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What turns a RELAXING VACATION into total PARANOIA?

Every vacation in recent memory has been  stressful.

Is my PTSD turning any new schedule into PANIC?


ANOTHER PTSD DAY

Morning “Freaked-Out” Scale – 7

(On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the MOST freaked out)


Every time I start to write about one of these bad days I want to start by saying… “I know this is just RIDICULOUS!”

My “Weirdo-Meter” goes off like a Geiger counter whenever I start to freak out.


I AM PAINFULLY AWARE THAT THIS IS NOT A NORMAL WAY TO LIVE.


Last night before bed I found out about yet another issue from the cascading nightmares coming BACK to haunt me:  Now an issue with my drivers license.  I can’t even get details on it until the holiday weekend is over.

When I first heard it I felt like I was being sucked backwards into a wind tunnel of evil messes… just plain, flat-out evil, mind-blowing, murderous-rage-creating BS!

Naturally I tried to catch myself and THINK out of it, BREATHE out of it… talk myself out of it.

But when that happens out of the blue like that it seems like it’s already too late.

So finally at 12:30 I drugged myself to sleep with Benedryl, had nightmares all night where I was trying to arrange something – get something to work – sort out people and stuff – get past some stupid obstacle.  The usual dreams/nightmares.  And I can’t remember the details once I’m awake, but have a vague impression of them.

It wasn’t night terrors exactly, like it used to be… but definitely weird dreams where my brain – and my emotions – seem to be working really super HARD.

Woke up early and took MORE Benedryl.  IN THE MORNING.  And, of course, slept past NOON!

Woke up with a start wondering what I’d missed?  What was going on in the house?  Why did I sleep SO LATE?

Behind the 8-Ball.  I absolutely HATE that feeling.  It’s almost worst than not sleeping at all.

If I can sleep early and get up early it’s SO much better for this PTSD crap.  I feel like I have a jump on the day.


Afternoon “Freaked-Out” Scale – 8

(On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the MOST freaked out)


Just when I was feeling a little calmer about waking up so late, my partner brought up a financial issue that freaked me RIGHT OUT again.  Not like it takes much.

When in doubt, I always assume I’m the cause of every problem right now.  And that just makes things that much worse.

I also know my limitations and know I can’t write a check to solve everything like I used to.  The financial pressure of this unGODLY condition is probably the hardest thing for me to handle.

I really think I survived this long with PTSD which – I now realize – started as a child, ONLY by being able to afford to write a check to solve problems as they came up instead of trudging through misery.  I guess I had enough misery early on, and my brain decided to try to avoid it whenever possible.

After all, that’s what I saw everyone else doing – especially those who caused MY misery.


DENY – AVOID – IGNORE


When I had complete control over my brain I was a problem-solving, money-making machine.  I had the ability to cut off my emotions, “gut” through anything, and press on in some of the most stressful business situations with some of the world’s most difficult personalities, and through some of the most dangerous circumstances.

As long as I had a big “crusade carrot” in front of my nose I could do ANYTHING.  So I thought.

I never was totally satisfied with my work life, but I figured everybody felt like that.  My businesses started with a need and desire to help people, and I had an uncanny way of finding a super-profitable way to do so.

Now, however, working with other people and struggling with a mine-field of problems absolutely flattens me.  I don’t even get out of the gate.  I CAN’T.  My brain just goes into SHUT DOWN and I am struck totally dysfunctional and effectively STUPID before I even get started.

Hence my decision to STAY HOME, WORK AT HOME, and help myself and other people through writing on the web.  And just find a way to make it work, somehow, like I always have.

So back to today’s freak out – the powerlessness of knowing someone I love is unhappy about money is apparently way more than my PTSD brain can take.  Hearing about money problems instantly earns me an 8 or 9 on the “Freaked-Out” Scale.  Fortunately I had the idea to sit down and blog about it, which brought it down to about a 5 in about 90 minutes.


Blogging does a few things for me:

  1. It lets me isolate myself into the computer.
  2. Slows my brain down and forces it to think about what is in front of me.
  3. Stops my thoughts from jumping around.
  4. It lets me articulate my thoughts and get them OUT of my crowded, crazy brain and onto paper.
  5. It shows me that I do, indeed, calm down pretty quick if I just grab for the right coping tool.
  6. It makes my fears tangible, and therefore more manageable.
  7. It lets me subconsciously process the SOLUTION to the problem I’m writing about.
  8. It gives me a feeling of moving FORWARD, instead of sitting still and having a problem spin around my head like a vulture waiting to pick my brain apart.

