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21 April 2013

No, I don't like living in Transitional Housing. I want to be normal.

First, I finally made it to the County Veterans Service Office this past week, to get some help with C&P claim paperwork. I intentionally don't write much about that, because it's generally complicated and I'm no expert. I'm in the queue like everyone else. The words "my life fell apart" did come up during the meeting, which was a bit strange. My life really did fall apart, but I've been so occupied with surviving that I've never consciously thought about it. Someday when this is all worked out maybe I will spend some time thinking about it. Someday.

I also started on another 12-week cognitive based therapy program for the PTSD that's been kicking my ass so much. It's the same therapy I completed in 2009, when I was still working full time and finishing up at community college. CBT did a lot for me then, dealing with childhood events and learning a lot about cognitive processing. I still use the things I learned the first time around. Since things derailed in 2010, it's been all about the Desert. The 20th anniversary of my trip to the Desert knocked me off track in a way I'd never expected.

During the CBT session on Friday, which was a starting point-- what's happening, let's document it so we can form a plan of attack-- I talked a bit about my living situation. Being in VA Transitional Housing has been rough on me since I moved in last November. The vets house can be incredibly triggering most days, especially when people start bringing outside drama in with them. Today at breakfast the cook (with no warning) started spouting off about his buddy and his buddy's wife and the domestic problems they are having. Of course, lots of personal opinion added about how things should be.

This from the guy who just got back from prison, again, for dealing cocaine. Mr. Helpful Advice.

There's also Captain Oblivious, who will see me reading with ear buds in and start talking and asking me questions. Yes, I am ignoring you. GTFO.

Some days/nights the volume and the content of conversations gets to be too much, so I wolf down whatever I'm eating and leave ASAP. Today I didn't. It should be noted that I hadn't slept for ~2 days, so my fuse was pretty short. I told him very plainly to keep his fucking drama to himself, and keep it out of the house. There's enough drama here without bringing in crap about people we don't even know. It took repeating it several time before he actually shut up; he didn't see a problem. Maybe it got through when I explained that I have enough problems of my own, without hearing imported drama. Probably not.

I've told/asked a couple of other people lately to stop shouting, to turn down the fucking TV, to not not NOT walk up behind me and put a hand on my shoulder while saying "HEY" as loud as possible. Mr. HEY! almost became Mr. Smacked Upside the Head. Voicing concern doesn't help much, so I usually have to leave the room. I'm tired of trying to cope and trying to be social. Being alone isn't always healthy, but it's better than being triggered all the time.

Yet, one of my "current goals" as worked out is "eat meals in the chow hall". 

I'm feeling especially triggered and grumpy, so I should note that not everyone is loud and obnoxious. There are other veterans who I know value quiet and space at least as much as I do, and they've begun to notice when things get too loud and turn their own volume down. I have good friends here who try to help. I'm not trying to suppress conversation, but I shouldn't have to jump people's shit just to cope-- and my PTSD symptoms have gone up consistently since I moved in.

My social worker asked me if I liked living in Transitional Housing, and my immediate answer was "No, I don't." I've been wrestling with that a lot lately. After all, the program took me in off the street, gave me a place to live, three meals a day, help finding help to recover. This past winter would have been a hell of a lot less comfortable without the program.

My Dad survived the Great Depression when he was a kid. Some of the stories he told... so I don't want to be ungrateful for the help I'm getting. Still, between dealing with Desert Storm, PTSD, and fallout from living on the street, and the noise and drama that ever ends, living here isn't healthy for me.

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