The Urgent Need for Confidential Psychological Care for U.S. Military
I patiently waited through two seven-month deployments for my husband to come home from Afghanistan. Every time we talked on the phone, he said he was fine. He’d say, “If you pretend everything is okay, then after a while you begin to believe it and that’s how you make it home.”
That seemed to work in Afghanistan, but when he returned home the bottled up emotions poured right out. Almost every single day for seven months after returning home, Tyler would have outbursts. The smallest things, that never bothered him before, would set him off — he would be laughing with me one minute, punching walls the next. We patched up numerous holes in the wall, bought new furniture, and even bought a new car windshield due to his rage.
His fellow Marines are enduring the same. It’s not uncommon for us to get a call to pick up some one from his platoon who got kicked out of the bar for throwing tables, whose wife kicked him out of the house for hitting her, or who was unconscious in the shower from alcohol poisoning.
People call my husband a “big teddy bear.” He stands 6’2”, weighs 225 pounds, and gives out hugs like nobody’s business. We fell in love in high school after he lent me his jersey to wear to the school football game. Prior to deploying, Tyler loved spending time sledding with our nephew or building sand castles with our niece. Now it’s very hard for him to spend time with them, because he fears having an outburst in front of them. He keeps visits brief.
His lack of talking had never been an issue, until he had so much he wanted and needed to say about what he experienced while deployed, but physically couldn’t.