Posted by: AJtheIrishLass | July 1, 2018

The Siren Call We May Miss

Scream and shout

Originally published July 1, 2016 and some revised info appears in the text.

First of all, I’d like to thank Sister Gloriamarie (knitternun) both for inspiring this post and for her support of the Facebook page I’ve created that offers help and hope to those often overlooked in a mental/emotional health context, including veterans’ family members.

One of the things that many unfortunately have to cope with is people being unwilling to fully acknowledge their loved one’s brokeness, or acting as though this is the case. In their eyes, acting like their loved one’s fragility never existed absolves them of being part of a poor support system.

I’ll be blunt: Mentally/emotionally ill loved ones are not monsters, most are good people at heart who are having difficulty overcoming their personal demons. Many with PTSD have symptoms significantly aggravated by their choices, and people in their lives often do little or nothing to help him.

As Gloriamarie said, the symptoms of PTSD are a siren call for help. Like sailors of old myths and legends, many people who ignore said siren call have to witness or be part of a shipwreck – in this case, the shipwreck of a life ruined by mental illness and/or alcohol abuse.

There are many reasons people ignore siren calls, one of them being pure and simple denial. It’s easier to believe that someone you love just “enjoys a few beers” and that their behavior is essentially harmless than believe they can cause some to fear their safety.

For some, it’s easier to think that the more outrageous behaviors are something to laugh at. After all, how many people want to believe that behavior that horribly embarrasses one family member is anything other than said family member being overly sensitive?

Unfortunately, for others, it’s easier to think that those who had to deal with a veteran who refused serious help were making things up or exaggerating. I think it’s all part of the denial game, assigning the blame to others instead of facing the fact that their loved one needs help.

Hindsight is better than foresight by a long shot. It’s impossible to know whether a marriage may have been salvaged or whether a parent may have mended a relationship with a child they alienated.

However, we can, to a certain extent, control what happens going forward. The best way to build a bridge between yourself and others harmed by the same person – stop making frikkin’ excuses!

Don’t minimize the significance of hurtful, hateful, relationship-destroying words – recognize that words cannot be unsaid, and the wounds may not fully heal.

Never, ever, treat drunken or other substance-driven antics as though they’re a joke – such behavior can impact others in the person’s life in harmful, emotionally painful ways.

Lastly, don’t put your head in the sand and ignore a person in your life that is crying for help by their actions. Recognize that sometimes they won’t allow their spouse or children in too deeply emotionally – it may fall on those in their lives prior to marriage or children to have influence in their recovery.

If it’s now too late, don’t dishonor your loved one’s memory by making excuses, making light of others’ suffering, or refusing to acknowledge their brokenness. Do honor their memory by showing love, mercy, and compassion to those they hurt the most in their lives – don’t turn your backs on them, you do need each other, even if you can’t yet see it.




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