I interview for a new position at work on Thursday. As usual, my nerves are getting the better of me. My PTSD causes me to go into catastrophic thinking mode and I obsess about the worst possible outcomes. I am aware of it, but it still makes it hard to stay focused on work. It has also made me really want a cigarette. All I have to do is get through the next few days. Just get through the next few days.
When I used to turn to cigarettes at work, I now turn to deep breaths to calm me down if I have a stressful moment. It gives me the same effect for the most part - minus the nicotine jitters. I won't say it has been easy, but I am doing well. I have been slowly and thoroughly going through my jackets and washing them to get the smell of smoke out of them. The only aspect I still need to get a handle on is eating when I feel like I can going to need a fix.
I didn't get home from work until after two in the morning. It was not the most fun night I have had. On the bright side, I adrenalin dumped right when I got home and passed out. This is new to me. In the past the adrenalin would keep pumping for hours and hours and I would eventually go to sleep when I could least afford it. This weekend is going to be really rough. Super Bowl Weekend and inclement weather spells lots of impatient and grumpy people.
I have been working on learning to separate what PTSD contributes to the anger I feel. It has been difficult. When I feel angry, my first instinct has been to shut it down completely. Recently, I have been exploring what it means to feel angry for the right reasons. Sometimes justifiable anger is warranted. My belief is that the only way to conquer the hold that PTSD has over your emotions is to explore all of them, good and bad. It's the only way that you can ever hope to reacquaint yourself with what it feels like to have a full range of healthy emotions. So far, I haven't had a whole lot of success, but I challenge myself every day. I want to know that I am in the driver's seat. I will not let the PTSD rule my life if I have anything I can do about it!
My buddy and I were talking about our jobs in the Army and how they contributed to our trauma. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. The military trains their soldiers to dehumanize the enemy. It's part of the training. As a linguist, I did not have this 'luxury'. It actually made it even harder for me because I could understand everything going on around me and I got to deal with the personal tragedy of others on a constant basis. If you are a compassionate person, it is hard not to become emotionally affected by this. It makes it that much harder to see people as anything other than that...people. I fervently pray that no one ever has to see the kind of abject suffering I experienced when I was there.
Ok, so I figured out what was upsetting me so much. I want to feel all of my emotions that I feel toward my daughter. It has been exhausting coming to a new 'center'. Now that I have and I have a firm grip on what feelings are PTSD related and what I feel towards my daughter, I am relieved. My coping mechanisms are back in place and I am feeling mostly the normal exhausted that accompanies parenthood. I love my daughter so much and my world brightens every time she smiles. What an amazing feeling, being a father!
After yesterday going so well, I was surprised at how crappy the day was today. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised...withdrawal SUCKS!
I am now officially a non-smoker. Wish me luck!
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.