In our neighborhood are several military families. There will be seasons where moving trucks line the streets of families moving in and out to take on new orders for the military. Some of the families will know each other having crossed paths in various moves and assignments and they will make new friends with new neighbors. There will be new children to play and hang at the school bus stop too! The life of a military family can be both exciting and challenging.
We moved into our neighborhood when it was still new. There was still construction occurring and many lots were still empty. It didn’t take long for those dirt patches to become family homes with grass covering the front lawns and moving trucks arriving with a household. I remember moving into our home on a blistering humid July weekend feeling excited to make this place our home. This was where we would raise our family, gather with friends and establish our roots. This is our home.
In the years we’ve lived here I’ve seen many families come and go. Many have become our friends that we will keep in touch and see every now and again. I often think of the military families that I see come and go and wonder how they endure so many moves every couple years. I admire their ability to pack up and go establishing a new home each time and being able to leave a house they love. I’m not sure I could do and I know for some of them it is a very hard transition as well. There are tears and hugs and memories of great times as we watch those moving trucks leave and wait for new friends to arrive.
Welcoming New Friends
Our son gets excited when he sees the moving trucks bringing a new family here. He will watch out for new kids to include and get to know them in school. He will ask them to go ride bikes or play video games and soon they are just like the other little boys on our street running together and chasing each other.
We will reach out and meet the parents of these new children and welcome them to our neighborhood. This simple greeting has turned into some beautiful friendships over the years. I admit I get sad when I know the family is starting to build a list of places they need to choose from and starting that process of thinking what is next when they leave our small neighborhood. Juno, Baton Rouge, Hawaii even will all appear on a piece of paper and the family will make that decision of where the moving trucks will take their things next. But for now I welcome them as friends and enjoy their company sharing coffee on the porch, a family meal and game night or birthday party.
For many of these military families that transition house to house is very stressful even when they have done it multiple times. I have learned that sometimes the kids have a hard time switching friends and schools. Sometimes they have a hard time adjusting to the new house and are not sleeping well. Sometimes they just need a friend to feel connected and not so lonely. I have come to learn their spouses are often gone a lot and therefore these people are essentially single parents the majority of the time, in a new home, with all the typical moving changes to make happen and supporting their children in that change. Moving all those times helps you have friends everywhere but sometimes that means you don’t quite have friends where you are.
The Soldier’s Life
We often think of soldiers suffering with anxiety, PTSD and other behavioral health issues as a result of the work they do protecting our country. There is no question the amount of mental stress they are placed under in the line of duty. The stress their bodies go through and the things they are exposed to physically and mentally are incredible. It is a honorable and tough line of work they have chosen.
For their families there is also a lot of stress, anxiety, depression, alcoholism and other health concerns that can also come up as a result of living the soldier’s life. Too much of our society disregards the very real impact of mental health issues and how many people actually suffer from severe health impacts from PTSD and depression. So many suffer from these illnesses and are unable to get the help they need. What is worse is many have this belief that only soldiers can have PTSD and if you weren’t in a war then you can’t get it. While I don’t discount soldiers having PTSD they are not the only ones and this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Unfortunately, doctors don’t understand all of what makes our brains work or how emotions effect our mental health. There is so much unknown about the wiring between our emotions and physical body that when it doesn’t work well and we are depressed or suffering we are left with only physical numbing medicine to deal with it. Many of these medicines are first off very expensive and secondly they leave the person feeling exhausted all the time, low on energy and interest in life, barely able to function and interact with others. Living with someone with acute depression, PTSD or anxiety is a challenge and debilitating for them and their family. As if that were not enough pain many will find they are excluded, even shunned and made to feel bad for these illnesses by family and friends who don’t understand them at all and this only adds to the stress of trying to find solutions. It leaves most of us suffering in silence and isolated from support that could help the family going through that situation.
Having watched my own husband suffer from PTSD for the past 3 years and seeing the non-support from family and friends, feeling isolated and alone in helping him and watching how many just stay away from us I cannot express to you my own hurt and disappointment this has brought to our family. No longer being invited to things with friends or having to go by myself when there is an invitation is hard because I spend my time worrying about him. The worse for me is hearing family tell us it isn’t real and yet he can’t go to work anymore or sometimes even leave the bed all day is difficult for me to understand how this couldn’t be real. There is just no way someone can fake this day after day.
My whole heart goes out to those that in the same situation. Having lived it I know how challenging it is to keep things going and finding that support through loving friends who do understand what you are going through. Those that text you to come get a coffee with them or just hang out so you can get a break. Those that check on you periodically and give their friendship and support openly and lovingly. In some of the military family friends I’ve made even right here in my own neighborhood I see this immense relief come across their face when there is the ability to have a friend who gets what it is like to live with these illnesses and they are not the soldier.
It should be obvious but I know from experience with our own family it is not so I put this out there for all to know mental illnesses like PTSD is not limited to soldiers. It does not discriminate or exclude anyone. It knows no age range, gender, work profession or income. It is a painful experience for the person enduring these illnesses as it is for the family living with that person watching it happen. I encourage you deeply that if you know of someone going through this or a family who has someone dealing with these illnesses please be that understanding, supportive friend if you can. Trust me they need you and that lifeline of knowing there are people who understand and won’t make you feel bad and alone going through this by yourself.
My husband’s PTSD is a large reason I started looking at natural health options in our home. I was already using some for personal care and cleaning but when this severe illness took hold of him I really dug into to finding things that could help him and our family. Trust me it is not a whole lot of fun watching him not be able to get out of bed all day, be unable to go places with us as a family or even leave the house to do an errand. It has been financially challenging to be the only income earner and try to work through disability insurance processes. It has been hard to watch him lose a bunch of weight and not care about things he once cared about or unable to do hobbies and activities he once enjoyed. It’s been difficult going through explosions of anger and outbursts of things bottled up in him that spew out onto me and our son. It’s been very hard feeling alone in supporting him and having people understand what this is like. It has been painful having our own family tell us he’s just faking it or doesn’t deserve help and services.
In going through this I don’t have all the answers but these are some things that have provided some relief along the way:
Making new connections with others who do get it and being supportive when I learn someone else is also going through it too
Extending an invitation for hanging out whenever possible and helping the person feel connected to real life and a little fun
Making extra dinner and sending it to the neighbor’s house because you know she’s been in bed all day suffering and her husband is at the base unable to get home
Not being an asshole and thinking this is a soldier’s illness only so everyone else must be faking it
Diffusing Cedarwood and Grapefruit to help with raw emotions
doTERRA Copaiba oil is proving over and over again its effectiveness over CBD oils in managing anxiety and symptoms associated with PTSD. Place a drop under the tongue or take in a capsule. Plus it is much more economical than CBD making it affordable
Using the doTERRA Balance on our feet bottoms to help understand our own emotions and feelings during this illness
Taking Frankincense under the tongue to help with anxiety and stress (helps both the person with the illness and the spouse)
From all that I have learned in using essential oils for support it is definitely worth getting the purest oil you can get because this will allow for ingestion and safe use that will not further complicate the symptoms. This will provide the best way to get benefits from these natural solutions for both them and you. To get what I use click here:
Most importantly is to know there are a lot of people who are not only suffering from these types of illnesses and not getting the help they need and there are a lot of people by their side also enduring the effects of these diseases. When you see a new family move into your neighborhood, please do not hesitate to welcome them and build that connection. You never know how much that will mean to that person and where that relationship will go.
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