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Reaching out to combat veterans. Family member in trouble

Lionne posted 12/26/2017 13:05 PM

My dear, dear nephew, my sister's son, is a Marine, special forces. This is his fourth deployment in about 8 years. Each one lasts for more than six months. He had a wonderful wife, and an amazing five year old son. They do not live nearby.
He portrays himself as invincible, omnipotent and totally in control.
He called yesterday while we were all together for Christmas. He was a mess, crying and rambling. He seemed drunk to me, maybe was but hasn't slept for several days, so IDK. His current deployment is, on the surface, safe and secure, but because of his specialty, God knows what he's actually doing. Three combat missions, lost a bunch of friends, saw and did things that he won't talk about, so most likely PTSD. Anxiety is a family curse, as is substance abuse, but he will not admit need or ask for help. It's affecting his marriage BIG TIME (his wife is as much part of our family as he is, we love her dearly) affecting his relationship with his child.

WHAT IN THE WORLD DO WE DO TO HELP HIM????!

I know, I know. I can't control the actions of another, but I'm so worried, so after.

Please, if you read this, hold him, and good family in the LIGHT...

TimelessLoss posted 12/26/2017 17:29 PM

Lionne,

My heart goes out to your entire family.

He has been in at least 8 years. Do you know his rank? Is he in a leadership position? That adds an additional burden if he is responsible for other Marines.

Start first with getting his wife plugged into Marine Corps Family Services.

Sananman posted 12/26/2017 20:58 PM

If he is MARSOC and in 8 years I'm guessing he has got to be an E7 or E8 by now. The corps has a very hardcore warrior culture and the MARSOC guys even more so. It will be challenging to have him admit any issues or seek any official help for it. It's not fair but he is probably (legitimately) worried that it will end his career at worst or at least his promotion opportunities.

Having his wife seek help through the Family Services is an excellent suggestion. It is pretty difficult to get Marines to admit any perceived weakness.

I sincerely hope it works out.

Lionne posted 12/27/2017 09:16 AM

The corps has a very hardcore warrior culture and the MARSOC guys even more so. It will be challenging to have him admit any issues or seek any official help for it. It's not fair but he is probably (legitimately) worried that it will end his career at worst or at least his promotion opportunities.

Yep. So incredibly stupid and short sighted. No wonder there are so many veteran suicides. We sacrifice these young people in the name of machismo.

I'll see if she will reach out to support services. I am afraid she may also be victim of the "I Can do it all myself" syndrome.

Maybe you have to be an old fart lie me to get that there is strength in asking for help.

TimelessLoss posted 12/27/2017 14:33 PM

Lionne,

Sananman is right on. I went with Family Services for the wife because he would be beyond devastated if his chain of command became involved. Get her the help that will give her the tools to try and cope. And get her into a formal support system of Marine spouses.

The true cost of warfare is not monetary. "Thank you for your Service" while a heartfelt expression from civilians, doesn't quite cover it, does it? Military families bear a terrific burden and pay a high price.

Lionne posted 12/27/2017 14:41 PM

They (we) sure do. I hope she'll take the help. She lives in a rural area, far from the base and was an army brat herself.
We need to do a lot more for our kids. This is not acceptable.
Yes, he's ambitious, loves his job, loves helping people, but he's seen some horror I suspect. The military isn't helping anyone when they deny the humanity of it's members.

Newlease posted 12/27/2017 15:53 PM

My SO is a Vietnam Veteran. His PTSD was compounded by the reception he got when he ended his 2nd tour and came home. And in 1970, it was pretty much unheard of to ask for help. Push it down, isolate, drink, etc. was the norm.

He finally went to therapy at our local VA a few years ago - in the group setting he had people from his era on down to current conflict. It helped him so much and he wishes he would have gone sooner. A lot of issues he had throughout his life were the result of his experiences and PTSD. He would encourage ANY service person to reach out - if not to the VA, then to a brother/sister who might understand.

It is not realistic to send people into war and expect them to come out of it and return to "normal" life. I have seen many men and women at our local VA hospital who have that 1,000 mile stare. I just want to give them all a hug and tell them it will be ok.

Sending strength and peace.

NL

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