Thursday, September 28, 2017

Sometimes my brain sucks... still

It's  been a while since I've done an "in the moment" post. I thought it'd be a good time. PTSD recovery is like a roller coaster: intense ups followed by intense downs. Today (not really all the day, just this moment) has been a down. 

You know what sucks? My brain sometimes. 

I came to help guide people fly fishing. They are veterans who are part of Project Healing Waters, which uses fly fishing to help wounded veterans. 

I really enjoy fly fishing, and while I wouldn't say it has played a big part in my own PTSD recovery, it is something that has helped. It gets me outside and moving (while obsessing over catching fish instead of exercising). When I catch a fish, every other thought goes away. I forget about everything except that fish. I want to share that with others. 

Today, my brain won't let me. It has decided today is a good day to experience many PTSD symptoms. Memories that won't stop playing. Anxiety with no known cause. Fear that is so intense, I feel paralyzed. Sadness that makes me want to cry, but I can't because of my fear. Shaking which would probably go away if I let myself just cry. So, I turned the guiding over to todd and the others, and I'm hiding. 

I can be more gentle with myself today, I've been working hard with physical therapy and therapy. I know to expect "flare ups" like this. I also know that one on one situations bring up so much anxiety that the general anxiety is bound to trigger more specialized anxiety. Being not needed (there are more volunteers than participants today) makes it easier to fall apart. If I couldn't turn over responsibilities to anyone else, I'd do my best to teach... but thinking of that makes me hyperventilate a little... so I'm glad I'm not needed and I can just expose myself to thinking about guiding somebody. 

There's also the pressure to be a good guide. What if they don't understand what I'm trying to teach? What if they don't catch fish? What if they hate fishing with a girl? What if I screw it up for them and they never try fly fishing again because I sucked so bad and fly fishing could have been the thing that helped them the most but they'll never know it and it's all my fault? What if I hadn't shown up and they'd have gotten to go with someone who knew what they were doing? What if it was just better if I didn't exist at all? (Wow. It's crazy in my brain. It's just a day of fly fishing... and we are all volunteers. I'm as good as some people and no where close to as good as others. I've not guided before, but the only way to learn how to do that is to try. Todd didn't know how to guide a couple years ago, but he tried it and now he's pretty good.) It feels a little better reading my crazy thoughts back to myself. Those are some silly thoughts. 

I still have the memories that keep playing. I still feel a little scared and sad and anxious, but less crazy. I think today, I will take pictures. If I get some good ones, that might be helpful to the project. If I want to, I can even tell people why I'm not guiding but taking pictures instead. Some of the vets might understand senseless anxiety, and some of the other volunteers might too. That might make it easier next time. Maybe next time, I'll even be ready to actually guide. 

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