Those of us who suffer from PTSD would like nothing better than to have a normal life. Some of us have come to grips with it in so me way but it looms over us like a cloud. You never know when its going to rain down on you.
This trip is allowing me to face my demons and to figure out how to minimize the effects of them. Maybe with time I can do away with them or accept them for what they are. Most important need to focus on moving forward and adapt and improvise.
Last night at my girlfriends house I was trying to sleep. Her daughters bedroom is below us and the air conditioner is running. Most people wouldn’t have a problem with this. To me it sounded like a USCG 41 footer heading across the water. Now this isn’t a problem but it triggers the memory of the 2004 plane crash where I was stuck in the plane while trying to extract the pilots wife in the cockpit. Now I am afraid to go to sleep. I am afraid of the nightmares I will have and how it will affect everyone in the house when I wake up screaming. How it will affect me for a couple of hours after. So I lay awake.
So I lay there and analyze the whole situation so that I can sleep in peace. First thought I have is my girlfriend telling me you need to deal with it. I figure out that the sound is not in our bedroom but coming from outside. Then I figure out her daughter has her air conditioner running. Next with are in a landlocked town miles from the ocean so I couldn’t hear a boat no matter how hard I tried.
I filled my head with enough reasoning and logic that I was able to come to peace and snuggle up to her and go to sleep.
I am still working on being in crowds. I am getting much better at it. I have had 2 episodes while being in a crowd where the first time I almost blacked out but stayed. The second I had to leave the area. Luckily on the second my daughter called me and got my mind off of things.
Its a work in progress and it is hard work but I will persevere and get through it.
Maybe when I get settled In Texas I will start a kayak support group for veterans with PTSD and teach them how to come to grips with their demons.