And you’re still reading…….
Do you remember those great old songs like; “It’s a hard days night” (Beatles) or “White Christmas” (Bing Crosby)? Yes the lyrics of so many wonderful songs. Every once in a while have you ever had one of those songs or words just linger in your mind and begin to play over and over again? Perhaps a thought that just won’t go away or a memory that plays over and over?
Memories can often be wonderful, however some are just not. Not long ago I was listening to an American Medal of Honor recipient speaking of just this subject. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is just exactly like that song, lyric or memory that plays over and over but seems to never go away. It’s like having your own “Hit List” only the memory never stops. Something happens to the mind, that magnificent human computer we all have that just seems to blow a circuit. We often hear of PTSD in the news when military personnel come home from battlefields and other traumatic situations. Did you know that many people who have never gone to war experience PTSD everyday? Just normal ordinary people like you and me. Often this disorder or activation of our “Hit List” happens from experiencing a serious tragedy or loss. It can happen when someone is under great personal pressure or mental abuse. For some of us, it can be triggered right at home or even our workplace. PTSD is an absolutely spirit stopping syndrome. Some of us have memories that haunt from our childhood and now these memories play over and over again. Every once in awhile you may have a period of peace only to have an incident or series of short term events trigger that never ending memory again only to play over and over again in your mind.
Perhaps by now you’re guessing that I suffer from this very frustrating and focus stopping syndrome. I’m sharing this because I know it does not have to stop you. I was diagnosed this year with PTSD after having days one after another that I could not stop remembering almost everyday of my past. Although it’s not really possible to blame others for what happens in your own mind, it is true that someone or some other outside force does trigger this. In my own life we think it has been my workplace environment that triggered all these memories to never stop. For those of you reading this, you may know someone that is suffering with PTSD this very moment. As many of you who follow my blog now know I am a recovered alcoholic and have written many articles on that subject. This however is very different and also so related that I am compelled to speak of it. As I became sober this last decade many things seem to happen. My own personal career slipped away, my ability to remain focused on goals and become fully at peace. Yes I had become at peace within myself and feel safe that no harm would befall me. The trouble is I really lost my drive to succeed and perform at a highly successful level in my career and much of my life. It has been as if the Craig channel had been turned off. If and when I am confronted with fast paced questions or making decisions quickly I have just been at a loss. I would crumble if someone raised their voice to me our seemed critical in anyway. Since I no longer would run to the bars or the Scotch to have courage or hide, I have had nowhere to go other than face these fears. In these last two years or so I have begun to rebuild my career however these memories have become part of my everyday life. My “Hit List” just won’t stop playing and most of the memories are filled with pain, sadness and failure. I couldn’t take it anymore so I have surrendered and have sought professional help. I’m working on this now and realize it may take months or years to completely overcome and live with this PTSD. Just as I found the 12 Steps of Recovery to be a roadmap to frame my life, I am hopeful to find the tools needed to live with this.
As I continue to write this blog and share my story, I hope perhaps someone you know might also read and follow along. Maybe they can find some solace knowing as I have found after all these years we are not alone. I truly believe in the power of prayer and that if you ask, the path to follow in life will appear before us. It’s up to us to take the first and next step, even if the road seems long there is always and end or intersection. Then perhaps that last lyric will be be “Oh Happy Day!”
I’m still writing, you’re still reading, so please keep following….