But this...I feel is important and might help those of you who actually read what I have to say.
I was talking to a friend of mine the other night...we were reminiscing about our antics while in Kuwait. I asked him if he could believe it had been 4 years since that time... He said, "No it hasn't been... it feels like it was yesterday..." And that got me thinking... He also asked why certain things smell a specific way causing him to remember the past...Did you know your olfactory senses have the strongest link to your memories? That's why when you smell the perfume your grandma used to wear, you immediately think of her even though she may have been deceased for 10 years.
|Me and one of our docs.|
My service dog, Kane, also knew something was up. He didn't leave my side all day long. It's been 4 years since my deployment to Iraq, but there are times where it seems like it was yesterday. I see all the people I treated in flashbacks before my eyes. Sometimes in night terrors.. sometimes when I'm zoning out during the day/day dreaming. Sometimes it's the same scene, other times it's like a movie on fast forward and I see everything. Sometimes the tears start flowing and I don't know why...I can't stop them, they're just there. Sometimes I'm cranky and I snap at my son and husband. Sometimes I'm able to smile and be thankful that I made it home despite my health issues. And sometimes I feel guilty because I survived and some of my friends did not.. (it's called survivor's guilt)..
I bring this up not because I want your pity...but I believe that people need to be aware that when it comes to PTSD, there's no timeline in when we get better. Some days are better than others... And sometimes it's all you can do just to get out of bed. A certain smell, word, or the way a specific landscape looks can remind us of the dust bowl we were in and the horrific things we saw. When we withdraw or pull back, it's not because we don't love you, it's because we're trying to deal with the images and memories in our head. If you've never been there, if you've never seen it...it's hard to talk to someone who doesn't understand. Rather than just listening, most people try to understand and interrupt to ask questions. While I admire their desire to learn in order to understand...when you're hurting, the last thing you want to do is educate. If you want to learn more, ask during a GOOD day, or do some research online. Want to help your friend but don't know how? My husband wrote an AMAZING post about how to support a loved one with PTSD. Please check it out. Some items may work for your situation, some may not. But it's some good information from an outsiders point of view.
Don't be afraid to reach out for help. Don't know how to explain what is going through your mind/heart? Grab a pen...a pencil..a paint brush.. some clay. And just create. It doesn't have to be the next Picasso.. it just has to help you through the hard days... And for me.. I can assure you that it does.