Off Road Gas Pump Harding, VT, Winter 2012
As I’ve mentioned before, I suffer from PTSD. I’ve had the condition for about twenty plus years now. For the most part I manage my condition with sleep and keeping a close eye on my own internal barometers but lately it’s been a bit harder than usual as I’ve been struck with bouts of insomnia and with my wife and daughter working seven days a week for the last few weeks, I’ve only been able to get out on my motorcycle once. Which is hard because it really does recharge my mental batteries.
With my particular brand of PTSD (because everybody’s mental illness is custom tailored to your own brain) sleep is critical. When I’m overly tired my emotions tend to, “Surf,” as I like to put it. They rise and fall like waves on a beach and there’s no real indication of which one is going to hit the sand at any given moment. It’s frustrating because I’m a logical person who can usually step back from something but when I’m in the grips of the condition, it all gets very dark at the edges.
The funny thing is I’m still productive in this state. Sure it takes me a little longer to get out of bed in the morning but when I sit down to write, I can focus on what needs to be done and work my way through it and sometimes when I’m deep into the writing I can enter that state where my symptoms don’t control me. Of course we’ll see how I feel about stuff when I get to the rewrite stage of things.
I guess what I’m trying to say is having a mental illness sucks on so many levels but you can adjust to the reality and still be productive. The trick is to be able to recognize when you’re being self destructive and to counter those thoughts and behaviours when they crop up. Naps help, a good night’s sleep helps more and not indulging yourself because you’re a bit down is a good way to keep off the actual treadmill and lastly, do not keep it to yourself. Tell your family how you feel. They can probably tell that you’re, “Off,” and are there to help. And if it’s really bad, go to a professional. I went the psychologist route because I don’t want drugs to fix my problem or at least numb it out. One on one sessions are pretty intense but in the long run you’ll feel better.
Okay, time for me to be productive.