“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!
Since my tour of duty in Iraq in 2004 I’ve had problems with sleeping. I’ve struggled with sleep every night for the past thirteen years. I wake up from nightmares most nights drenched in sweat. So much adrenaline is rushing through my body it takes hours for me to fall back to sleep.
Sometimes I never do.
I take medication to fall and stay asleep because my mind plays tricks on me when I’m sleep deprived.
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?”
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 God.
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.