By Diana Hume, AW2 Reserve Spouse
Editor’s Note: Diana Hume is a feature blogger for AW2 and shares her experiences as the wife of a severely wounded reservist. The expressed comments and views of guest bloggers do not reflect the views of WTC or the United States Army.
Boundaries are an interesting topic, especially for wounded warrior Families. As we are well aware, many times war begins because of boundary disputes. Once on the battlefield, warriors do not see boundaries, they do what is necessary in order to survive and protect. However, once war is over and the dust settles, the wounds of war dramatically begin to change our once familiar boundaries.
The pain of war’s wounds so easily takes away the familiar which is not a huge news flash for those who live with them every day. In a blink of an eye, our boundaries begin to morph into something foreign right under our noses. Our world becomes smaller and everyday normal things change and often disappear. As each day begins in this new place, all that is in our thoughts is to get through it, just make it to the next day. The unknown about what life will be the next day is many times fueled by fear and over time, reality sets in and confirms that our new boundaries stopped the healing.
As I write this, I am learning what I need to do with my new foreign boundaries. First, I need to dig inside and hope I uncover anything that reminds me of the freedom without boundaries. What it was like before the pain became part of daily life—life before the wounds. I am realizing that mine were broad, open, and a guide to live, as opposed to what they were after the wounds—concrete road blocks.
I am learning the importance of understanding how I decide to redefine and re-open my boundaries. I am beginning to accept that this is necessary and is what I need to help me grow and heal. My priorities are to do all that is in my power to help my Family thrive. There are no excuses to stop living because the new boundaries slowly become comfortable or—to state bluntly—become a protective shell. Unfortunately, when I look in the mirror my shell is very visible, but I am beginning to believe that it will be broken with hope and trust.
We seem to think that boundaries define us. I disagree. I am learning that they can guide us, strengthen us and give us hope. Our boundaries can be molded like clay as we grow and become more of an expression of ourselves and not a blunt definition. Remember, it is o.k. to continuously re-evaluate or even erase some of your defined personal boundaries. I found that when you do, you are suddenly out of your comfort zone and you push yourself to improve and heal. It is an awakening when you accept that boundaries from war do not always protect, but hinder us from living.
It all goes back to choice. As a wounded warrior spouse it took me a lot of time to realize that I need to evaluate my boundaries every single day. Taking time for just me is good because it allows me to breathe. So, I encourage spouses and caregivers to take the time to write down what your boundaries are as you see them today. Think about what you just put on paper and how they were created. Are they closed, hard, or comfortable? Do you think they will protect you from hurting again? Were they created for you or by you? Do they allow you to live or just survive? Are any of them inclusive of a something you admire in yourself? If any of them keep you afraid to live and feel again, it is time to find the strength to soften them so you can breathe, feel, and take care of yourself. Remember, you are worth it!