Monday, October 24, 2011

turn back the clocks

ever wanted to be able to go back into the past? ever think of things you used to do, and say "man, it would be great to do that again"? i have. this weekend i think i tried to. i also saw that it's simply not possible.

i love hockey. when i was growing up, hockey was basically my lifeblood. but i stopped playing in senior year of high school, and at that time, there was no roller hockey in college - which didn't even matter, because I had joined ROTC at Tulane. So basically with college life i lost hockey. i played hockey a bit in 2007 on a team with a friend of my sister's. but it wasn't anything serious. i am on the roller hockey team at albany. playing other college teams. i was so excited about this weekend's tournament. it was kind of a dream, something i imagined while in high school. something i longed for after i stopped playing hockey.

but in the dreams, i was the hockey player i was as a teenager. i was confident on skates, i was lean and in good shape. i was pretty fast and had good hockey sense. i wasn't an awesome player, but i was good. i wasn't 75 pounds overweight. i didn't have a brain injury. i didn't suffer from anxiety and depression. in the dreams, it was realistic - realistic as to what was back in high school.

but i'm not the person, man, or hockey player i was in high school. i am 75 pounds overweight. my brain injury has stolen my physical confidence and my balance on foot, let alone on skates. my depression has robbed me of years of my life spent doing nothing because i lacked the willpower to get out of bed.

i played hockey this weekend. i should be ecstatic about it. i should absolutely love the fact that i was on a pair of skates and in real games.

i am not ecstatic about it.

i'm pretty fucking disturbed as a matter of fact.

i thought i had come to terms with my brain injury, my depression and the disability that hangs around my neck day in and day out. this weekend showed me exactly how much i cannot do because of it. this weekend showed me that i will never be who i was. never do what i did. never get back to the place i was at. this weekend showed me exactly how much i have lost due to my brain injury and my post-traumatic stress. due to my depression and my anxiety. due to my lack of exercise and my extra weight. due to my lack of hope and abundance of despair.

i didn't get to go back and do the things i had dreamed of this weekend. what i did was realize that there are many things that i used to love in my life that i will never ever be able to do again.

and that sucks.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

good week.

so, let's recap what i'm calling a rebound week:

good practice wednesday night playing hockey for the second time since 2007. i also skated tonight for about a half hour, trying to loosen up the back muscles that are the problem right now.

got back on the horse with p90x, and out of the first 10 days, i did 7 of them. so that's a nice ratio at the moment.

got my first hebrew lit paper back today. it was the first paper i've written and i had some trouble with it, but was pretty pleased with the final product. turns out, so was my teacher, and i got a 98. not too shabby.

took my first exam in my computer class, and got a 90 on that. the class average was 69, the high was 96 and the low 32. out of 670 students, only four got a 90 or higher. pretty decent, i'd say.

so my grades are good right now. i'm pleased and a little anxious, because historically, the wheels would have already fallen off the wagon by now, but they haven't, so i'm wondering if i'm just delaying the inevitable...or maybe it's time to banish those thoughts and say fuck it, this time is different.

i'm thinking about a return to israel over the winter break. it's an exciting thought, and i'm 99% towards making a decision.

other than that, the family will be in town tomorrow for family weekend/homecoming, so that should be cool. my sleep cycle is still all screwed up, but there's nothing new there.

nite yall.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

hockey

had hockey practice tonight. it kicked my ass. i'm really rusty, and totally not in shape, but it is great. it's so much fun and it takes me back to when i was a teenager and all i did was play hockey. i miss those days. i've got to work on my lower back, and build up some endurance. my lower back was so sore, i had to stop playing. so, definitely gotta work on that.

anyway, today was good. i got back to p90x and did kenpo x tonight. it was pretty difficult. but, it'll get easier as i get stronger and in better shape.

hope yall are doing great.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Working on it.

So, had an appointment at the VA this morning that I missed. But I made it to my afternoon class, and things are decent. Straightening up the room, gonna clean out the car. And later on, p90x and hockey. So, I'm working it.

coming out the other end.

On the upswing of this depression. I constantly go through these cycles. Each time seems more difficult. Each time I forget that it is a cycle. So each time I fall victim to my own poor self-thoughts. So hopefully, by writing this post, I will look at it next cycle and say, hey fucker, it's gonna be ok. "This too shall pass."

Monday, October 10, 2011

kinda gripped by a strong depression right now. done nothing today, skipped classes, have a test tomorrow which i haven't studied for. eating crap when i do eat. not working out. feel like shit. hate myself right now. feel worthless.

i don't know that you can understand how i feel. part of it is me being hard on myself. i shouldn't be this way anymore. i am alive. i am here. i am trying to live again. but it's not easy. and it sucks. and i'm tired of it.

zombie

i wake only to look around and sleep again.
there is nothing outside the door. nothing out the window.
devoid of everything. life is less than meaningless.
poetry is crap.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

shoulders and arms...check!

I haven't had muscle soreness like this in a long time. And it's AWESOME. I can definitely tell that I worked hard today. Three days in, and I'm glad I'm doing it. Tomorrow is yoga. I think that's gonna kick my ass a bit too. I'm looking forward to it.

I'm working on my diet. It's a struggle to not eat crap all the time. Plus, the hunger at night and eating right before bed is killer. Gotta stop that.

Cause seriously, it's 1240am and I am hungry. Errrr.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

p90x day two...plyometrics

what is plyometrics you ask? i don't have a good definition other than "it's the workout i just did that is making me want to curl up like a baby and cry, except i don't have the strength."

so two days are done. still getting into the idea of eating correctly. relearning what i learned at the start of my weight loss journey. also working on getting a good sleep pattern, a good eating schedule, a good workout schedule, a good study schedule - let's just say i'm attempting to learn time management.

on an educational note, i spent about three hours tonight finishing a paper for my hebrew literature class. i think it came out alright, we'll see. tomorrow is friday, so it's an easy class day for me. but i have yet to do some hebrew homework. it ain't happening tonight. perhaps in the morning, provided i wake up early enough.

nite, yall.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

now back to our regularly scheduled programming

When this blog was started in December of 2009, it was a part of my weight-loss strategy. I figured if I had a public space where everyone could see (read) my progress, it would help keep me honest and on program. It worked. The first ninety days I lost twenty-five pounds. And I eventually lost 55 pounds, I weighed 224, down from 279.

Well, life happens, and while I was back in Israel in March of this year, the city I lived in was attacked by repeated rocket fire, one of the rockets landing about 500 meters in front of me while I was running in town. So, long story short, I had a relapse of PTSD, major depression, had to come home from Israel, a whole big shit storm. The extra stress, the lack of any more exercise or diet discipline, and I've gained 26 pounds back since March. So I'm now starting out at 250.

Today is day one of P90X. I'm training with one of my best friends (more like a sister) who is going to do the program down in Florida, and my brother who is going to do the program in Boston, and we're going to share the ups and downs throughout the ninety days. Today's workout was the slap in the face I figured it would be. This is gonna kick my ass. But I got through the workout today, and will get better each day.

So, here's to a new program, started with such enthusiasm and hope as we've never before seen.

ALSO: I have roller hockey practice tonight.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

week 2: recap

well, this week has certainly been much better than the first. (really though, there's not many ways that you can make a worse week than my first here in Albany). so, having driven home tuesday morning, my last post was early tuesday. I went to my counseling center appointment that morning, but then crashed and slept through my computer class. however, that is definitely a good thing inasmuch as that was the only class that i missed this week. i also found out that, i really haven't missed anything in that class. i participated well in my other classes as well.

my hebrew class continues to give me stress and disappointment. i'm nowhere near as good as i want to be, and it is difficult.

but, all in all, everything is a lot better right now.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

let's see how week 2 of college goes...

i spent the weekend on Long Island. I had a massively poor first week, and while talking to my brother on the phone Friday, he asked me if I needed him to come over. I realized that I did, and he made the drive right away from Boston. We spent the night playing guitar and watched a movie. Then the two of us drove down to LI on Saturday for a surprise birthday party for my sister. She had no idea of the party, nor that the two of us would be there. (The three of us haven't been together for a birthday celebration for her in years, she was really happy). I rested Sunday, we had a family meal and had cake for my brother's birthday, which was about a week ago. Monday I took some time to see my niece and nephew, which I wasn't able to do before I traveled here two weeks ago. During the weekend, I got organized with school supplies and schedules and started catching up on my reading for class.

It was good to get away for the weekend. I really was overwhelmed and felt out of my depth here after the first week. I had really good support from my friends, both online, over the phone or in person, and I am eternally grateful and lucky to have them.

