They Said It Better Than I Ever Could...

These words that I write, they keep me from total insanity. -Charles Bukowski

Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed? -Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

May 30, 2011

The Battle In The Brain...

So, as you already know, I've been taking some happy pills and talking to a shrink lately. Its been helping. Obviously not as much as I would have liked since the only thing they could've done that would have satisfied me was give me a magic shot and it was all over and better. I mean the mom helped out with her magic bullet, but its not a permanent fix.

I told the shrink about the war going on in my head and he asked me who was winning. I told him, "The wrong side" He couldn't help but chuckle. You know when you get in those shrink's offices its a very uncomfortable place. I mean we're talking about government shrinks not those high priced private ones.

In any event this guy is pretty much an authority on PTSD. I'd put him as an expert for no other reason than he's a shrink at the VA. I think he sees a few more PTSD cases than your average shrink. After all the review of what I had told all the different doctors up to this point and we went over mine and his biography, we got down to the nitty gritty and started talking about the war.

Where were you? How many times did you take fire? How many IED's were you involved in? How often did you take indirect fire? How many in your company were killed or wounded? You know the usual.

During the course of the conversation we got to two things that really jumped out and grabbed me by the throat as what's been happening to me.

(Shrink's words, not mine) Emotional Numbness, and Disconnection. Followed by a general malaise characterized by not being able to find meaning in your civilian life.

Well. Talk about hitting the nail on the head. Blam!!! He nailed it. I suppose there are other symptoms and shit, but for the most part that is exactly what's been bugging me.

Being disconnected is pretty much why my writing fell off to nothing shortly after I came home. Even writing this is kinda me forcing it. I mean how can you really connect back with all these people and all the things here after you did that shit for a year?

Roads are paved...but something inside of me is still bouncing down a dirt road in AssCrackIstan.
Wal-Mart is open...but I still think about guys in the shithouse PX in Waza Khwa.
Beer is cold...but there is no booze in Afghanistan.
I turn on the AC...and remember how hot it is in the summertime.
I feel the comfort and warmth of my bed...and remember sleeping on the ground, or the hood of a truck, or cramped in the truck, get the idea.

Its kinda hard to, reconnect when something inside is pulling you away all the time. Its a constant wrestling match to keep my brain here, where it needs to be. When, frequently, and normally at the most inopportune moments my brain has flown away to southeastern Afghanistan for an afternoon trip.

Well, we haven't quite made it to sorting that out just yet. It'll come. Right now I'm happy to say that the happy pills are taking the edge off. They haven't quite done what I hoped they would do. Which is magically cure this, overnight. But they are having a noticeable effect. Talking about it helps to a point. I just wished that I had someone around who knew what the fuck I was talking about. But I'll take what I can get.

Then he laid a few other fun things on me. He wants me to go in for a sleep study because I don't sleep well. He's wondering if lack of sleep is causing a lot of this. I told him that he's brilliant and should immediately win the Nobel Prize for figuring that one out. But then he explained to me that sleep has a huge effect on mood and cognitive functioning and energy levels. Once again, Brilliant! But he went on to say I was a prime candidate for sleep apnea. Wonderful. Now I'm going to have to be hooked up to some machine and sleep while people from the VA watch me! That won't be uncomfortable at all...

So that's it. That's where I'm at right now. It sucks that this doesn't move along quickly at all! Gets on my last damn nerve. But I started this and now I have (for my own sake) to finish it.

Plus he told me to get a hobby to start occupying my mind during down time. Too much time to think is a bad thing he says. (I told you he's flipping brilliant) So I went and bought a guitar. Gonna learn how to play that. I'll let you know how that goes...


I love you Mom...

May 19, 2011

Have you ever thought about harming yourself or someone else?

Well, I've been away for quite a while. Not exactly sure how long but I know I've gotten more than a few emails, comments, and pokes reminding me that I haven't written anything in a long time.

But oh so much has happened since then. First things first gotta talk about Bin Laden getting croaked. Now was I ecstatic when Bin Laden got offed? The puritan in me was certainly excited. I mean he was the guy who was, by his own admission, responsible for 9/11. So when they gave him his two in the head I was pretty stoked.

Now the realist in me was a bit more docile. I mean, one life for 3,000 or whatever it was that died in the world trade center. Or you could look at it from a completely different point of view and say that vengeance was already had when we went into Afghanistan, totally fucked up the Taliban's world, kicked them out of power, and sent the country into 10 years of war. That's my personal way of looking at it. See I am not the kinda person who believes in measured response, or in the inherent fairness of the world or the people in it. For lack of a better term, I like the idea of using a nuclear missile to kill a mosquito!

So anyway, now that I've said my peace about that. What else has been going on? I don't know if you all knew about this but I've been diagnosed with PTSD by the wonderful VA hospital near my home. So that was fun. Answering the same questions over and over again from 5 different people was fun.

Case worker, social worker, counselor, and psychiatrist.

Okay, so I guess I only had to answer the same questions 4 times. The funny part of the whole thing was, one of the questions they always ask. Without fail, always ask is...have you ever thought about harming yourself or someone else? and they do not respond well when you tell them that if you ask me that one more time I am very likely to try and kill someone, most likely you!

Alright, so that's probably not the best response to that question, and fear not. I didn't actually say that but I thought it in my head at least 4 times. One for every person asking me.

Then after all was said and done, my evaluations were over and they were deciding on a treatment plan for take 1/2 this pill daily and we'll call you in three weeks to see how you're doing.

Me: What? That's it? All of that, just to hand me some happy pill? And then when I get it, I only get to take half? What the mother fuck is that? Excuse me, but I'd like to actually get better. I'd rather not hide my bullshit behind some zombie making happy pill!

Them: Oh, well in that case, we'll get you signed up for this PTSD education class. It'll teach you all about the symptoms, and causes of PTSD.

Me: Lady, are you serious? If I've got the fucking thing why do I need someone to teach me about the symptoms? I'm living them everyday. And as far as the causes are concerned, I've got a pretty good grip on where they're coming from. So do you think it would be at all possible to do something that might actually have some sort of discernible effect on the problems that I'm having?

Them: We'll let you know when an individual counselor or psychiatrist becomes available. In the meantime you can visit your local Vet Center. A nurse will contact you via phone in a few weeks to see if you are having any trouble with the medication.

Good times at the VA.

That's what's been happening in Mud Puppy land. I'm trying real hard to maintain my sense of humor, and my sanity. I'm just not succeeding as much as usual.



I love you Mom...