Yet another day and more frustration and anger. People have a tendency to try to push the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not. They just push, push, push...
So I pushed back.
I didn't do anything violent. I didn't verbally abuse anyone. I just let people know, unequivocally, what I expected of them. I think I need to do that more often. Things went very smoothly after.
The real problem: I couldn't let the frustration go. I care too much. It makes me anxious as hell. I have already been down this road. The anxiety and the PTSD continually push me toward the cycle I was in all last year: gear up for work, exhaust myself, come home useless. It pushes and pushes...and shoves.
So I push back with all my might.
I will not let this happen again. I will continue to take my medication, I will continue to do things with my family, I will never stop blogging, and I will learn how to cope by attending CPT.
Next week is going to be a rough one for me. It always is. July 30th is the big anniversary. The one that feeds my nightmares the most. I have yet to make it through this without the PTSD shoving me squarely on my ass.
But I will push back. Hard. And maybe this year, I will maintain my balance.
I had to go to work early this morning and I still had last night on my mind. I knew that today was going to be a day I just had to get through. And I did. I had to fight the depression, the lethargy. I knew that the changes that returning to work would bring had the potential to put a serious strain on my coping mechanisms.
I had been hoping to have the time to catch up on all that has changed at work. No such luck. The basic business strategy has changed and it is a challenge to keep everyone on point. I also have the challenge of learning to relate to everyone at work again. While most have forgotten what it is like to have me around, some seem to have forgotten that I was out of work at all. The learning curve has been intense.
I knew that the change of returning to work would be difficult. The anxiety and anger have been difficult to keep in check at times. When it gets tough, I think about my family. It helps tremendously. Spending time with my wife and daughter, blogging and advocating for local veterans help me remain positive and leave me feeling fulfilled. I don't know where I would be without my friends and family. I know for certain that I wouldn't be sitting here writing this.
So...Here's to Victory.
And everything was going so well...
I had the kind of day that triggered my anger and my PTSD. I got frustrated a lot and it was hard not to bring it home with me. When it was time to leave and come home, I got out as quickly as possible and tried to leave work at work. I was not successful. I helped my wife get dinner on the table for the little one and talked about the anxiety that I was feeling. It was the day we both knew was coming but were hoping wouldn't.
My wife convinced me to go for a walk after dinner and it seemed like it was going to help and then I felt and heard a loud concussive explosion. My wife jumped and I immediately turned toward the source of the sound. My mind was no longer in Pennsylvania. The reaction and change in body language was instantaneous. My wife knew my instinct was to run directly at the source of the explosion. Her grip on my arm was like a vise. The only thing that kept me standing there was the absence of screaming. There was dead silence. No birds chirping and no cicadas sounding off. Even the sound of car traffic sounded far away. With every instinct screaming at me, I turned away from the source of the explosion and continued on our walk.
We never did find out what caused the concussion wave. I can feel that nagging doubt that everything is OK and it won't go away.
It's gonna be a long night.
Today I got to test my anger management ability. I got really angry at work today. Really angry. I had to walk away and get something to drink. I know what set me off and I can't wait until I learn how to disengage the knee-jerk anger reaction.
Here's the beauty of it, though. I hid it really well and went about my business after drinking down some water. When push comes to shove, as long as I am able to keep my cool and my professionalism, I can live with a little anger. The important part of the equation is that I didn't take the anger home with me. I didn't even keep it with me for the rest of my shift. I seem to be able to let the anger go a lot better now that my medication is properly balanced. I am sure restful sleep every night helps too. I have one more day of work and then I get two days off. It will be nice to enjoy some time off and write more of my book. Here's to hoping tomorrow goes well and I can officially put one week back to work securely under my belt!
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
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.
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.
Talking with my wife last night I came to the realization that I have been talking a good game. I am the heaviest I have ever been. I have little to no motivation to do anything that is not sedentary. Ugh. What a gut check. I have to do something about this. I need to figure out how to put my money where my mouth is. I forced myself to admit that I hate the guy looking back at me in the mirror. I don't recognize me. I'm fat, I'm lazy, I'm the guy that finds an excuse for everything - all of the things I find repulsive.
So what to I do about it? How? It's amazing how eroded self-confidence can destroy a person. I used to be confident that my body would be able to handle whatever was thrown at it. Then I end up in the hospital, allergies out of control. I realized that I felt betrayed...by my own body. The allergies played right into my PTSD. Because I am allergic to every damn thing in the air I breathe outdoors, I now view going outside as subjecting myself to a life-threatening environment. Even leaving the apartment has become close to impossible unless it is absolutely necessary.
You know what the worst part is? I am completely aware of the train wreck I have become. I saw it all happening and felt powerless to do anything about it. I have, once again, come full circle. My PTSD is again dictating how I live my life. Yup. Definitely a gut check. I hate feeling helpless, powerless. Yet, here I sit, on my duff while my wife takes my daughter for a walk. Time to put my money where my mouth is. Time to stop talking about making changes, time to start doing. My wife and I purchased a bike seat for my daughter because my wife knows how pointless I find walking. The problem is that we don't have room to store the bikes where we live. Gah! Are you fucking kidding me? I'm already trying to talk myself out of it. I have got to sign off.
Every so often, you just need some down time. I have been busy with the family and with medical issues and everything else for a while now. Today is just for me. Dani is taking a day for herself as well. She is taking Caley down to her parents' and is spending time down there quilting with her mother. As for me, well...
I haven't decided what I am doing today. I just know it won't involve actually doing much of anything. I am looking forward to sitting out on the porch for a little bit here and there, reading. Spending some quality time with my Xbox 360 may also be in order. I am not sure yet. I just know that today is a day to unwind and reflect on all that has happened over the last few weeks and months. I went back and read a lot of the posts from when I first started blogging again. They were pretty desperate and dark. I feel like I am in a better place now and not only for myself and my family.
There is going to be a lot happening in the ensuing months. I am getting more heavily involved in local veteran affairs and advocacy. I am excited about where that could lead, but I don't want to get my hopes up unrealistically. There are a lot of opportunities to improve the lives of veterans in my area (as I am sure there are everywhere) and I have some plans in the works to take advantage of those opportunities. I will probably spend a portion of the day mulling over my ideas and setting them down on paper, writing up a business model to envelope the ideas bouncing around in my head.
Regardless, I stay aware of where I have come from and what I need to continue to do to manage my PTSD. Some days are better than others and today's a good one. It's what I do on the days where things aren't so hot that will narrate my story in the coming years. I am tired of feeling angry and depressed and am working hard to fight the survivor's guilt. As the uncertainty of the future weighs more heavily on my shoulders, I look at my daughter to keep my focus. In the meantime, I will revel in doing whatever I please for a day.
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.