Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can be caused by an event that had tremendous emotional consequence on the person involved. I was in the military and overseas for a combat tour. On one mission, there was a vehicle found on our path. This vehicle was blown to a million pieces. Smoke was still visible and the embers were still glowing. This vehicle had blown up a few minutes before we arrived at the site. It was a close call. After this day, my tour in Iraq didn’t seem to ever end. I struggled everyday with the ramifications of this experience. I spoke to a doctor about it and she recommended me immediately to mental health. I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder which created the sleep disorder.
Regardless of the diagnosis, the job still had to be done. I was repeatedly sent out to conduct our missions and expected to deal with my diagnosis on my own time. I became irritable, isolated, sleep deprived, and mentally and physically exhausted. I made the mistake and didn’t mention my issue to anyone and it harbored an environment not conducive to properly treating my condition. The nightmares caused me to avoid sleep at all costs. To make up for the sleep I lost, energy drinks and coffee consumptions increased drastically. I realized that I could not do this to myself because I was quickly becoming dependent on caffeine. Work production, relationships, revisiting activities that I enjoyed the most had been greatly affected by my sleep disorder. I was too tired or irate with my situation to care about those activities that I once looked forward to visiting.
Determined to rectify the situation, I sought medical help and tapered my consumption of caffeine. Exercise was my first move to aid in assisting me get some sleep. I would exercise three hours before I went to sleep. Keeping and committing to an exercise regimen everyday kept me from isolating myself and reintegrating back to the recreational past times that I enjoyed the most. If three hours before you sleep does not work for you then I suggest finding a time that you can commit to. I made sure to encourage a decent workout load so that I would feel the urgency of rest at bed time. After a few weeks of keeping up with my workout, I was able to fall to sleep much more effortlessly and still continue this regimen.
Board, A.D.A.M. Editorial. “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.” Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 03 Aug. 2013. Web. 31 July 2013.