Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

I have been dealing with PTSD for over 25 years. The first 20+ years I used alcohol and drugs to deal with the symptoms of this disorder. This came with some serious ramifications. I spent nearly half those years in prison. Not the psychological prison but the physical one. Various drug convictions got my ass put behind bars, locked away from society. That was, by far, a lot easier than the prison I created in my mind. Some of you may wonder why I can't destroy it since I created it. I have asked myself the same question time after time. My mind has created such a monster that has power beyond belief. I have been encouraged to talk about my PTSD by the mental health professionals, thus the reason behind this journal. If you are a new reader to my blog I will give you a quick summation of my PTSD. I was a 20 year-old medic in the military with a terminal cancer patient that convinced me to help him commit suicide. That is it. I killed a man against all morals and values that I was taught as a child. If you want the whole story you can click on archives and read it all. My brain, as yet fully developed, would not let me forget that day and I have been haunted by this man since 1979. Only as recent as 5 years ago did I tell anyone of this trauma. I am currently in an inpatient treatment center designed specifically for PTSD sufferers. I am on medication to alleviate the nightmares associated with PTSD. Is it working? No. Is there hope? Hope is all I have to hold onto. theblogmeister

Demonless Sleep

I waited until Hillary made her speech until I went to sleep. That was the plan, anyway. I did not make it.I feel asleep within minutes of her taking the stage. I did, however, enjoy a night free of my demon. Maybe He watched the speech, instead. Whatever the reason He left me alone. I understand I am giving Him life by talking about Him. The way I capitalize His name gives Him validity. The very thing my therapist tells me not to do. So, why do it? I hid my demon for over 20 years and tried to make Him go away by not acknowledging Him.To me, the Colonel is real. Although He is dead, He lives. He has hijacked my sub-conscious. I don't know why there are times He gives me a reprieve. Sometimes I may go for days without dreaming about Him. When I get complacent and feel He has left me I will be at peace. It is short-lived, though. I am trying to take Him head-on. To defeat Him and regain my night. I have stopped having good dreams long ago. He is trying to gain a foothold in my conscious mind. Am I crazy? You wouldn't know it if you met me on the street. I think that I am a little crazy. I believe I have created this demon and have allowed Him to grow. So, I am crazy. Insane? No. Troubled? Hell yes! Just stick around. He will be back. That is one thing that I am sure of. theblogmeister

Monday, August 25, 2008

I Don't Belong

I just walked out of one of my PTSD groups because I felt that I didn't belong. I was the only one in the group that has not seen any combat, yet I am haunted by the same demon that haunts them. The Past. I have been up since 12:38 a.m. because of an horrific nightmare that is hard to share.
My wife came to get me yesterday for an 8 hour pass so my Demon chose to feed on my inner most intimate thoughts. He disguises Himself to terrorize using my dreams as a tool much like a terrorist uses an IED to accomplish their mission. Lorri, whom I have been married to for the last 5 years, came to me in my dreams much like she did in reality, yesterday.It was a truly beautiful day, despite tropical storm Faye. I will no go into great detail, as vivid as my dream was. I had called Lorri to find out where, exactly, she was when a Tuscaloosa Police car approached the building to 137. My heart sank, for I knew that something bad had happened. I could feel it. It is amazing to find a partner that you are absolutely suited for. A team operation. We spent the better part of 2 and a half years together, 24/7, driving for a large trucking company running almost a quarter million miles. We are connected beyond belief.That is the best word I can use to describe our relationship. I believe God put us together for a reason. That is why I am still alive, physically, today.She is the one that has been holding me up, keeping my head above the insanity pool, not allowing me to slip from her grasp into the grave. The police officer came to me and said no words. None were needed. He drove me to the accident scene on the get off ramp of University Blvd. Lorri's Toyota was a heap of smoldering, unrecognizable metal. I frantically began to scream her name over and over. A lone ambulance quietly sat just beyond the wreckage, lights flashing. I approached the medics, their heads bowed in respectful solitude. Tears began to flow. A medic opened the side door and motioned me inside the vehicle. I seemed to float up to the jump seat at the head of the gurney. My heart had been ripped from my chest my throat raw from screaming Lorri's name The medic pulled the sheet back to expose a grey-haired man of about 80 wearing a WWII flight suit with the name DeBarge stenciled above his left pocket. I began to howl bolting up in bed scanning my surroundings. I began sobbing. Thank you God, thank you God. I quickly got out of bed, washed my face with a cold rag and walked into the hall towards the nurses station. James, the nurse on our floor asked if I was okay He could see that I was upset and opened the door to the porch and let me sit outside then left me alone. James knew, instinctively, what I needed. The tears came and I cried until there were no more tears left. This PTSD is a lot tougher than I had thought. Sometimes I am afraid it will be too tough for me to handle. Sometimes. theblogmeister


Sleep is trying to overtake me. I try to fight but the medications win every time. It doesn't take long for the demon to pull me into the abyss of the sub-conscious. He is powerful, relentless. Unforgiving. His only goal is to replay the trauma of my past. My sub-conscious mind is owned by the night. By Him. His power is nocturnal. In formidable. The result of 20 years of bondage between myself and my sub-conscious. He hates the fact others know of Him. He's afraid. Afraid of being locked away in the place where memory has no hold.Afraid of losing His power over me. My nightmares are getting desperate.I have no chemicals to quiet Him. To tame Him the way it was before His creation. He seems to be getting stronger. My therapist tells me to give Him no quarter. Take away His name. Take away any and all of His power. I practice ways of stealing His power by taking away any credit for my sleep problems. Self talk. Self-awareness.The more I learn about PTSD the stronger the demon gets.It's not supposed to work that way. Coping skills are a way of dealing with problems of the light. It seems nothing works for the night. Colonel Reginald DeBarge. Full bird. In life a smart, witty gentleman with a heart of gold. In death He lives on in my mind.Why? I ask God to take Him away. Erase Him from my memory. Give me peace. Rest. Freedom from fear of the night. He is affecting my light, too. Isolation. I stay away from crowds.He watches me but hasn't had the courage to confront me in my world. The light. He knows His power is limited, if non existent, during the day. He patiently waits, knowing I can't stay awake, forever. The dark is His stage. He knows I can't escape the night so he waits. Like a small child waiting on the tooth fairy knowing He won't come while awake. So, the child, with excitement, hurries to fall asleep. I envy that child's innocence. His beautiful, bountiful sleep. theblogmeister