Kate R.

The ups and downs of life with Buckshot

December 13, 2017

Few people working through PTSD can so eloquently describe all aspects of life with the condition, but Kate is gifted when transcribing emotion into words. Here’s Kate:

Buckshot and Kate - the talk of the town
As I am sure you can imagine, Buckshot and I create quite a stir whenever we are out and about. It does not matter where we are or what we are doing there is always someone talking behind my back. I mentioned to my husband that sometimes it can be worse the being in high school. Most of the time I hear, “Ooooo....mommy look at the doggy why can’t I bring my doggy with me?” or “She has a service dog because she is blind” - this one always make me giggle because most of the time I am reading something. However, there are occasions that I hear the snide comments, “What does she need a service dog for?” or “that’s just her pet with a fake service dog vest.” It is these comments that are the most hurtful. They remind me that I look normal and healthy, but on the inside I may be falling apart.

Buckshot and Kate - take a cross-country road trip
This past summer my husband was activated and informed he would be leaving home for about a year. Knowing that he would be gone for such a long period of time, we decided that we would make the trip together to get him settled, a little mini vacation with some much needed rest and alone time. It was a long drive and for the most part enjoyable. The scenery was beautiful and the views were sometimes stunning. Buckshot and I enjoyed some amazing walks together along the way.

Buckshot and Kate - take flight
Once getting my husband settled at his final destination, Buckshot and I had to fly back to Kentucky. This would be our first flight together as a team, Buckshot’s first flight ever, and my first flight since returning home from overseas. To say I was anxious and panicked, would be an understatement, however Buckshot was cool and relaxed as always. He never ceases to amaze me, when I am at my worst Buckshot is always at his best. His ability to read my feelings and emotions and walk me through my darkest moments is something I will never completely understand, but I will always be extremely grateful he is ever present.

Buckshot and Kate - take a hike
For Thanksgiving, Buckshot and I traveled back out to visit my husband. While there, we drove to Carlsbad Caverns for the day. The thought of being in such a dark enclosed, bunker-like underground cavern, was extremely frightening to me. As we drove closer to Carlsbad, the panic started to set in, my heart started to pound in my chest and my breathing became shallow. I began to wonder if I would even be able to enjoy the caverns and had started to think about asking if we could turn around and go another day. I turned to glance in the backseat only to be met by Buckshot’s soulful eyes and as if reading my thoughts and feelings he leaned over and licked the top of my hand and those same reassuring, calming eyes said, “We got this!”....and we did. Did the panic and anxiety rear it’s ugly head - yes it did; did it rule my moment and cause a meltdown - no it did not. Buckshot and I enjoyed our hike in the caverns and the small outdoor hike afterward - the views were absolutely breathtaking!

Buckshot and Kate - a reminder that PTSD, while ever present, does not define me
PTSD is a lifelong disorder. It comes in many different forms, I may look normal, but you cannot feel or see what my mind’s eye feels or sees. The past 10 months have not been without their dark days filled with depression, panic attacks or anxiety. If there is one thing I could impress upon you as you read through my journey, it is this: PTSD is a lifelong, ongoing battle for your mind and soul. It ebbs and flows, never knowing when or how hard it will strike, but PTSD does not have to define me.  With Buckshot by my side, I never have to face those demons alone, he faces them with me, he never leaves my side, he is always there waiting patiently to guide me through the dark storms that life brings. He is a lifelong gift that makes life a little easier, makes life a little more enjoyable, but most importantly makes life worth living.