Birdie Girl

Birdie, My Relief

Finding Relief

Since Tank left, anxiety, depression, and hyper-vigilance have creeped back into every moment of my life. I’ve stayed hopeful that I won’t regress back into the PTSD hermit that I was before Tank brought me out of my shell. It’s been a tough go but I’m trying to stay as positive as possible.

I stay busy within my community by helping out non-profit organizations in the area. This past week I had the pleasure of representing the Beyond The Yellow Ribbon program in the Father Hennepin Parade tossing chocolate candy to sugar addicted kids.

My nerves were so much on the edge that my back and knees started badly aching. I had to close my eyes to meditate through breathing exercises in order to calm down enough to sit for an hour while people surround me cheering and begging like back in Iraq. TRIGGER!

‘”Deep breathe in for 1, 2, 3, 4…”

“… Exhale slowly for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6”

Repeat and concentrate on the breathing and nothing else

My friend Chris was there to help watch my back until I calmed down.It turned out being more fun than I thought it was. I threw piles of candy at all the swarms of kids that gathered next to the parade. We started with 25 large bags of candy. By the time we were at the end I was out of chilled candy, throwing the melted pieces that fell out of the candy bin.

IMG_0838
Me and the team before riding in the parade!

Birdie=Great News!

 

I’m going to end with some great news for my followers. This coming up week I will be the proud owner of a new service dog in-training! Her name is Birdie and she will be joining the family this Thursday! I’m calling this next segment BIRDIE & ME.

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Birdie Girl!

As a celebration of our new addition, I’m giving out free E-books this week to everyone who subscribes to  be on the combatmedic.org email list ( Top of Page, right side bar).

Also, check out my blog series about Tank & I to catch up on the latest articles about my service dog training.

UNTIL NEXT TIME!! GOD BLESS!

Relieved

Birdie Girl

Birdie = Relief

It’s been a long couple weeks for me here in Minnesota. Since Tank left, anxiety, depression, and hyper-vigilance have creeped back into every moment of my life. I’ve stayed hopeful that I won’t totally regress back into the PTSD hermit that I was before Tank brought me out of my shell. It’s been a tough go but I’m trying to stay as positive as possible.

I’ve stayed busy within my community by helping out non-profit organizations in the area. This past week I had the pleasure of representing the Beyond The Yellow Ribbon program in the Father Hennepin Parade tossing chocolate candy to sugar addicted kids. My nerves were so much on the edge that my back and knees started badly aching. I had to close my eyes to meditate through breathing exercises in order to calm down enough to sit for an hour while people surround me cheering and begging like back in Iraq. TRIGGER!

‘”Deep breathe in for 1, 2, 3, 4…”

“… Exhale slowly for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6”

Repeat and concentrate on the breathing and nothing else

My friend Chris was there to help watch my back until I calmed down.It turned out being more fun than I thought it was. I threw piles of candy at all the swarms of kids that gathered next to the parade. We started with 25 large candy bags and by the time we were at the end I was out of chilled candy, throwing the melted pieces that fell out of the candy bin.

IMG_0838
Me and the team before riding in the parade!

I’m going to end with some great news for my followers. This coming up week I will be the proud owner of a new service dog in-training! Her name is Birdie and she will be joining the family this Thursday! I’m calling this next segment BIRDIE & ME.

IMG_0825
Birdie Girl!

As a celebration of our new addition, I’m giving out free E-books this week to everyone who subscribes to  be on the combatmedic.org email list ( Top of Page, right side bar).

Also, check out my blog series about Tank & I to catch up on the latest articles about my service dog training.

UNTIL NEXT TIME!! GOD BLESS!

Relieved

Project-Delta Interviews Combat Medic

Project-Delta Interview

This is the interview I did with project-delta. They have helped me come a long way with understanding how PTSD effects my everyday life. Please share!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FTA9J7K

A Soul Infused With Tank

A Soul Infused

It’s been almost a week since Tank has left and I’m hanging on by a thread already. I’ve noticed quite a few changes in the way I approach life that I forgot I used to do.

“I seriously wish that I had full control over my mind, body and spirit. I have my body and spirit in tip- top condition, but my mind just seems to do whatever the heck it wants sometimes.”

