I had much time to think while I was hospitalized. Here three things I learned while in hospital: 1. I can control my rages. A few months back, a psychiatrist told my family and I that I would never be able to control my rages without medication. He said the shrinkage on the right side of my brain was likely to blame. My uncle even started a thread about trying to cope with my rages and hysteria: [DLMURL]http://www.ptsdforum.org/thread2222.html[/DLMURL] If you read that thread, you can get a taste of how bad my rages and hysterical behaviour has been. While I was in the hospital, I had 2 occasions where I almost lost control of myself. In the first instance, 6 members of my family came to visit me simulaneously. They were loud, and I found the whole situation overwhelming and triggering. However, rather than my usual pattern of flipping out and breaking things or punching myself in the face, etc, I weighed the pros and cons in my mind and convinced myself it was unwise. I was able to calm myself down. I also figured out that when I feel like breaking things, flipping out or otherwise losing control, it's because I feel badly about myself. I'm angry with myself. I feel like I'm crap, so I might as well destroy my things, be mean to myself and prove to everyone what a horrid person I am. I never looked at it that way before but it occurred to me after that incident. On the second occasion, I had my feelings hurt and also felt that I had hurt someone close to me. Once again, I was tempted to flip out about it, and I very nearly did. However, then I remembered how I had worked through my feelings in my mind before, and I was able to use the same technique and remain calm! I wrote to a friend about how I felt instead of breaking things and crying. I discussed it calmly and rationally with my family. I accepted responsibility for my wrong actions in the situation. It was NOT easy, it would have been much easier to flip out, and more "satisfying" in a way. But the wonderful thing about not flipping out is that now I don't have to feel guilty and hate myself in the aftermath. And I've proved that psychiatrist wrong... I'm not on medication right now. So I CAN control myself without medication. I just need to work hard at it and not give up. 2. My family has rights too. Until recently, I had been operating under the assumption that everyone around me should just bend over backwards to avoid triggering me. Several members of my family are in the military, and that has been one of my triggers, given my trauma. Obviously I am still recovering and can't expect to never be triggered, but I CAN control how I react when I have a trigger, and how I treat those around me. It isn't easy, but I can choose to be kind ("please, I need to be alone right now"), rather than nasty ("f-cking leave me alone!!"). I can choose to communicate with my family when I'm having a problem, rather than holding it inside until I have a meltdown. Just because I have PTSD, doesn't give me a license to be abusive to them. They have feelings too. It never occurred to me before, but my family members in the military feel hurt when I am triggered by them. That doesn't mean I can always help being triggered, but it does mean that I can be sensitive to THEIR feelings, and not just think about myself all the time. It's the least I can do, considering all that they have done for me. And working on triggers, rather than flipping out about them or avoiding them, is what's going to help me get well. I mentioned my rages in the paragraphs above. A while ago, my family confronted me and "accused" me of being manipulative with most (not all) of my rages, secretly being able to control them much of the time, and using them to get my own way and abuse others. I didn't want to believe it, I'm ashamed, but I now realize they were correct. It occurred to me also, that when I have done something wrong, I generally feel like raging shortly afterwards. That's partially because of feeling down on myself, but I believe it's also a way to avoid responsibility. In a nutshell: I've done something wrong. I don't want to suck it up and deal with my feelings. Therefore, I'm going to behave very badly to the point where I make myself sick, everyone feels sorry for me, and basically excuses the wrong I did. It was wicked hard to admit that to myself, but it's the TRUTH! 3. Self-pity is deadly. This one I have to give my family credit for, especially my uncle, because he accepts absolutely no self-pity from me. He even finds self-pity in my words and actions when I'm unaware of it! So he gets most of the credit for continuing to point it to me, and never allowing me to wallow in it. It's rather easy to find reasons to feel sorry for myself: my dad shot me and murdered my immediate family, I have PTSD as a result, and add to that, poor physical health, including cancer. But it's not a question of whether or not I have the "right" to feel sorry for myself, but rather, what is it doing for me? Does it help me at all? I have to answer emphatically NO. Self-pity is a habit, and a deadly one at that. My uncle compares it to being on a ship at sea during a horrible storm. The ship may or may not hold for the duration of the gale; however, your best chance for survival is to weather the storm by remaining on board. But self-pity tells you weathering the storm is too difficult, too much effort. So, you might as well just jump overboard, attach yourself to the anchor, and allow it to pull you under and drown. One thing I learned in hospital, there are many people with serious problems, as bad or worse even than my own, and yet they carry on living without pitying themselves. In the 2 weeks I was in the cancer ward, 3 people died. One was a 4 year old boy with leukemia. Two days after his death, his parents came to the ward to comfort some of the other children who were traumatized by his death. Losing a child must be the most horrible experience ever. Yet in spite of their grief those parents were able to think of other people's kids too. I thought it was amazing, it really touched me. I've always known self-pity is wrong, but I now have a firm resolve to not allow myself to indulge in it. I want to have a good life, and self-pity is not going to help me get there.