Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I Hate November

To those close to me who've been watching my Tweets & Facebook posts within the last 48 hours, you've probably been wondering what's been going on that's got me so freaked out and on edge lately. You'd probably be right in assuming that my PTSD has been fucking with me extra hard and really taking a toll on me, however I want to take a moment to assure you all that despite being extremely overwhelmed I am not suicidal. We all know how common suicidal ideation is among Soldiers and Veterans, so any of you who were worried about THAT being the case, your concerns are valid however (at this time) inaccurate. 

Monday 2-NOV-2015 was a shit day for more reasons than I care to recall, most of which I had little to no control over and could not have prevented. So with this post, for those who care (and for which I am VERY grateful for) I'm going to attempt to explain what has me in such a mental and emotional bind & why I'm going to call a doctor at my local VA at some point later today.

That morning, I had a real bastard of a bad dream about Iraq: Not a specific thing happening, per se, but a cluster-fuck of all of the feels I was feeling downrange (abandonment, disgust, horror, despair, etc...) all at once & in one place.

I'm no stranger to deployment dreams, I'm strongly under the impression that many fellow Veterans often experience this as well. It's not necessarily just "being back there" that troubles me, most of the time. I deployed with a less-than-savory lot who rarely hesitated to remind me that my life and wellbeing did not matter to them in the slightest, as I've already detailed more times than I care to recall in this very blog. I do have GOOD memories of being deployed, it's just that extremely few of them include my squadmates from 40th ESB. Most of them are interactions with Soldiers from other units and branches, even a few Iraqis that I met, on the rare occasion that I was able to do so.

So after waking up at around 0330 or so feeling flash-flooded with the immediate aftermath of experiences that I'd sooner saw off a tit than re-live ever again, I first tried desperately to calm down and fall back asleep: Obviously, I had just had a nightmare and could probably benefit from hitting an inner reset button, take a few deep breaths and think happy thoughts... only I couldn't fall back asleep. This happens from time to time, insomnia fucking blows but there's not much I can do about it, plus I also have an early morning class on Mondays so I may as well get up and make myself some coffee.

I proceed to drag my ass for the next two hours because despite a feeling of urgency and alertness, my limbs refused to cooperate with what my brain was ordering them to do: Get off the couch, get the damn coffee and get your ass to class!

I live very close to Fayetteville's bike trails, I can see the Scul Creek crossing from my apartment window. I cross this crosswalk every morning to walk to my bus-stop, that day some frat-boy jack-hole on his cell-phone decided to run the crosswalk with me still in it: He came within two feet of either maiming or straight-up killing me. I'm rather confident that if I had an object in my hand, I'd probably have thrown it at his head: I really don't like violence, but FUCKING HELL DUDE, YOU COULD HAVE KILLED ME! And I know the prick saw me, because I saw him turn toward me and then duck his head slightly, then he just kept on rolling like nothing happened at all. 

Hey dick-face, if I ever see you do that again I'll shove that phone so far up your lilly-white ass you'll be able to taste your next text-message.

Class wasn't anything really all that special, even though this is normally the class that I enjoy the most. I've also had more writing/essay assignments this semester than I had all of last year, which leaves me with almost no free time at all (hence, a huge reason why I haven't been posting all that much.) I came home eager to talk, obviously there is something going on and it's fucking with me pretty damn hard: It's not even lunchtime yet, and the knock-out-punch was still yet to come.

I'm very lucky in that I have an awesome husband whom I can talk to about almost anything and he'll usually understand, we have our disagreements from time to time but communication is something we've always taken very seriously and this has been a huge boon for us both. He knew I'd had a bad dream because he woke up around the same time I did, that aparrently I'd been shifting and whining in my sleep which is usually a clear indicator that something's wrong. Again, this happens from time to time, but usually I can navigate my way through the field of feels and get through my day unscathed.

So after some coffee and an otherwise pleasant heart-to-heart with someone I care about and love, this oughtta be enough to get me back on the right track... right? 

Sometime around noonish, a reminder notification popped up on my computer and my heart sank: I'm no stranger to forgetting birthdays, it's happened before even to friends and family because if it weren't for things like Facebook I'd never remember ANYONE'S birthday.

Monday was someone's birthday, alright: Someone I think about every single day, especially staring down feelings of guilt and regret almost every single morning in my own reflection. 

Someone I loved with every fiber of my being.

Someone who needed me when times got tough.

Someone I abandoned out of selfishness & fear.

Someone who's life was utterly destroyed partly because I'm a coward.

Yeah, there are a lot of times when he pops into my mind out of the blue and then I outright fucking hate myself for not having the balls to be a decent human being.

ALL of the feels, ALL of the 'I-told-you-so's' and 'wish-it-weren't-so's' as well as all of the lingering guilt and regret for things I could-have and should-have done, but didn't. EVERYTHING came crashing down on me all at once, from being publicly humiliated by my unit for loving someone they didn't approve of while refusing to cave to THEIR advances, to the last memory I have of holding him in my arms, to really wishing I'd had a rock in my hand at the crosswalk early in the morning, then flashing back to vomitting up the jar of stolen pills and the cold steel of the muzzle of my M-16 in my mouth a month or so before coming home from Iraq.

All of THAT came crashing down into my mind like a Predator Drone Strike at THE WORST POSSIBLE TIME.

Self loathing is exhausting.

NOW, let's Tarantino this chuckle-fuck back in time to about one week ago...

Since I ETSed out of the Army in 2013, only two medications have really helped me balance out & negotiate the trials of life with Service-Connected PTSD: Marijuana and Lamotrigine. I live right down the street from my local VA hospital and this is a College town, normally access to medicine isn't an issue for me and I'm extremely lucky in that regard. However, the order-from-home-prescription-refil service that my VA facility offers takes about a week. And while I like to partake in the occasional "herbal remedy" like any other red-blooded American, if I do it too often it has it's own realm of unpleasant side-effects, and so I moderate my (rare) use very carefully.

Due to a miscalculation on my part, I was unmedicated for an entire week.

It's easy to talk shit about "big-pharma" until your ability to fucking LIVE is compromised. Anti-vaxxers and anti-modern-medicine shills are the scum of the Earth and are thoroughly deserving of public scorn and ridicule. Yes, I rely on two tiny pills every morning to manage my ability to think straight without becoming overwhelmed to the point of collapse, but you know what? It sure as shit beats joining the Daily 22 just to prove a point.

I have my pills now, they finally arrived on schedule, and as soon as I hit the "publish" button, I'm calling my doctor for an appointment.

My negligence has already shattered ONE life that didn't deserve it, I'm not going to do it to MYSELF.