While I had an absolute blast on Saturday at the Elders Quorum social shootout, it wasn’t all roses and might have started me on the path toward a mental health crisis.
Dealing with Mental Health Issues
While I have several firearms, and feel like I am quite proficient in their use, I don’t actually use them all that often. Last weekend was the first time in 2017. I think I only had them out once in all of 2016.
I’ve even stopped carrying my sidearm. I still have my carry permit, fully support carrying, and think it is largely a smart thing to do. But while I think having one is a good idea for most people, unfortunately I think it might be more dangerous for myself to have one. Maybe as my treatments at the VA continue this will improve.
I was slightly nervous about the shootout on Saturday, but mostly that was nervousness about other people’s safe handling of the weapons. And everything at the event was fine. I felt good. But later, after returning home, I started not doing so well.
Mental Health Crisis
I don’t know even if it is directly relatable to the shootout. I was slightly depressed all afternoon afterwards though. And when I get depressed I want to snack as a way to distract myself. About 10pm I headed to the store to pick up a bag of chips. I had the windows down as I drove to feel the cool night air.
There is a Maverick gas station on the corner of state street and 300 East in Pleasant Grove. As I went through that intersection a man I didn’t see yelled to someone else, “Hey, will you…(something). ” I can’t identify why, probably the inflection in his voice similar to somebody else I knew, but something about that sentence had me back at Fort Huachuca in an instant.
As I rounded the corner of that intersection, only a fraction of a second after hearing the words, I was already in a panic. I was shaking and terrified. Immediately I pulled over into the Smith’s parking near the same corner. I spent 20 minutes there just trying to breath; to relax; to convince myself that I WAS safe. It was as long a 20 minutes as I’ve had in quite a while.
I texted Julie, only telling her that I wish she had come because I was feeling “some anxiety.” I had thought about telling her to grab Blake (her father) and coming to pick me up. I was in really bad shape, but I didn’t do that because I didn’t want to reveal to Blake/Joan how bad I was doing. (Yes, I see the irony of that decision and then sharing it here on the blog.)
The only reason I relate this to the shooting at all is that during the episode I kept hearing the gunshots ringing in my ears. They’re probably unrelated.
I eventually convinced myself I WAS safe and calmed down. I made it home just fine. That was Saturday night. Sunday was… difficult. No full blown meltdown at church like I’ve done before, but periods of it were difficult to get through.
Monday was… fine. Julie has spent several days trying to coax me to talk. But I don’t know what to say to her. She can tell I haven’t been well. Nightmares, as expected, have been worse than normal.
Today, Tuesday, wasn’t a great day either. This morning, still on edge and dealing poorly with the stress, I got a phone call from the insurance which didn’t help (I’ll write more about that in another post). That was while on the way to my parents to do some work again today.
No work took place though. While discussing what needed to be done my Dad made some fairly benign comments directed at me that set me off. I didn’t want to blow up so I just left. I stood, said I couldn’t handle it today, and left. Julie tried to stop me saying Dad was just joking. I said I was leaving and if she wanted a ride home she better get in the car too. A few minutes later we were on the road back home.
Family is great… but everyone needs a friend!
So here I sit feeling like a grade A loser unable to control his emotions. I feel like I’m just barely hanging on. I wish desperately I had a friend to call. The one and only good friend I feel like I’ve had since my discharge is now way back in Missouri, possibly never to be seen again. A while back he suggested I get out there and meet people, saying I’m a great guy and will find friends.
Despite feeling like I’ve tried doing that, it hasn’t happened yet. Everybody else at my stage in life seems to already be set in stone with work, schedules, friends, family. Nobody has time/room in their life for a needy, broken vet. I can’t blame them. I wouldn’t really want to hang out with a depressing mental case either.
I’m desperately missing Joshua, who is at Scout Camp this week. With him here I could find a reason to get out of the house at least and go help him practice some basketball or golf.
Don’t panic… I know I’m loved.
I know Julie loves me, and so do the kids. And my parents. I know that. I know I can talk to them (despite what happened with my Dad today). I’m sure I could probably reach a church leader or two. I know there are people to talk with, even if it is only because of their calling, but I wish I had even one good friend as well who I could call up and get together with.
And I wish I could stop all this damn crying!