Because of PTSD I am no longer able to work. I’m not on disability as of now. I just don’t work. Some people may say, “wow, I wish I didn’t have to work!” I may feel the same way if I was at normal retirement age, but I’m not. I’m 42. I’m not supposed to be retired for another 20 to 30 years.
I meet a lot of new people with my wife’s work. The small talk almost always goes to “what do you do?”. And I always struggle now to answer that question. My first instinct is to say I’m retired and then go into a long explanation of my path so that they know that I’m not just lazy and don’t want to work. I know on the surface that it’s really nobodies business. But i’ve worked in some capacity as long as I can remember. As a child my work ethic was one of the only ways to get approval. It was best when I could work myself to the point of being sick in the summer heat. I was really praised then for working so hard. Sleeping in was frowned upon and usually met with a list of things that I needed to do.
I guess I learned that punishing myself through work was a way to earn approval. And so I did. But now I have no choice. The way the conversation sounds in my head is this: “Hi Brodie, what do you do for a living?” Me: “I sit at home and let my wife carry me because I’m too lazy to work and too weak to overcome PTSD. Nice to meet you. ”
Conciously, I know that if I sat down with that person and told them what I have seen and done in my life, they would probably say “Good lord! How are you even still alive?!?” But, I’m still battling with the thought that I haven’t done enough yet. I haven’t paid enough yet. I haven’t been punished enough yet for my perceived shortcomings, whether real or imagined.
I don’t really know how to overcome this problem yet. Maybe I’ll just go take a nap.