And Now For Something Completely Different…

Given that this month – and the approximate next rest of my life – is going to be dedicated to self-improvement in every area of my life, I went ahead and tacked one more thing onto my list: taking care of my spiritual health. As I’ve told people time and time again, I would have to be… well, as stubborn as… Honestly, I can’t come up with an example – even a Biblical one – of how stubborn I would have to be to deny the hand of God in my family’s life. I’ve witnessed first hand what faith can do and where it can take you and I would have to be… I don’t even know. I still can’t even put into words what kind of person I would have to be to deny the existence of someone who is so clearly involved in my day to day life. And it’s not like God is some fairy godmother who just waves a wand and fixes everything and then your life is perfect, and I think that is where a lot of people get hung up. For me, personally, any time I start to get frustrated and feel like my prayers aren’t being answered, I think back to a conversation I had with my dad back in the day. I still remember with great clarity all of our father-daughter trips to Lowes and Home Depot and the subsequent lunch dates and how we spent the entire time talking about stuff that actually MATTERED. I mean, sure, there was the occasional “who would win in a fight, Lion-O or Batman?” type talk, but it trended more to politics and religion/spirituality and REAL talk, and that’s one of the things I’ve missed the most since I’ve been away from home. But. I am getting off topic. I remember the conversation I had with my dad about God and prayer and how, first and foremost, we need to remember that God doesn’t work on our timeline. He works on His, and that’s okay. But it was the second point that my dad made that day that has really stuck with me, and that was this: if you pray for patience, is God going to grant you patience? Or is He going to give you opportunities to be patient? If you pray for wisdom and discernment, is He going to give it to you? Or opportunities to be wise and discerning? And that just blew my tiny teenage mind. I had never thought about it in those terms, but once I had, I couldn’t STOP thinking about it in those terms, and it really did change a lot of my life. So, when I went to work and prayed for patience and then immediately bumped up against a difficult customer or that one coworker that just really got under my skin, I realized it was an opportunity from God to practice the gift I’d been praying to Him for.

So, this morning, I did listen to my DNCE playlist a little bit and shimmied around my room to “Danza Kuduro” by Don Omar, sure, but once I had gotten to work and had to run out to my car to get my wallet, I set foot outside and heard the birds singing and “This Good Day” by Fernando Ortega popped into my head. I started to sing it, which just made me think about my dad more, because he loved Fernando Ortega. So, I’ve been playing my worship playlist ever since and I gotta say, between my conscious decision to have a good day and be in a good mood and the introduction of Jars of Clay and Bleach and Delirious into my morning, I am in a great mood and I feel like I’m ready to take on the world. Which is probably good, considering that my PRT is this afternoon. I know I probably won’t pass, but instead of having a bad attitude and saying “screw this” and refusing to even try, I have decided to give it my absolute best because, again, work as unto God and not unto man, and why shouldn’t I? I let myself go and let my depression overwhelm my life for too long a time while I’ve been here in Spain and now that I’m starting to fight back with medication and getting closer to God again and every other way I know to combat the monster that hides under my bed and stalks me throughout my life, I see no reason not to start remembering the sailor I was when I first joined the Navy: motivated, squared away, determined to do the Navy, the United States, and my family proud. That is who I am, and the fact that my depression ever made me lose sight of that breaks my heart, but also motivates me and makes me that much more determined to be that person again. I want to make my parents proud. I want my family to be able to show pictures of me to their friends and say “This is my Sailor. She has done so much and we are so proud of her.” I want the God who created me to look down on me and smile and say “That’s my kid. She’s doing my work and making me proud.” And if that isn’t the best possible motivation, I don’t know what is.

Tactical Combat Casualty Care

I have a valid excuse for not updating this Monday! I got (unexpectedly) enrolled in TCCC, which is apparently a mandatory class that all corpsmen have to take every three years. It’s basically FMTB (Field Medical Training Battalion, which is where corpsmen get sent to learn how to be Marines) Lite, cramming the months of training received at FMTB into one week, and it was more fun than I’ve had at work in a long, long time. We did three days of class room instruction, broken up with labs and practical applications (or prac apps), then took a written test and prepped for the FINEX (final exam). The didactic portion covered the basics of care under fire, tactical field care, and tactical evacuation care, while the prac apps were more “how to carry a Marine without hurting yourself or them” and how to run a rugged field IV. When the test-out day rolled around, I was slated to be one of the casualties. I spent three and a half hours being tourniquetted, soaked in fake blood, and man-handled before it was finally my turn to be the corpsman. We geared up – flak, Kevlar, “rifles” (duct taped and spray painted super soakers), and med bags – did a light PT, and then approached the kill house. We charged into the tunnel, dropped knees, and returned fire while having fake blood rained down on us from above to the tune of machine gun and AK fire and one of our HM2s yelling abuse at us. We then moved into the kill house, kicked doors in, and located our casualties. My patient was “unconscious,” so I dropped a tourniquet on her and grabbed her in a Hawes (or backpack) carry and charged out of the room and down the hall to adequate “cover and concealment.” From there, I did my full tactical field care trauma assessment, then hauled her outside and recited my 9Line, proving that I knew how to call for a tactical evacuation, should the situation arise.