Now it's on to week two here at Albany. Here's to hoping that it gets a little easier this week.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

not doing so well (haven't we heard this post title before?)

so, i think i have been in an extended anxiety/depressive episode since tuesday. i haven't been able to sleep properly the last two nights and have been anything but productive. i didn't make it to my VA appointment today nor to my class. this is not a good thing. just don't know what to do.

tea

i'm sitting in my room, drinking chamomile tea with lavendar, lemon and honey. i like tea. i learned to drink tea with one of my good friends, Philip. I am hoping that it calms me down and allows me to get to sleep. this is the second day in a row that i am having difficulty falling asleep. last night i couldn't sleep at all so i stayed up and went to my first three classes. i attempted a short nap before my last class and ended up sleeping five hours. which surely accounts for one of the reasons the body isn't actually all that physically tired. but in addition to that, my mind is anxious and on edge. i now missed a class, and we're not even through the first week. also, today was a rough day in hebrew, very humbling in which i learned that i am not as good a speaker as i thought. (giving credit where it is due, there are 5 or 6 israelis in the class. so it's not really a good measuring stick)

i am attempting to use my awake time productively, ie i am organizing my room, and trying to set up a system in which to study and work without my desk looking like a sandstorm just blew through.

there is an issue with the server since the hurricane, and i am going to be on the phone working on it in the morning (assuming i sleep, the phone call will wake me - if not, i'll be waiting for the call) i only have one class at 415, so its not a big day. i really don't like the class impression i got tuesday. and honestly, i got up and left early anyway. so i don't know what to make of it.

anyway, i am actively fighting the depression and passively allowing the anxiety to take over. ain't that some shit.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

settled, almost

well, i can report that i have not had another panic attack. so that's good. i've also purchased 99.95% of the crap i need here for the apartment. i think i have to purchase one more book for class, and then that's done. i also need school supplies, but i won't buy them until after the first day of class.

i have yet to be social, which means i have yet to really meet anyone new except for my roommates. so that's something that is in need of change. i don't know why i don't do it...ok, thats not true. i'm not social because its not something i am really comfortable with still. so i avoid doing it and the uncomfortableness that comes with it. i guess we'll have to wait for the loneliness to overpower the uncomfortableness, or, you know, until i grow a pair and say fuck it, i'm gonna meet some people.

so, when i started the fall semester at LSU back in '08, there was a hurricane within the first two weeks. i ended up dropping out of that semester, so let's hope the outcome is different this time. (not that i really equate anything to do with the hurricane as the reason i dropped out.)

arghh. i'm bored.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

bedtime...hopefully.

it took until now to get my sheets and mattress pad dry. and the damned mattress pad barely fits and already ripped. so that was a grrrrrr moment. but the bed is made, the apartment is squared away for anyone to arrive tomorrow. i am now going to take my ambien and drift away to a medication induced slumber. and wake up refreshed and ready to face the day tomorrow!

that's the plan. that's my story, and i'm sticking to it.

nite yall.

like a video game

finding my way around campus (really, only about 200 feet) is like first starting out in a new world on a video game, like zelda or what, where you have a map, but it's all black. but once you start to head in a direction, you can see more of the map, and you have landmarks and stuff to get back to your start point. interesting, no?

continued

i had a meal, my first in the new apartment. on a fat guy food logging note, it was a deli sliced chicken and american cheese sandwich on white bread with mustard. had some pepperoni pizza combos with it and orange juice and peach iced tea.

i know, all the excitement and unpredictability around here is too much.

i feel better after eating. i just cut up the cardboard for recycling and bagged up the trash. which i will now attempt to take out at 3am, finding the dumpsters should be fun.


scary thoughts as they come

kinda in the beginnings of an anxiety attack. so i took my meds, and i am going to use this blog for one of its actual purposes: be an outlet for my craziness. so there will quite probably be many short posts tonight.

i don't know if i can do this. i don't mean academically. i mean socially. i am back in that crippling mindset that i am not equipped for this. i'm in my room by myself and unpacking. i'm realizing that i am here a day early because i like things set up my way. i am quite 'set in my ways' and it makes me feel like i am 50 and that i have no business being anywhere near a place where kids in their early 20's roam.

i'm trying to drag up the comforting reality of my situation, that i am ready for this, that my time in israel has proven this, but it's really just half-assed. i'm kinda wallowing in this.

this sucks.

more to come, and hopefully we can all watch the slow digging out of this hole.

"yeah, but i've been down here before, and i know the way out."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

time to be going...

so it's about 9 hours away from my desired time to depart. I'm packing, but in all honesty, nowhere close to complete. Also, for some reason, I'm just not all that motivated to pack. I think I may be having a minor anxiety attack. I'm not sure. I'm trying to push through it.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

good weekend

spent some time with friends this weekend, went to a bar, played some pool. overall it was great. tomorrow begins my last week of work, and i am scheduled to move to albany on the 24th. ten days! really really excited about it.

i spoke to some friends from israel last night that i haven't spoken to in a while, it was nice to catch up.

things are going well, i need to keep momentum going and get everything started - which means a general cleanup of my room, beginning to pack and set up other things i need, and basically start transitioning to get out of town.

i got my brakes done on my car yesterday, which needed to happen for a while. and tomorrow morning i am bringing my car in for a tune-up, so everything will be square for the drive up.

i bought a new phone yesterday, switching out my thunderbolt for a droid x2. still playing with it and loading all my stuff.

other than that, things are AWESOME. hope yall are doing well too.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

still here, making the best of it

well, i'm still going. the days have mostly been good, considering the time of year. i leave for college in about ten days. i'm really excited about it! work has been really good, i'm getting a lot of stuff done and getting experience and knowledge along the way, which is rewarding.

there's quite a bit of stuff i have to start doing. this coming week is my last full week of work. so i need to tie up all the loose ends there. i also need to clean my damned room and do laundry and all that good stuff to be able to move upstate.

along with the randomness of this post, i got a haircut today.

hopefully i will again start blogging regularly. it's just that i have been way too busy with work. (in other words, not having anything of a life with interesting things to say)


Thursday, August 4, 2011

not doing so well

this is a shit time of year all around, for the next 2 months really. yesterday marked the 6th anniversary of my best friend's death, as well as two other Marines I served with. the 28th of this month my Nana passed away in '99. September 4th was a pretty fucked up day in Iraq, attacked from all sides in Hit. September 11th needs no more explanation, and a week later my Mom passed away in 1991. October 15th was her birthday, and the day my grandfather passed away in 2003. so i'm just trying to keep my head above water right now.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

still truckin....

45 and a half hours worked out of a possible 72 so far this week.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

it feels good to work.

i've got a job, and worked my first day yesterday. actually, yesterday into this morning. it feels really good to have something to do, and some way to make money for school. and i have a nice feeling of accomplishment right now for the work i did. (as well as some sore muscles and tired feet.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

i miss...

i miss being a Marine. i miss the pride i felt in uniform. the camaraderie with the guys. i miss the glorious, idealistic aspects of being a Marine.

i know that these are rose-colored memories. i know that i was definitely pissed off at quite a lot of the bullshit that goes on. but i enjoyed being a Marine overall, and have missed it for over 5 years now.

ashdod

i'm not sure i can put into words the amount that i miss being in ashdod, israel. i miss the people, the places, the school, the kids, the whole aspect of it. but, trying to put a good face on it, i know i am better off here, getting the treatment i need and out of an environment that was not good for me.

but it doesn't make me not miss it. nor make me not miss the people. which is really what i miss.

9/11

i've never made sense of the september 11th attacks. for an event having such an impact on the direction of my life, i have not ever been able to look back and coherently dissect the impact it had on me.

i will never forget the morning i heard about it. but it seems i already have. i remember what i have told people. i remember being in hebrew class that morning and hearing a girl come in and saying a plane had hit the world trade center. i remember thinking that it wasn't that out of place, as historically, planes had hit the world trade center before. it was a tuesday morning. i usually wake up early on tuesday, but this tuesday i was running late. so there was no check of the morning news channels before class. but, like i said, there was nothing out-of-the-ordinary with the plane crashing into the world trade center. a moment later, another student came in and said a second plane crashed into the twin towers. now my attention was piqued, and the antennae were up. i immediately wondered if it was an attack. but, mind you - i was 20 years old, in ROTC, so my understanding of an "attack" was pure fantasy. but, as the day's events wore out, i understood it for what it was.

i don't know why i am writing this, at 420am on a wednesday morning. but something jogged my memory of the defining life-changing moment in my life, and so i wrote what came to mind.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

existential financial educational crisis alert.

so i've been without a job since i returned home from israel. i haven't been sleeping right and all that so that even if i did, it would be really difficult to do. but i digress. i have been sending out resumes left and right and applying everywhere i can. and i have no job. there are a little more than 7 weeks before i leave for albany. i have no money right now other than my disability and it's got me a bit stressed. more than a bit really.

speaking of albany, i had a degree audit done today and it looks like they'll accept 56 of my credits for transfer. which is - well, it really doesn't do much for me either way apparently. they all will count as electives, rather than fulfilling any major or minor requirements. which means, really, no matter what major i declare, i start from scratch. that is kinda freeing in the sense that i can decide whatever i want to study. but that is the problem i think. i cannot conceive of what i want to do with my life. when i was 18 and starting at tulane, the idea was graduate college and become a marine officer. it didn't matter if i majored in underwater basket weaving, the degree was necessary for the commission. well, 12 years later, i have no idea what i want to study, in regards to what i'd like to do with my life. i have no view of what i'd like my life to be after i graduate college. what i'd like to do, where i'd like to be. no idea. so how the hell can i declare a major right now?

the reason this is a problem now, rather than say, when i graduate, is because i need to make some sort of plan for graduating. it's a requirement before i register for the semester. it's a good idea. more so because i have only 36 months of gi bill to use. so i really cannot afford to dilly dally around and not have a plan.

on the other hand, maybe i am just letting all the financial stuff weigh me down right now. i mean, if i look at it a certain way, i only have one student loan, for  $3500, which represents 56 credits towards graduation. it's not that much, so taking another loan if i had to isn't too bad.

ah, fuck. i just don't know.

ps. if anyone is in the long island, ny area and is looking to hire someone who is decently intelligent, and mildly brain damaged, or just has extra money they want to give to me, let me know.

