Our Lives With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury

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What I learned from being shot, my PTSD

This past week in treatment here at the hospital has been exceptionally difficult for me, I have really been letting the environment cloud my mind and hamper my recovery. It has severely constrained my thinking and ability to address my issues at hand. Instead of the facing the issues and problems,  such as; taking someone’s life, that I have severely damaged my marriage through bad decisions, and that I live in constant pain from being shot.  Rather, I have been focusing on the small things, the enviromental distractions, hell I was blaming Elizabeth for stuff and shes 1000 miles away. But I have realized that I choose to focus on little things: like the bathroom door being locked, not being able to throw a dip in, no hot water in the showers, crappy food, and even yelling at Elizabeth because she went to a concert.

So why did I do these things?…that is the sixty four thousand dollar question.

I will tell you why,  I did those things because I didnt want to face my deamons, which ties directly to PTSD.
I started my inpatient treatment here with my doctors relatively light, but then ramped it up significantly in the very next session. I sat down with them and explained to them (seperately, i have a social worker and pychartrist) almost all of my problems, from having volatile outbursts, a shitty father, to a having killed other human beings, I told it all. I have never done that with anyone, never, and honestly, it was brutal, it felt like I was being stabbed in the heart with a rusty screwdriver. To sit there and listen to myself say all those things I had done was horrible, but whats worse, was knowing that my wife and kids were on the receiving end of that.  But it was worth listening too, because I discoverd something, something  I think is at the core of my PTSD. It is that I am using other things around me, kids fighting, bad dreams or whatever I can think of to not have to actually deal with my issues. Does that make sense? 

Basically, it boils down to this, I’ll use my being shot and being in pain for an example.  My pain level directly correlates to my behavior and attitude, so if my pain level is high so is my irratability, if the pain is low than so is the anger and so on an so forth.  But  when my anger is high I blame my behavior on something else, my kids being loud, fighting, they are running in the house, anything. When really thats not the issue, I’ve just made it that way because I can not control my pain and anger, which comes from being shot.  But the crazy part is, is that it’s not actually about the physically pain, which I am able to control now through meds, it’s about that anger and hopelessness when I was actually shot.  

I have learned that everytime I feel that pain in my leg, I go back to that horrible place, laying there in the street of a third world country,sweating, filthy, bleeding, in excruciating pain, wondering if I going to die, if I’m ever going to see my wife or my son again (Tristan was the only one at that point). It’s a horrific feeling, but one that I have never been able to let go of, hopefully, until now. 

So every time my pain level goes up in my leg I associate that with the fear, anger and hopelessness of that moment and then I externalize it towards my environment around me. And instead of facing the pain and anguish of being shot, I pick out other things, such as the bathroom door being locked, not being able to throw a dip in.  So for all this time I was trying to address being angry at those things and trying to fix my environment, when all I really had to do was address my actual issue, of being shot and the anger and hopelessness that i felt at that time, and the things around me will become less of a burden and will most likely not cause all those problems. 

So for me this is a huge step in realizing how severly PTSD  can affect you when it goes unchecked or untreated.  This is not to say that I am fully recovered and am healed, no, but know that i now what i need to address, i can curtail my symptoms and hopefully they will not affect my daily life as much anymore.

1 Recovery another screwed by the system

Just going to post real quick and say Melissa is doing awesome out in Florida, she had a terrible day today but its to be expected, everything is brand new, new location, new people, new pup. Everything. And those of us with PTSD don’t usually do to well with a bunch of change. But as she and I as well as every one knows, when its all said and done she is going to come out on top rocking and rolling. I am completely jealous of  her ;) but in a good way. I am very thankful she has finally gotten to that point where she begin to get on with her life and i know Chauncey is going to be one bad*** dog for her.

On the other hand if you have followed any of my nonsense going on i have probably been on one of the worst paths i have been on in awhile. I won’t go into to much detail. just check out the my blog later on if ya want.

At least M is on point to succeed right now and thats awesome! Don’t worry i will try and get as much rambling nonsense up while your gone so you can’t yell at me. Keep up the awesome work with Chauncey and know it will continue to get so much better everyday!

(Stupid factoid for my post…Kris Kross, Jump is playing on my iPhone. Yup it is.)

What if

What if…Every bad decision in life, every opportunity not jumped on, all those days that you said i don’t fell like doing it, what if you had done them. what if you jumped, what if you felt like it, what if you had made a different decision.

 That’s what I’m going to talk about right now. I read somewhere over this holiday weekend a little blurb from someone i can’t remember so i apologize for not giving him or her credit. But it said something along the lines of….what if you came home, what if you didn’t die in that god awful  country. What if you alive and at home.

I have been trying to put that into perspective, have tried to grasp it, to realize what it means. I can that I have and i haven’t. The passage goes on to say, that what if you weren’t killed in war, but made it home alive. It wouldn’t matter if you were your regular old self, or had changed just a little. IT wouldn’t matter if everything other weekend some one had to bail you out jail because you were being stupid. What if you tried to cut yourself off from everyone, didn’t want shit to do with your friends. What if you got hooked on drugs or just got rid of everything you had and started bumming of everyone, lived on the street. Any number of things.


What if……even if everyone of those things happened all at once. every damn thing….at least you would freaking be here. You be here in this world with us. I am trying to grasp that concept, because sure as shit true. At least you here, albeit maybe its a burden or a pain in the ass sometimes  but god admit you here, Your alive, your not buried somewhere like Arlington, or you home town plot in the back country.

 Maybe you’re in a rehab center, maybe you have your own box under a highway overpass. Who cares, I would walk through every minute, every second of that with you just to say you made it home. That you got that opportunity to be a screw up, the opportunity to lose everything, and then turn your life around and then hell do it again.

 The constant in all of that is you are here, the opportunity is there for you to what if ….I have know how hard it is to deal with almost all of those things.

So please all of  you that are dealing with those things, family, friends, loved ones, shit complete strangers. Realize you got that what if…you safe still here and able to fuck it all up and start over. Those that gave their lives for ours can’t. I know first hand its hard as hell to grasp that, some days i do, most days i don’t.


Just remember what if….


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