My proctor, one of my favorite HM2s in the hospital, told me that I scored on the slow side of instructor times, and that he’d been particularly impressed with how quickly I’d secured my casualty’s airway. My absolute favorite HM2 in the hospital and former mentor had been shouting abuse at me during the entirety of my run-through, and he made a point of finding me outside after I was done and apologizing, hugging me, and telling me that he loved my face even if he’d been mean to me. To be perfectly honest, I don’t really remember half of what was said during my FINEX. All I really remember was that he did, at one point, yell at me for a mistake I’d made and follow it up with “oh, fuck, I forgot how to corpsman!” which I really found more humorous than anything else.

The class was amazing, and I almost didn’t want this week to end. But, unfortunately, woven in with the awesomeness that was TCCC, there was a lot of shitty stuff that went down, too. I failed my weigh-in for the PRT by a half inch, screwed up in my college class and lost a bunch of credit/got a few failing grades because I forgot about deadlines, and found out that my old clinic is trying to get my back from my current clinic, which is really not cool.

I actually took a minute out of my morning to talk to my therapist about it, because when I worked in my old clinic, I cried in the bathroom at work literally every single day and was depressed with suicidal ideation almost all the time. If my officers can’t succeed in keeping me in my current clinic, my therapist and my psychiatrist can weigh in and warn them about the potential dangers to my mental health, should I be forced to return to work in my old clinic. Hopefully all of this will work out, but it’s difficult to be optimistic when my old ALPO is already talking about it like it’s a done deal.

Not to mention that fact that I – still worn out from the FINEX, mind you – am on duty today, so I’m extra tired and oh-so-salty right now. I have a normal workday that I have to struggle through, and then I have over a week’s worth of homework to do, not to mention trying to bullshit my way through a 5-7 page paper, plus I need to find time to squeeze in a fam run, since that’s apparently something I have to do every single duty day now, which isn’t inconvenient or annoying at all, she said sarcastically. All this and the only thing I WANT to do is go home, crawl in bed, and stay there until Monday. Sigh.

 

Well, until next time, stay frosty, nerds!

The Norm (And Departures From It)

It’s nice when I have almost a whole week without a breakdown or any sort of even somewhat serious mental health issue. Last week was one of those decent sort of weeks, and this one seems to be off to an even better start. I’ve always considered Sunday to be the first day of the week rather than Monday and, that being said, my week started off on the best possible foot. My best friend’s ship finally came back from patrol last week, so she and I spent Sunday grocery and kitchenware shopping, cooking, playing video games, and hanging out with her awesome new roommate. It was glorious and much needed, and got me addicted to not one but TWO new video games! Speaking of which, I so highly recommend you get on playing The Last Guardian and Horizon: Zero Dawn. Both games are absolutely exquisite and I am rapidly becoming a huge fangirl of both.

I think I can safely say that I’m finally stable on my meds, and I’m looking forward to my meeting with my psychiatrist on the 19th to discuss our next steps in trying to fix my brain. I think the next step we’ll be talking over is potentially putting me on some kind of ADHD med, which I really never wanted, but my increasing inability to focus on damn near anything seems to be making it a necessary evil. Plus, it is supposedly a great appetite suppressant, which means it should definitely help me lose weight.

On that note, I have GOT to start getting to the gym on a regular basis! But it’s so difficult to go after work because I’m always so tired and getting up at 0500 just sucks and I feel like I can’t win. I may just start working out in my room again, thus saving myself some time. I can just get up, crank some PVRIS, do some Freeletics bodyweight workouts or calisthenics or whatever, and then shower and go to work. Or do it right when I get home so that I can then shower, eat some dinner, do my homework, and then go to bed. This should be getting progressively easier, though, as Amy is going to start working out with me again, I think. Of course, she leaves in June or July, but by then it should already be a habit. … right?

Either way, my PRT is right around the corner and I need to get my shit together before then on the push-ups and sit-ups front. I’m already signed up for the swim PRT, so that’s one less thing for me to worry about. I’ll kill that portion just like I always do. It’s just a matter of bringing my score up, because I kind of want to. I’m shooting for good-medium this time around, maybe even a good-high depending on how things go. Of course, this all assuming I manage to pass the weigh-ins, which is still questionable… I guess we’ll find out. Further updates as events warrant. In the meantime, I’m out. I’ve got too much to do to write as long a blog post as I would like today, unfortunately.

 

Until next time, stay frosty, nerds!