Monday, June 13, 2011

bad day

seriously feeling like shit today. mentally at least. i am depressed and moody and irritable and angry. i lack motivation and am apathetic.

so, all in all, a great day.

weekend is done.

so i had a good run tonight, good pace and shorter miles, really felt good. i'm about to get to sleep (i really hope so) and end the night without the usual gorge-myself-on-snacks-fest that is plaguing me.

hope everyone's doing great out there.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

did it!

found the will somewhere and just did a pretty decent workout. definitely feeling it. i am really REALLY happy i exercised. i didn't want to lose two days in a row without exercising. definitely a good upper body workout, with a bunch of squats thrown in for good measure.

i'm happy about the effort. thrilled about the discipline it took to exercise. i'm gaining ground in the mental willpower aspect.

schedule is all screwy

I just returned from a movie with my dad. we saw "super 8". I enjoyed it alot. it's now 230am, and i am wide awake, because i spent the last two days (well daylight parts) sleeping. i also went out and drank a bit friday night. so that means that friday i was way over my points because of the barbecue and the coke i drink with my jack. and tonight right now, i'm fine, but i need to find some deep willpower to not eat anything before i goto sleep.

also i didn't exercise yesterday due to sleeping all day and then going out and drinking. so i am supposed to exercise today (saturday) but i have yet to do that. but as i said, it is 230am and i am wide awake so i am trying to summon some willpower to work out.

motivation has been lacking the last forty-eight hours or so.

need to figure this out and get back on the good side of things.

Friday, June 10, 2011

keep on keepin' on...

yesterday was the first day this month in which I ate what I should eat, and did not overeat. I'm really excited about that, about getting back into the groove in which I know I can manage what I eat. I'm still working on it, and each day gets a little better. I also need to get my body on a good schedule - ie. wake up at a certain time, eat at certain times during the day, goto sleep at certain times. i am kinda just winging it these days and have no schedule. once i get a better handle on a schedule, my diet and weight loss will fall into line.

i had a job interview yesterday, but i don't know if i will get it. we'll see. i applied for a shit ton of other jobs as well, so hopefully something comes through soon.

i did an abbreviated workout last night, but kept the streak going, 6 out of the last 7 days and 8 out of the last 9 coming into today. i'm really proud of those numbers. definitely want to keep them going.

i got my email about my transfer advisor, and instructions to keep working on my schedule for albany in the fall. excited to work on that later tonight.

hope all is well with everyone out there!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

foooooooood loggers

so, the salad from this morning was two meals, i had turkey and roasted potatoes for dinner, and 2 brownie ala mode for dessert. (i almost wrote desert, which has a very different meaning...) So, all in all, a good day of logging the food, and using that to allow me to make some decent food choices.

also, worked out tonight as well, that's 1 for 1 this week. good stuff.

thanks for stopping by.

small steps...

So I cooked up three chicken breasts and made a rather large salad with the rest of the salad fixin's i had left. I took the bottle of Pepsi out of the fridge, saying to myself "well, I'm having a salad, so it's ok to have some cola." thought about that for a moment, said to myself "well, there's a reason i'm back up to 242 pounds." turned to put it away in the fridge and thought "ok, it's only a glass of soda, it's no big deal." turned to go back to the table and finally stopped. "this is friggin stupid," i said aloud. I put the pepsi in the fridge and sat at the table.

Whereupon I began to eat this massive salad. But I drank three or four glasses of water while eating, and about halfway through said "ok, fuck this, i'm done with this for now." and put it away in the fridge for later.

score a victory for mental willpower on this meal.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

week 1 is done!

so week number 1 of 12 is done, and I've exercised six out of seven days! that's the good news. the not so good news: i grossly overate each day. more not so good news: I didn't accurately log all of my daily food intake. so, all in all, I mark it down as a successful start.

I know what I need to improve on, and now it's time to get back in the habit of doing the right things and eating the right things. No more late night snacks. No more huge plates of food.

Time to hunker down and get to it!

so here's an adjustment...

So I knew that I gained some stress weight in Israel due to the rocket attacks. I also knew that coming home to the US would change my eating habits. I didn't quite think I would gain as much as I did though. I'm now at 242 pounds, 18 up from my lowest point, mid March of 224. So, that's my starting point.

In progress news, we're heading into day 7 with a 5 out of 6 streak.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

temptation got the best of me.

so today was a birthday in the house, and therefore, a birthday cake. while i politely declined earlier, i couldn't get out of the kitchen fast enough just now before i said, ok, well i'll just have a little bit, cause hey, i ran great today. so i had a little bit. i need to get mentally stronger with the willpower. but, today was a good day in the food intake department, so things are progressing.

four out of five is fantastic

i just came back from running. it was great. i've got a nice little 3.3 mile stretch that i've gotten comfortable with. it was a good run, my pace per mile was 35 seconds faster today. which while being awesome, is in the context of just starting to get back into a routine of running, so it's an improvement but i'm not looking at it like all of a sudden i'm superman. Although I did run wearing a superman shirt. maybe there is something to that idea...

new beginning, same feeling.

ok, so four complete days in and all four i ate and drank more than i planned. i am logging the food i eat, but i have not adjusted what i am taking in yet. i also have not had a good sleep pattern nor quality sleep. all in all, i am quite miserable at the moment.

it doesn't help that it is the same blah situation of me living at home right now. i have yet to get a job and i am out of money and i do nothing all day but sit in my room and sleep. so, all in all, things are great here.

as the memories of israel recede into the background, i look at them and think "did i really do that? was i really able to have a normal productive life?"

not really sure i know the answer to that.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

a brand new beginning

Today is the first of June. Also today marks the beginning of a new 12-week session. This timeframe will take me to the week which i will leave for college. So it's a new beginning in which to hunker down, get back on my plan, and get to losing weight again. On a positive note, the weight I've lost so far is gone. No problems keeping it off really, so that's good.

I went out food shopping today, picked up salad ingredients and stuff for the house, so I can snack on and have healthy meals. I just finished a quick 20 minute calisthenics/light free weight session. Getting back into it. Definitely in the mindset.

Hope everyone is well out there in the world.

Monday, May 23, 2011

it's been a while...

so, just some quick updates and random thoughts:

a siren is a siren is a siren: the fire siren from a neighboring town went off in the middle of the night a couple of nights last week. I had a dream in which i was in a barracks, with two roommates who i went to high school with and haven't seen (nor wanted to see) since. i was smoking hookah, and apparently knocked the hookah over when the siren went off. we all went outside (yes, i am aware, going outside in the middle of a rocket attack doesn't make much sense.) onto the balcony and watched. Oh, and I had a flak vest on.

i really like problem solving with computers. I haven't done it in so long, but it's nice to use my brains in ways they haven't been used in a while.

i'm working on things trying to get me a job, and that's exciting.

i will head up to boston for memorial day. and then after that, my brother and i are going to visit albany.

so things are good!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

thoughts of the night

so with the ambien and the clonipin, i feel quite high before bed. i'm a little wired about college, and am searching alternately for apartments, classes and apps for my phone.

i am interested in taking a digital art class or two, plus hebrew, plus history of all sorts plus judaic studies. so yeah, i'm interested.

time to log off

Oh, things are gonna happen.

So I have been accepted to University at Albany. I officially am a college kid again come August 29th. I am so excited about this, it's crazy. I didn't get into Binghamton, but Albany was my first choice, so obviously these things work out for a reason.

I have spent some time now scouring the internet for apartments close to campus. I also set up a class schedule. But these things are tentative at the moment. First I need to speak to a counselor to see what my requirements are for my core classes, and what credits will transfer. Also I need to take a road trip and go see the campus. I have yet to be there, and a familiarization run is required.

I got a new phone with Sprint the other day. I am on the outs with Verizon, and am testing Sprint's service. I have an HTC EVO 4G. It's my first android phone, and I love it. I'm playing with it and learning as much as I can.

My medications have been tweaked a little bit, but no adverse side effects so far. I also am on a different anti-anxiety med, because the xanax was not helping me. I actually had a pretty bad panic attack the night I got back to NY. but none since. And I'm on a small regimen of Ambien, in the hopes that it gets me on a decent sleep schedule. So far, it's been alright.

