Brian and Natalie Vines: What Supports for Wounded Veterans and Their Caregivers Help Them Thrive

 

In addition to the constant love and support she receives from her caregiver husband and fellow veteran, Brian Vines, Natalie Vines—who sustained several TBIs in combat and who has PTSD—found great strength from attending a two-week immersive PTSD program through the Wounded Warrior Project in addition to ongoing help from support groups and activities like wakesurfing.

Shortly after Brian and Natalie Vines met in the military in 1998, their unit deployed to Kuwait. Fueled by assignments on nearby bases, common interests, and shared military experiences, their friendship grew into a romantic relationship that eventually led them to the alter. Brian and Natalie loved their careers in the U.S. Army — Brian served for 28 years and Natalie for 21. After several sustaining several TBIs and living with PTSD, Natalie retired from the Army.

And in 2012, Brian, who lives with PTSD as well, decided to retire to take care of his wife. Since then, both Brian and Natalie also found significant growth and healing through their participation in the WWP Independence Program. Brian volunteers as a peer mentor helping his fellow veterans on WWP Project Odyssey® events.

For information about treatments for TBI and PTSD, please visit The Treatment Hub.

I got off all the medications. And whatever I needed, I got on what I needed and got off everything else. That was the biggest change that really changed everything.

The second one was getting a support group. I didn’t have a support group. I wasn’t even talking to my husband. Because I felt like I didn’t want to overburden him with anything else in my life. He was already doing so much.

And it was organizations, you know, it was the first two week inpatient right after that, that accepted me because he was going to be there, right there, to keep an eye on me. And that was through the Wounded Warrior Project, actually, with Boston, Massachusetts, go on that two-week program. And that right there was the initial part that saved my life.

And then from there on, it was other organizations that reached out, and me saying, “Hey I need five people that I can call out at any time, any day.” And there was places like Wait for Warriors that I got involved with, with wake surfing on the water. And now it’s a passion of mine. I love it. And Brian’s gotten involved with it. And we got a boat, and we have a blast on it. And so things like that to keep me active, is really, really become a something that keeps me going and I think it’s for Brian, too.

BrainLine is powered in part by Wounded Warrior Project to honor and empower post-9/11 injured service members, veterans, and their families.

Posted on BrainLine November 10, 2021. Reviewed November 10, 2021.

About the author: Brian and Natalie Vines

Shortly after Brian and Natalie Vines met in the military in 1998, their unit deployed to Kuwait. Fueled by assignments on nearby bases, common interests, and shared military experiences, their friendship grew into a romantic relationship that eventually led them to the alter. Brian and Natalie loved their careers in the U.S. Army — Brian served for 28 years and Natalie for 21. After several sustaining several TBIs and living with PTSD, Natalie retired from the Army. And in 2012, Brian, who lives with PTSD as well, decided to retire to take care of his wife. Since then, both Brian and Natalie also found significant growth and healing through their participation in the Wounded Warrior Project® Independence Program. Brian volunteers as a peer mentor helping his fellow veterans on WWP Project Odyssey® events.

A photo from left to right of Natalie Vines, her German Shepherd service dog, and Brian Vines, all smiling facing the camera