Sleep- Not That 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 14 month tour of duty in Iraq back in 2004. Thirteen years I’ve struggled to stay asleep because of nightmares and cold sweats. When I wake up my body has so much adrenaline running through it that it takes a few hours to get back to sleep. That’s why I have to be drugged up to sleep or I would lose my mind thinking I’m trapped in a nightmare or worse, dead and living in purgatory for the thinks I had to do to survive.

They diagnosed me with Bi-polar disorder when I got out of the service  because of the episodes I’d have of not sleeping, drinking heavily, and fits of anger and rage. It wasn’t until 10 medications and three doctors later that they started testing me for PTSD. That’s when the stories of 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 everyone that surrounded me in public was looking to shoot me or stick a knife in my back. It 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?”

In my sleepless, intoxicated state I would go days without leaving the house believing that I would die if I did.

Everything in my mind was about death, so naturally my thought went towards ending it all. With one shot I could get some rest, I would never have to think again. I had bought into the idea that things would never get better because no one could understand, I couldn’t even understand what was happening.

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

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

I’m so much for my life and other veterans lives that struggle with the same issues as me that I’ve made it my mission to find ways to live with PTSD so I can share and hopefully save lives.

19 thoughts on “Sleep- Not That Overrated

  1. 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.

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  2. 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.

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  3. 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.

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  4. 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.

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  5. 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.

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  6. 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!

    Liked by 1 person

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