2am and the only sound is the fan in the corner of the room and the gentle breathing of Colleen asleep beside me, I have had to have a fan running when I'm in bed for many years now because silence is my worst enemy when combined with the darkness. The sound of the fan gives me something to focus on and can sometimes help me fall into one of my naps.
If I don't fall into a nap quickly then my brain sees that as its chance to start showing me the shit I spend all day trying not to see, the second I drop my guard and attempt to sleep is the second my mind will start to wander, hence I'm now writing this post to try and focus my mind.
If I do fall into a nap quickly enough it's pot luck how long I will manage to rest for, before the brain starts to play from the playlist of terrors, it has built up quite a library now, all of them are rated not for human consumption. It begs the question, am I not human? In a past life was I guilty of a genocide of some kind?
This last week or so I have been even more difficult to be around than normal, Colleen has seen the very worst side of me with my mood swings and my intolerance of everything around me. I truly don't know why she is still here but I thank my lucky stars that she is.
PTSD has taken so much from me over the years, friends, life experiences and much more, that I would understand if it took away one of the only good things left in my life, everyday my goal is to ensure I tell her how much she means to me and let her know that nothing is more important in my life than she is.
The other day Colleen got me out of the house to visit a local food festival, it was busy and I held onto her hand for dear life the whole way round, it was nice to be out with her and to see people enjoying the experience, we saw friends as we were leaving and chatting to them felt normal and got me a step closer to getting home again, it's always about getting home again back to my safe haven or gilded prison depending on how you look at it.
Maybe my career will be the next thing it tries to take from me? I have the support of some truly terrific people in my team and on other teams and they get me through so many of the tough days that I have lost count of the amount of beers, wine, cakes and cookies that I now owe!
It is difficult being so aware of the worst of humans but also be exposed daily to the very best of humankind, it's a constant battle in my brain to try and see the good in the world when you have stared into the eyes of the victims of the most evil in the world.
This journey that I am on, is far from easy and the constant challenges are some of the most difficult, that's even before I turn on my work phone and laptop! Some people see mental illness as a weakness and something to be ashamed of, they are people who know nothing of mental illness though.
Living with PTSD has broken me in many ways but it has also improved my humanity in other ways. I am more empathetic now than I ever was and it has also given me the strength and courage to speak out on the subject, to try and remove the unwarranted stigma associated with mental health.
The other positive in my life is my campaign to improve child safety online, which I hope has benefited people and helped to protect children from the dangers that exist. I have even had success involving my attempts to get the subject officially placed onto the curriculum for all schools (hopefully more to follow on that on the near future)
As always, there may be a huge dark cloud in my life but there are many silver linings and that's why writing these posts is important for me as it allows me to remember them and focus on them. Hopefully it also helps others who may be suffering or may see it in others they care about.
Just remember no matter how shit things seem, how dark you think it might be or how hopeless you think things are, there is always a bright spot to focus on that will get you through to the next day.
I think now I am ready for that nap, be safe and remember always try to be kind as you never know what somebody is going through.