All of the developments with my health in the past few days have had a seriously bad unintended side effect. Rage. The docs say the sleep apnea is major contributing factor for why my PTSD was as bad as it was this past year. Wonderful. Great. Peachy. Splendid.
A suppressed immune system from lack of quality sleep causes allergic reactions to be worse. In some cases, severe allergies become life threatening. Wonderful. Great. Peachy. Splendid.
Every relationship, personal and professional has suffered because of all of this crap. Thus, the rage. It's the angriest I have felt in years, and that scares me. I know I won't act on it, but it feels like someone lit a fire in my gut and walked away leaving me with the unenviable duty of putting out the fire by myself. I am snippy and have been since the docs told me about sending me to a sleep study yesterday. No one has been spared, including my wife. Is it fear of the unknown or anger at the injustice of it all. I will keep at it and see what I can figure out, but it doesn't make the feeling any less toxic.
I feel like every time I regain a modicum of control over my life and my emotions, something comes along to sabotage all of the hard work I have put in. It gets really tiresome. When the hell do I get a break? I need a vacation from me...
I really have my work cut out for me. I made the realization that I have been living in fear of my PTSD for a lot longer than the past year. I have been living in fear of it for 8 years. Yeah. That blew my mind. I kept on asking myself, how the hell is that even possible? Well...
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.
I woke up tired and angry today. Yeah. Tired. AND angry. Even though I think I should avoid correspondence with people and just hide in a hole, I've tried that. It doesn't work. You end up just stewing in your own juices and getting even MORE angry. I don't want to go there again. I deserve better than that. My family deserves better than that. My readers deserve better than that. So today, I am trying something different:
I am going to live vicariously and see if it improves my mood. I hope it will help to improve your day. Yes readers, I am talking directly to you. I am going to tell you three things I am grateful for today:
I am grateful for having met Rod Deaton.
I am grateful for my family.
I am grateful to be alive.
OK, your turn! Write a comment and tell me what you are grateful for. This is only going to work if you participate. Spread the word. I don't care if a person is a regular reader or not, get people to come on here and say what they are grateful for. Mondays suck all around. I don't know anyone who wakes up on a Monday and says, "Gee, I love Mondays!!". Let's work together to make this day the ray of sunshine so many of us want and need.
I have a major problem. I have not been able to quiet my mind and get a quality night of sleep for weeks now. I have so many ideas and thoughts and issues I am trying to work through bouncing around my head it's giving me a chronic headache. I need to slow everything down. I am going to try to create a place at home for meditation and relaxation. The recommendation was made to me that I explore the idea of 'just being' for a little and not thinking. This presented an interesting challenge to me. I think this idea scares me more than I care to admit. To slow down my thoughts and to 'just be' would invite memories and destructive thoughts to visit.
Well, today I am facing that fear. My wife is taking our daughter down to her parents for a while and I plan on using some of that time to 'just be'. I don't know if I know how to clear my head of thought, but I am going to try. I think that the greatest lessons in life are the ones taught to us when we aren't paying attention. Introspection or 'soul searching' have always played a key role in informing me about my PTSD and how it impacts my life.
I think a good portion of the emotional detachment that my wife experiences from me is attributable to not being able to get my mind to shut up long enough for my day to day life to register in a meaningful way. I plan on talking to my wife about making time once a week for me to focus my mind. Before I was in the military I had the uncanny ability to focus on a single problem or idea and explore it meaningfully from all angles. It made me VERY good at chemistry and drafting. Maybe I just need to find something that will appeal to my affinity for spatial relations. Building models. Wow. Where did that thought come from. Time to search online for local hobby shops. I think that's what I am going to do to focus my mind and clear it of all the other junk. Time to build a model.
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.