During this past week, one of the appointments I attended was with my prescribing psychiatrist at the VA. We were concerned that the VA's mandate to lower all Citalopram HBR users' prescription to 40mg from higher doses would have a deleterious effect on me. What they discovered is that the arbitrary reduction in dosage caused many guys to experience a significant amount of emotional instability that manifested as bi-polar tendencies. The doc said I do not have Bi-Polar disorder but stated I needed something to specifically fight the depression that seemed to be winning out.
As a result of this, 100mg of Wellbutrin was added to my cocktail. I won't lie. I was really skeptical at first. It's been four days and I can honestly say that there has been a noticeable difference in my behavior. I was out all day with the family yesterday. Here's what I did yesterday:
Yeah...couldn't have done all that in one day a week ago. It wasn't that I didn't feel the anxiety and that I didn't have the urge to go hide in my hole. Not at all. The depression that made me infinitely more likely to lose the battle has been buffered a little already. It is a nice feeling. Granted, it was a lot of effort and I was exhausted by the time the day was over, but it was worth every moment.
The rest of today and, most likely the weekend, is mine to relax now. I am going with mama bear and cub down to her parents' house. We are going to go swimming and my fish, I mean daughter, will have a blast. I am going to bring down my rug-hooking kit and get some of that done as well. Then tomorrow is all mine. I am going to write my novel a large portion of the day. Have a great weekend everyone! I pland
So yesterday, I traipsed out to the local outpatient clinic to attend my first scheduled group Cognitive Processing Therapy session. I finally made it through the gauntlet of individual assessments to get into the group. There are only a few slots per group so they want to make sure that the person they are bringing in is dedicated to coming and to learning. Well, I finally made it.
As I entered the room, I noticed that I was the first one there, early as usual. I sat down and pulled out my kindle and started to read over some of my book that I had written the night before. I didn't get very far. I started wondering if this was going to be a waste of my time. I started feeling anxious. I wanted this to be a good thing but was afraid to get my hopes up.
As I sat there thinking about all of this, the doc and the other member arrived. Yeah. One other member. Needless to say, the anxiety ratcheted up another notch. Then I found out that a lot of the regulars were not going to be there because the folks that had been attending regularly were in residential inpatient treatment programs of some nature or another. Needless to say, I started to relax a little.
As introductions were made and I learned some about the other member that was there, I recognized that we were both in the same place, relatively speaking. We were both too smart for our own good. We are both introverts and recognize that we have problems and triggers, but we also recognize that things are never going to get better unless we learn the tools to cope with our triggers.
There was one other interesting commonality. We had both been participants in support groups previously and been particularly disillusioned. We had no patience for people that were going to sit around and cry in their soup. We are both solutions guys. We don't focus on the problems and want desperately to add every tool we can in order to best control our PTSD.
For the first time in a long time, I am hopeful that the treatment I am receiving will make a difference for me and my quality of life. As I learn things, I will share them moving forward. Have a great day all!
I finally got a good night sleep last night. I used a neti pot to clean out my nasal passages and a huge clot came out when I purged my nose. The smell and taste of blood went away immediately. I think my wife could tell that my relief was more than profound - it was physically palpable. I feel energetic and motivated to face the day for the first time in almost two weeks.
It was awesome. No nightmares. No waking up with my heart racing. No smell of blood, no profound feelings of loss and sorrow. It was a much needed respite last night.
Today is about focusing on other aspects of my life for a change. I got the green light to return to work and will be heading back to work in two weeks. In a way it's a relief as well. I need to get back to living a somewhat normal life so that I can finally put all of my physical health problems in the rear view mirror. I hope everyone else has an amazing day!
Good God. This is unreal. It has been eleven straight nights now that I have woken up with the nightmares, smelling and tasting blood. I really need my nose to heal faster or I may lose my very tenuous grasp on reality. I knew what to expect this morning and I have been able to adapt my behavior toward my family, but I think it would be a really, really, really bad idea for me to go out in public today. I think today I will stay in and write more of my novel. At the rate it is proceeding, I am going to be able to publish well before the Labor Day deadline. It's something to do and it keeps me busy. It has been a really good outlet for my destructive emotions. I'm off for the rest of the day. Let's hope this trend ends at day eleven.
Last night, I snapped at my wife again. I lost my temper with my parents. In other words, I have been an insufferable ass. I knew what was happening and felt powerless to stop the train wreck. I didn't know what was causing these outbursts of anger. Well, last night for the 10th straight night, I woke up to the smell of blood and the screams and moans of the wounded and dying. You heard that right - TEN FUCKING STRAIGHT NIGHTS.
The power of hindsight made me realize how close I came to destroying my family again. Here's the scenario:
The Weeping Buddha - A corner of it was barely visible under the crap that had collected on top of it that we had put there to keep out of my daughter's ever expanding reach. I pulled it out, I wiped off the dust and sat and stared at it for over an hour. I returned to bed with a level of spiritual serenity I haven't felt in ages.
Once again, I had dodged a very dangerous bullet. You never think you could become one of those 'weak junkies' addicted to pain killers or other prescription drugs. I now know how insidious and dangerous that particular addiction can be. Something at a deep and personal level told me something was vitally and dangerously wrong. It took seeing my Weeping Buddha again and meditating about my loss, about the sorrow I feel that allowed me to put the pain back into some semblance of proper perspective.
