So, now comes the explaining to everyone. Explaining why you can't concentrate, explaining why you start crying out of nowhere, explaining why you suddenly need to find a quiet place...
The world will keep on spinning
While this was going on with me, the world kept spinning. Everyone was living their own lives. Everything kept going. Except me. I'm stuck in this cycle of repeating flashbacks and an emotional rollercoaster. But since everything kept going, birthdays, party's, and the occasional visits to and from family would keep coming aswell.
I reckon the family or people at the birthdays and party's would frown upon me leaving suddenly and without warning. Or me suddenly having a panic attack in the middle of the room. That's one of the reasons you will have to start telling people about your problems. At least the people close to you. This was pretty hard for me. I was and probably will always be someone who keeps things to himself. So now having to tell people I'm broken really hurt. It made me feel very much the failure. Luckily most people are very supportive. Even if they don't quite know whats going on and don't understand it.
Telling everyone that you're having trouble is hard. Telling everyone you're having flashbacks is even harder. They will look at you like you're a victim. Some will show understanding, but most just won't understand. A lot of them will ask what it is you're seeing or feeling. Your first instinct will be avoiding the topics which hurt the most. Avoid talking about the things you see, but every single person you're explaining things to will ask about it. Which inadvertently brings up the images or the feelings. Making those days exhausting physically and mentally. And even though all you want to do is sleep afterwards, you can't because the world keeps on spinning and the kids want and deserve your attention. And you can't let your wife handle everything and just leave for a while.
By talking about your problems, more often than not, you'll hear a lot of "google doctors" saying , well it might be this or that. In my case almost everyone mentioned some form of PTSD. It might be, the symptoms match. Hell my childhood was a rollercoaster by itself. At first I denied it. No way I have PTSD. The flashbacks I see just make me sad. It's nothing traumatic to get PTSD from.
What I did figure out though, was that I needed an outlet. I had been stuck at home for little over a week. I used to be a fervent gamer. I'd play for hours at end because I enjoyed it and it relaxed me. Thanks to my erratic mood and lack of energy I didn't even want to touch a game. I knew I needed something. Music has always been my go to. Feeling sad, play some music. Feeling happy, play some music. Thats when I thought, why not try something new. Focus on that. Try and create something beautifull and helpfull at the same time. I started a Youtube Channel "Flyover Relaxing Music".
Through this channel I tried a lot of different things. But even if no-one listened or watched my music video's it helped me concentrate and keep the demons at bay. At least most of the time. I made video's that helped me sleep when I woke up in the middle of the night. Music to soothe me when the bad thoughts came back. I think anyone who experiences what I'm experiencing, needs some form of outlet. Check out my Projects page to see more...
One of the benefits of keeping myself busy, was that even though the kids went to school, my wife went to work, I was focusing on the music which got me through the day. Everyone kept telling me that it was important to keep to a regular schedule, don't go to bed later than usual. Don't sleep in. Have a steady rythm. Otherwise the road back will be even longer. Youtube helped me with that. That and swimming 2-3 times a week.
In practise mental healthcare
I was finally able to see the in practice mental healthcare. This was both an eye opener and excruciating at the same time. Excruciating because I had to talk to this complete stranger and explain to her what I'm going through. I prepared for the worst. A few days in advance I started feeling anxious for having to open up again. This got gradually worse untill I almost had a panic attack in the waiting room. The first thing she did, was try to calm me, explain what she was there for and what she could do for me. First of which was just hearing my story. I told her about where I started going crazy Then she summed up all of my symptoms and said:"I think you have PTSD". "But I'm not a psychologist, so I am going to refer you to a psychologist so they can determine whether you have PTSD or not, but from what I hear, there is no doubt about it." She went on to say that she wanted to keep an eye on me, and would like to see me every 2 weeks, untill the psychologist could see me, because the psychologist had a waiting time of 4 months.......