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.