The trip and the breakdown

I haven’t written in a little bit. Not any particular reason behind it. Got a little busy and hadn’t found something that impacted me enough to sit down and let the words flow across the screen. The past two weeks have been quite a ride though. Left the state for the first time in a couple years on a last minute road trip with a very great friend of mine. Then last week I had a complete and utter emotional breakdown. I honestly can’t remember the last time that happened to me but we will get into the details as we move along.

I went to Tennessee on my trip. I had gotten to know someone who moved down here less than a year ago very well and over the course of that time we grew very close. Of course when I knew she was leaving I was distraught and wanted her to stay. At the same time I knew it was better for her. Her experience down here can only be described as something out of a bad movie turned nightmare. To change your life for your friend and make such a dramatic move for them is something that should be held to the highest of virtues. It was, in a way, a self-sacrificing gesture. To never be fully appreciated for that is something that can only be described as the darkest of travesties. To change everything only to discover that you changed your life and your home for a manipulative sociopath can destroy even the strongest of people. It can shake the very foundation of the way you look at the world. Turn even the most kindhearted of us into jaded individuals. She never gave up hope though. She has an admirable strength about her. In many ways she made me a better person. I was her emotional foundation. The one that picked her up when she was down. I failed to realize, though, that is exactly what she was to me as well. In my last blog I spoke about the Shadow and how it began to surface after so many years. The only thing that helped me keep it at bay (before my psychological journey to understand it more) was her. Taking her home was one of the most bittersweet moments I have ever experienced. Bitter because I would not be able to see her as often as I had been accustomed to and we would obviously miss each other. Sweet because I knew I was delivering her from this hell back to her family, back to her home. Our friendship grew stronger during that trip. For the first time we were able to spend time together and both be happy. It was like the farther away we got from here the more the blanket of despair was lifted. For the first time in a long time I came home and it did not feel like home. For the first time since I left Hawaii I felt like I longed to be somewhere else. I realized I missed the mountains. I missed hiking. I missed the life away from a congested metropolis. Away from people. Away from a place I never intended on coming back to anyway. I never intended to move back here, but that is a story for another time.

A few days after I had returned I had a complete emotional breakdown. I can’t tell you the last time I had one because I honestly do not know. I have several appointments scheduled through the VA for my disability claim. To lay it all out I have two crap knees that are in pain daily with a fluctuating level of mild discomfort to I want to fall down and not move. Most days are good, some days are worse but there is nothing a lot of Ibuprofen can’t fix. I don’t go crazy, I just take more than is suggested when it gets painful. I have tinnitus as well. If you don’t know what that is I will do my best to explain it to you. Ever watch a war movie and viewed a scene where a grenade or a rocket goes off next to someone? Action movies in general have them now so if war movies aren’t your thing this can relate. That annoying ringing that you hear shortly after the explosion, imagine that but without the explosion. Imagine just sitting at your house, at a bar, at school, at work, or anywhere and getting that annoying ring in your ear. It is deafening actually. Basically your ear becomes useless while the ringing is going on. That is the sound of your hearing slowly dying away. The final thing I am going for is post traumatic stress. You should have expected that because what is one of my main topics of discussion? So before I go in for any of these exams I speak to my counselor for counseling, duh. He tells me what I should say based upon my story and what I have told him. We hash all that stuff out “bring medical papers to all appointments, discuss how my life has been more difficult because of the discomfort etc”. So just for good measure I call my psychologist to tell him I am going in for my PTSD evaluation before I see him the following day. I ask him what I should talk about because he basically knows most of everything at this point. Then he lays it on me. Talk about how much your life has been affected by what you have experienced. What did he mean? He says “Talk about your life the past 5 years, talk about your ex, talk about work, talk about how much you’ve been through.”. We talked and he went on to add “There is no doubt in my mind that you suffer from post traumatic stress but you are resilient. You have never quit and you fight on no matter the odds.”. We talk a bit more and I hang onto that thought. Resilience. My thoughts dive into that last 5 years as if I was sitting back and watching a movie. I know I have had my crappy times but I never sat back and took them in like a TV series laid out in front of me. I begin to think of the broken relationships that I have had. The anger and rage. The broken friendships. The years of alcohol abuse. The inability to hold down a job or to find work at all. The look my family would give me when they realized that the son they once knew didn’t exist anymore. The times I’ve looked in the mirror and didn’t know who/what I had become. The bouts of anxiety and depression. The pain and the suffering. The amount of times I’ve wanted to pull the trigger and end it all, but I don’t. Resilience. I never realized how hard I have fought just to stay alive. How much I’ve battled with this thing inside of me and how much it has cost me. How, although I was never physically injured by the war, there are a large amount of psychological scars I carry with me every day. That is when I began to tear up and had a complete emotional breakdown. I wished she was still here. I wondered how I had kept on fighting for so long on my own. That was also the day I realized how strong I really was. To suffer and endure so much and to fight on. I’ll admit that I did breakdown and cry. I will also admit that I looked at myself a little differently in the mirror the following day. I saw the scars. I saw the damage. I saw the resilience inside of me and the refusal to give up or give in. I believe THAT is my greatest strength. The ability to push and fight on when most would give up. So I want to encourage you, the reader. Whenever the chips are down don’t give up, fight on! If I can do it I know you can too. Be resilient. Push forward when you want to give up. You may just look at your reflection a little differently when you do.

As always, I hope you have enjoyed reading this. Until next time.