After receiving my discharge from the Marine Corps, I experienced feelings of unimportance. I was no longer a person of significance and felt no longer needed. Severe depression and suicidal thoughts became more frequent. I searched for years to find a place that I fit in and felt at home with meaning. I finally found that with Little Blessings, housed out of Duke Petting Farm. I was finally at a place that I could call home and be with other Veterans that understood me.
Duke Farm and Little Blessings saved my life. They gave me a home when I had no where to go.
The only time my husband gets out of bed is when he has his Equine Therapy Sessions.
I am a Goldstar spouse. My husband died on active duty. During his career, I had to pick a career that allowed me to move wherever and whenever it was needed (not someone most employers want to hire). I never fully understood who I was without him and his career. As a spouse you need to form relationships quickly and lose them (in a traditional sense) quickly. When he passed I found myself not knowing who I was and not being able to trust easily. I was angry. I was mean. I screamed. I overreacted a lot. I was scared for my future and the future of my kids. I was anxious and full of guilt. I listen to other spouses talk about their husbands with PTSD, and I relate more to their husband even though my own husband was close to a PTSD diagnosis himself. I started equine therapy in December. I am almost to the end of Phase 1. It has not been easy! The horse I work with definitely mirrors what I am thinking, feeling, or going through. There are many nights I leave the farm relating what the horse was doing to some part of my life. I tried traditional therapy. Most of the time I could fool the therapist into believing what I wanted them to or I wouldn’t give them the full story. My inability to trust and/or their inability to empathize with my situation (especially ones that couldn’t relate to military life) made it impossible for them to do their job successfully. I never got anywhere with counseling or therapy. There is no fooling an animal, especially a horse. You can’t speak lies or half truths to them and they believe you. They connect to something deeper. In Phase 1, I am learning to slow my brain. I’m learning to not think 10 steps ahead and only think of what the very next step is. I am starting to live more in the moment and enjoy time with my kids more. If my mind slips and starts racing during my session, my horse finds a way to get my attention and focus me back to where I need to be. I would never have gotten this far into recovery (even though I’m just getting started) without Little Blessings!
The Little Blessings Spouse’s Support Group is a lifeline and a breath of fresh air. To listen to another military family member describe a difficulty family situation similar to mine and to have someone truly understand what I go through is overwhelmingly comforting. But then to take those struggles into the arena with the horses to work through scenarios and be challenged to deal with anxiety, unfulfilled expectations, communication issues and more is incredibly powerful.
My child is just one of many that Little Blessings would love to bring a sense of belonging and unity to. Our children are learning about themselves and how to navigate a world that isn’t always bright, but the beauty of Little Blessings has shown them that they are not alone in this fight. They are not the only ones that have sacrificed time with a parent for a greater cause. This has not been their choice, but it is their honor. I implore you to help Little Blessings reach out to more children. They are our future!