Published on September 16, 2008 By Spc Nobody Special In Work

So, to your shock and amazement, I haven't been lighting up ye ole' Information Superhighway since I've been back.  I'm sure my one remaining reader has noticed.

Why? My life has been one nasty ass tangled up ball of twine. My first impressions when I came back were largely about how cold and green everything was here, how good the food was, and how fat all the Americans looked.

Now? I'm irritated a lot. Really irritated. Everything used to wash over me pretty good, and I'd occasionally get depressed, but not like this. No more running around the house singing and dancing and happy. No more funny made up songs, poetry, stories. More like yelling in traffic, and stopping myself from punching people out in stores. (I'm looking at you, you bad parking job sack-o'-shit...) Blech. Being in Tacoma doesn't help.

I get mad over small stuff, and maybe worst of all, I think I may be forgetting things. (Joy thinks so anyways...) I don't forget anything. Ever. In fact, I'm the most annoying trivia junkie, history/movie buff you've never played Trivial Pursuit with. I used to be able to get in an argument and tell you word for word what was said in a conversation three years ago and be dead right. Hear five seconds of dialogue and identify a movie. Not these days.

My marriage has the hiccups, on again, off again, (my fault as much as hers, she started it, but she's doing better, and I'm still a jackass) and I'm especially worried about what I'm going to do in two months when I get out. It seems like the only things I'm readily qualified to do, are to go back into government service, doing something vaguely paramilitary like law enforcement, dea, border patrol, something like that. I could go back to school, and even have money from the army for it, but how to make a living in the meantime? Especially during the lag before the VA hooks up the money. In a year or two of working, I'll have enough capital to be able to open a business, but for now?

I was proud mostly of what I did over there, but a lot of it still haunts me. A lot of the time I wish I was still there. Or that I didn't come back. It would beat being here. It's nothing like ptsd. No tbis, none of that crap. The only real action I saw was the usual mortars and rockets, and when you're someplace they hit five or six times a day, after awhile you can ignore them, or sleep right through them. Nothing you could call combat.

Some of it was being gone so much this enlistment. About six or seven months home this time in coming up on three years. Last enlistment I was gone maybe one third of the time. My cat doesn't even know me anymore. He pisses on everything because he's stressed out, and maybe because I smell different, which in his mind equals stranger. Yuck. (on the otherhand, the dog I don't like loves me....) I feel like a stranger in my own house. Detached.

Don't want any fuzzy headed, make you a blissful mess, seratonin reuptake inhibitor junkie, jive-ass shit. Fuck those lotus eaters. And don't trust the Army doctors and chaplins any further than I could throw a Bradley, civilians or not. Kiss your clearance goodbye, maybe get locked up, maybe kicked out, and their confidentiality is a laugh. Besides? Who wants to talk to someone professionally impartial? As if they were. If they could make it in the real world, they wouldn't be working for the Army.

What's the cure rate, doc? About 25 percent still? A medical doctor would get their ass sued off with that kind of fail rate. But that's okay. Keep medicating society's problems into oblivion. We're the Prozac Nation with Paxilated dreams and the Xanax fairy to grant wishes. The symptoms and the disease are the same anyways, right? (P.S. With or without medication, depression still has a mortality rate of 15 percent. Isn't that depressing?)

So what's the solution? Keep on muddling on for now. Try to hold it together. Love my family the best I can. And blurt out this cathartic, vomitous mass to the world in a wretched and pathetic appeal for sympathy from anonymous internet strangers. Mostly. (Hi, mom!) Also, guitar and knitting both help. Hope, when you can. Hi, ya'll.

Trying to outdo Gormenghast for weird and f-ed up,

Yours truly,

nbs


Comments
on Sep 16, 2008

What you are going through probably isn't as dramatic as PTSD, but it is depression.  It's not from having been through something traumatic, it's more about going through a situation that kept your senses tight (whether you felt like they were or not), and now it's back to the "real world" where the only thing happening is, boring ol' "real life".

The problem is, part of your psyche is still "over there" while your reality is all hear.   It also happened when you went from "real life" to "over there", but since we're able to immerse ourselves in the "over there" of things, we adapt quicker.

You're reacting to noises because when you were "over there" noises usually meant something.  Now your mind is sure it is supposed to react, but there is no logical reaction, so your mind chooses one anyway. 

Like most mood and (dare I say) psychological situations, you have already done the first (and biggest) step.. recognizing the problem.   Equally like most mood or psych problems, identifying the problem is the easy step.  It's the easiest because it doesn't require anything active from yourself.  It's also the easiest because the next step requires you to force yourself to "be yourself"... something we aren't really wired to do.

When you feel like cutting loose on someone, take the time to think about what you used to do in that situation.  See, not easy, is it. 

Also, you aren't the same as you were before.  Not necessarily because you were so traumatized over there, but because you have been through experiences that are different than you had seen and done before.   It doesn't take majorly traumatic experiences to cause changes in us. 

Also, remember that Joy has been through changes too.  Both of you need to sit down and talk about what you each went through while you were apart.  You both need to listen to each other without judging or "oh, you think that's bad!  I went through (blah blah blah).  Beleive me, most of us don't understand what the other went through until we hear it from their mouth, see it on their face and really experience the emotion of it together.

There are reasons the "hero" jobs have the highest divorce rates.  Very little of it has to do with the actual experiences of the job.  Most of it comes from each partner thinking they had it the roughest, and worse yet, the supporting partner continuing under the burden that if they don't treat their spouse like a "hero" they aren't being appreciative enough.

 

Sorry for being long winded here, just take it with as many grains of salt as you think its worth... I would add "from someone whose been there", and I have, but then again others who have been there might tell you something completely different, and they could be just as right, and just as full of crap (all at the same time).  I'm just saying that I remember being everything you described, and what worked for me.

Also, if you are the praying kind, you and Joy should do that together too.  If not then I hope you don't object to me praying for both of you.

One more thing... You are a musician, so take your frustrations out with (not on) your instrument.  Music is very therapeutic.

on Sep 16, 2008

I have been wondering about you.

I obviously don't have any sort of advice, but I did want to know that you're in my thoughts. 

 

on Sep 18, 2008

 

Parated said it all really well.  Sorry you're going through all this,  best wishes.

on Sep 18, 2008

Is this PTSD-related depression like a sting from a jellyfish? Because then I can pee on you and make it all better.

Hope that at least made you smile. I haven't been on here for a good long while, so let me be the last to welcome you home. Glad you're here and not there, glad you're alive and safe. Luv ya bro!

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