Yes I still smell and taste blood every day. It's not my imagination. My nose is still healing from the invasive surgery. It will heal, though. I just have to make it through the physical healing process and keep my grief in a healthy perspective. I just have to remind myself of the incredible strength of the Weeping Buddha. His incredible countenance and the stories whispered in hushed tones about the warlord who was the motivation for the carving have had a profound effect on my life. Back when I got this statue, the information about the Weeping Buddha was much less commonplace than it is now. I encourage you all to take that particular journey and learn about this amazing statue. I hope it resonates as strongly with you as it has with me for over six years.
Man, it's been a rough week. I was on some serious pain-killers until early this morning and they sent me into la-la land. Now that I am partially recovered from the surgery enough to think more clearly, I wanted to send a heartfelt thank you to everyone who send me well-wishes. I am going to enjoy the rest of the day with my parents and my daughter while mommy is in class. I will start blogging for real tomorrow. I know I have a lot to address, a lot of blogs to write and a lot of questions to answer. I wish you all a wonderful Saturday!
All I smell is blood. All day long. All night long. Last night, the pain meds made me pass out. Less than an hour later, I was awake again - head throbbing from the adrenalin and my nose was seeping like crazy. This was the routine last night as I sat in the recliner and tried to sleep. The trend continued during the morning today as well. I'm exhausted and emotionally spent (not to mention that I look like someone heel stomped me in the face). I don't even have the energy to get irritable. I'm am half delirious. Just gotta make it through the weekend. Have a good weekend everyone. I will
For some folks, this one is going to seem out there, but it is something I have discovered I need. The desire to create something original is incredibly cathartic for me. It started off with rug hooking (think latch hooking, but smaller knots). I have been working on the same rug for close to six years. I don't care that it's not even close to being finished. The simple act of creating order from chaos is incredibly relaxing for me.
Then came the blogging and designing the website. I think we all know how well that had turned out for me. I am grateful that I have the ability to give back and create something that is meaningful to so many. I find blogging incredibly rewarding and, believe it or not, it allows me to explore my writing style more fully with no repercussions. With non-fiction you don't need to convince anyone of the veracity of your comments. It is the perfect venue for trying out writing styles and prose and looking at how well they are received by the readers. I love it and I often find that describing something that happened to me in real life is easier to explain in figurative terms.
Then comes the last piece of the puzzle - writing fiction. I have had ideas bouncing around in my head for years and just this year decided it would be a good idea to start writing a serial novel. I just published the prologue on Amazon. It feels amazing. A little surreal. I was able to draw on my life experiences to create a fictional story line. If you are a Amazon Prime member, may you could check it out and borrow it. I want you all to know that I have found the process of writing incredibly enjoyable. The reason I share it here is because I want you all to know that this desire to create something is in many of you as well. Tap into this greatness and reap the benefits. I am going to go recover more from my surgery yesterday, but I wanted to share this passion with you all.
If you are interested in learning more about Part One of my book, here's the link.
At 0830 yesterday morning I headed into pre-op to get septoplasty done. The hope is that opening up my nasal passages will allow me to breathe better and alleviate the buildup of allergens in my sinuses and give my lungs a much needed (and hopefully permanent) break from post nasal drip. When I woke up after surgery, I was in an extreme amount of pain. I was moaning. Yeah, that went over about as well as a fart in church. My own moaning caused intrusive recollections.
Enter my wife. She held my hand and soothed me and did everything in her power to keep me prescient. It worked pretty damn well until I started quiet moaning because the pain killers were wearing off.
After I got all of my post operation care instructions, we went home. I was an insufferable whiny ass for the remainder of the day and my wife, again, handled it like a champ and pretended not to notice. Here was the routine. Pain meds started to wear off about an hour before I was allowed to take more. I would get grumpy. I would then be able to take the pain meds and they would take another hour to kick back in. I would then have about two hours of manageable pain before the cycle started all over again.
Needless to say, I was not the most pleasant person to be around. Add to that having wadded gauze stuffed up your nose that had a propensity for oozing a mix of snot and blood...I didn't sleep much last night. I am sure that I am still not the most pleasant person to be around. I feel like someone heel stomped me square in the nose. I smell blood all the time for obvious reasons. It's causing random flashbacks that distract me in mid thought, sentence, conversation...I really can't wait for this to be over. It better have been worth it. The idea that people have nose jobs out of conceit...idiots. All idiots. Maybe it's just the pain talking, but I D 10 T's as we used to call them in the Army.
Yesterday was a really good day. Dani and I were so tired that we went to bed early. I was awake and out of bed less than three hours later. The nightmares made a very strong visit. I was concerned that this may happen with the surgery coming up in a few days. I was up for about an hour and a half before Dani came out and ordered me to come back to bed. I am glad she did, but I woke up still agitated and irritable. I think Dani recognized the signs of me needing a day for me and took Caley for a walk. It's raining out so I am sure they went for a walk at the mall or somewhere else far away.
This anxiety is killing me right now. The surgery is two days away and the only thing I can think about is that they are going to have to put me under local anesthetic on Thursday. The thought of that is freaking me out. It is the ultimate in not having control over your body or faculties. The concept is freaking me out a whole lot more than I thought it would. I need this surgery. I don't have a choice but to get this done. I just need to find a way to calm myself down so that I am not spending the next two days wound tighter than a spring.
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.