I miss my friends back in Ashdod, and those scattered across the US and Canada, but will be seeing some of them soon I hope.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Going back to college!

I got my letter from Albany today and I am officially going back to college this fall. I'm pretty damned happy about it! There's plenty more I want to write but I am a bit tired. Hope everyone is well out there.
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Saturday, May 7, 2011

first kiss

the first girl i kissed, well, she actually kissed me. it was at a movie, some stallone movie, the specialist (now that i've looked it up on imdb.) there were five or six of us there, two of my friends and their girlfriends, who were her friends. having no frame of reference as to romance, as i was a 13 year old boy, i knew what i saw in movies. about how the time becomes right for a kiss. well, that's just not the way it went down, she just damn near sucked my lungs out of my mouth. she dumped me the next day. i have no idea why and i have long since stopped trying to figure out the actions of the fairer sex.

why do i tell you this? i really don't know. i was thinking about it, and figured, that'd make a decent post.

also, i guess my thinking about kissing and romance and sex has always had that romantic edge, where i want to like a girl, and want the girl to like me, rather than just be a randomly available body for the moment. i feel like i am quite rare in this belief. which is not an educated guess, it's just a feeling.

but, hey. feelings are good, right?

so there you have it.

waiting for monday night

so i leave for the airport on monday night. i have been in "wait" mode since i bought the ticket last sunday. i've accepted having to go home, and my mind is now on to other things. however, i am still here, and still dealing with all of these people i live with and see most days. unfortunately i am not getting along with some anymore, and that just causes frustration. it also makes me less upset to be changing my living situation. so maybe it's a good thing.

i went out and got drunk and saw some friends last night. today, i am going to go and lay on the beach and soak up some sun i think. we'll see.

i'll be back in new york on tuesday.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

going home.

and right now, considering the people i live with here, i'm almost happy to leave. fucking people.

Friday, April 29, 2011

in limbo/stagnant

i need to figure out what to do. i feel like i am in limbo here, stagnant, like i have no prospect for any more growth while i am here. i can't decide to stay or leave. it is not an easy decision, and it seems like no matter what, at some point here or there i will regret the decision.

if i leave, and there is no new attacks through the time i was supposed to be here, will i feel that i left for no reason, and should have stayed?

if i stay, and there is a new attack, i can always leave, but will i regret the time spent here until then as wasted?

this one ain't gonna be easy.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

what do you think?

the sound of fighter jets fill the sky. i'm walking home from dropping off my laundry, but for a tiny instant i wonder "am i in ashdod, or back at FOB Hit?"

it's been five and a half years since I came back from iraq. in that time, i have worked hard to recover mentally from the trauma i endured. in my second tour in iraq, we took indirect fire from mortars and rockets regularly. it became part of the norm. every now and then the sirens would work, and we'd have a second or two before the impact. but more often than not, they wouldn't work at all. or maybe they'd go off and then no impact.

anyway, once i returned home, i lived with the remnants of my tours in iraq, summed up nicely in a four letter acronym. PTSD. i would be on the lookout for suspicious cars and people. always listening, wondering when the next mortars are going to impact. if i heard a book thud on a floor in the next room, i thought it was a rocket. fire alarm sirens made me think i was at the FOB.

the battles that were raging in my head spilled over into my interactions with others. this meant my family and closest friends endured my verbal assaults. this meant i could make no new friends, and if i was ever in a confrontation, bad things happened.

but i sought treatment. and stuck with it. and five years later, i travelled to israel for a five month program volunteering in ashdod, israel. it was the culmination of my recovery: i made new friends, i learned a new language. i lived on my own for the first time since i returned from iraq. i was whole. i was new. i was me.

the program ended, i returned home, but decided i wanted to do another five months. that the amazing transformation i experienced could be continued. so i returned to israel.

six days after i returned, a rocket was fired from gaza that impacted outside of ashdod. i didn't hear the sirens. i was in a car with a friend on the way to a bar, and as he was walking in the parking lot, i heard him say on the phone to his mom, in hebrew, that he didn't hear anything. the sound of his voice and the insistence on not hearing anything made me immediately guess what happened. there's no reason i should have guessed that. there was no violence or attacks in the first five months, why should my mind have gone there? but it did go there, and worse than that, it was right.

so for the first time since iraq, i was in a place which was in range of enemy fire. the thing is, i was in range for the entire first five months. which i knew in my head, but hadn't really worried about it because it was an abstract idea.

two days later, a bomb goes off near a bus station in jerusalem, the first attack in jerusalem in several years. the next day we were scheduled, and went on a trip to jerusalem. life goes on here in israel they say. we can't let the terrorists win. we have to live our lives.

on the way home from jerusalem, we get news that more rockets have landed in ashdod.

now the peace and tranquility and splendor of israel, of ashdod, of the place where i had come back to being me - it's all gone.

i was supposed to run that friday in the first jerusalem marathon. i didn't.

back in ashdod, at the new school i was teaching at, we held several bomb drills. i can only say that in the event of a rocket attack that impacts the school, it will not be pretty.

but life slowly gets to a sense of new normalcy. when i go running, i wonder what i'll do if i am out on my bike or running and the siren goes off. i wonder if the siren will be loud enough. will there really be forty-five seconds from siren to impact, as we're told? i lower the volume in my headphones when i run, in case i need to hear the siren.

those were the only real conscious effects on me at that time. the other effects were subconscious: out of the blue, weapons started appearing in my dreams. an RPG laying against a wall, having nothing to do with the dream it's in. in another, i'm with my nephew at cub scouts, and in my pocket is a pistol. totally non sequitur to anything else in the dreams. my quality of sleep diminished by more than half right away. but nothing so drastic that i consciously understand the effects right away.

the days go by, and two weeks later, i am in tel aviv for another marathon. i run a personal best, but all the while looking and wondering "if we get attacked, what the fuck do i do?" but we don't get attacked, and i return to ashdod that night in such high spirits, thrilled i am in israel, running races and loving life.

four am that morning, as i am about to close my eyes and sleep, the siren goes off. i jump out of bed immediately, and put some shorts on. i yell to my roommate, who sleeps with earplugs. everyone in the apartment gathers in the bomb shelter.

just an aside, yes, apartments here in israel come with bomb shelters. both encouraging to be prepared, and sad in the necessity of it.

as we gather in the bomb shelter, i hear the impact. the rocket lands south of the city limits. we stay in the bomb shelter for about five minutes or so, and slowly leave, trying to figure out if we can get back to sleep or not.

the answer was no. ten minutes or so later, the siren goes off again. again we gather in the bomb shelter. this time we cannot hear an impact. we wait, and go back to sleep.

so now, twenty-four days into my second five month trip, things are slowly escalating, both in the attacks, and the impact on me. in the first attack, i did not hear the siren, or the impact, and it was not too big of a deal. in the attacks at 4am, i both heard the siren and one of the impacts. what's next in the line of sensory experiences? sight.

one week later, again on friday, i am running in ashdod. i have been running longer and longer, i find that it helps my mind, to work the body, and let the endorphins help the mind ease. it's 4pm or so, only a few hours until sundown and shabbat. i'm running on the extreme eastern side of the city, where to my right there is nothing but sand dunes. on my left, there is a wall that surrounds apartment buildings. so really, nowhere to go if i have to.

i'm running, and i hear in my headphones a tone that seems out of tune with the song that is playing. so i pop one earbud off, and i hear a siren. it doesn't sound like the siren from the other night, so i'm not too sure if it may just be a fire or something. but just as that thought goes in my head, another siren starts and then two more, and i understand that this is a rocket siren. but, like i said, i got nowhere to go. so i pop off the other earbud, and slow down to a jog, but thats about all i can do.

i'm also looking around, scanning for anything i can see. and at the same time, wondering if that forty-five seconds is true.

it's not. there may have been twelve to eighteen seconds between the time i heard the sirens to the impact. the impact that i saw. the impact that i felt. i saw the smoke rise up from the site, and it was real.

up until then, while increasing in its intensity, the attacks weren't quite real to me. but that day, that moment, the line between being back in Iraq, dodging mortars, to running in ashdod, well it got pretty damned blurry.

cars skidded to a stop on the street, the occupants running for cover. kids jumped off their bicycles and ran home. i kept jogging.

i started walking once i saw the smoke, kinda amazed that i just witnessed this attack in my city. the city where i live.

i got to the corner, and there is a woman walking with a bike, to another bike near me. i ask her in hebrew, if it is hers, and she says it's her son's. so i pick up the bike and walk with her for a bit until we see her husband and her son. she thanks me, and they leave.

at the corner, on a bench, sit two old men who are playing chess. it is obvious from their body language and lack of outwards signs of fear, that they are all too used to this and it's not a big deal. i find that disconcerting.

so the day ends without incident. i came home from my run, and used a skill i learned in the Marines to figure out the point-of-impact that i witnessed. it is a skill i never thought i would have to use again. it was way too close to me to be comfortable.

