Two nights ago, I night managed for the last time. I started to decompress from all of the stress that I had carried with me, unacknowledged, for months. I came home and had a really hard time falling asleep. When I finally fell asleep, I had nightmares. Here's the worst part: I knew I was dreaming. Every time I tried to wake up and it felt like I was about to break through, I 'felt' something pulling me back down. My wife had left relatively early in the morning to go to work. She tried calling me 6 times and I never answered. She got really worried and came home. She came home to our daughter just starting to wake up. She had a really difficult time waking me up. I thought she had come home and I had neglected Caley's needs. I was a mess. I spent the rest of the day trying to figure out what the hell caused this 'nightmarathon' to happen in the first place. I finally put two and two together and realized that there were a lot of little things that I couldn't change at work that I couldn't do anything about. I also realized that leaving my current position to start a new one allowed me to start over and all of the pent up frustration and stress was relieved...All at once. I guess I need to figure out how to decompress more effectively...
I was able to explain the situation with my anxiety about being in a car with someone I didn't know behind the wheel. He is trying to understand where I am coming from, but has told me honestly he has no experience dealing with the PTSD issue in the past and is learning on the fly. He was very open to learning and asks a lot of pointed questions to better understand. I have the OK to drive my own car up and that alleviated a lot of the stress for me. I hope the rest of the week goes this well!
I was putting Caley in her swing this morning when I took my hands off her to get the clasps that were stuck behind her on the seat. She decided to go rigid as a board, causing her to slide forward and tilt the swing back --she face planted right into the hardwood floor. I quickly scooped her up but was extremely traumatized by this. I felt like the worst father in the world and went into full episodal mode - flat affect and everything. I was a complete mess and was concerned that I was going to have to call out of work. Then, Dani needed help changing a diaper and I had to hold Caley (which I was afraid to do) after Dani had changed the diaper. Caley looked up at me with really wide and serious eyes, cooed softly and then tucked her head under my chin and hugged me in that special way that only babies can do. It was like she was saying, "Daddy, I know it was an accident. I still love you. Please hold me and reassure me that everything is OK". My heart melted and my episode crumbled around me. The guilt I felt washed away. She showed me how a hug can heal more than words could ever hope to.
Ok, I am going on a business trip this week and we are supposed to carpool. I am not driving...this is what is causing a lot of my anxiety. I can't handle not being in control of the car until I know the skill of the driver intimately. It took almost two years after I met my wife to feel comfortable being a passenger for anything other than local driving. I have never asked of accommodation for my disability at work and think it is something I am going to have to address. No amount of medication would get me through that ride...I guess I will be talking to someone at work about this. I can't see any other way to get through this without breaking.
Whenever a big change happens in my life, I can feel the anxiety start to ratchet up a notch or ten. It's not that I am nervous about the change, it's that my head starts processing all of the things I need to tie up loose ends and I think about all of the things that I am going to want to do to get down to the nitty gritty as soon as I get into whatever it is I am getting into. In this case, I am taking up a new position at work. I have always pressured myself to drill down into the knowledge I need to know to be successful in any given position and until I have successfully done that, I will be anxious that I haven't learned fast enough. Reminding myself that not learning fast enough won't get anyone killed doesn't seem to have much of an impact. I wish I knew what did.
Sorry about the short hiatus from writing on here. I have had a killer time the past few days. I ran into one of those situations that is really easy to brood over and I needed time to figure out what I was feeling and whether it was my PTSD talking or whether the feelings I was having were warranted. Here's the situation: I was feeling slighted and disrespected and I couldn't tell whether it was real or imagined. It took me a while to work through it, but I was able to ascertain after a number of days that it was not my imagination. I decided to confront the person responsible for this behavior. I went into it cool, calm and collected and came out the same way. The person I was confronting didn't like what I had to say, but I could honestly care less. When someone passive aggressively attacks you for months and you finally realize what they are doing, it REALLY gets under your skin. I used to respect this person. Here's the kicker. This person knew about my PTSD and used my uncertainty of my emotions to take out personal frustrations on me, like I was a whipping boy. Needless to say, that's over and done with. There will be no more of that happening again. It's the first time I have questioned whether restraining my emotions was a bad thing. I realized that one person taking advantage of my goodwill doesn't mean that everyone else should have to experience the volatility of my emotions and am staying on the track I have been on. To this nameless person (and you know who you are), you can't beat me down and you will never own me that way again!
I customer lacerated her feet at work today. A glass soda bottle was dropped and the resulting explosion of glass left her with 'shrapnel-like' wounds on her feet. Needless to say, I dealt with the situation but had some very persistent intrusive recollections during and after the incident was dealt with. It left me feeling a little listless. I am glad that I write down all of my nightly tasks in a notebook, otherwise I would have been completely useless. I hope I don't have nightmares tonight. I am a little afraid to try to sleep, but I know I should.
I had a lot of intrusive recollections at work today. Every time I would hit my hand on something and see the red...Well, I managed to get through the day without incident. I was really happy that it turned out so well. I just kept on thinking of my daughter. I am glad that I now have this new coping mechanism to keep me in the here and now. I hope this passes soon though. I could do without having to remember these garish and bloody 'film clips'. I have been really careful how I respond to things to make sure that the PTSD isn't coming through at work and that is just straight-up exhausting. Oh well. Tomorrow's another day, and every day's a new day!
I had a wonderful day today. I got up feeling rested, I spent a lot of time laughing with my daughter and I welcomed two new moderators to my Facebook Forum. Everything was going great until I went to pour some coffee late in the day and I spilled it on my right hand, scalding the crap out of it. It is really red and painful right now. The physical pain was soon joined by emotional as I flashed back to Iraq when my hand was also really red for different reasons. I could even smell the blood in the air. My wife could tell something was wrong and she asked me if I was ok. I told her that the last time I remember my hand being this red was when I was in Iraq. She instantly responded with, "No it's not. The last time your hand was that red is when you handed our daughter to me." I had mentioned before that the blood associated with my daughter's birth had helped by giving me a positive association for blood. And I was right. Thinking of Caley's birth started calming me down a little bit. The flashback became an intrusive recollection, which I find much easier to contend with. Yet another reason why support is so important - where would I have spiraled to if my wife wouldn't have been there to snap me out of it?
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.