Overwhelmingly, humans avoid challenging their long-standing beliefs, tastes and opinions. We prefer something we know instead of seeking new experiences.  I am proof positive of this fact and this fact is a big issue with PTSD.  For over 7 years, thanks to my PTSD, I have held a certain set of beliefs in myself, in others and about certain things.  For the last 12 weeks I have worked very hard to challenge these beliefs in CPT.  Some I have had success in challenging completely.  Some I have been able to reduce my belief in and then there are others that I wasn’t even able to make a dent in.  As much as I have tried to do so, things external to myself continually reinforce those beliefs.

Even in the modern age with constant new stimuli, we like to follow the same well-worn paths and draw the same conclusions regardless of fact.  This is a problem with how PTSD changes your brain.  At some point in the last 7 years, my brain has been rewired.  The paths, let’s call them healthy paths, that I had once upon a time have been replace with well worn “unhealthy” paths that have been so worn, they are nearly impossible to climb out of.  These remaining stuck points, these last few long standing beliefs do not appear to be going anywhere any time soon and it sucks.  While I have made good progress on some of my more difficult stuck points, the remaining ones also affect parts of my life the most.

The last few days, while I have felt fine, I have noticed that I have let myself become preoccupied with certain parts of my life.  I have been getting stuck in never ending loops of thought.  While not entirely all about my trauma or triggers, how I react to that never-ending loop of thoughts very much is.  It’s just kind of put me in a funk that’s amplified some behaviors and thought patterns I dislike and don’t want to have.  The funk has been gone far enough to fuck with my sleep and even bring back a few nightmares that my meds normally keep at bay.

Truthfully, I was starting to remember what it was like to have a normal sleep pattern.  Something I haven’t had in such a long time.  Either because I worked odd shifts in the Navy or because I was simply afraid to fall asleep in the later years.  My screwed up sleep and the thought patterns and behaviors all seem to elevate and be caused by my stress level.  My stress level seems to be the biggest/easiest trigger in my life.  It blows and unless I can find a cabin in the woods away from people and someone to pay me to live there, I highly doubt I’ll ever be stress free.  So do you see my problem?  Exactly.

How does someone maintain a stress free lifestyle?  Especially someone in my situation?  I’m open to suggestions.

Dear John and Kevin


Dear John and Kevin,

As I stand here in the doorway to your bedroom, staring at your empty beds, I realize how much I miss you when you are with your mother. My life is much to quiet without you around and it’s no wonder why I find you two to be my anchors in my life. You are my world and I would do anything for you. The short five years that you two have been in my life have brought me unimaginable happiness. Your not old enough to understand it yet, but you two amazing boys have saved my life. You brought me back from the brink of death and you gave me the courage to fix myself and the motivation to right my ship.

I wish that one day you are able to read this and understand that I never meant to hurt you with anything that I have to deal with. I had tried my hardest to shield you from my problems. I hope, I truly hope that you understand that no matter what happens between your mother and I, you will always be the most important things in my life. Even if I am not always with you, if you need me, I will be there. Anytime, day or night.

I want to thank you for giving me the strength to start healing my wounds. I know that I am doing this for myself as much as I am doing it for you. But how could I enjoy my life with you boys the way I was. Daddy will always have his bad days but he has learned new things to help him. When you are old enough, the three of us can sit by a fire and drink a beer together and I’ll answer any questions you have. You deserve to know and when your ready, you will get the unfiltered truth.

I want to thank you for saving my life. Around the time I found out that your mother was pregnant with you both, it gave me a reason not to be stupid with my life. Since you were born and since I first held you in my arms, every time that my demons were starting to over come me, all I had to do to bring myself back from the brink was look at you too. You were, you are and you always will be my reason to life. I hope you understand how valuable that is to me.

It has only been a few months since your fifth birthday and time is flying by way too fast. You guys are growing up right before my eyes and I dislike missing a single moment of your lives. If I do half a good a job raising you as your grandpa did raising me, the world is in for a special treat when you two grow up. You two will be the most remarkable young men to walk this earth and I’m grateful that I am your father. I love you both.