Whenever deployment used to come up in conversation, I would tend to shy away. I would always try to change the subject entirely, or I would nervously say, “uhh it was rough.” It took me a while to open up to people about my husband’s injuries, particularly to those who were anywhere in the dreaded deployment cycle, I pretty much avoided anyone military. I hated being the epitome of what could happen, I hated being the example. I used to spend hours wallowing in my own self- pity, waiting for someone to step up and change things for me. I didn’t think I had the power to make anything better. I hit rock bottom. I was so angry, and so resentful, and so bitter towards everything. I pushed my husband away because after all, in my mind this was his fault. Our marriage was crumbling because of me, not because of PTSD, or because of any other issue my husband had, but because of me. When my husband was medically retired he gave up, we expected that. What we didn’t expect was for me to give up too. I gave up on everything, and when I did, someone was there telling me to dig deep and peel myself off the floor, she led by example. She led me to the light, and together we started creating solutions, looking past what was wrong, and focusing on what was good. Things really turned around. Things changed not just for me, but for everyone around me as well. That’s when I began to realize that maybe I could lead too. I started to open up, and I came to realize that there were so many spouses just like me, so many hurting and confused spouses. There were many spouses that didn’t want to be the example either. I found my place among the other spouses as their voice, as their go-to girl, the one who they could come to anytime, day or night. I enjoyed helping them in every possible way that I could, what I didn’t realize is that they were helping me. They helped me work through my issues by talking to them about my experiences in order to ease theirs, they helped me to realize that no matter how bad you think things are, there are always worse things, and the most important lesson I learned from all of this, is that we learn from examples, both good and bad. Simply knowing that changed my life. Being the example isn’t always pleasant, there are those who prey on the insecurities you expose, and try to drag you down every chance they get, but at the end of the day, its ok to be the example, someone has to.