Monday, 28 July 2014

Acknoledgment


This is just a part of my method to deal with my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and to vanquish it to the edges of my world so that I can once again be the great person people remembered me to be, but most of all to like myself again.

  PTSD is very misunderstood and very difficult to explain to someone who has not suffered from it. I will never be rid of it. I must learn to manage it. This takes time and sometimes a complete change in your life. I cannot let go of the past. What happened to me burned so deeply into my mind I will never come fully back.  Looking back slips me into madness sitting by a window looking out on the world not understanding what it is. But I can look forward. It is the only direction left and I must follow it to the end no matter what blocks my path.

The first part was to acknowledge the problem. I knew something was wrong but I did not understand what it was. Another part is to retire from heavy construction. It's demands on my time, mind and body have become too much. I must follow a vocation of a different nature. Why a complete change of vocation? Why not get better and return to construction. It would never work that way. I need to let the past go, that means I must make changes and move forward. Woodwork allows me to focus my mind. Refocusing the mind is how you regain control. I could just sit and do nothing for the rest of my life. Just sit and focus my mind. That is acceptable treatment for my condition. But sitting and twiddling my thumbs isn't enough. I believe I am strong enough with some time to heal my mind I could employ myself someday. That would be great. Maybe all I that I will be able to do is simply become an artist working with wood. That will be the final part of this method. It may very well be all I can handle.

  You must understand this, I cannot function properly in the working world. My mind has been damaged in a way that leaves me unable to navigate my way through the race.
 Think of how you feel when someone jumps out of a doorway and spooks the crap out of you. After the initial scare your body is thrown into fight or flight.
  Well that is how I felt every day. Muscles taunt, every sense on high alert. Jaw clenching, ears buzzing. Dry mouth, hands trembling, neck and back aching from tension. You cannot get regular sleep. You awake every hour through the night from the nightmares. Some times you wake up screaming.
 You go to work and are exhausted from sleep deprivation. You fight to stay alert while handling a 90000 pound vehicle on a busy highway. On your way to work you imagine all the things that could make the day difficult. Sometimes the difficulties are there. So now you have to deal with that all over again for real this time.

You converse with coworkers but your mind will not follow. You have to clarify things constantly. This aggravates your coworkers. They think you an idiot. You become distant, unfeeling. You spend your breaks on your own. You are constantly disassociating with reality while working. You become very depressed. There is no satisfaction in your work day. You just go through the motions until you can run back for home and safety.
  Then even after getting regular psychiatric help and mood altering prescription drugs you are still not engaged in what is going on around you. You tell yourself you are feeling better but it is artificial. You feel isolated. You then start to feel that others are against you. You know this not to be true but you act contrary to the truth. You blow your stack and are aggressive to the other workers.You are now a prisoner of your own making. They think you are a nut. You are the one that is causing the pain. You are the one that no longer cares about yourself. You despise yourself.
You think it would be better if you did not exist at all. This is how I was the last five years that I worked.

An incident occurred on one of my jobs where a worker was nearly blinded when a high pressure concrete delivery hose exploded beside him. I went outside the building and was physically sick. I have fourteen years of experience at this job. I have never injured anyone or myself until this day. It can be very dangerous. Dangerous to those around me and myself. Proper planning and attention to my work make things safe. In my state of mind it was a constant burden to be careful in everything I did. That is very difficult when you cannot control your mind.  The hose that exploded was not the fault of anyone. It was an accident. Sometimes in this job the accident is unavoidable.
I became truly desperate.

Unavoidable, Unavoidable. It rang in my head. I feared going to work. I did not want anymore unavoidable things to happen. Sometimes on the way to the job I would pull the pump truck to the side of the road during an anxiety attack, get out and puke then pull myself back together as best I could and carry on. I was failing but I didn't want to let down my fellow worker, my company, my family and myself.
So work we must.
In a search for calm I began to drink on the job to get my nerves to settle down.
Some days I refused to go to work but was pressed to go. I told them my mind is not in the game. I need this day off. Sometimes it worked but not often.
This continued for a couple of weeks. The drinking on the job, the arguing with the dispatcher. My hate of life in general. How the hell do I get out of this. Someone is going to die because of my actions. This has to end. I was scared, where do I go from here. I told Shannon that I have to quit. I am sorry, I can't shoulder this any longer. The future was not looking very good. I just hope we can make it through.
I called my family doctor expected to schedule an appointment for say in a couple of weeks. Luckily, or was it fate, they had just had a cancellation and I could come in in a couple of hours. After some explaining and enduring the humiliation I felt telling my doctor my actions she ordered me some time off work.
I felt finally, the nightmare is ending. I could get some time to heal myself. I still had regret for letting down the others but this is the way it has to be or I will be lost forever.

Thanks for Reading
Ken

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