after that, the conscious effects came strong and heavy and haven't abated. my sleep quality is terrible, and i cannot fall asleep easily anymore. my dreams have an undercurrent of violence. i am edgy and irritable, and have taken my anger out on my friends. i am hypervigilant, always listening for sounds of rockets or sirens. i am no longer happy. i am a cranky angry mess.

i resemble myself more as i did two years or more ago, rather than myself as i was when i came back in the beginning of march. and i don't like that. i worked too hard for this to happen. i am angry it happened. i am sad it happened. i want it to stop, i want it to change, i want to be the healthy, happy person i was, not regress into the angry, bitter, messed up person i am now.

it has been thirteen days since the last attack. we've had the week off for vacation and i went to greece. i learned that i can be happy and enjoy myself, knowing that i am not about to see a rocket get dropped on my head. returning to ashdod, that knowledge is gone, because i just don't know if we'll get attacked today or not.

i've been sleeping during the day, and staying up at night. i've been isolating and avoiding things. i have not been able to wake up for work. i have neglected my studies. in all, i have achieved nothing productive or stuck to any sort of schedule since the last attack.

to be fair, i operate better on a regimented schedule, and having the vacation meant no schedule. i plan on taking it easy this weekend, and getting my body back into a rhythm in which i eat right and sleep when i should, etc.

i've been in this place before. i got out of it. i know what to do to get better. the question now is, do i do that here in ashdod? or do i go home?

my doctors say go home. at home, i cannot get worse. here, the next attack could really mess me up psychologically, much more than i am now. and then what do i do? but what if i go home and still feel like this? will i regret running away?

this is my existence.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

gathering opinions

So i spoke with another person at the VA and the opinion is that I should go home. That staying in Israel right now is a continued risk to my mental health. My PTSD symptoms have come back in full force. I have made an appointment with a psychiatrist here, but I am worried that I may get the Israeli opinion of "well, that's the life we live with." Which, while totally valid, doesn't help me. I love Israel, but not enough to lose my sanity again. I have a decision to make. And soon.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

back in the line of fire? hello ashdod.

so i returned to ashdod last night. the vacation in greece was amazing. it taught me something, which is double sided: 1.) while the rockets and shit have fucked me up, i can still be happy and enjoy myself. 2.) i was able to be happy and enjoy myself because i knew that there wasn't a rocket about to land on my head in greece, which is something i cannot say about being here right now in ashdod.

it's been eleven days since the last rocket attacks from gaza. i dread being here. waiting for the next attack. speaking to my israeli friends, everyone accepts that this is the way of life, and if i allow the attacks to change my life, the terrorists achieve their goal. to a point, that makes sense. to a point. for me, it makes no sense. if the attacks continue, or hell, even if there is not another attack, i am still feeling the emotional effects of the attacks, and it has impacted my psychological health. and will continue to impact my psychological health unless the situation is changed.

people at the VA have said I should come home, or at least move out of ashdod, where the threat of fiery death from above is not present. i don't quite know what i am going to do, or how to have that be implemented.

i realize that this post sounds overly dramatic. it sounds as if i am fixated and terrified of rockets falling everywhere and all the time. well, i am. i've had more than my fair share of this. i'm done.

tell me the last time YOU heard a siren signaling incoming? heard the impact of a rocket? saw the smoke from the impact area? assembled with your roommates in a bomb shelter?

posts from greece.

At the airport in Greece. Don't want to return to Israel. I don't think I can make it to august if the rockets and shit continue. It's potentially long-term damaging to me and not worth it. I have a decision to make and soon. I don't know what I'm gonna do.

This week in Greece was amazing. I met and made new friends. Spent time with good people and enjoyed my first real vacation. Definitely gonna have to make vacations a habit.
-------------
Just cleared customs and am enjoying a jack and coke while waiting for the plane. I am dreading this return and seriously am not looking forward to being in Ashdod. This has definitely changed my outlook and concept of life in Israel. I'm so not happy.
--------
as clear as I can put it: I do not want to be in israel. I have no desire to return to an area in which my mental safety is threatened. My physical safety I don't care. It's so much easier to recover from a physical wound than a mental one. I think I'm fucked. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

this guy's walking down the street, see...

i feel really depressed.

no shit, sherlock. i think there is some significance in writing that sentence. in writing that, i allow myself to clarify what and how i am feeling. to realize that i have been depressed like this before. that i have even been more depressed than this before.

usually, saying that this has happened before has been of no help. because i would just switch my anger to the issue of why does it have to keep happening. but not this time. no. this time, right now, i am engaging the brakes on this. this time, i remember and acknowledge, i am going to be ok.

I WILL BE OK.

that is the answer. that is the key. there's no time limit on it. there's no pressure to get my head straight by a certain time. all of that is secondary. the key is that i will be ok.

how do i know this? two ways: i can go back through this blog, and watch the cycles of depression begin and end. or, i could quote Leo McGarry:

This guy’s walking down a street, when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can't get out. A doctor passes by; the guy shouts up, “Hey Doc, can you help me out?” The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down the hole, and moves on. A priest passes by, the guy shouts up “Father, I'm down in this hole, can you help me out?” The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole, and walks on. Then a friend walks by; “Hey Joe it’s me, can you help me out?” and the friend jumps in the hole. The guy says, “Are you stupid? Now we're both down here.” The friend says, “Yeah, but I’ve been down here before, And I know the way out.”



it's definitely not good

things are definitely not good in my head these days. i'm back to sleeping a lot. i'm back to depression a lot. i'm back to anger a lot. i'm back to sadness a lot. i am definitely in the middle of a serious relapse of my PTSD and all of the friends he brings.

this is not good. i don't know what to do. should i call the VA and try and change my medications? should i just pack up and go home, so that i can be near the doctors who treat me? should i do nothing and try to tough it out? should i just quit everything for a while?

the fact that we're on break is both a good and bad thing. good because i can try and take the time to fix myself. bad in that i have way too much time on my hands to sleep and not actually do anything productive.

things are definitely not good in my head.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

sometimes i need a push

every now and then the mood i'm in, feeling isolated and alienated and different, i need friends who make me come out. who make me interact and experience. who make me realize again that i am not different and not alienated, and my isolation is my choice.

mood

my mood has been all over today. i have no idea how i am feeling right now. i know that i have isolated from my friends lately, and even more so from the group i am in, so right now, i feel alienated. which totally is not the case, and i'm sure that if i tried and wanted to be part of the group right now, i would be. but alas, this is where my head is at.

greece is day after tomorrow. there are some details changing and so combined with my mood, i am really not all that excited about it. but i hope i will get excited and i hope it will be a good trip. if nothing else, i will certainly be in greece on thursday. so that should be good.

physically i also feel fucked up. i don't know what's going on with me.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

why?

i'd like you to look at a link for a moment. go ahead, i'll wait.

i have so much to say about this subject. i don't have it in any order, or any idea right now. but i want you to read the CNN article. i lost a friend of mine to suicide. he was in the army in iraq. he was on the front pages of newspapers and websites, carrying an iraqi baby. he came home, and things didn't work out and he committed suicide.

noone can ever really know why. even if it's explained in a person's own words, suicide is not a logical or rational idea that you can get others to really understand. i can partially understand because we shared the same backgrounds. we shared the same mental disorders and physical injuries sustained in combat. we shared the same experiences of the horrors of war.

you cannot understand these experiences we have unless you were there. and even then, we experience them differently.

veterans' and military suicide is way too high. and we don't know enough about PTSD, TBI and the like to get it to slow or lessen. Clay Hunt knew he had PTSD. he knew it and he sought treatment for it. he did everything right. and still he succumbed in the end.

why?

Rest In Peace, Clay. May God grant your family peace in their grief.

Semper Fidelis.

changes

change is good. sometimes the changes are caused by mistakes. well, hey, at least i'm living my life now while making mistakes. used to be, i didn't make mistakes because i wasn't out there living. so here's to living.

the site has a facelift. we'll see if i like it enough to leave it, or if i will change it.

pesach is coming, the first seder is tomorrow. i have a feeling that we will also receive some more rockets from our friends in gaza. i hope i'm wrong. and if i'm right, i hope noone is hurt.

for all of you out there who read this blog, i want to say thank you. for whatever reason, you continue to read my mindless writings, and it helps me to write more and do more. especially so for all of you who post feedback. i really do appreciate it.

this week is pesach (passover) and easter sunday is a week away. it is a week for holiday and vacation. may you enjoy yours with family, friends and love.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

post-mortem

there are a shit load of issues that have to be dealt with by me. this blog is my forum. it is not meant to injure or hurt other people. but it did. and for that i am sorry. however, i am at a loss for what to do. these are my feelings. not all of them, but some of them. and they are mean. and i am judgmental. i am judgmental because i am jealous.  i judge others harshly if they don't live up to my standards, when i rarely live up to my standards. i lash out when i am hurt because i have yet to fully realize how to communicate emotional feelings for someone. 


i am me. and i need help. and i am sorry to the people i have hurt.

