When I first got home from overseas, I had a lot of issues with my anger. One of the defining moments that spurred me to get help was almost beating my dad. I was freaking out about how the Army was trying to intimidate me back into the service. My Dad was presenting logical arguments why they would fail. His cold, hard logic set me off. I didn't want to hear logic. I wanted validation for my fear and anger. I took one step toward my father, realized what I was about to do and crumpled to the floor, paralyzed by my guilt and fear. This was a defining moment for me. It spurred me to get help. It is also when I started living in fear of my PTSD.
Because of that incident, I was deathly afraid that my PTSD would 'take control'. This feeling was only reinforced when I heard about a few veterans in our area who had been arrested for aggravated assault after returning home from deployments. One guy in support group was only allowed to leave house arrest to come for therapy and group sessions. All of this made me even more fearful that my PTSD was going to sabotage my life. What I didn't realize was that it already had because I was afraid to live my life because I was afraid of potential consequences. I wouldn't go to concerts, malls, public places, etc. Whenever someone invited me to an event, the first thought that would run through my head was always 'how is my PTSD going to affect me?' That's a good thought, but what followed that was pure catastrophic thinking. Going to a diner to meet friends would end in bloodshed because there would be a drunk idiot in the diner that would cause problems. Mmm. Does that sound particularly likely to anyone? No. Not really.
So Veterans, learn from my massive mistake. Don't get caught living in fear of your PTSD. Learn to live with it, not around it. The worst part is that my fear of my PTSD taught others how to view it. I did that damage myself. No I have to retrain everyone's thinking and my own. I have my work cut out for me, but for the first time in nearly a decade, I am pissed off AT my PTSD for getting in the way of me living my life. NEVER AGAIN.