The 1st Infantry Division launched the "I Know How It Feels" campaign late in 2012. The campaign is designed to show Soldiers, Family members and Civilians throughout the formation that they are not alone in their struggles, others who stand to their left and right have been in their shoes and know how they feel. In this poster, 1st Infantry Division spouse Wayne Parry shares his story about his fight to keep his marriage strong.

Typically, I leave my deep blogs about my life to my personal blog, TheArmyWife(DUDE), but I am hoping what I have to share will be seen by many and figured writing here would generate more views and, more importantly, more people hearing what I have to say.

My Family is stationed at Fort Riley and our installation has just launched the "I Know How It Feels" campaign. This campaign "is designed to show Soldiers, Family members and Civilians throughout our formation that they are not alone in their struggles, others who stand to their left and right have been in their shoes and know how they feel. Posters featuring Big Red One Soldiers, Civilians and Family members discussing their own personal struggles and what they did to overcome their challenges will be distributed periodically throughout 2013."

I am a firm believer that the best way to reach others is to share our own stories, to share our testimonies if you will. I believe "iron sharpens iron just as one man sharpens another." It is through sharing our experiences that others may find strength. And this is why I am as open as I am.

As hard as it is to admit, I get it. I know how it feels. I really do.

I know how it feels to feel overwhelmed by life's circumstances.

I know how it feels to have regrets.

I know how it feels to lack confidence.

I know how it feels to not want to get out of bed or off the couch.

I know how it feels to want to give up on my marriage.

I know how it feels to want to walk out on my Family.

I know how it feels to wonder if I would be better off dead.

I know how it feels to have anxiety take over the mind and body.

I know how it feels to do everything I can to avoid taking care of myself.

I know how it feels to wake up a dozen or so times a night.

I know how it feels to wish I had something that was truly diagnosable to explain why I am the way I am, so we could effectively treat it.

I know how it feels to want to run away, to be lost, to be free of the thoughts, the feelings, the emotions.

I know how it feels to find the willingness to seek help and I thankfully know how it feels to get the help.

I know how it feels …

The next time you hear someone say something cliché like "put on your big girl panties" or "put on your big boy dungarees" or "lace up your boot straps," stop and think for a moment. You may think that person needs to hear that, but most likely what will help the most is just for them to hear five simple words.

"I know how it feels."

(Editor's note: Wayne Parry is married to a 1st Infantry Division Soldier and is the founder of MANning the Homefront, a spouse support group. This commentary first appeared on spousebuzz.com.)

Page last updated Fri January 11th, 2013 at 00:00