Friday, April 15, 2011

me

i've realized the whole catastrophe that occurred this weekend was me. i mean, don't get me wrong, i knew i made the horrendous mistake i made soon after i made it. but the issue comes down to not what i write about, but who.

this is supposed to be a tool to help me recover. and i have forgotten a few things recently about my recovery. first off, it is MY recovery. so i have to be in charge and responsible for the things that I do. I have to monitor the reactions and actions that I take. the feelings and emotions I have. I cannot read others minds. I cannot predict others actions.

I have to own the fact that I expected something to happen and when it didn't i acted like the verbally abusive shithead i used to be. i should have recognized that my expectations were not realistic in light of things i did or did not say or do. i should have recognized that while disappointed and hurt, none of these feelings i had were given to me by someone maliciously. noone meant to hurt me.

there's a post quite similar to this a couple of months back. i'm too lazy to find it now. its somewhere around december or january. but in a similar circumstance, i didn't express my feelings and had unrealistic expectations, and when reality actually happened, i was quite the fool. obviously i have yet to learn this lesson.

but i hope to. there's lyrics to a song that i have been listening to a lot lately. it's appropriate

Cause I can't wait to figure out what's wrong with me 

So I can say that this is the way that I used to be

Thursday, April 14, 2011

more randomness from golan

Anytime I have these issues with girls I feel like a young teenager. I feel like writing it down shows me to be an utterly inexperienced man in the area of relationships. And I feel that when I write it here it changes the tenor of the writing from a 30 year old combat veteran with PTSD and TBI to the ramblings of a high school girl. This is no good.

I don't like taking Xanax. I feel so sluggish and out of it. But lately if I don't take it I'm so irritable and angry and on edge. I think I'm fucked up pretty badly.  

Sociality. Lack thereof. Being a good guy who people respect and like. Or being a guy that girls want. It is not difficult to figure out I am not the second description. 

At times like these in my recovery I feel so worthless but somewhere deep down is a voice that says that working on me is more important than liking a girl who may or may not be worth it. (on a side note, for both of these girls I have been interested in, female friends of mine whose opinions I seek and respect and admire have all told me similar things about each girl as it was occurring. That is, "this girl is not worth it." Either I deserve better or she doesn't deserve me.

While that may be a comfort, it doesn't make it nice or easy to change my feelings (whatever they are) towards them. So where does this leave me? 

It leaves me in a hole. It leaves me nowhere. I dont have a toolkit or coping mechanism for this aspect of my recovery. 

I don't know what to do. Plus I am now taking a shitload of Xanax per day as prescribed and that zombie feeling from years ago is returning in force. I must call my doctor and see about an adjustment in some godforsaken time in which he is available and I am awake what with the 7 hour difference.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Idiot

I mean I am sad and disappointed and angry but I don't think rejected is appropriate because I don't know if she even knew I was interested in her.

I was going to tell her tonight but she wasn't sober and the situation wasn't ideal.

Which totally sucks. I like her. But I don't know how to make a move and someone else made a move with her and it's on and I'm here writing on this fucking blog.

I'm so not happy and I don't know what to do. I think she is a really cool interesting funny beautiful smart girl.

I feel like I am not worth anything. Not worth her time or attention and that's just a shitty feeling.

Monday, April 11, 2011

i shouldn't have to...

i called the united states today. i called my doctor at the VA hospital, and asked her to refill my prescription for alprazolam (xanax). I have Panic and Anxiety Disorder, along with my Major Depressive Disorder and my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which doesn't even mention the Traumatic Brain Injury. Anyway, in dealing with my anxiety, I was prescribed xanax. For a long time I took some sort of anti-anxiety medication every day. For more than a year now, I have not had the need to take anything daily. In fact, up until March 22, I had taken it no more than five times in over a year, and only once during my first five months in Israel.

On March 22, rockets were fired from Gaza (which isn't a new development, but that's another story soon) which had the range and impact to change my swell little life here in Ashdod. So the sirens went off here - which I didn't hear because I was in a car. But it brings right back to the mind the experiences of being mortared daily in Iraq, and the kind of daily life that came with that. The next day, a bom went off outside of a bus stop in Jerusalem, killing one woman and injuring more than 30 others. I was scheduled to run the marathon in Jerusalem two days later. I did not. For many reasons, but not the least was a state of anxiety.

I didn't have an immediate conscious reaction to the attacks. I mean, I've done this before, so it's not a new idea. My thought process was not changed too much initially. At least not that I'd realized. But as the days progressed, consciously the changes were focused on my preparedness. By this I mean, I now kept a cell phone on me when I ran. I lowered the volume on my headphones, in case the sirens went off, I would be able to hear them. I was more aware of where I was, and what my surroundings were. To this I mean, where would I go in the event of a rocket attack? Do I know enough hebrew to tell someone to give me a shirt for a bandage, or tell them I have a brain injury?

My subconscious reaction was immediate, but the conscious realization was delayed. Immediately after, the quality of my sleep plummeted, and the duration necessary to feel good was tripled. It also took much longer to fall asleep. When I awoke, I remembered parts of dreams. All of a sudden, weapons were appearing in dreams. In one, having nothing to do with anything else going on, an RPG was leaning against a wall. In fact, that is really the only detail of the dream I can recall. In another, I was wearing my Boy Scout uniform and with the scouts, and in my pocket was a pistol. With the lack of sleep and the disconcerting dreams, came a significant increase in irritability and ease of anger. My optimism I had worked so hard to nurture and believe had vanished, like smoke from a candle being blown out.

I went through quite a harsh depressive episode. But, like all things, This Too Shall Pass. And it did.

On Friday morning, April 8th, I ran in the Tel Aviv Marathon. I ran the second race of my life, another 10km run. I arrived the night before, and stayed in a hostel close to the starting line. I went with three girls, two of which I had run in Ein Gedi with. We woke early on race day, and slowly made our way to
the starting line. The weather was amazing. There were close to 20,000 participants in the events. My goal was simple: don't walk. Not run fast. Not beat my time. Simply don't walk. Be mentally stronger than I was, and control what I would do physically. It was amazing. I ran. I ran well. I felt amazing. I set a personal record by improving my time by 14 minutes and 51 seconds. We had an amazing time in the race, we had a great meal afterwards, and then returned to Ashdod. The rest of the day was good. At around 345am or so, I had just finished arranging everything in my bed, and was about to put my head on my pillow and close out one of the best days I have ever had. Then the siren went off.

I jumped out of bed. I yelled to my roommate who was sleeping. He wears earplugs to sleep, so I had to yell twice more to wake him up. I was already putting my sweats on and getting up. We gathered in the bomb shelter, and I called around to make sure others were up and safe. We heard an explosion. It was not loud and it was not close, but it was an explosion. Fifteen or so minutes later, we were all back in our rooms, trying to chill out, and get to bed. Then the siren went off again. Didn't we just do this? What the fuck is going on?

Over the weekend, there were over 100 separate attacks. Be it rockets, mortars, RPGs.

I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have Panic and Anxiety Disorder. I have Major Depressive Disorder. I have a Traumatic Brain Injury. I worked my ass off over the last 5+ years to recover and be able to come to Israel and become whole again.

I shouldn't have to be ripped apart again. I shouldn't have to slide back into a depression so deep there is no light. I shouldn't have anxiety so terrible that my heart rate is always high and I am always sweating. I shouldn't have to dream about FOB Hit and the Haditha Dam and friends who never made it home and sirens in the night.

I shouldn't have to.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

i've never taken any meds for my head in my life, *insert laugh here*

that's something i heard today. as i sit here, i'm less reactive as i was when i first heard it, but i didn't open my mouth and address this issue with the person who spoke it. giving them the benefit of the doubt, i analyzed my reaction to it and realized a couple of things:

1. i take meds for my head. i have for most of my adult life. i also believe in them and their necessity and the fact that you are reading the words that i am writing is proof that they work. that being the case, i believe that i attributed motive to the comment i heard, which was not spoken.

2. in my head, i reacted to the statement "i've never taken meds for my head in my life, because they don't work, and i don't need them, and people who do need them are weak." this is definitely not the statement that i heard. and so my mind reacted defensively, but i was able to say, "whoah, boy. put the guns down. think about what's got you hot right now."

