Mark Rogers: One more day with post-traumatic stress disorder

Gulf war veteran Mark Rogers shares his struggle with posttraumatic stress disorder:
I wake up panting and sweating from every pore. My body is a twitching mass of pain, as usual, and today is a 7 out of 10 day. My normal level is a 4 or 5, just a dull whole body ache that I can work through. Last night's nightmare replays in my head like a film made of rapid cuts that make no sense at all. My head is in my shaking hands and I am slowly realizing where and when I am. I sit and try to use abdominal breathing to slow my panting. I watch my leg and arm muscles twitch and writhe beneath my skin looking like snakes crawling under a blanket. When my arms stop shaking, I take my meds. Now I am awake and ready for another day with PTSD.

I don't remember what I was dreaming last night but I feel like I have gone twelve rounds MMA style. Now I vaguely remember delivering a series of kicks to the couch I slept on. My form must have been pretty bad because my toe is slightly dislocated. I reach down and pop my big toe back into proper alignment. I finally stand and try to stretch some of the pain away. My joints creak and crack as I work my limbs through their full range of motion. My muscles are in full revolt as I reach to touch my toes then the floor. Curiously, I still have much of the flexibility I developed while training in Jujutsu years ago. The stretching helps. The pain is at a comfortable level now and I can start my morning.

It will be about an hour before the meds kick in and I want coffee. This is a problem because my hands are still shaky. I manage to fill the reservoir on my coffee maker and this time, I only spill a small amount of grounds around the filter. I take a seat while it brews. I am panting again like I have just ran a few blocks and my hands are shaking again. Just another random anxiety attack and on a day like today, it will be an all day battle to control my twitching. I feel exhausted yet wide awake. I get up like a boxer in the late rounds and make a cup of wake up. I drink in between the bouts of shaking.

Get the Story:
Mark Rogers: I Wake Up Panting and Sweating: Another Day With PTSD (Indian Country Today 8/20)

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