Elizabeth Rotenberry

It is hard to call myself a caregiver. It is just what I do.

What was one of your first major challenges as a caregiver and how did you address that challenge?

I really didn’t understand invisible wounds. It was so difficult to figure out what was happening to him. I had no idea what his triggers were. I did a ton of research on his injuries, but at a certain point I just accepted I would have to live moment to moment. Reaching out for help was hard at the beginning; I thought I had to do everything on my own.

What are some of your current challenges as a military caregiver?

Our family’s dynamic has changed. It took so much time and energy to figure out all of Chuck’s issues. Now it is time to focus on the kids, which comes with its own set of challenges.

What do you think is the biggest misconception civilians have about your situation as a military caregiver?

It is really frustrating that people assume that veterans with PTSD are either crazy or fine. It is exhausting to keep explaining that things are unpredictable.

My Story

I care for my husband, Chuck. We’ve been together since high school and now we have four children. He served in Afghanistan as a Marine and was injured by an IED. He wasn’t diagnosed with a TBI until after his symptoms and behaviors caused terrible strains on our marriage and our family’s well-being.

As a Dole Fellow, I am committed to promoting the well-being of military and veteran kids.