3. i thought about what made me angry at that point and was forced to recognize that i was already angry, both at said person, and at some events throughout the day. which brings me to what i have experienced today.....

which i will bring to you in a post to be written later tonight. probably before i goto bed.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

down in a hole

yeah, my mind is in a bad place right now. it's weird. on the one hand, i can objectively view my thought process, and say 'well, it's a normal phase of your mind going through a depressive episode.' on the other hand, i'm fucking in the depressive episode, and things look absolutely dire. like there is no good in the world and my life is not worth a shit.

i wouldn't wish this on anyone

had a bad day again

actually the day's not even half over. but i couldn't get out of bed today and have yet to do anything productive. times like this remind me of the four and a half years in which my life was like this. i am not doing the correct things to take care of myself, like i have written before, and therefore i am on a slow downward slope that at any moment could drop me off a cliff. i need to fix this and soon, or else i could see myself losing everything i gained so far.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

sigh no more

emotions. i have difficulties with them. my difficulties are exacerbated by my social insecurity so times like now, i have no idea what i feel, or why i feel it.

i don't know how to even write what i am thinking. i am so ignorant and inexperienced in the feeling of liking a girl, that when i do, i am pretty scatter-brained most of the time. i don't know what i should do. i don't know what i feel. i know that the simple admission of "i think i like this girl" is a huge step. last time i felt that way, things got pretty screwed up with the guy who was my best friend here. that's a whole nother story, but it was the same thought process at the time. do i like her? how much do i like her? what do i do? what don't i do? does she like me? should i call? now, that right there, that's the thoughts i had as a young kid, and i am amazed that at 30, i still have this insecurity and basic fear of not being with someone.

so the situation - i was going to write problem, but this really is a life experience, rather than problem - is this. i think i like a girl. but i really have no clue what emotion it entails. do i like her as a friend only? or is it more? and if i figured that out, i still would really have no clue what to do after that. it's an uncomfortable feeling, but as i reach back into my memory where i would do nothing but sleep all day and never leave my room, not interact or meet anyone, i'd much rather have this uncomfortable feeling. i'll get it figured out. i'll never get it perfect. i wouldn't want to. but i'm gonna get better with it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

confrontation

i'm annoyed at some people about things going on in my house. i have stated once that things that are mine, are MINE. in other words, you ask if you can use them. in my world, that means asking BEFORE you use them, not saying after, "oh, i needed _____ so i used yours, OK?" i'm in a bad mood, and smart enough to know that its not this or that person's fault. so instead of confronting the people with whom the issues have sprung, i am deciding to write it down here, where hopefully a second look will give me new perspective on it, and maybe later, when i am not in a bad mood altogether, and when i am able to have a level-headed adult conversation i will attempt it. right now though, i cannot.

so it's off to the kitchen to think about what i want to cook myself for dinner.

Monday, March 28, 2011

panic attacks

so i had a panic attack last night. i took medication ,which knocked me out, and was subsequently late for work. obvioulsy there is something going on. gotta get through this...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

family seders are the best

so a roommate of mine made a purely innocent comment regarding mom and how her cooking was amazing. i can't for the life of me remember the exact words, and in reality the exact words don't matter. she doesn't know me that well yet and so i approached her and asked her to not make any more comments about mom. she apologized, but as she apologized she said that all she was trying to say was how family seders are the best, and this year will be the first time away from her mom, and she doesn't know how she'll get through. while i can certainly understand that, and to a point empathize, it still stung very much. because i've been at seders for the past twenty years without my mom. i just thought it was thoughtless. not maliciously thoughtless. not meant to wound, but simply caught up in her own world and oblivious to how the words still kept stinging.

i'm trying here. i really am. maybe i am just being overly sensitive lately. but it seems like there are issues at the moment.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

depression.

so the recent attacks have absolutely affected my mood. i have no energy or motivation over the last few days and am sleeping entirely too much. i've been lax in running or exercising each day and writing on here each day, so i'm not actively taking steps to minimize the effect. but today, i just went running, and i am now writing on here.

it's not so much anything consciously about the attacks. i don't think. at least, i have analyzed all of my thought processes and feelings and nothing keeps popping up. but, i did have a dream the other night. i don't remember much about it, except that there was an RPG in it. which usually doesn't indicate a good healthy dream.

also i have forgotten to take my medication a couple of days so that definitely has an effect. but i'm aware of all of these combinations that have put me in this mindset and will attempt to get out of the current headspace i'm in.

i'm still adjusting to the new roommates. being in this mood doesn't help. there are times i just want to scream at them and everyone else about the littlest shit. it has nothing really to do with anyone personally, i'm just in this mood where i am not good to be around people. so that's not good. it's really not good considering tomorrow i start work at a new school. it should be interesting.

i have to now adjust to new work partners for the next three months, which may be difficult. but right now, everything seems difficult, so i am just in a pessimistic mood.

on a good note, i have now lost 54 pounds. so that's pretty good.

Friday, March 25, 2011

terror in jerusalem

for those of you who haven't heard, there was a terrorist attack in jerusalem on wednesday. one woman, a british citizen, was killed, and more than 50 were injured. it was the first attack in jerusalem in a long time. also, more than 100 rockets have been fired from gaza into southern israel lately, which of course includes ashdod. in fact, two impacted in the city proper, in one of the longest rocket attacks so far.

we had a trip to jerusalem the next day, which was ok. the weather sucked, and i was less than motivated, but still we went, and still i love the city.

to say that i am not impacted by the recent attack in jerusalem and the rockets in ashdod would be a lie. i've been in a position in which rockets or mortars could kill me, but this time around, i cannot get in my amtrac right after and go find the sonsofbitches responsible. i'm basically helpless and powerless. i don't like this feeling.

i didn't run the jerusalem marathon for reasons that encompass more than the attacks, but it definitely played a part. i didn't want to have my dad and my family worry. i don't regret not running. but it is a shame. anyway, things here have gotten more interesting with the real threat of rockets raining down on me, or to use a phrase i coined 6 years ago, "fiery death from above."

but the facts are these: i love this country. i love the people, the land and the  culture. and i'm standing tall here. in my opinion, the time is right to take out the ability to fire rockets into israeli territory. but i'm no policymaker, nor am i in the IDF. neither of those realities is about to change. but I go on.

i will continue to go on. it's gonna take more than a couple of grad rockets from gaza to send me home.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

full day

so today was a full day. went to school and volunteered for a bit, then participated in the amazing race. i had a fun time trekking around ashdod with my apartment. it was cool to get to know them a bit better and bond. the principal and teachers and the kids were excited to see me back at ofek. so that was really nice.

i'm heading to jerusalem for st. paddy's day and to hang out with friends this weekend, and then going to jerusalem next thursday for a day trip with the group and staying for the race on friday. soooooo excited!

i went running tonight, and did some minor exercises. i also weighed myself. either the scale i use broke while i was away, or i lost almost 8 pounds in a week. while it's possible, i doubt that's the case. i'm going to double check tomorrow at school.

it's been a great day and a half so far. it's now 1240am and i am going to attempt to goto sleep. night all!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

i'm baaack!

I returned to Israel tonight. I'm so thrilled to be back! It was Tuesday, so we all went to Pigal for another round of "Bad Decision Tuesday™". It was awesome. It was definitely what I missed when I went back. We returned to the apartments and played durack in my old apartment. (I moved into a different appartment this time around). It was a great night!

However, now, it's 335am local Israeli time. And I am a little drunk, and a little jet lagged, and it's now time to be unsure of whether I should have returned. I don't say this as if I decided I wanted to wonder, I say this as an acknowledgement of where my mind has decided to go right now. Even after having a great night with my friends, friends who welcomed me back and were genuinely glad for me to be here, I am still plagued by self-doubt and prophecies of doom. I don't know why my mind goes there. But it does.

So I'm here to cut the thought process with a dose of logic: I returned home and wanted to come back right away. I loved LOVED my time here and wanted to continue it. I missed my friends, and they missed me. I have returned to a place that I enjoyed immensely, and am surrounded by people who genuinely missed me, which is amazing. I have an opportunity to spend another five months here and have a great time all over again. There is NO reason for self-doubt and worry. No reason to think that this was a bad decision. This is where my recovery continues. This is where it happens. Good, bad or indifferent, this is where I am because I took a chance and decided it was worth it. If it doesn't work out, then that's that. But I can look back and know that I tried. I lived. I put myself out there. And I'm committed to this.

It's going to be a great five months.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

still alive, getting things done here in new york

well, to nobody's surprise, i am not happy here in new york. long island is not where i want to be. i didn't like it much as a teenager, and don't like it now. i moved away for many reasons, and not liking this place was one of them. so i'm working on a plan to get me out of here.

i've settled on binghamton and albany for college. now all i need to do is get accepted to one of them, and things will get moving.

been cleaning here and there in my room, getting my things organized. it's amazing how much shit i have that i just don't need. i've done without for five months, some of this shit just needs to go away. definitely have a lot of clothing to donate.

anyway, kinda in a blah mood, gonna watch a movie and goto bed.

