17 April 2012


This past Friday, I had an appointment with my social worker at the VA hospital. I’ve been doing weekly appointments, working on behavior modification, and that’s been helping. My social worker is a pretty progressive type in that he’s always looking for new ways to help. This appointment, he suggested a “transitions” program that the VA hospital runs. (I was impressed-- he had the idea and materials ready for me before I walked into his office. A very positive change from the past. I digress.) It’s a three days a week program, that runs from morning through afternoon and includes small workshops as well as a group session and appointments with my social worker and a psychiatrist. My social worker described it as “for veterans who are struggling, but don’t necessarily need inpatient treatment”.

When my social worker asked when I’d like to start (including Monday as an option), I chose to start right away. “No time like the present” was my actual response. I am both hopeful and optimistic that I’m someday going to beat this PTSD stuff.

Even so, I was supposed to be at the VA at 1000 on Monday, and didn’t make it until 1300. I missed the orientation, and a creative writing workshop in the morning, but made the group discussion. The Transitions program works on a schedule where you can start at any time, and you participate for four weeks, so about half of the group had been there for a couple of weeks, two vets were finishing their four weeks, and the rest of us were new. I was a few minutes late to group as well, so I was more than a bit anxious. I managed to get my hands on the handouts, and get my reading glasses and a pen out without causing too much fuss, and then we were discussing the handouts on self-esteem.

At one point in the discussion, the idea of positive things a person could do came up-- things like read a book, listen to music, go for a walk, etc. I offered up how I’ll sometimes go out to McDonalds for food, or down the street for coffee, just to be out of my apartment and around other people. My input received a good response, which felt pretty nice. It was walking down to Mickey D’s that started me getting out of my apartment earlier this year, along with helping me get back into therapy. That was something that I’d come up with on my own.

So now it’s Tuesday. I worked until 0100 last night, but couldn’t sleep when I got home-- I was a bit anxious and restless. After the group session was done, I went grocery shopping for myself and then with a friend. I’d applied for food share benefits last week, and finally received the benefits card. For those of you not familiar with the process (as I wasn’t a week ago), benefits are based on income and expenses in your household. Turns out I qualify. I have a debit card from which I can spend my monthly benefits on food. (You might know the program as food stamps.) Anyway, between that and the food basket I received from the VA I have food to eat.

Back to me not being able to sleep-- I was dead tired, but sleep wasn’t happening. I have an old computer that’s been residing in the trunk of my car for a couple of years now. The power supply is blown, so I’d always meant to cannibalize it for parts before taking it to work to be recycled. I went out to the car, removed it from it’s home in my car, and brought it upstairs. It took a couple of hours to get the memory, hard drive, memory, speakers, and motherboard removed (it is, or was, an iMac DV circa ~2000). I now have those components plus a bunch of now spare screws. I tried to rescue the internal CRT, but when the power supply went, that went as well.

I also didn’t take my meds at 0100 like I normally do, which was a universally bad idea. My meds put me out until 1635. I was expected at work at 1600, so I had to dress grab my stuff and make something for supper and make sure I had everything in my pockets and then I was out the door (after calling to let them know I was on my way).

I grabbed the first available desk, even though it looked like someone was using it-- I just needed to get sitting down and get plugged in and ready to work. My coworkers probably though I was being an asshole, even though I really wasn’t. Being at a desk was a way to ground myself. It’s one of those things about PTSD that people sometimes misinterpret, the need I have sometimes to do things a certain way. There’s a reason, but it takes too long to explain so I just go ahead and do what I need to do. Not sure if that’s a good thing.

Now, I’m going to go find more Mountain Dew, and work on some small programming projects between phone calls.

(More Transitions tomorrow. I’m going to try to post regularly during the four weeks of the program.)

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