This morning I’m in my van driving to one of my decorating jobs when I actually noticed I was happily singing away to the tunes. I suddenly realised I was happy to be going to work for the first time in over 2 years.
I absolutely loved the RAF but since returning from Afghanistan in Aug 2012 I have struggled being in a military environment. There was just too many triggers surrounding me and every day was such a living nightmare. I couldn’t bare to be anywhere. Since then I’ve been off sick and living in a bubble of trauma and torment. Triggers, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, dreading going out so I end up becoming a recluse and suffer nightmares when I close my eyes. When I wake up in the morning it would start all over again and all I wanted to do was escape this depth of despair on so many occassions….
Over the last couple of weeks however I have felt more alive than I have done in such a long time. I did such a brave thing in confronting a physical demon which gave me strength to fight some internal ones. Getting up and going to work has given me a purpose, something to focus on. Working on my own is fantastic because whatever frame of mind I’m in it won’t affect anyone else. I don’t even have to focus too hard on the work because it’s not complicated. It’s a job I love doing and the results are immediate, providing satisfaction once complete. Seeing the smile on my clients face when the job is done is immense and makes me feel I have accomplished something again.
This is all well and good but then a trigger goes off reminding me I am a PTSD sufferer. I’m singing away and the traffic starts to build up. It’s almost at a standstill for what seems like a lifetime. Suddenly I drive past the inside lane and see the most horrendous incident. Immediately the feeling of dread comes over me and my heartbeat increases rapidly. It had very recently happened and as yet no emergency services where in attendance. I was on the outside lane so I couldn’t get across safely which I was glad about but then I instantly felt bad at the same time. I’m sure I could smell blood and my mind wandered back to being in the landrover on the way back from a shout, my clothes covered in blood and dust from the ground. It took me quite a few minutes to come round from that incident and it crept in and out of my head all day.
I will never be able to escape these moments but if I don’t try to get out and about then I’m not going to move forward. I will stay in this vicious cycle with no means of escape except to enter deeper into the depths of darkness. That is one journey I refuse to take. I intend to take a daily chance that it will be a good one. I will climb into my camper, start the engine, turn on the tunes and sing my way to work taking it minute by minute, dealing with the triggers as they intrude. The days can be a mixture of good and bad moments but that’s all I will allow them to be, moments in time that I can travel back from. I’m on it peeps with my boxing gloves on!!