Breaking the Silence
The first several weeks this blog was online, I shared it with no one. I did not want to and at no point did I envision sharing it. The thought never crossed my mind until I put pen to paper and came up with Chaos. This blog was my tinker toy for other projects and just a place for me to vent while messing with and exploring the CMS used to build it. I had shared a few of my posts over on The Warrior’s Pointe, a warfighters blog I helped start over at Warrior Pointe. But other than that, what I’ve written was my own thoughts and only I would read them. Why is that? It’s a highly complex answer if I gave you what my brain is giving me for an answer. But I also have a much simpler answer to give.
I was hesitant about sharing my writing because I was and am scared of the reactions and judgment of others. Sharing them over at Warrior Pointe still allowed me a certain level of anonymity because nobody that I’d really come into contact with on a daily basis would read it. Considering that the reach of that blog, about 200-300 people a day, is significantly more than the little self-named blog I never directly brought attention to it among those close to me. Several posts ago, as I said above, I decided to share my posts on Facebook or at least I had the intention of sharing Chaos. Chaos was a short poem and the thought that someone would read that and then continue to read the other posts on my blog had not crossed my mind. Even so, my hand literally shakes itself of off the mouse when I go to share it. But as with everything else I’m going through, I forced myself to do it.
What’s amazed me about sharing my story though, is that I have not once gotten the reaction I was expecting. Not once did someone judge me, judge my story, and trash my writings or tell me something negative about what I am going through. The stigma associated with PTSD and other issues I have was more than enough to scare me away from sharing. Instead what I found was support, reassurance and a reminder that some bonds are never broken. Those who I expected to judge me, thanked me. Those who I expected negative comments from came to me and shared their own stories. They told me things that they were afraid to share. Just like I was. I am amazed that my words have helped others and I am thankful that each person has made it that much easier for me to continue to share my story. I still do not believe my story is anything special but I’ll keep telling it if it helps someone else. Even if it is only one person.
Did you know that 22 veterans commit suicide each day? I know my veteran friends are well aware of that fact but how many of my non-military friends and family are aware of that statistic? I’m not upset if you didn’t know, but as you’ve read by now I was almost a part of that statistic several times in the last 8 years. I fight every day to stay away from that number and to help keep my brothers and sisters from joining that statistic as well. We need to break the silence that we impose on ourselves and we need to tell our stories as best we can.
This is an open statement to anyone who reads it. Reach out to me if you need to. Don’t be afraid. Don’t worry about being judged. I don’t care if it is 1 am, 3 am or 2 in the afternoon. You and I are important and we matter. Remember that. These have to be the first steps. The first steps of a million more. You’re not alone.