me down and put me to sleep."
When I asked Tyler if Fisher had gotten help, he laughed at me and said that they had been looking for help that they could afford for months. He too,
refused to seek help within the military for fear of his higher-ups finding out.
America has seen an epidemic of PTSD since the war in Iraq and Afghanistan began. These men and women fighting need someone they can trust to tell their
stories to when they return home. If they had the option to receive confidential care as soon as they returned home, then we would not have as many
American heroes living the entirety of their lives fighting a battle within.
*All names have been changed to protect confidentiality.