During the season premiere of “Teen Mom OG,” Bristol Palin opened up about her “challenging family life.”
Most of Palin’s storyline during the first episode was centered around her crumbling marriage to her now ex-husband, Dakota Meyer.
Palin began her story by explaining that Meyer, a veteran, struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and that it had put a strain on their relationship.
While at her sister’s bachelorette party, Palin was discussing how she was going to explain her decision to join the “Teen Mom OG” cast to the press. She said during the conversation:
“My life is freakin’ not perfect at all. My sh*t stinks up and down, sideways, whatever. … If there is anything with my life that resonates with someone else and gives them any sort of light at the end of the tunnel then I think that God gave me a platform to do that.”
Later in the show, Meyer described the gun battle he got into while deployed to Afghanistan. Everyone in his platoon died that day except for him.
Meyer’s dad said that when his son returned from the war, he slept with a pistol on his chest for the first four to six months he was home. Meyer said:
“The anxiety got me real bad.”
When asked by one of the producers how he recovers from witnessing something so traumatic, Meyer said that he wakes up every day for his kids, calling them his “everything.”
Towards the end of the show, Palin and Meyer were seen engaging in a rather explosive argument that stemmed from the anxiety Meyer was feeling as a result of his PTSD.
After Palin asked Meyer what was wrong, he replied by saying:
“I mean it’s like I’ve been trying to tell you for a week, my anxiety has been going nuts. It’s been crushing me. I’ve been having nightmares.”
When Palin asked her husband how she could help, he replied:
“I don’t know like honestly, I’ve tried to tell you over and over and asked you for help a thousand times.”
Palin then said:
“It’s hard for me to have compassion in these situations because I can’t, you keep pulling the rug from underneath me all the time.”
Meyer retaliated by saying:
“Yeah well then if you can’t be there for me whenever I’m having anxiety. When you can’t look at me and see I have anxiety, that’s part of being married to me. It’s not something that’s hereditary, it’s not something I grew up with. It’s something that I deal with from having nightmares every single night since seeing my dead guys every single morning when I wake up.”
After saying he’ll figure it out like he does “every other time,” Palin apologized:
“I’m sorry you’re going through this, Dakota.”
The former pair continued their argument with some of the producers of the show present. Palin reiterated that, while she feels horrible for the way her husband is feeling, it “doesn’t justify” what is often said between the two of them.
Meyer said that it feels like Palin thinks his anxiety “is a choice,” but all he wants from her is support and help during his moments of anxiousness.
“I’m just tired of, you know, ‘It’s my anxiety, so that justifies me saying stuff that insinuates that I’m a bad mom.’ … I don’t want to raise my kids to think that this is what a marriage looks like. …
I’m a punching bag for everything that he goes through internally and that’s why I sit here and I tell the counselors, ‘Okay what can I blame? This is his service or this is just him being a d*ck.'”
At that point, Meyer gets emotional saying that it’s not fair for Palin to call his anxiety “an excuse”:
“All I want from her is to love me and be there for my scars. And I still get up a pay the bills and I still get up and be a good father and I still try to be a good husband. It’s not like I got to hotel rooms and lock myself in for a week and drink or I beat my wife or I do all of these things because I say something whenever I’m upset because I’m amplified because I can’t any help from the person that I do the most for.
She’s sitting in front of a PTSD doctor, she’s sitting in front of a marriage counselor and said, ‘You know, sometimes he can’t sleep at night and he goes and he just sits up and I just lay in bed and wait for him to blow his f*cking head off.'”
At that point, Palin jumped in to say she never said it like that, adding that she is worried about him killing himself.
Since the airing of the show, Meyer said he takes full responsibility for that fight in particular. He told People:
“I’ll take the responsibility for that. I think Bristol did the best that she could do. I think that’s what we all see in that episode. All I wanted was empathy.”
He added that the two of them tried their best to make their marriage work, but that wasn’t enough.
According to PTSDUnited, an estimated 24.4 million Americans have PTSD at any given time:
People with PTSD can present a range of symptoms, the cause of which may be overlooked or misdiagnosed as having resulted from past trauma.
According to VA, experts estimate that up to 20-percent of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans, up to 10-percent of Gulf War veterans, and up to 30-percent of Vietnam War veterans have experienced PTSD. Consequently, the demand for PTSD treatment continues to grow.
In the past year alone the number of diagnosed cases in the military jumped 50-percent and that’s only the reported and diagnosed cases.
If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, depression, or thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.