05 May 2013

Looking back. Wondering if I was better off sleeping in my car.

Things-- simple, everyday things-- are difficult most days. Normal stuff that I used to take for granted, like getting laundry done, grocery shopping, and paying bills. I cannot explain why the simple things are impossible other than to say that my mind is always busy trying to save me from what it sees. My anxiety level is always very high, although sometimes I can bring it down for a little while. I know when it's reached a peak and started downward because I start feeling tired. This PTSD shit wears me out, and wears me down.

VA Transitional Housing got me off the street last November. I'm not sure how I'd have managed through the winter sleeping in my car. I would have managed, because I'm both resourceful and stubborn. I was starting to look (and feel) somewhat rough by then, so I imagine that I'd still be here but I'd be in rough shape. Still, even though I have a place to live, things aren't necessarily all better. I don't feel better; in many ways I feel worse. Saying that doesn't really quantify how I feel. Maybe something more concrete will help? I don't do death by PowerPoint, but I do have two graphs to show you. These are from the PTSD Coach app, which I've been using for quite a while now. One of its functions is a weekly self-assessment, which can show how you're feeling over a period of time.

These two graphs cover August 2012, when I was still hoping I'd find a place, to now. Being evicted meant no one would even rent me a room, so I moved from my apartment to my car. The left edge of the left graph is August 2012, and I moved into VA Transitional Housing on Nov 1 2012. My PTSD symptoms were up and down, but by November they were decreasing a little, approaching the top end of the medium range.

Now start at November 2012, and follow the line onto the graph on the right. The level of my PTSD symptoms has been rising since I moved into VA Transitional Housing. I'm now in the High range. FML.

I've been writing about this for a while now; I don't like living in VA Transitional Housing. Too many loud people, too many people that want to pick fights. Too many guys wearing GPS ankle bracelets that beep when they get too close to the windows. There's help here, with bills and benefits and navigating the VA system, but it's not emotional help. It's institutional help.

Call it pride, if you want-- but welfare sucks.


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