Since we've been home, he's been doing amazingly well. Considering all of the adjustments we've been through the last 6 weeks, he's done phenomenal. However, I see him struggling at times, and I know that he's working really hard not to struggle or to let anyone see him struggle. I'm pretty certain that many people may even think he is cured he's been doing so well. He seems happier than he's been since coming home from Iraq. He's engaging in conversations, initiating contact with people, laughing, smiling, socializing. From the outside looking in, most of the time, he looks pretty "normal."
This week though has been more rough. He's still doing very well, don't get me wrong. And, I know we are going to have bad days and possibly even a bad week here and there. I just don't want these bad days to start multiplying into bad weeks and even months. A couple of nights ago he had a pretty bad night. He literally jumped out of bed twice with nightmares. He was disoriented and into a dissociation. Thankfully, he quickly came out of them, with the help of Frankie, but was definitely rattled. This now has somewhat carried over into today. I noticed him scanning the windows earlier and not responding to me. Frankie noticed too and jumped up to him and got his attention. He's resting now, and hopefully that will take care of it. I've also noticed he seems a little less confident than he had, and even a little down about it. I think he's scared of spiraling downward. He has the tools to not let this happen this time though, and he is doing a great job of using those tools.
It just always catches me off guard how quickly PTSD can come and steal his confidence, security, and self worth. It's similar to someone coming home to their house being broken into and along with their personal belongings being taken, their security is gone as well. PTSD does that. Not only does it knock them down and back to a terrifying time in their life, it steals their security, their confidence, and so much more. It is quick, and dark, and debilitating. It often strikes with no warning and leaves devastation in its wake.
We refuse to let it steal him away again. It's done that enough times already. The difference this time is that Allen has the tools to get himself through this. He is able to look at what it is from a much different perspective than he could a year ago. I might have to prompt him to redirect himself and ask him what he can do to not let this ruin his day. But, with my simple prompt, he knows what to do. It's amazing to see the difference. We are going to win!