PTSD Waiting Game

Yesterday, a coworker asked me about Ryder’s progress. Unaware of the depth of this answer, he was genuinely curious.

I repeated the same story I have told a hundred times. And then we started talking about me and where I am in all of this. Which got me thinking about where I actually am in all of this. Am I ‘over it’? Am I still ‘in the thick of all these feelings’? Where am I exactly?

He asked me, “What makes a professional cyclist continue on?” Since I don’t cycle professionally, nor follow the sport, I had no idea. So, I guessed and said ‘determination’. He said no. He then asked me if I have ever seen a professional cyclist who has never fallen off a bike. I knew where he was going with this. It was obvious.

Why do we fall? So we can pick ourselves back up.

Get back up on that horse.

If you fail, try, try again.

It’s not like I haven’t heard these before. I’m a smart individual, so I know what he was saying. Then, he asked me ‘Are you going to let yourself be a great trainer?’. Will you let yourself be good?

That’s a great question. Why did this event affect me this way? Was it because I had to watch Ryder die? Was it because I had to make the decision with the family to put him to sleep? As much as that was awful, it isn’t because of that. It’s because I wasn’t good enough for him. I couldn’t fix him.

But, I also know the same fate would have happened if he was with another trainer. I know that. Why do I still feel like I failed? It comes and goes. Sometimes, I know I did the right thing. Other times, there is that ‘what if’ voice in my head saying I have learned so much since I started working with him.

Hitting the Wall End of my LeashThen, I hear the words from my mentor. ‘You did the right thing. I would have done the same.’ And then, when I had my totally embarrassing day 4 breakdown during my certification course, she said ‘You need to get over it’. Not in a mean way or make things worse, but still – I need to get over it.

The pain is gone. The pain from putting him to sleep, the pain of losing him. That’s gone. The feeling of failure, regret, feeling over my head, not knowing what else to do, and ultimately FAILING…. Is still there.

We have decided not to get a great dane right now. I wanted a blue merle great dane to add to our family. Right now, we have decided to put this off. I also haven’t taken on another difficult case since Ryder. It’s not like I’m avoiding them, just… haven’t had one come along.

I know I’ll have to make this decision again, but how can I move on? How can I get over it when I’m feeling like I could have done more. Will this ever go away? It’s been almost 3 months since we put him to sleep.

My therapist says I have PTSD regarding this situation. She says it will take as long as it takes. But why won’t it just hurry up? I mean, I’m trying to get over it, and triggers keep pulling me back.

All great danes used to get to me after this happened. Then, just merle great danes. Then the name ‘Ryder’. Then stories of unpredictable aggression. Then, I was faced with working in the same facility with Ryder before he died. The same technique I was working on, the same words were spoken to me. I broke down, but I moved past it. Once I moved past these triggers, it’s driving past the pet hospital that gets me sometimes. And then, when I feel I’m stable and getting over it, something else triggers me. Like someone who didn’t know the whole story, asking me about his progress. And I’m back to where I was.

WHY CAN’T I MOVE ON?! I just want to learn from it and move on.

I’m frustrated because it feels like I’m hitting a wall over and over again.  It doesn’t affect my work, I don’t freak out at clients’ houses, but it’s all inside. I’m very good at hiding what I’m feeling in person. People don’t know there is a hurricane of emotions happening on the inside. But there is. And even when people ask me about Ryder or I hit a trigger, I have been able to handle it. Until my workshop. It hit me like a tidal wave, and I couldn’t stop from shaking, hyperventilating, and panicking in front of everyone.

PTSD Drowning End of My LeashIt feels like I’m climbing out of a deep hole, and every time I start to see the light and climb out, the hole grows and I’m climbing again. The hole keeps getting deeper, and it feels I’ll never get out.

Or maybe I’m drowning, and every time I swim to the top, water pours down on me and pushes me to the bottom again. How can I ever get back anything if I keep getting pushed back down?

I have this internal wound that won’t heal. Every time it starts to mend, it gets ripped open again, and I’m trying to hard to stop the emotional bleeding. I’m trying to stitch it up the best I can and say ‘it happened, get over it’, ‘suck It up, it was right’, ‘everyone else would have done the same’, ‘he’s at peace now’, etc. But it doesn’t help. Those stitches don’t seem to be enough.

I don’t cry, I don’t show I’m upset, and when people ask me, I put on a smile and say I’m doing fine. I’m faking it to make it. I’ve tried screaming, I’ve tried forcing myself into situations where I have to interact with my triggers. What else can I do?

Just wait. Waiting sucks.

2 thoughts on “PTSD Waiting Game

  1. Yes, waiting does suck. But, you are doing all the right things. Looking at your triggers, getting help, talking about it, those are all the right things and those right things will get you through this. You talk about how you feel like you failed Ryder. Yet even Heather said she would have done the same thing. If a professional, gifted, respected trainer like Heather would have done the same thing, how did you fail? You didn’t fail sweetheart, you did what a good, professional trainer would do. You actually did the exact right thing…no failure…maybe not success, but definitely not failure. We can only do what we can do. You did your best, you did what was right, there is nothing else or more you could have done. I love you very much. I hope these little comments help a little.

    • They do help, and I know all of it. Some days are easier than others. Seems I’m more sensitive sometimes and a rock other times.

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