It feels like aliens poking at my body.

CW: ¬†suicide, PTSD symptoms (Skip it if you’re not positive you’re up for it. ūüíú)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today has been rough. ¬†I had the math isn’t real nightmare again last night. ¬†It fucks me up every time. ¬†It usually means my sleeping mind has penetrated my defense system, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. ¬†Yay. /sarcasm. ¬†These are the times I wonder if testing medical cannabis for PTSD might be a good idea. ¬†I know what’s coming and I’m trying not to wig out. ¬†I’m trying not to let four letters defeat me.

When I first entered mental health services at the VA, I was told the only way to overcome PTSD was to talk about what caused it. ¬†It sounds simple, but talking about it means thinking about it. ¬†Thinking about it means visualizing and reliving it mentally. ¬†Reliving it mentally means willingly stepping into the hell that fucked you up so badly, it altered the structure of your brain. ¬†And do this with whatever mental health professional you’re assigned. ¬†Side note: ¬†You won’t see the same provider more than once for the first five years of your recovery. ¬†Good luck!

I read an article in Wired magazine suggesting the retelling of traumatic events that caused PTSD retraumatizes and worsens the condition. ¬†I gave it to the nursing staff on the mental health ward at the VA. ¬†It aligned with what they concluded for my situation. ¬†They weren’t surprised. ¬†There have been visible changes at the VA since then, many improvments. ¬†For example; the VA now acknowledges the fact women also serve. ¬†(I mean more than just saying they do.)

They still have a way to go before the number of veterans who opt for suicide goes down. ¬†It’s around 20 suicides a day right now. ¬†It makes me sad, but I understand it. ¬†When you’re the one who gives everything you have to the military, and suddenly you find yourself in a hospital, being told you’re no longer fit to serve, (because something that happened while you were honorably serving your country was more traumatic than your brain could process,) it makes a lot more sense. ¬†It made perfect sense to me when I was told I had to go through hell again to get out of hell. ¬†Everything within me said, “Fuck that, I’m out of here.”

I came very close to succeeding at offing myself. ¬†My memory of the event is spotty. ¬†I won’t go into detail, but what I remember most is the suicide prevention counselor telling me the police were surprised I survived. ¬†It stuck with me and helped shake me out of my tunnel vision. ¬†I was (final) acting on only my initial perspective of my situation. ¬†It was bleak as fuck, don’t get me wrong. ¬†However, I tried to bail before going through the entire mental exercise. ¬†It didn’t cross my mind I might be playing tag with PTSD.

My perspective broadened, and my situation stopped appearing so black and white. ¬†I remembered I’m a survivor; ¬†Of course, I can handle whatever PTSD throws at me. ¬†It’s sometimes painful, I’m rarely well rested, I startle like the calls are coming from inside the house, and I can’t watch anything with suspense or would frighten a five-year-old. ¬†Additionally, July 1-July 10th, I have to wear noise canceling headphones all day, and earplugs all night. ¬†I used to love fireworks. ¬†Now they’re torture.

It’s also best for me to get out of town when the airshow is going on. ¬†I was in Air Defense Artillery for the first five years of my service. ¬†Nothing moves in the sky when I’m outside without my noticing (and identifying it as friend or foe.) ¬†Probably for the rest of my life. ¬†I used to participate in wargames at 29 Palms, California. ¬†It’s basically the most incredible game of laser tag on earth, (tracked vehicles, copters, aircraft, huge teams,etc.) ¬†While it’s easily in the top five most exciting things I’ve ever done, it also scared the shit out of me several times. ¬†Let’s just say showoff pilots who do flybys of ground troops who are under camo are assholes of enormous proportion.

I know what’s coming, and part of me wants to curl up in a ball and cry. ¬†Sigh. ¬†Instead, I’m going to dig deep and find what I need to get through, even if it’s by the skin of my teeth. ¬†(Who thinks of these?) ¬†I have my Wanda Syke’s: I’ma Be Me DVD if things get too bad. ¬†I’m going swimming with some neighbors soon. ¬†They’re Muslim and wear suits that are quite modest. ¬†They gave me one when I asked where to get them. ¬†I have super nice neighbors. ¬†I have it on now, and I like it. ¬†It’s too humid to run outside, which sucks. ¬†But swimming is better for me anyway. ¬†I’m off to focus on fun like there’s a prize.

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