For instance, I’ve noticed that I clench my jaw when I’m under stress, which is almost every second that I’m outside of the house on my own. Two days after Tank left my jaw hurt really bad. I couldn’t eat it was so painful.

It felt like my teeth were going to fall out. I went to bed with my face throbbing.

The morning after, the pain got slightly better but I was only able to eat soft foods for half the day.

It comes from the Hyper-vigilance that engulfs me wherever I go. Even at home I can’t stand in the yard or my garage without “hearing” someone walk up behind me, making me watch my back like someone’s trying to kill me. I can’t stop watching for danger.

It feels like I’m slowly reverting back to my old state of mind like before I started my search for a service dog.

IMG_0333It’s weird how infused Tank was with my life. I still hold reminiscence of him within every stride I make in life. Sometimes I hear his collar jingle and get a jolt of excitement thinking he’s walking up behind me, only to turn and be devastated by reality.

I don’t think I’m going down a path that will revert me back to the dark place I was in just a few years ago. Mainly because I have structure within my life now. I wake up and take care of my daughter and then I write and promote my book.

I’m still on a mission to save as many veterans lives as I possibly can before I’m whisked off to a better place. 

It won’t be long before I’m paired with another dog, so these feelings of despair and depression will soon fade. Until then I have to strive to fight my demons on my own in order to help motivate others to do the same.

Infuse

A Soul Infused With Tank

A Soul Infused With Tank

Realization

It’s been almost a week since Tank has left and I’m already hanging on by a thread. I’ve noticed quite a few changes in the way I approach life that I forgot I used to do.

“I seriously wish that I had full control over my mind, body and soul.”

I have my body and soul in tip- top condition, but my mind just seems to do whatever the heck it wants sometimes.

For instance, I’ve noticed that I clench my jaw when under stress, which is almost every second that I’m outside of the house on my own. Two days after Tank left my jaw hurt really bad. I couldn’t eat it was so painful.

“It felt like my teeth were going to fall out. I went to bed with my face throbbing.”

The pain got slightly better the morning after, but I was only able to eat soft foods for half the day before it started hurting again.

It comes from the Hyper-vigilance that engulfs me wherever I go. I can’t even stand in the yard or my garage at home without “hearing” someone walk up behind me, making me watch my back like someone’s trying to kill me. I can’t stop watching out for danger.

It feels like I’m slowly reverting back to my old state of mind like before I started my search for a service dog.

IMG_0333
Tank

A Soul Infused with Tank

It’s weird how infused Tank was with my life. I still hold reminiscence of him within every stride I make in life. Sometimes I get a jolt of excitement to hear his collar thinking he’s walking up behind me, only to turn and be devastated by reality.

I don’t think I’m going down a path that will revert me back to the dark place I was in just a few years ago. Mainly because I have structure within my life now. I wake up and take care of my daughter and then I write and promote my book.

I’m still on a mission to save as many veterans lives as I possibly can before I’m whisked off to a better place. 

It won’t be long before I’m paired with another dog, so these feelings of despair and depression will soon fade. Until then I have to strive to fight my demons on my own in order to help motivate others to do the same.

Infuse

An Everlasting Impression

Tank has left a everlasting impression within my heart…

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I can’t stop the tears from rolling down my cheek.
It been two days without Tank and my hearts grown weak.
Our bond will last within my heart forever,
Broken only by time and this body that withers.
Tank, dear friend,
I love you so much,
Although it feels like the end, I’ll always be able to remember your touch.

Although it feels like the end of my journey, I can’t accept giving up.

“One door closes, another one opens” has to be my mentality.

One day as I look back at this situation, I’ll have a great new best friend by my side and my heart won’t feel heavy with sorrow.

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You will be missed Tank…you will be missed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impression

Training = Maze

“Training a service dog is like…”

While walking Tank this morning, I thought of how to best describe service dog training to people who’ve never experienced it. The closest thing I can compare it to is a maze.

Just think about it, your view of the maze is like life with PTSD. You try your hardest to navigate the many jagged, twisty paths to get through to the finish but the tools you have just won’t work. You end up getting worried, bad anxiety attacks, and flashbacks just thinking about trying it on your own. There needs to be a new tool to help you navigate through the complicated maze.

Stick with me now, here is where it gets interesting.

