The main character in my novel, True Surrender, is a military officer with PTSD. It is a story about his personal transformation after a horrendous experience as a POW. But the story has a heroine too – a woman who chooses to love a man with a lot of baggage, even as she herself is scared spitless.
These women (and men) are out there in real life. They carry the burden at home, raising children while trying not to choke on sometimes overwhelming fear for their loved one, praying their doorbell never rings. And when he returns wounded, broken in spirit as well as body… life can never be the same. Or, like the characters in True Surrender, they meet after the crisis is over and have to overcome extreme obstacles and make a conscious decision to keep loving no matter how hard it is.
To love a soldier with PTSD means…
She never knows what is going to trigger his PTSD; it could be a thought, a smell, a certain noise. He won’t talk about the things he went through. She wants to understand, but just can’t. Why does he let pressure build up until he explodes like a crock pot with too much pressure in it? Maybe he doesn’t like to be touched anymore. Maybe he wakes in the middle of the night screaming. He’s mean some days; sad on others. What about the time he was so mad he jumped out of the car and started yelling at a lady because she took his parking spot?
To love a veteran with PTSD means letting go of dreams you might have had for your life.
These are the things that make me want to write their story. Disguised as fiction, perhaps… but still their story. The heroes who love the heroes.