Afternoon “Freaked-Out” Scale UPDATE – 5 (down from 8)

(On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the MOST freaked out)


I wanted to start this blog weeks ago, but the process of even structuring the pages and posts, as a novice blogger, just seemed overwhelming.

Today, I realize that it doesn’t matter ONE BIT if this journal is ready for public consumption.  No matter how much I want to help other people, the point is that I NEED to write down my thoughts just to live through this.

Today the need to do this has popped up to prominence again.

I would love to have said this blogging project wasn’t even necessary… but NOT SO MUCH.  The need to handle this really is greater than the need to avoid it… and no matter how many good days I have the SECOND an iota of stress comes across my path my brain does the freak all over again, as though I’d accomplished almost nothing.


Evening “Freaked-Out” Scale – 3

(On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the MOST freaked out)


Exhaustion helps calm PTSD DOWN.

I’ve been working all day.  My brain is full of stuff I’m in the middle of, stuff I need to do, and stuff I’ve actually gotten done today.

It’s 8:30 PM the night before we take a day away.

Vacations are obviously a minefield for me.  Normally I can hide within my work. Normally I keep my schedule as basic and repetitive as possible.  And normally I’m alone most of the day.

This afternoon I was trying to help my partner with a legal issue she has and I could feel myself totally “amping-up” again.

I felt I couldn’t control:

  1. The time helping was taking away from the other contribution I was trying to make today… that of getting work done and moving toward making more money.  So I had a total conflict of priorities.
  2. The fact that the problem happened to begin with, long before I was in the picture.
    1. I just HATE IT when someone takes advantage of someone I love.
    2. I feel way more comfortable defending someone else to the death, than to fight my own battles.
    3. I tend to feel rather “murderously enraged” when I think of scumbags in the world running around doing nothing but preying upon people.
    4. I draw a parallel from other people’s problems to the LONG LIST of issues I’ve had, and it is a really negative reminder of past crap.
  3. The glitches we had with an associated website.
  4. I was unable to take away the exasperation my partner was feeling.

Eventually I just wore down.  I started looking at the clock and realized that so much of my work time was being drained away.  And finally I just wrote myself an email reminder to finish a summary I’m working on and moved back to my own work.

And now I’m thinking it will be a miracle to get myself to relax and sleep tonight, and then to relax and make it a fun time for us tomorrow.

I don’t want it to be that way.  I WANT to be relaxed… chill… enjoy life.  And in many ways I do.  But under the surface I am uncomfortable for some reason.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t been a “vacationer” in my life generally.

I’ve usually lived and breathed my companies, and had little actual personal time.

I don’t even really think of taking time off right now as something I either deserve OR need.  I feel like keeping my nose to the grindstone is paying a sort of penance for a bunch of time lost to this freakin’ disorder.

But I can tell I’m much MUCH calmer tonight, that’s for sure, so I may surprise myself.  YAWN.

I’m pretty sure my future blogs will tend to be shorter, but typing things out at length today kept me sane, and that is the point of the blog.


OVERALL PROGRESS:  7 – Way to pull it out of the fire.

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being happy and 10 being freaked OUT


BEST THING I DID TODAY – Stayed as calm as possible.  Took every freak-out and, when I couldn’t just consciously WILL myself to calm down, I consciously redirected myself to work until I tied my brain up on something productive.  I still had the underlying shakiness, but I was functioning and not making things worse.

TO IMPROVE UPON TOMORROW –
  • I’m hoping I sleep better. 
  • I think we will have a decent day by staying off stressful subjects.  I will, for sure.
  • Get more exercise.  I’m allowed to walk tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to having that physical outlet, and the change of scenery is always awesome.

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One Comment

  1. I think you did a great job here. I can relate to a lot of this myself. Will keep on reading the other posts a little at a time, that’s how I do so much, a little at a time. thanks for sharing this with me. You really are a very good writer, got that from our Grandma and Aunt, they were really good writers!!! Keep on Keep’n on…

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