Someone very kind walks up and hands you a pen, a new tool to help you achieve your goals of navigating through the maze. I’d like to think of a service dog as the pen, a companion that keeps you calm and focused on achieving your life goals.

Instead of getting freaked when thinking about the maze, you are able to calmly use your new tool to start navigating through the many different obstacles.

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Tank

When I think about Tank, he did just that. I was practically a hermit, not leaving the house unless I needed to because of flashbacks. Just thinking about going out would be a struggle because I kept thinking of all the obstacles that may present themselves while out. When I received Tank from Project Delta and we were able to start public training, I felt better about going out. I actually wanted to.

I was able to use my pen and focus on calmly navigating through life. I got further with the pen than I did trying to depend on the tools I had.

But like the maze, training a service dog can usually lead to a dead-end. You have the right tool, but you can’t get past the road block because the tool ended up malfunctioning.

In my case, Tank ended up being way too overprotective. At home I couldn’t get him to stop barking at neighbors and dogs that walked by. Out in public I couldn’t sit down without Tank freaking out on people walking by, barking and snapping his jaws at them.

It was a side of Tank that I never saw coming. It’s a trait that’s hard to break, I would never be able to get him certified as a service dog. I love Tank to death, but I still had goals to accomplish, I still need to get to the finish.

Just like starting over on a maze, I have to try to find a different dog to help me finish my goal. I’m starting down the same path with the same tool hoping for a different outcome.

That’s just what it’s like, ask anyone and they’ll agree.

Three more days until Tank goes to his new home. He’s helped me overcome a lot of obstacles I would have never been able to do on my own. It’s hard letting him go, but he’s served his purpose.

Maze

important roles of a service dog

Important Roles of a Service Dog

These past few weeks have been extremely busy for me. Between appointments at the VA, cleaning the house, writing and doing yard work, I’ve had little time to relax. It’s really not that bad that my time is filled. This time last year I was a hermit never looking to leave the house unless I had to. I feel as though I’ve been blessed beyond belief this year and I’m the happiest I’ve been in a while.

I have noticed a change in my mood when I’m out in public without Tank. I forget things at the store because my anxiety is pushing me towards leaving as fast as I can. That leaves me with having to go to two different stores to get the items I missed. When Tank was with me I felt calm and I was able to think clearly. When my symptoms ramped up I would feel the pressure of his head pressing against my leg and that would be enough to get me out of my head and in the moment. All I had to do was lean down to pet him and the anxiety and stress inside was reduced.

I’m missing Tank being with me so much that I sometimes see or feel him when he isn’t there. Like the other day when I was walking through Target I started feeling overwhelmed because of too many people around. I thought for sure that Tank was on my right side, I even looked down to see if there was the slight chance of him being there.

Yesterday as I was driving home I started to get really bad road rage because of some dumb drivers. As I turned a corner I thought I saw the black of Tanks shiny hair and again I looked back like I always do to calm myself down. Instead of his pretty brown eyes staring back at me all I saw was an empty seat. Sometimes it feels like I see a ghost of Tank, it’s weird.

The only thing I can compare it to is the first couple weeks out of the Army. Waking up late freaking out like I missed PT formation, I even caught myself standing at ease with my hands behind my back while in line. It was odd readjusting to a life without expectations, responsibilities, forced exercise, and people who can relate. Or when someone you love either dies or leaves to go somewhere forever. It’s like you whole body goes through withdraws from that person because they where such an important part of your life.

I guess I’m sort of going through a withdraw. He has been such an important tool in my recovery that I’ve dependent on him to help me get through rough situations and bare being in public without sweating like I’m in a hot box.

I’ve learned that service dogs play an important role in the lives of people with disabilities. They become a part of who we are by being there whenever we need them, either for emotional or physical support. I never realized it until I was without Tank.

He will be leaving in a few weeks. I don’t think it will be extremely hard to deal until I pair with another dog. I have high hopes that it won’t take long. I’ve actually forced myself away from Tank for the past week, letting my daughter play with him and fulfill his need. that way I feel like it will be an easier transition. He doesn’t like it that much, if I don’t pay him attention he will forcefully place himself in front of me and stare me in the eyes whimpering until I ask what he wants.

I love Tank to death, always and forever. I will be ok without, one journey ending and another on beginning.