Emotions, losing control, not being yourself. I kept feeling like it was something I did. Something I could undo or fix so everything would turn out alright. Unfortunately, things kept getting worse…

In the first week, no one knew what was wrong. The only thing I knew was that I had severe problems controlling my emotions. I got angry without cause. I kept seeing flashbacks. Sometimes 3-4 times a day. I knew I needed help.

I talked to my superior on the phone and explained what I was experiencing. She wanted to sit down and just talk about possibilities. That meant I had to go back to my precinct. The stress that gave me is unbelievable. Because of my jumbled emotions, the only thing I could focus on was,  that I had to go to the station. That I had to see my colleagues. Had to explain what was wrong. Had to see them look at me while breaking down again.

Eventually, I still went there. It was torment. Not because of my colleagues, they were perfect and understanding. But because of the tricks, my mind kept playing on me. I felt threatened the whole time I was there, even though there was nothing threatening me. My superior tried to explain what was going to happen concerning my work. I barely registered half of it. She would make me an appointment with the occupational physician. And advised me to contact my general physician (GP). 

The appointment with the occupational physician was set for almost 2 months later because of the long waiting list. The appointment with my GP was fairly fast. I spoke about some of the things I was experiencing and he recommended in practice mental healthcare to see what was wrong with me. This took about 2 weeks before she could see me. I have nothing but praise for all of the people involved, but the waiting is what nearly broke me.

Waiting, waiting, and waiting, not knowing what the hell is going on. I got into arguments with my wife. Got mad without reason. Couldn’t control my emotional outbursts. Everything was just too much. Trying to live your life as normal as possible while being a slave to your emotions is nearly impossible.

I had “the talk” with the supervisor. The one thing she said that struck home was: “You need to take care of Yourself. The work will carry on. Nothing is more important than yourself. I could try and get you back to work as fast as possible and then lose you altogether because that wouldn’t work. Do what you need to do to get right. Get help, talk to people, and take all the time you need. Don’t worry about work, appointments, and stuff like that, we’ll take care of those. We’ll be here when you’re ready.”

Hearing those words and actually letting go of work, appointments and the like were much harder. I had applied for a position I’d been wanting for some time now. Actually got invited to the interview as well. Had to call them and let them know, now wasn’t the time for me. I felt like a failure. Worried that they might consider what I’m going through right now if I apply in the future. How would that affect my chances?

Besides that, I had several projects going on. I wanted to implement some changes to our social media system at work. And suddenly I wasn’t at the meeting. Colleagues started to worry. They started to message me if everything was all right. That’s when I asked my supervisor to send a general e-mail to let them know I wouldn’t be at work for the foreseeable future. That’s when even more messages came. I don’t know what is going on, but I’m here for you if you need me messages. I do so appreciate these messages, but I still don’t even know what’s wrong with me.

During this time, the thoughts that kept popping up were: I’m not even sick, why can’t I just go to work? I can go grocery shopping so why shouldn’t I be working? I can take my kids to school, there’s nothing wrong with me.

And then inevitably it hit me over and over again. For example: While walking back from the school a car went by, it probably went a bit too fast for my taste. That’s when the flashback came back. I saw myself in the crashed car giving CPR to the driver even though I knew it wouldn’t work. I stopped in the middle of the street and started crying my eyes out. Of course, these kinds of flashbacks happened almost every day. And that made me realize: No you can’t work like this, there is something wrong with you and you need help!

The thing that rattled me the most, in the beginning, was the anxiety. I could be walking, sitting, or driving, and suddenly out of nowhere panic sets in. Not you’re regular I might miss my train panic. But real, life-threatening fight or flight panic. It’s pretty hard to describe this feeling. But it feels something like: I have to fight my way out of here or I’m not going to survive. Your body gets ready to fight. My muscles tense, I see everything and I look for the nearest hiding spot. A spot away from danger, away from pressure. It’s the worst feeling in the world. Blind panic!

So now I’m having flashbacks, panic attacks, and mood swings and I can’t control my emotions. Does anyone dare to guess what’s wrong with me? Because I still didn’t know. I just worried I was doing something wrong or didn’t do something which i should have. My first thought was always that I was the problem. I unscrewed my screw and I need to fix this.

Have you ever experienced something similar? If you want to support me, please join me on my Facebook channel, or leave a comment below. If you just want to talk, feel free to use the contact form and I’ll get back to you asap.

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