If you’d asked me seven years ago if I believed that “everything happens for a reason” I would’ve flipped you the bird. I was watching my life slowly fall apart and I was alone. It was about that time that I started to write just to get it out of my head. I wrote about the past and occasionally the present, but I never wrote about the future. I just couldn’t picture it. I was struggling to make it through each day. Every thought in my head centered around Iraq, P.T.S.D., the loss of my identity and how powerless I felt. The only thing I could do to keep myself sane was to write.
I wrote every day, sometimes I would write multiple posts. All together, I wrote 61 posts between 2013-2016 and I reached more people than I ever thought I would. Though to be fair, I think some of the views were bots. Thankfully I’m in a much different and better place now. I think now is a good time to blog again and share some of those old posts and add new ones.
It’s sobering to look back and see where I was at six years ago. All of the sh*tty things I endured during those years has given me the ability to relate to the veterans I work with every day. The worst part about that period in my life is that I felt like a failure. I didn’t feel like I could confide in anyone about how bad things really were. I was too embarrassed to admit that I was failing outside of the military and it just kept getting worse.
Today, I’m blessed to work in an environment where I fit. I have a new purpose. I see veterans every day that are experiencing the same difficulties as I did. I never thought that the worst period of my life would be helpful to anyone else. But I guess in my case, everything happened for a reason and brought me to where I am today.
Original Post Dated: 3/11/2013
For me this blog will hopefully be therapeutic maybe other men and women like me will read it and find some comfort in knowing we are not alone. Please forgive me if I jump around and my thoughts come across as fragmented. This is something I’ve been working on but I think this issue is here to stay unfortunately.
This photo is from the last time I can remember my life being normal. It was taken on September 11, 2006. The night before I left for my first tour in Iraq.
Recently I got in touch with one of my oldest friends and after catching briefly up he started to share with me his experiences during his deployments. I know it took him a lot of strength just to tell me what he’d been through. But what struck me hardest was that he felt so alone and he thought he was the only one that felt like this and that something was wrong with him. I remember feeling like that. So maybe in sharing my experiences it will let others know that they’re not alone.
My Life Today
My life today doesn’t even closely resemble what it was before I went to Iraq. There are a lot of things I’m grateful for that I used to take for granted, like the ability to plug in appliances without the fear of electrocution, driving in the car without the worry that an IED will blow me up, and when I go to sleep at night I know a rocket isn’t going to crash through the roof and kill me while I sleep. Anyone who’s deployed knows what I mean.
About a year ago I left the military after 12 years of faithful service so that I could finally keep my promise to my daughter and never leave her again. The remnants of my time overseas has left a permanent effect on me, for instance, when one my new coworkers approaches my desk too quietly nine times out of ten I have an embarrassing response like screaming and it takes me a little bit to calm down. As great as my new civilian coworkers are, they don’t understand why I react like that and they either laugh at me, or look at me like I have serious issues (which is partially true).
I can only describe my current place in the world as an alien mimicking a human. I know too much, I’ve seen too much and now I know that not everyone has a conscience or a soul.