PTSD veteran Rehabilitation

Sleep- Not That Overrated

“Sleep is Overrated”

When I first joined the military the one saying that I hated the most was, “Sleep is overrated.”

Well you know what, it’s not!

I’ve had trouble sleeping since my tour of duty in Iraq back in 2004. I’ve struggled with sleep every night, waking from nightmares drenched in sweat, for thirteen years. I’ve got so much adrenaline running through my body it takes hours to fall back to sleep.

Sometimes I never do.

I take medication to fall and stay asleep. My mind plays tricks on me when I’m sleep deprived.

The Struggle

The doctors in the military diagnosed me with Bi-polar disorder then medically discharged me out of the service because of my episodes of not sleeping, drinking heavily, and fits of anger and rage.

It wasn’t until four years, ten medications and three doctors later that I was diagnosed with PTSD.

That’s when stories of the war, the ones I’ve drank away and tucked back deep inside my mind, came rushing back like an untamed fire.

I couldn’t stop seeing dead people, hearing blood curdling screams for a medic, thinking that people surrounding me in public wanted to kill me. I felt like I was seriously crazy and couldn’t stop thinking of the “What if’s…” in life.

“What if I don’t ever fall asleep and die?”

“What if I tell someone what I’m seeing and they throw me in a padded room?”

“What if this is all a dream and I’m still fighting on the front lines?”

Breaking Point

I would go days without leaving the house believing that I would die if I did.

Everything I though was about death, so naturally I thought of ending it all.

One shot to through my skull and I could rest… I wouldn’t have to think again.

I bought into the idea that things would never get better because no one could understand, I didn’t understand what was happening.

I had a feeling my actions and current emotional state were leading up to consequences that would have an immeasurable impact on lives of people I love the most. That part of me cried out in exhaustion and brought me face to face with Jesus and our father God.

Hope

From that moment forward I put all my efforts into finding a path I could walk down happily without worrying about my past. As soon as I gave it all to God my outlook on life has done a total 180 degree turn.

I’ve made it my mission to find ways to live with PTSD to share with veterans to hopefully save lives.
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22 comments on “Sleep- Not That Overrated

  1. If faith can move mountains – then you’re a snap! Continue the way you’re going and all will work out!

  2. I don’t even know where to begin. First of all Thank you for your service and for sharing this very intimate part of your experiences. I am so sorry that you are going through this and I am glad you have found an outlet that helps. I am a nurse but I have not had the opportunity to help patients with PTSD so I can only imagine the very serious consequences you are having to deal with. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  3. Great post. I also used to think sleep was overrated. I still slack on sleep now but I am getting better. I remember when I used to have trouble sleeping, I used to think about basic training (also a Vet) and fall straight asleep. Not anymore. I also have some PTSD but my sleep wasn’t affected by it. Praying for you keep going, you got this.

  4. I always admire soldiers! because of their courage and everything about them is just superhuman haha I think! more power to you and hope more blessings will come on your way

  5. Wow, that’s a powerful story. It takes an incredibly strong person to decide to come through trauma like that and go on to help others through it, too. Sounds like you’ve continued your work as a combat medic long after you thought you retired.

    • Yes that is true. I believe God put me here to help others get through this pain. With his help I’ll be able to save more live than on the battlefield.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing such an intimate, personal part of your experience, and thank you for your service.

  7. Wow, this article is very moving, thank you for sharing your story with us and thank you or your service.

  8. Soldiers are trained for the physical hardships but I think nothing can train you for the mental stress that comes with the duty! PTSD sometimes takes years. It’s not easy for the brain to jump back to nornal so quick. I wish you best if luck for your journey and efforts.

  9. I love your blog. I have bipolar disorder as well (and mild schizophrenia). I could never sleep until they put me on seroquel which knocks me out. I totally agree with you. Once I got a good nights sleep reguarly, I started to hallucinate less and my mood were better.

  10. Thank you for your service and for sharing your experiences with us.

  11. OIF03-04

    I also was diagnosed with bipolar when I came home. Then it got changed to BPD. It was comforting to read your situation and know that we aren’t alone. Thanks for having the courage to share. It means a lot.

  12. Love your story. My father is a sodier, thanks for your post .

  13. Words fail me when it comes to reading posts like this. I lost my cousin about 6 months ago to PTSD and it’s such a heavy loss in our hearts. He was medic in the army and your words bring so much truth to his suffering and everyone who has shared all of your experiences. My unending gratitude to you my friend and forever support!

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