Needless to say, for my sanity and safety and that of my daughter's, my wife and daughter have been sleeping at her parents' house so that, God Forbid, I don't actually hurt her. She was scared by my startle response, but unhurt. She's over it but I can't forgive myself. It is my worst fear - hurting my daughter.
I was at work yesterday and had a breakdown. I effectively hadn't slept since Friday night. My father took me to the VA and they are putting me back on Trazadone. The doc said that it would keep me from being physically able to act on any startle response.
I needed someone to talk to about what had happened that wasn't emotionally invested in a positive outcome. So, naturally, I talked to Rod Deaton. Rod may be a doctor at the VA and I may be a veteran with PTSD, but we are friends and do not share a doctor patient relationship. What is great about having someone so knowledgeable to turn to in situations like these is that he can stay calm and talk me down from my figurative ledge.
Talking to him last night definitely did that. He made me remember that I am a good and honorable man. That, in and of itself, would ensure that there wasn't a repeat of what happened on Thanksgiving. Additionally, he made me realize that my I was allowing me fears to blow what had happened out of proportion. I am, and always have been, my own worst critic. When I get into situations like this past week, I verbalize my irrational fears to those I love, causing them to worry excessively. I force them to think the worst.
It's form of self-flagellation. On some level I have been punishing myself continually since my daughter was born. I think about all of the worst-case outcomes to my behavior and believe myself capable of making those outcomes a reality. It's self-fulfilling prophecy. I have been hamstringing myself like this ever since my daughter was born. It all stems from irrational fears of losing my family, my daughter.
I won't go into all of the details but my conversation with Rod last night led me to make some incredibly substantial realizations about myself:
- When I think about the consequences of my actions I have believed myself capable of the worst possible behavior in any given situation.
- I have been irrationally afraid of my wife and daughter being taken from my life permanently.
- My irrational fear of my inability to control my behavior has led me to take on my PTSD on my own, shutting out the love, support, and advice of the person I value the most in life - my amazing wife.
So what's the end-result of the mess of a week? Blessings dressed in wolf's clothing...
- I now understand that, even when I have really bad days and weeks, that my wife and daughter will always be there for the long haul. My irrational fear of losing them permanently has finally been put into proper perspective.
- I am now aware of the consequences of my actions but now understand that the worst possible response in a given situation is not the most likely (or even remotely probable) outcome. I have proven over the last three years since I have been at my current employer that I have better self-control than that except when I let the fears control me.
- I am no longer afraid to be me. I have learned from all of this that I am (despite my best efforts to convince myself otherwise) a good man, an honorable man. I still need to work on accepting that even good and honorable men aren't perfect - that they aren't perfect. It is not rational to hold myself to that standard. What does that mean for me? I am no longer afraid to be the man hiding behind the fear - I can let him out to shine, warts and all.
So it has been a traumatizing and productive week all at the same time. I am still exhausted and have to work at not being too hard on myself, but my wife and daughter deserve to enjoy the man I am - not the man I was afraid I could become.