#PTSDDaddy… “What’s your mission?”
I was recently contacted by a friend of mine that I know from the Army days. He asked me a question, simple yet quite personal. Then he told me a few things that I can relate to very well. I wished I was not on a Facebook Messenger App because these seemed more like a let’s sit down have some beer and shoot the shit more then, hey let me text you a couple words and a smiley face from a million miles away. So I told this dude I would post more and better information and that it deserved a better answer then what I could provide on a message on a phone.
So here it goes this is difficult to answer and talk about but the reason I chose to start doing this was exactly for questions and discussion like this. The hard shit that I would rather just swamp myself with work and pretend it is not in existence.
Question 1) When did you/how did you come to terms with your personal struggle?
The answer for this is even long and drawn out and will likely re-occur throughout the book I am writing on it. I fought it long and hard. I did not think I had an issue. I really felt that everybody else was too fuckin’ sensitive and should really mind their own fuckin’ business. I did not realize that I was angry all of the time. I am not talking about a little mad when I say “angry” there is no real word to describe my outlandish outbursts. My curse filled spew of the mouth combined with everything I knew people around me would be cut deep and things they could not fix. I was a horrible person and could not see that I was a horrible person. In my mind everyone else was starting the fight but I’ll be damned if I’m going to lose the fight.
So what changed this? Why could I see it now but not then? I wish I could say it was a close friend who could relate to what I was going through but it was not because I did not talk about it to anyone. It was a counselor I met at the Vet Center. I went there to prove my wife wrong and shut her the hell up. She had worked with and for guys like me for a long time and could see all of the shit I could not see. She let me talk and yell and complain about all the fucking retards and the stupid shit they try to accuse me of. She let me justify all of my actions, and she gave me assignments here and there that I thought were stupid but I did them because she was smart enough to let me keep going with my view. She knew that by doing these assignments I would eventually see that it was me with the problem. And I was driving home from one of my appointments with her and it hit me like a ton of bricks…
They were all right… oh dear lord I got PTSD. What the fuck? I saw the light because my counselor was smart enough to let myself lead me to it, she just bumped me here and there to keep me on track to see it. Like bumpers at a bowling alley, it did not matter how slow the kid rolled the ball it would eventually get to the pins. She knew that and I found the light and it sucked. I’m not going to lie people Realizing I had PTSD was a horrible thing! I felt like a total shit bag! I am so weak that I can’t mentally handle shit? That’s right, weakness!
The other problem is I’m a bad ass Green Beret, weakness is dishonor. I had depression too but this just totally kicked my ass into the depression ditch. No honor, I’m weak, I cannot call myself a Green Beret. To top it off I was dealing with a few injuries that were making a simple PT test impossible for me to pass. So now I am physically weak, mentally weak, and basically useless human being. Shit went down hill and fast.
I will admit though, admitting I had a problem and coming to terms with it are two different things. Coming to terms with this has taken many years, combined with counselors, two different treatment methods and medicine. Coming to terms took realizing that having PTSD is like going to Selection for becoming a Green Beret. You only get out of it what you put into it. Physically, emotionally, mentally, if you do not put in 100% to fix it and things around you, then it won’t get fixed. The term “fake it till you make it” come to mind. There was a point recently where I took a long look inward and thought “OK I am going to take this head on and keep doing it until it works”
I wake up and take a moment to myself, closing my eyes and plugging my ears locking out as many senses as I could and making the conscious decision to myself in my head of “I am going to have a good day. I am going to focus on the good parts, and if I can’t find them I will make something good happen for someone else.” Until this forced conscious decision that I was not going to let it run my life, I was a miserable human being.
OK so my buddies next question is 2)When did you find a purpose in life again? Not temporary fixes but real purpose?
This is another awesome question. I wished I had asked myself these questions so I could have better worded answers, but I will just tell
it like it is. My wife, my lovely lovely wife, (I say that now cuz she doesn’t know this part so she will likely laugh at my “idiocy”) she was trying to help and she herself was trying to find material on PTSD and being a wife of an asshole like me with PTSD. She came home from something one day and sat me down, looked me in the eye and very seriously said “what’s your mission?” What the fuuuuuuck?
