Changes in Life

The following post I wrote originally appeared on The Warrior’s Pointe.  It is a blog hosted by Warrior Pointe, Inc and is written by Veterans for Veterans.

If we change within, our outer life will change also. – Jean Shinoda Bolen

As much as I choose to deny it, ignore it, or accept it, my life is changing. It’s changing big time. My divorce will be final soon. I moved out of the home I own and bought and let me soon to be ex-wife live there so my children don’t have to be without a home. My relationship with my children is changing; thankfully it’s mostly in good, healthy ways. I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that at this point in my life, this change is all healthy and good for me. I’m seeing myself much better off. It’s still a tough pill to swallow, as I’m sure it is for anyone in a similar situation, but I can do it. Like the little engine always said, “I think I can! I think I can!” We can all deal with and accept change when we have to, but we need to be much more willing to change because we want to, not because we have to. I’ve almost got that switch flipped in my head. A little more work is all it needs. A lot more work is what I’m going to give it.

I didn’t and still don’t have a choice in the changes in my life. The ball was rolling long before I paid attention to it and all I can do now is try to catch up to it and maybe even run alongside it. I ignored PTSD for almost 8 years and it destroyed my relationship with my wife and thus my marriage and it affected many personal relationships with friends and family. I know I am not alone in that. I watch my feed on Facebook and read the stories of people in similar situations and we all see it on a daily basis. I watch friends deal with the same thing I am dealing with. I watch some succeed and I’ve watched some fail miserably. The common factor I’ve seen is acceptance. Please take this for where it’s coming from; it’s just me and my opinion. I am not an expert nor am I trained in anything related to what I’m dealing with or what other veterans are dealing with. I just want to help and if voicing my opinion helps just one other person then it’s worth the time I’m taking to write this.

I have a lot of things I need to change my life. I need to eat better, get to the gym more, but more importantly than those, or anything else, I have to change. I need to change my opinion of myself. I buried myself in a pretty dark place by choosing to avoid and suppress feelings, emotions, and opinions. It was not all done voluntarily. Some of it happened as a defensive mechanism to PTSD and it became how I coped. I’ve been on medication for about two months now and I’m surprised that it’s helping. I’ve watched medication not work for so many other people. Regardless, I’m glad it’s helping me and that I don’t feel like a zombie. Feeling like a zombie was one of my concerns when the VA first mentioned medication. My goal is to feel human again. Being a medicated zombie is not human in my opinion.

I have good days and I have bad days. Thankfully the good has started outweighing the bad. When I originally sat down to write this post, I was having a very good day; one of the best days I’d had in a long time. I could actually see things clearly and I was able to process things going on with a clear and level head. There was no yelling, no overreacting, no hiding or avoidance, and nobody telling me how I feel or what my opinion is supposed to be. Today is a different day. I’m not doing so well today. Had a good morning with my kids, but since I dropped them off at their mother’s, a dark cloud has roared in and I feel horrible. I’m sitting alone in a room in the dark. I want to drink and get drunk to forget my feelings, which have gone into overdrive with the anniversary coming up on the 15th. I’m trying to pull myself out of it, which is why I’m continuing to write this. If it doesn’t work, I may actually go visit my friends at the VA. My normal support system, which is great, isn’t as available as I’d like them to be.

I know what I need to do to be the best person I need to be not only for myself but also for my twin boys. My boys are the reason I sought help in the first place. They are the reason I’ll continue to fight and they are the reason I never want to be apart of the 22. They’re the reason I’d go to the VA before I did something stupid. Heck, I’d even drive over and talk to their mother before that. As Peter Pan would say, “they are my happy place and they help me survive.”

Those of us who survive are uncommon. We have given are all in service to this great country and scars, visible or not, come with the territory. Our service has taken from us more than we may have wanted. Not everyone has returned and those who have are not always in one piece. We are all the uncommon few and we need to protect and help each other. We have to be there for each other. There is no other option.