from Gina Izett* to the Independent Inquiry into Gulf War Illnesses (London)
13 October 2004, translated from German
It is difficult to explain what is happening inside you when you notice that the person you love so much has changed so much. However, he didn't notice it himself, and I also didn't want to acknowledge it, at first. But at some time you reach a point where you have to be honest with yourself.
I tried in many ways to show him that I would stand by him, whether by working with him and by working overtime or by dealing with the children and the housework on my own. He retreated more and more, and in doing so neglected the children. It was very difficult to make the children understand why their dad was not like he had been and I needed a lot of strength to deal with that. I could have just dropped him but I love him too much to do that, so I stand by him no matter what may happen.
The worst things are the mood changes and aggression. Sometimes it was so bad that we got involved in fisticuffs and also hurt each other physically. It is also bad when he is in a good mood and ten minutes later he is suddenly completely different, either sad or depressed or aggressive. It is difficult to gauge how he is going to be in the next moment and it is not easy for me to adapt to any situation from one moment to the next. There are moments when you ask yourself how it will be - a few months or years, and will I be able to go on that long? However, I believe that I will have the strength and when I think that I won't cope, I always think that he was not always this way and he still is not deep down in his heart but he has been made to change like this. That gives me the strength to continue to stand by him and to help him in any way I can.
I have shed so many tears and had so many sleepless nights thinking why can’t it be like it was in the past, but he will never again be like that. On the contrary, I notice that it keeps getting worse but the worst is that I cannot do anything about it only support him, which is very difficult on some days. Often I don't know how I should behave towards him and I feel insecure. I sometimes doubt whether I support him enough or whether I could do more. But then I ask myself: What? What more can I do?
There are days when I feel so bad physically and emotionally that I think how can he manage to cope with that day after day, for how I feel now is the state that he is in every day. Then I think: I have to stay fit for him and for our children. They are older now and understand it better but I have to be fit for them and for my husband. He once told me that he admired my strength. Honestly, I don’t know where my strength comes from, but I am glad that this strength is still there. I believe that otherwise the Izett family would not exist any more. But even when I feel bad, I still manage to stand by him and be at his side. Somehow I will get on my feet again as I have managed in the last few years.
It is bloody difficult to describe how you feel to somebody who has not been in such a situation and will never understand it. I now understand why so many marriages break up as a result of this kind of situation. But I hope for one thing very much: that my marriage will last. For that I fight like my husband fights for his rights.
*Gina Izett is married to Alexander Izett who became ill after being injected with nine vaccinations in two days whilst serving in the British Army in 1991
refusing to kill