Three days have come and gone and I have worked eight hours on each of them. I am exhausted physically and mentally, but happy. The return to work was a lot smoother than I thought it would be. I was really anxious when I first went back on Sunday. I wasn't sure how things were going to go and I wasn't sure how I'd feel about being back.
A lot had changed in the four months since I was last working and I felt like I was the new guy all over again. Here's the weird part: I didn't mind it. I am approaching every day at work like I have a lot to learn and I do. It's a nice feeling. Just concentrating on making sure the work gets done. The best part of my days was always when someone I hadn't seen in months got excited to see I was back. It always helps the transition when you realize that people actually missed your presence. I may have been out for four months, my boss treats me like I never left. He is an incredible manager and an amazing person.
The hardest part for me is the time away from my daughter. I had gotten used to being around her all day and it has been particularly hard to get up in the morning and leave for work before she is awake and then not see her until near dinner time. It has really helped me to keep my work/life balance so far. When my work day is over, I don't stay extra time. I get the hell out of dodge to get home to my family. I definitely know which one if more important to me this time around and have my priorities set straighter.
There have been a few tensions when I got home from work, though. The job I do is physically demanding and I came home exhausted, mentally and physically. It is getting a little easier each day, but I still come home tired every day. The difference this time around is that I am helping with stuff around the house. I am going for walks with the family. I have struggled to stay awake when I get home, but I am fighting through it. I think it will get easier as I get back into shape.
All in all, a good few days. We'll see how the rest of the week progresses!
So tomorrow's the big day. Almost four months after my entire life imploded, I am headed back to work and nervous as a school boy on his first date. I have all of these useless negative thoughts bouncing around in my head and driving me crazy. What if people think I'm nuts? What if everybody knows? What if people don't respect me anymore? What if people treat me differently because they think I'm fragile or broken? Is it possible to come back to the same department and not feel weird? Does my boss still respect me? Will he still trust me to lead and manage after all that has happened? What happens if it is weird? What happens if I can't hack it? What happens if I freak out and have an anxiety attack? What happens if...
Yeah. Anxiety and catastrophic thinking are doing their best to work me over and it's hard not to let them. I have been very good about getting outside and exercising lately and that seems to help keep me in a more stable mood, but the weather outside is oppressive today. I think I need to find ways to distract myself and just get through the day as quickly and uneventfully as possible. I have a lot of love and support from friends and family and it has made it substantially easier to get back on my feet. I am looking forward to just doing my job and coming home at the end of every day. No frills, no crazy workaholism. Just go to work, work hard, and come home to spend my time with the people that matter the most to me: My Family.
After spending the last week out and about with the family for the holiday, today is a much needed down day. I woke up tired and am still exhausted. I just don't have the energy to do much on anything even if I wanted to. Even if PTSD wasn't an issue, finding a day to relax would still be important. It's just more important to me because PTSD is and always will be an issue I have to deal with.
Yesterday was July Fourth. Yes there were fireworks galore. There were big displays all over the area. I handled it OK yesterday but my nervous system is a little raw and I feel like my skin is being pricked by tiny little pins, head to toe.
So, today I take for me. Gotta take a little time to re-charge the batteries. I slept in a little this morning and I am looking forward to a day for me. See that cat in the picture? Yeah. Just like that. The weather here is still unbelievably hot so I will be drinking lots of water and trying not to burn to a crisp.
Before I go, I do have a shout out I would like to make to three young boys who are trying to make a difference for veterans. Their names are Owen, Sully, and Turner. These brothers befriended a veteran with PTSD and witnessed for themselves the healing power a dog can have. As a result, they have started a petition to force Congress to address the issues facing veterans with PTSD and the challenges involved with getting a service dog. Here is their information:
Their Facebook Page
Have a great day all!
Over the past two days I have spent a lot of time with my family outdoors and I discovered something amazing: Being out in the sun improves my mood.
I found myself smiling and not knowing why. That was new. I haven't felt this good in a long time. I felt my body responding to the sun, turning toward it like a plant thirsting for nourishment.
For the first time in a long time, life feels stable. All of my physical health issues are behind me. As long as I continue to take my medication for my allergies, I will continue to experience easy breathing. As long as I continue to take my PTSD medications, my mood will stay mostly stable. As long as...
There it is again. The subtle warning I need to keep in my mind at all times. The reason I am feeling so good is because I am doing all the right things to make sure I am stable. A lot of people don't realize how much hard work goes into being able to feel this good for someone like me.
As we are all out in the sun, swimming in pools and laughing with family this holiday week, lets keep in mind all of the hard work our veterans with PTSD have done to ensure that they can be there laughing with their families. Take a moment to reflect and be thankful for your loved ones who are fighting to keep their minds in the present. Maybe this year, you watch those fireworks on TV.
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.