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Former Army wife catalogs struggle with husband’s PTSD

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A glimpse into someone else's life can often be enlightening, but, unfortunately, sometimes it can also be alarming. Blind Devotion, Survival of the Front Lines of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Addiction, a memoir by Sharlene Prinsen, catalogs Prinsen's own harrowing experience dealing with husband Sean's struggles with PTSD and addiction that stemmed from his Army career. The 348-page tome also houses many references and resources for people struggling with PTSD and its effects.

Prinsen, who is a high school Spanish teacher, had never put pen to paper before in such a monumental way, but looking back at her own experiences, she just knew that this was what she had to do.

"For starters, I wanted to raise awareness among the general public about the sacrifices that military and their families face and build compassion for what they might be going through," she said. "That required doing something very public."

For her husband, who she describes as a private man, the decision about putting this all out there was challenging, but he knew that helping others was more important than him reliving the bad times.

"We both want to raise awareness in the military community specifically, because it's different to read the symptoms on the paper and to experience them in real life," she stated.

Although Sharlene and Sean have now been married for 11 years and have come far since the incidents recorded in the book five years ago, Prinsen said that they still deal with many of the same behaviors.

"What has changed is that we know what triggers to watch for and how to handle them," she said. "We also have a support system in place now that we didn't have before. That has made a world of difference."

For families and couples that might be dealing with similar problems, Prinsen has a few key pieces of advice. Firstly, she recommends enlisting the help of people whom your spouse trusts. Secondly, she urges people to look into appropriate support groups or 12-step programs, which she described as being a "life-saver." Lastly, the mother of two encourages people to educate themselves as much as possible so that they know not only what they are dealing with, but also how to handle it.

"Lastly, you need to remember to take care of yourself," Prinsen admitted. "I ran myself into the ground trying to save him and that had its own bad repercussions with my health and emotional state."

The Prinsens plan to donate 50 percent of the proceeds from the book as part of their commitment to help other trauma survivors find their way to peace and stability; 40 percent of the profits will be allotted to charities that help Servicemembers and veterans with physical or psychological impairments as a result of their service and the other10 percent will be donated to their local church to help families in crisis in their own community.

Though the book will be officially released on Sept. 25, copies are available for pre-order now on both Amazon ( and Barnes and Noble (

For updates on the family's progress, as well as guidance and encouragement towards finding help in your own struggles with PTSD, addiction or other problems hurting your family, visit Prinsen's blog at or her Facebook group at

"I hope people read the book and visit my blog and really see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel," she concluded.

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