This one deals with my personal hell, but I want to share it anyway. I do reference part of my trauma that I experienced while I was active duty.
Most of my shame comes from being told that the death of my best friend in Iraq was my fault. My First Sgt, MSgt Gregory Nygaard told me at Carl’s memorial service that I should have been there, and it should have been me driving that truck that got hit by an IED on 29 Aug 2004. When he told me that, I believed him, mainly because I did not deploy with my unit due to getting in trouble for drinking on duty. Until just recently, I strongly believed it was my fault. When I heard those statements, I immediately felt like I was a bad person. Carl meant the world to me, and I truly believed I should have been the one to die that day. MSgt Nygaard took nearly all my good thoughts and feelings about myself away when he made those comments to me. At that time, I felt like I was no good and worthless. These thoughts and feelings diminishes my self-esteem and made me feel like I was less of a person. I believed this for many years. As a result, I did not take good care of myself, and ruined lots of relationships because I felt and thought that these feelings were accurate.