Monday, March 7, 2011

i woke up on wednesday of last week and wasn't sure i was able to stay in israel for another five months. the question of wasn't feasibility, it was mental ability for me. i woke up depressed and down, and wasn't sure that i could make it another five months. i was worried that if i stayed, i might fail, and therefore tarnish the great feeling i had about the first five months. i worried that i really can't do it. so that, and the fact that i have shit to take care of at home helped me make the decision to come home. but truth be told, the things i have to take care of in new york could have been put off. i could have just said, fuck it. too bad. but i didn't. and so, now i'm here in new york.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

back in ny

i've started looking for a job. also researching schools, and am pretty sure i have narrowed it down to albany and binghamton. now the key is to get accepted somewhere. 

i don't know how i am adjusting so far. it's been just over a day so far, so it's not really enough time to see how i feel being home. i do know that i miss israel something fierce. i miss my friends and the culture and the weather. i miss the whole environment there, and that sucks. but it does remind me of how well i did while i was there.

now i just need to make my situation here better and make some good things happen. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

decision made, or at least made for me

so I am leaving as previously scheduled. there are things back home that I cannot take care of logistically from here, and it makes it unfeasible to stay here. i'm really disappointed but i have absolutely loved being here for the previous five months, and will absolutely cherish the memories and the friendships i have established here. i will miss them and this city and this wonderful land. my country, my israel. it won't be my last time here, and until i return, it will forever be in my heart. it's a bittersweet departure, but it's not a goodbye. it's so long. i will miss it, but i will keep it close to my heart and use my happy memories to bring me up and smile in the future.

להתראות אשדוד! להתראות ישראל!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

of decisions and the future

the five months have come to an end, and i am scheduled to be on a flight leaving from tel aviv at 430am friday morning. however, i'm not sure i want to leave. i have the opportunity to do another five month program here. so the decision now is whether i come home, or i stay here in ashdod, and live here for another five months.

i guess it will be good to first look back at the five months here, and summarize how the experience has affected and changed me. after that, perhaps look to what i'd be in for if i returned home right away, and then debate the difference in staying here longer.

five months ago, on october 4th, i arrived in israel. i knew nobody here in ashdod, knew nothing of the culture and had no command of the language. i had a vague idea of what i'd be doing here, but nothing concrete. october 2010 was five years since i returned from iraq. 29 years old and feeling so much more ancient, i was here in an attempt to figure out a way out of the limbo my life was in. i had recovered at home from my brain injury and my ptsd/depression as much as i could have. i had reached an impasse in my recovery, and it was time to go out into life again, and see what would happen. i was the oldest on my program here, with the youngest being a 19 year old from canada. five months later, he is one of my best friends here. i made friends with everyone in the program. while i may not always have gotten along with everyone, and not all friendships are strong, i made new friends for the first time in years. i fit in here with them, and i genuinely feel liked and appreciated, which is exactly what i was seeking. for many many years, i felt "different" and separated from people my own age. of course at times, i took actions which further separated me. but looking back, it was a preemptive defense. here, i forced myself to at least try to be part of the group. and once i tried, i found that 1, while uncomfortable at times, i could still do it, and 2, people wanted me to be part of the group. the realization that people liked and respected me, whereas i thought noone could, was mind-blowing. it sounds silly, but i seriously felt so much different and alone before, that i had just about lost all hope of being accepted. so in a social recovery sense, the past five months have been nothing short of revolutionary for me. i feel like i fit in with everyone here, and that i can "do this" again. in a work sense, i continued my recovery, honoring my commitments and obligations. i got so much out of my volunteering, both in school and at the women's shelter, that it was great to do it. the teaching experience was amazing, and confirmed that i would like to be a teacher. of what age and what discipline, i don't know, but being in a kindergarten here and teaching english as a second language was amazing. difficult at times, sure. but amazing. in a life sense, i am reinvigorated. i feel young again and vibrant. like i said, this five months have been nothing short of revolutionary. 

so, now what? if i go back home, as scheduled, the future plans are pretty simple. i need to go back to work, to make some money. i applied to a job here in israel, from april to july, so i might come back and work that, but if not, still be working at home. in the fall, i am returning to college. where, and for what, are unknown right now, but college is happening. the reality of the situation is different. and that is what gives me pause. i will return home to live with my family. i love my family, and while they know that, i also know that like i said, my recovery while at home is complete. to go back and live at home would be at the very least, a pause in my advancements made here, and at worst, a step back or relapse. when i am living at home, it reminds me of high school, when i hated things. i don't like long island, it's way too expensive. i don't have friends there, which is now a point that doesn't hold much water, being i can make friends, but i just don't like the whole culture and environment of long island. but, it makes no financial sense to live on my own on the island either. basically, i don't want to live there for social, economic and work reasons. i have decided that when i go to college, it won't be on long island. for all the reasons above, and others, i think upstate somewhere is where i'll go. it also affords me the ability to go somewhere and start new. on my terms again, like this trip to israel has allowed me. i don't feel that i have that ability on long island, and it scares me to think how detrimental a return home could be if i get depressed again. i can't state enough that it has nothing to do with my family. i love my dad and my sister, but i am thirty years old and healthy now. it's way past time for me to be at home. so, the question then remains: what to do in new york (or the surrounding areas) between the time i get home and the time i leave for college? and there's really no good satisfying answer i can find. 

(end of this post because i have to go….)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

continued

while we're here in eilat, i won't be able to post these on my blog. so they'll all get posted at once, with timestamps, which gives an idea about how long my thought process trends. 

in any event, i feel better about tonight after writing the previous post. the fact of the matter comes down to this: i am lonely, and have been for quite some time. i am not your average guy in the fact that i will not pursue something physical with a girl unless i am interested in her - ie. no drunken hookups. i mean, i have, but really, in the long run, it wasn't worth anything to me. 

i really have no idea what i was planning on saying in this post, but whatever it was, hopefully i got my point across. i don't think i did, but then again, i don't care if i did or not. you're a visitor with insight into how my mind works, i don't cater to anyone but me. 

of "bad decisions" and late-night hookups

i am pretty certain that i've made it clear here, and of course, in my head, that i am not the type of guy that executes random hookups. that being said, there is still a boat load of jealousy that i harbor towards guys who do, and the girls whom they hook up with.
as i continue to wade into social life, and navigate the waters, i am overwhelmingly aware that i have no idea in which to act toward a girl whom i might have a physical attraction to. i mean, sure, i could just act like any other guy, but deep down, i know that is really not what i want, nor who i am. so instead, i do nothing, and feel jealous of others who do.
this of course, is said with the assumption that a girl wants me. of course, my cynical, sarcastic self says 'fuck no, that's impossible.' but maybe i'm wrong.
anyway, i'm in the same place i've been for a while. just don't know what to do. i guess deep down, the whole "bad decision" tuesday/february/birthday etc. is my excuse to do things i wouldn't normally do, but i really haven't. so i'm nowhere.
also, apparently some people do read this blog. congratulations for them. i have not, do not, and will not use this blog as a means to be pissed about an individual, nor talk shit about them. i also don't use this blog as anything toward anyone around me. this blog has been, and will continue to be, a means for me to continue my recovery. if this is funny or humorous to anyone, congratulations. i'm glad you find humor in it. may you never have to walk in my shoes. if you decide that this is fuel for jokes, go for it. i hope it empowers you and makes you feel better than me.
in the end, i will continue to get better. whether you are with me or not, is solely up to you.

originally written 26 feb 0325

Sunday, February 20, 2011

real reason i'm angry

i think that i've come to the underlying cause of my anger tonight. it wasn't a simple problem of being woken up or by people being loud and obnoxious.
there's a girl in our program who "went missing." she left and noone heard from her. she's been heard from now, after almost five days, and she's fine. apparently she "ran away." and i've had to hear all the people around me conjecture about why she did it, what she was thinking, how stupid she is, etc. i heard it characterized as "there's no reason to do that." "she's crazy. why was she even on this trip at all?" "if there was something wrong, she should have said something." all of these statements and questions are so ignorant, i don't know if i can actually get through the layer of bullshit and stupidity to get my point across.
now, i don't know this girl that well. what i have are my assumptions and conjecture. i have my experience and thoughts. i think she was/is depressed or in some other mental state which is stressful. having been depressed for so long, and with my panic and anxiety, there are absolutely days in which i have thought about running away. i am going to be thirty tomorrow, and mental issues and stress have no chronological barrier. it doesn't just get easier because your body is now another calendar year older.
as to rationalizations like "it's stupid because she's gonna have to pay all this money" or "she loses her MASA grant" - they're fucking worthless. if you are that stressed and fucked up mentally, like I have been, in that moment I could care not one fucking bit about money or repercussions or logic. there's no logic in emotional distress.
in terms of stupidity or intelligence, mental and emotional distress happens to the most intelligent and the least intelligent of us all. the idea that undergoing this type of stress make you "stupid" is more than a little problem. it makes the person who is in distress not want to tell anyone about it, and it allows those who aren't to marginalize the distress in a veil of "stupidity." the same goes for the statement that mental distress is a weakness. Depression and mental distress is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign that you have been trying to be strong for too long.
if everyone would shut the fuck up about why this girl left, and whether it was right or wrong, and maybe think about how we can all work together as a group to take care of each other, maybe this kind of shit wouldn't fucking happen.
i have lost friends due to depression and stress and PTSD so bad that the only way to "run away" was suicide. the fact that not one of the people here have asked a fundamental question: "could i have helped?" saddens me. i worry about what would happen if i ran away. would i be talked about like this? would people think i'm crazy? weak? stupid?