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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wishing things were different

In my lifetime I have only known one person who dealt with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He was my uncle--"was" being the operative word. My aunt divorced him about seven years ago.

My uncle was a character. He was an avid reader, and environmentalist, a talented machinist, and a Green Beret. He was decorated many times over for his service in the Vietnam war. Green Berets are decorated for one thing only--killing people. After his discharge, my uncle--unable to deal with the number of lives he had taken--turned to drugs to forget.

Years later he joined the church, got clean and married my aunt. They were married for more than twenty years. In that time I watched him deteriorate. He became so paranoid that he would only go to work if he was allowed to lock himself in a room and work alone. He believed my aunt was cheating on him constantly. He would sit in a group of people and gradually isolate himself with silence and a refusal to make eye contact. When his stress and paranoia became too much for him, my uncle would get into his car, drive to the Florida coast, rent a boat and stay on the ocean until the episode passed. The trip to Florida took three days. One day I'm certain he'll be lost at sea--an end to his life that he will welcome.

I have a terrible fear that I, too, will one day end up like my uncle. Probably I won't be lost at sea, but just lost in the miasma of fear and sadness and paranoia that accompany each PTSD episode. Today I sat with my kids and explained why I act unreasonable at times. I let them know that if they shout or argue with me when I'm experiencing PTSD crap, it sends me into a flashback which leaves me shaking and helpless. I asked for their help and understanding as I try to figure out how to combat this problem.

I'm left feeling miserable. This is not my children's problem--it's mine. I've asked for help from friends--it isn't their problem either. I asked AtP to please hang on to me--even when it seemed I wanted to leave. I asked TB to remind me that he loves me if it seems I'm having difficulty being human. I asked Darrin to please keep being in love with me. I'm absolutely pathetic.

I have another month before I see Therapist. This is our big experiment. Can Samantha cope with PTSD episodes without running to Therapist for help? Can she live like a big girl? Can she survive without driving to Florida and disappearing on the ocean for days?

I don't want to turn into my uncle--but each time an episode passes, I completely understand him. That's horribly scary.


  1. It's o.k. to need people. I don't know you but I do care about you. Many people care about you. People who love you don't love you less when you have an episode. I wish you didn't have to deal with so much pain. -A.J.

  2. Guess what Samantha?

    I love you.

    Also, I had a waitress a few days ago that would have been so much fun if you had been there with me. She was... intense. It also made me miss you.

    --me :)