JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Caregivers say it is hard to explain what they experience from day to day.
"You don't really know what everyday is gonna be like," said Kristle Helmuth.
Helmuth fits the profile of a 'Hidden Hero.' She is a caregiver.
"It is not a husband/wife relationship anymore," she said, "We're almost like a mother and child, making sure he is eating because he will forget to do that."
For the past few years, Helmuth has been caring for her wounded husband.
"We have to make sure that he is getting the medications," she said, "but there also has to be a husband/wife relationship there."
She said when her husband Nate returned from Iraq, he was not the same person she married, the father of her children.
"We want to have a normal life. I don't want my kids to say we can't do this because my dad is injured," said Helmuth.
Nate experienced TBI, a traumatic brain injury, as well as PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder.
"Welcome home ceremony was perfect, everything was great and then everything came to a stop when he started having problems."
Problems like flashbacks, anger, frustration, sleepless nights that cause him to react like he was still in the battle zone.
"He is completely 360," said Helmuth.
Dana Dreckman is with The Wounded Warrior Project family support service.
"There's going to be a whole generation of caregivers," said Dreckman, "and for some, it is going to be lifelong for them."
Dreckman said her organization is working to help those caregivers by providing respite retreats.
"The caregiver can't be an effective caregiver if they're not taking care of themselves," she said.
They're also creating support networks, but Dreckman said there has to be a national increase in awareness for caregivers.
Helmuth has created a blog titled "Forget the Dog Not the Baby" for a support network and to help others in her role as a caregiver.
"It is hard to adjust from military life to civilian life," said Helmuth, "and then to throw all of these stuff on top of it makes it even harder."
First Coast News