Thursday, January 14, 2016
Putting the Peices Together
PTSD is a puzzle. Every year Dragon adds a little to the story. He will put another piece in the puzzle. This year he told me a story about the Christmas tree. Seeing that small, lonely tree with no presents under it, decorated with odds and ends. It is a trigger. The huge, giant tree in the middle of the living room floor is a PTSD trigger. Even though our tree is not small and is decorated with our memories, it is still a trigger. Christmas songs, tinsel, jingle bells. Even the words "Merry Christmas" After all these years, he figured that one out.
This week I figured out another one. Dragon made an agreement with a supervisor to get a regular day off every week. It worked great. He came up with the idea and put it into motion. A new supervisor walked in the door and said it doesn't matter. That agreement is out the window. For months Dragon has had to fight for days off. He has been getting more migraines than ever and not getting any sleep. The panic attacks, flash backs and mood swings are almost constant. Every week he looks at the schedule and sees that he doesn't have a day off and it gets even worse. Back in November I thought he was going to need to be admitted. It was just that bad.
He was working 70-80 hours a week with no end in sight and fighting for every off day. If he dared to call in he was written up. The stress was getting to all of us. He started seeing a doctor to try to reign it in. Just the day off for the two hour round trip helped more than the doctor did. It has been a mess.
Yesterday, I placed another piece in the puzzle. It fell right into place.
In Afghanistan he worked 24/7 for 7 months strait. There were no days off. There was no day pass or R&R. Just constant work. Day in and day out. When he sees that schedule with no off days, it puts him right back on the battle field. He hears the bombs. He smells the burned skin. He hears the screams. He sees the blood on his hands.
Until he gets a day off. Then the nightmare ends and he can breath.
He has to see that day printed in black and white on a schedule tacked to the bulletin board. He needs it just like he needs food, shelter, love and purpose in life. It is the security that he needs. The knowledge that he isn't back on the battle field. That he is home safe and will never have to return.
One day at a time.
This too shall end.
One of the supervisors knows how bad his PTSD really is. Another one now knows why he needs to see that day on the schedule.
One foot in front of the other.
Please pray for my Dragon. PTSD doesn't ever go away. He will never truly be healed. There are just good days and really bad days. Pray for him please. I am his rock in a world of sand but even I am starting to feel a little shaky.
Every day, on average 22 vets commit suicide. That number is unacceptable. I pray that my Dragon does not become a statistic.