This past Spring I was blessed to speak at the Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Convention about PTSD. PTSD is personal and it is real in this house. We live with it daily and it can sneak up and destroy without notice.
Recently I shared the raw reality of what living with PTSD is like. I had a lot of response to that post. Many other wives were “high fiving” for my reality, but, sadly, is their reality, too.
This past week was no exception from the horrors of PTSD. We battled yet another storm. PTSD doesn’t take a break for Holidays. It is usually worsened during the holidays. PTSD doesn’t realize there are pies freshly baked and mashed potatoes waiting to be eaten while we sit around the table and give Thanks. So there it was. Raring its ugly head without concern for the victims in its path. This is another reality. The anger, resentment, and guilt of the holidays. They are here while their brothers and sisters are not.
The next day as I was trying to put the pieces back and smooth the edges and figure out a way to bridge a gap that PTSD was determined to make, I was determined that which doesn’t kill us, will only make us stronger.
I prayed and asked prayers from my sister-in-law, who is honestly one who gets it probably the most right now. So it was time to build bridges.
When Clay was deployed to Iraq the second time, the kids were 5, 3, and newborn. Our oldest learned to read and write during this deployment. Although he could make out some words in the letters Clay sent, he was still learning. Needless to say, Clay sent a lot of artwork and drawings back and forth to the kids. This way each one, even the baby, could stay connected and feel close to their father who was half a world away.
That’s when I remembered this Honor Plate that I was asked to review. There are many articles out which speak of the benefits of art therapy in special needs, counseling, and now even combat PTSD! Art therapy can be a huge turning point for Veterans who suffer with PTSD. It would be nice to get this recognized through programs at the VA!
Using artwork to express something that is extremely painful to talk about could be the step and breakthrough needed to begin to heal. Personally, I believe art therapy could be a break through to building bridges in families and could provide an outlet to keep a Veteran’s mind off the turmoil that is going in internally at the very least. Who knows, perhaps in time this could even help Veterans get off medications. Combining this to alternative therapies such as essential oils and CBD could truly be life changing.
So how did we use the honor plate to help our family?
Well, we began our morning with this activity to serve as a distraction. Holiday celebrations should be a time for thanks and good feelings, but many veterans are depressed with feelings of guild and resentment. The kids adore their Dad and he adores them. Sadly, I personally believe Satan uses these weak moments to try to kill, steal, and destroy.
We pulled the plate out and, rather than leading into the activity, I gave it to my husband and let Daddy lead with the activity. This provided another opportunity to be the “cool Dad” with projects and fun activities, not Veteran/Soldier Dad with PTSD. All the kids gathered around and helped with the plate. It was a wonderful morning and so much fun was had by all!
I think Dad was pretty excited and proud to create a lasting memory with the kids, something he can look at as a reminder of a good time. It also reminded him that he still has a very important purpose of leading his family.
The cards that come with the honor plate and the book that provide topics to get conversations started are also such a blessing to our family.
Another downfall to PTSD is not always understanding what to say. The Honor Plate gave my husband an opportunity to lead conversations that the kids will remember for the rest of their life! You can buy the honor plate here or below at amazon-
I am so grateful and thankful for the Honor Plate and for Art Therapy for my family.
PS: Thank you to Propeller Entertainment and The Honor Plate for sending us this kit free of charge.
Laura Prater is a long time Army wife, her husband just retired after 20 years Active Duty this past July. She, her husband, and family are still very active in the military community. Laura is an area volunteer for National Military Family Association and also contributes occasionally to MilitaryOneClick as part of their Blogger Brigade. In addition to all this Laura is a homeschool mom to their three boys. You can find Laura sharing her favorite recipes and chatting about faith, family, all things homemaking, and homeschool over at her other website www.awefilledhomemaker.com