PTSDDaddy Part I – PTSD and the Holidays
I get it, you hate people. It’s not that you are an asshole to be an asshole you really just hate people. This becomes a problem with the holidays coming and everyone wanting to be jolly and having parties and all these social craps that close the roads when we come home from work or take up our weekends when we would rather stay home and have a beer and watch a movie or play a video game. I get it…
They do not get it. Who is ‘they’? Every other person out there who loves this time of year and who loves the family gatherings, the holiday parties to fill weekends, and the events downtown that clog the roads when you just want to go home. These people cannot understand your lack of emotion, your lack of enthusiasm, your “Grinch attitude” or perhaps your more of a “scrooge”? Either way this time of year YOU are raining on THEIR parade.
Yes I said it, YOU are the problem. Scrooge and the Grinch never “fit in” during this time of year. You need to understand this. As an Army guy I can understand traditions and doing things “because this is the way we always did it, that’s why.” So you need to put that at the forefront of your PTSD’ness this holiday season. Realize that tradition is bigger than any of us and it’s not going to go away! It’s up to YOU to change your attitude and accept the fact that parties are going to happen. Accept that you have to go to them. Accept that people will be out in hordes and you need to be nice.
Inability to Relate
The inability to relate happens on both sides. People who have never been to combat are not going to understand combat. Just as you have changed with life experiences, they have changed due to their own life experiences. I have lost many friends to combat. Other people lose lots of friends through cancer. Some people lose children to horrible accidents or disease. I cannot relate to how much it must suck to lose a child to disease. The point is this world does not revolve around your world experience.
Though I have walked through the valley of the shadow of darkness, I feared no evil, and I was the biggest baddest mother f**ker in the valley! Normal people do not walk through the same valley. They have their own nightmares to deal with OR they have a sheltered life. One of the reasons I volunteered for this was so that others did NOT have to see and experience what I did. So you are welcome. Look, as far as I am concerned you did your job. If people cannot relate to your PTSD then congratulations! You protected the innocent and kept them that way. But open your eyes they cannot relate to you either and when they complain about having to work the register all day, to them it’s a legitimate complaint. Do yourself a favor and shut up! Save the fights for bigger issues.
I did not fight so I could come home to fight every day. That will wear you down. That’s why 22 veterans kill themselves a day. The fight is over sarge! It’s time to focus on the “little piddly” things. I am not in the Army anymore!
That is not an easy transition. The fact of the matter is that the transition has occurred whether I admit it or not. You are in control of your perspective. Nobody else can change that for you. Wake up brother! We got life to live. Lets enjoy the down time with nobody shooting at us! It’s a well earned break.
Lack of Emotions and Enthusiasm
I already had a post about this one but I felt it important to address for the holidays. You are not going to “feel” jolly. I remember one day when I was having trouble with a few things in high school, my father pulled me aside and told me “If you don’t have confidence… pretend you do. Nobody will know the difference.”
By the end of my high school career, I was on a retreat with a large group of seniors and at the end we were in small groups. Everyone in the circle had to take time to tell everyone else one thing they like about that person. When it came down to it every person in that circle said they admired my confidence and wish they could be half as confident as me. Afterwards I just laughed. Pop was right! Pretty soon the “faked” confidence became real. The more people believed it the more I felt it, the more I acted it, the more it became reality.
I’m in the same boat as you but I take my father’s advice with me with all these emotions. “Fake it till you make it!” Is how I summarize to myself. I do not feel jolly so I will take the moments that I “SHOULD” be jolly and act friggin’ jolly. If you do that enough you will start to feel again. I am nowhere near where I used to be, but I am miles of improved from where I was…