I've been going through some stuff recently that made me get online and look back at some of the blog posts I have written. This last time, I was curious to see how long it had been since I last posted on the blog and was absolutely STUNNED to find out that it's been almost two years to the day.
While I never meant for that to happen, the last two years have been crazy, different, life-changing, and somehow the same. PTSD has been my constant companion. I wasn't sure how easy it was going to be to write again but it's easier than I thought it would be. Let me fill you in on the last few years and what has transpired in my life to get be back here and back to blogging.
My Job, My Mission, and Finding Meaning
I know I spoke about my new endeavor previously. Since the last time I blogged about the company I now co-own, Netizen Corporation, we have grown to 40 employees across 13 states and have been more wildly successful that I would have ever thought possible. We have realized 3910% trailing 3-year revenue growth and we were just named as the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce Veteran Owned Company of the Year.
It's been a wild ride and my job is to continue to drive growth and help steer the vision for the company's future success.
For the remainder of 2016 and all of 2017, I was doing well, coping well. Everything was going well, we were growing, we were hiring, we were making all the right decisions. At some point in early 2018, something changed and I was triggered a lot earlier this year. I struggled mightily to cope and to stay balanced and functional at work. For the longest time I couldn't figure out what the HELL was wrong and why everything was going sideways for no damn reason at all. I even went back on mood-stabilizers I have felt so out of control. Then something happened in early August that changed my perspective on a few things and started me down this road back to blogging.
The Car Accident I Shouldn't Have Walked Away From
I'd been working myself to the bone, I was on new medication, I was exhausted. I was so tired I actually stopped at a hotel for the night on my way back from Northern Virginia. I got up early and was less than 5 miles from my house when I lost consciousness at the wheel.
TELEPHONE POLE: 1 // MAX: 0
I somewhat remember the impact, but really came to when my airbag smacked my hand into my face and the car was careening into a cornfield. If the corn wouldn't have been there, the car would have rolled for a good 50 feet. Instead, the car was settled, almost gently, back down on four tires.
I got out of the car with a slightly bruised hand and some mild chemical burns on my face from the airbag.
By all rights, I should have been hurt a lot worse, if not dead.
Talk about a wake up call. That happened on August 9th. I still do not now how I walked away from that crash but a lot of things started bubbling up as a result of it.
Work Life Balance? You're Funny
Here's the saddest part with all of this and a crazy indication of how out of balance my life was less than a month ago: I was back in the office in under three hours after the accident took place and was head down preparing for the coming month. Everyone kept on asking me if I was OK and seemed alarmed that I was at work at all that day. It didn't register with me at all.
It did that weekend. The shock of the trauma I had been through started to wear off and I thought to myself,
Dolphins, Work Trips, and Nightmares
Vacation was wonderful, I enjoyed my time with my daughter immensely. We went swimming with dolphins and it was amazing! I came back refreshed and ready to go. My first night back, I had nightmares - bad ones. I didn't think anything of it at the time, thinking it was some residual stress working its way out of my system. I left for a work trip the Sunday after I got back and all I did was work during the day at the convention I was at, write proposals in the evenings, meetings during the day, more proposals....you get the idea. Then something happened that triggered my PTSD that I couldn't help but obsess over and now I'm going on 5 hours of sleep in the last three days. I was shocked and taken aback at how quickly my condition devolved - especially after having just come back from vacation. It was like my stress bucket was either full or a lot smaller than it should be. I couldn't figure out what was causing this 'relapse' so out of desperation, I started writing in Word on my computer, just to get some stuff out and lo' and behold...the 'aha moment' came quickly to me.
What Did I Discover?
The epiphany was multi-faceted. I was stunned at how my PTSD had 'mutated' to wheedle its way into my day to day life. What I realized was that the company was growing so fast that I was no longer in complete control of every facet of the company's growth. This lack of control was a death by a thousand cuts until I found myself moody and manic on a daily basis. I've also been having nightmares and I didn't realized that there was addional trauma that I hadn't been addressing that happened overseas in Iraq. I won't go into it in this post, but I will explain later in a future post. I was also terrified to get behind the wheel of my car this coming week, even though I have a ton of strategic meetings in DC that I can't miss. All of these stressors, plus the day to day tempo at work finally sank in and I found that I wasn't coping well with anything and was constantly tired, just like I was before I went on vacation.
I don't know what motivated me to try writing again but once things started to become clearer for me, I knew I had to start up blogging again.
So here I am, still struggling but at least feeling like what's bothering me is now known to me so that I can address it, confront it, accept it, and learn to cope with it.
Thank you all for your patience. There will be more to follow but hopefully this helps acclimate everyone to where I am right now. Thank you all fo listening to the rambling of a tired guy and have a great night!
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.