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.
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
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.