Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dream a little dream....

HAD I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet,
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams

W.B. Yeats

What do you do when all your dreams are taken away, not given freely, but stolen? I haven't been able to forget my dreams, even though now it seems likely that none of them will come true. I've locked myself away in this tower for so long, that looking out at the world is frightening. Two years now, I've been too terrified to leave home and seek out my dreams or search for new ones. I could have done anything before this, I was capable of doing almost anything. I don't even know what to hope for. When I look at class schedules I have panic attacks. What is this? I am 29 years old, and I have no debt and I have a little money saved. There is nothing hanging over my head that should stop me except for these damn anxiety disorders. I can't leave my house under my own power. I can't be around crowds of people, or even walk down the street alone. I'm so confused, and I try hard not to think about it at length, because it makes my throat close up, and my heart beat too fast, and I lose control of my breathing, it's too hot, and I want to run, but where do I go? My chest aches, and now my head is spinning, and oh God where do I go to hide? I can't let people see me like this, I can't let myself get trapped like that, it's too humiliating. When the panic finally stops I start hating myself again for my weakness. I can't get anything accomplished, because I've spent half the day hiding, so now the depression starts. I'll just go crawl back into bed with my favorite blanket, and my teddy bear, and my gun where I feel safe, and rest until I feel better. As soon as I feel better, I'll get some work done, and everything will be fine once again. I end up sleeping for four hours, and the rest of the day has slipped through my fingers. I wake up with a raging headache from so much crying and I feel sick, and angry at myself again, and I just go on feeling like that until everything goes numb. Then I don't want to go to sleep at night, afraid of the dreams, the nightmares, or maybe just wanting to punish myself for being such a failure. Such a failure. I was a combat soldier! I served tea in a firefight, I did air assault missions, and patrols for two weeks straight with no rest, and these little freaking panic attacks are going to hold me back? What a weak pathetic person I've turned into.

For two years. That is what my life has been like for two years. So what dreams am I supposed to reach for now? Where do you go from all of that? I don't even recognize myself half the time anymore. So much time has slipped through my fingers. I've painted myself into a corner, and have very little choice about where to go from here. Try, try, try again. It makes me so tired to think of the future when even the present is almost unbearable some days. The therapists say that I'm not the same person I was before, and that is normal. They say figure out what you want to do and then make a plan. Every day take little tiny baby steps and before you know it you will be running again! Yah! What the hell do they know about anything? They only deal with theoretical situations. God only knows when they will get my brain chemistry sorted out again.

This isn't even as bad as it gets, and I'm pathetically grateful for it. When it gets really bad, I don't even bother getting out of bed. I just lay there and wait, knowing that every day I survive, is one day closer to dying. How bizarre that such a thing would be so comforting.....

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Since the beginning of my experience with PTSD, I have had difficulty making decisions. Even trivial decisions make me freeze up. I become overwhelmed with doubts, uncertainties, and sometimes even panic. I tend to abdicate any decision making to others. Or I make decisions at random without thinking about them or consulting others.

I spend quite a bit of time carrying on internal monologues to myself. I have to remind myself constantly to acknowledge my feelings but not to react to irrational thoughts or feelings. Some days it feels like I spend the whole day in one never-ending pep talk. It is exhausting. Therapy sucks. I work hard at being non-critical of myself. My life is so self-centric it is kind of ridiculous. I watch others working so hard to take care of me, and it makes me sad.

There are very few people who can grasp the magnitude of what I am going through, and I'm lucky to have people in my life who try so hard to help. I feel like I should be helping those wonderful people in my life more, but I always end up frozen in panic when I try to crawl out of myself long enough to make those kinds of decisions. If I commit to doing something and then fail to accomplish my goals, I end up punishing myself for that failure, which leads to days of withdrawal, depression, and fear of further failure. I have become a Master in the art of ambiguity. Everything is maybe. If I don't make a commitment then I can't fail. How is that for a defense mechanism? Reflexive ambiguity. Oh how the mighty have fallen! Ha! There I go again, time for an hour long internal lecture on the importance of being non-critical of myself, and not punishing myself for things I can't control.

I am being unnecessarily morbid about all of this. Unfortunately this is just how it is now, and I will eventually learn how to deal with it. No room for self-pity, and no taking any crap from judgmental internal voices. I will strive for objective neutrality in all things. I will fake optimism until the fake part falls away. Rah, rah, rah, go Team Me!