What’s your mission
You’re an idiot! What do you mean what’s my mission? She said again “what’s your mission?” I said I have no idea what you mean by that. She said “well that’s just it, you need to find your mission and then you can work at being better because then you have your purpose again.” That’s fuckin retarded!
In fact this is sooo retarded I went to my counselor that week and told her about how retarded it is and she comes home out of nowhere and asks me this. My counselor of course said the “same thing differently” and got me thinking again. Ok maybe my wife isn’t stupid she’s just trying to help. How adorable that she is trying to help. I should stop going off on being stupid and just appreciate that she loves me and she wants to help me.
Several months later I was talking to a different friend on Facebook when she had some issues at work. I thought damn, I got those same issues. It’s a bloody shame that we have to keep all this shit inside because I really think if people around me understood I had PTSD they would see some of the shit I do and think “oh ok that makes sense.” The down side to this is that they have to get past the “oh he has PTSD I hope he doesn’t flip out and try to hurt everyone around him.” Then my dad’s idea from years back hit me like a ton of bricks. “You need to write this” I realized I need to write a book, not a fame and fortune opportunity, not a change the world ego, not anything other then “there’s others out there and we have the same story and we all go through this shit feeling like we’re alone in it.”
Especially in my world coming from the Green Beret perspective, nobody admits to having this shit! So even if I could help a “too cool for school” guy like myself say “hey life does get better if I just work on the problem rather than fight it.” Then writing a book is worth it.
And there I am… I found my mission. It’s really hard, its taking longer than I thought, and my memories of certain events come back slowly as I write. When I write I literally put myself back in these situations mentally so it’s very exhausting. I force myself to relive them in order to write them. In doing this I unlock more memories I did not know I had. Which makes it more exhausting. But I found my mission.
Transition is NOT about making ourselves acceptable to society. That will never happen. Transition IS all about finding our mission and going after the objective.
As stupid as it sounds… let me explain.
I had the opportunity in my Army career to do some AMAZING things. I lived, breathed, and ate adrenaline. I served with some of the most physically fit, intelligent men in the world. We killed horrible people, to keep innocent people safe. After a job like this you come home to all this dumb-ass bullshit that doesn’t matter at all. I lived in a place where I had no water cept what I carried, I had to burn a barrel of my own shit, and I was lucky to shower once a week. Now I come home and holy shit I can shower whenever I want, I don’t have to go out back in the cold to take a shit. Even better I don’t have to go burn my shit. We are sooooo spoiled and guys like me realize this. Basic necessities of life, food shelter, water, safety. So my family is safe, we have a fridge full of food, we have water on tap and I’ll be damned if anyone threatens any of my family members. So the rest is all retarded shit.
I have to be “useful” and if “useful” is just going to work day in day out and paying the bills then there is no “use” for me. I found my mission because I found a way I could help. This was my “useful” again. Now the problem with this is just like PTSD and it’s cause and effect are individualized, so are the “useful”ness and the missions. My buddy who asked me these questions… writing a book may be a stupid mission. Writing a book may be his new mission. He has to decide but he has to find what is it in him that can replace all this useless pointless stupid ass shit in the world, and fill him with purpose and usefulness? What is “worth it”? So while there is not one solution for all, it comes down to my wife’s “fuckin’ retarded” question…
What’s your mission?
I hope this helps identify how I came to these things. I know there is more to be said here but that will have to wait on a later date and time. As for now I want you to know brother I am here always. To “come to terms” with this you have to be ready to “come to terms” with those in your world as well. That is something that only you can do, but I will say this brother, once you are out and say it then you can take steps to correct it. It may get worse first, it may not. But like the stock market, hold on to what you got! Over time it WILL go up. As for your mission brother, I can’t tell you what your mission is, but I will be more than happy to hear what ya got and help you write your CONOP. (and everyone who doesn’t know is now asking what the fuck is a CONOP? But it doesn’t matter cuz I’m talking to YOU)