Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fly Away

PTSD sucks.  It sneaks up and takes over, making it hard to function.  When it hits hard I can't do anything. It is hard to get up in the morning. Hard to do anything but sit and stew in my own thoughts.

What really, really stinks though, is reaching a point were I am doing good.  Feeling good. Getting things accomplished. I feel like I am over the whole PTSD thing. Past the crippling depression.

Then it hits again. Bringing to a crashing halt all of the projects I may be working on. I let people down. I let myself down. And it is easy to spiral deeper and deeper without realizing I'm heading down.

Fortunately I have a wonderful wife who can recognize when it's happening. She supports me doing whatever it takes to climb out of that pit.

Well. It hasn't been a very good few weeks. I bottomed out and had a few people pretty worried.

Go do something fun. They said. Even if you can't find enjoyment in it, and even if you usually did get great enjoyment from it, do something. Anything.

So yesterday I did. It was ridiculously hard to gather materials, get things set up to build. This time I used a kit, so everything was already cut, and all I had to do was put it together. I had to force myself to do it.  It sounds stupid, I know. How lazy do you have to be to have something like this be so hard?  And unless you've had severe depression or PTSD or both, it seems like a totally reasonable question.  But I'll tell you something. It is so, stupidly hard to get motivated to do anything!  And if you are like me, you will beat yourself up even more for it being so hard.

But I did it. Powered through an airplane build. Something I usually enjoy.

And, ya know what?  By the middle of the build I was so engrossed in what I was doing, that I started feeling better. I wanted to finish. To get the electronics in (scavenged from another plane). The weather was OK and maybe, if I got it done, I could even take it out for a flight.

By mid afternoon, I had put the last touches on it.  It was ready to fly.  The kids and I headed down to our local farm field to give it a try.

Tossing a plane into the sky for the first time is always nerve wracking.  I just spent hours building and tuning and tinkering. Now, within a few seconds it would either soar into the sky, or spiral in and crash beyond recognition.

Flight controls checked and correct. Throttle up, and give it a throw.

To my great delight, it flew.  I trimmed it out a little, making it easier to fly, and put it through some paces.  High speed, low speed, stalls, rolls, loops, I even cut the power completely and let it glide.  It performed wonderfully.  And as I flew it around the sky, I recognized that I was smiling. Happy.  Enjoying the moment I was in.

My life has become like a maiden flight of new airplanes.  It should go fine. It should just up and fly. But every once and awhile it spirals out of control and crashes.  So far, I've been able to fix it up and try flying again.  But I never can seem to tell when it's going to fly and when it's going to crash.

Someday soon, I hope I can be like the video below. The day may start out shaky, but I will end up flying away.

Enjoy this video of the very first flight of my newly built flying wing