Sleep- Not That Overrated

Sleep isn’t 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 wake up from nightmares most nights drenched in cold sweat. So much adrenaline is rushing through my body it takes hours for me to fall back to sleep.

Sometimes I never do.

I’ve learned over the past few years that taking certain medications helps. Sometimes I have to make myself fall asleep because I’m easily triggered when my mind is hazy from sleep deprivation. I get bad flashbacks and that makes me angry and edgy when I can’t focus on reality.

The Struggle

The doctors in the military diagnosed me with Bi-polar disorder months after I got back from Iraq because I wasn’t sleeping, I was drinking heavily, and my fits of anger and rage usually lead me into suicidal thinking. I was medically discharged in 2006.

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

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

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 bullet 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.

Hope

From that moment forward I put all my efforts into finding a path in life that I could walk down happily without worrying about my past. I’ve made it my mission to find ways to live with PTSD and to share what I learn with the world to hopefully save lives.

Click Here to Order Combat Medic on Amazon.com

Combat Medic
A soldier’s story of the Iraq war and PTSD

22 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.

    Liked by 1 person

  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.

    Liked by 1 person

  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.

    Liked by 1 person

  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.

    Liked by 1 person

  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.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 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.

    Like

  7. 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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