I was recognized for the involvement, received a lot of kudos, and even a few unexpected blessings along the way. Almost immediately after the event, I started losing family members to cancer. Emotional issues connected with loss came down hard involving close family members, friends and even a suicide among our close knit community. In all, six people that I loved and appreciated in my life were suddenly gone.
To top it off, I was backed into by an automobile. Walking across the parking lot, suddenly found myself going sideways. No, I did not fall or get anything broken, though my back and hips have been acting up since. That is, causing stress more than usual.
Prior to this latest incident, I had support through the VA including chiropractic treatment. It was working! My mobility was stepping up, my attitude was embracing more passion for life. And, I was excited about the potential to hope, plan and reach for my dreams of travel, photography, painting, remodeling my home, being able to do more with friends, etc. I almost let the disability get back to controlling my life. It has its days, however, I refuse to let it take me from a positive journey in life.
I am sharing my story, because I hope it will help others to address their own challenges and soldier up to them with passion to embrace the positive life they deserve.
Because of denial, time to time self-defeat, undiagnosed PTS, and accepting negatives as a part of the process, it took more than a decade of my life wandering around lost a world that I never wanted or believed would happen to me. Don't let any challenge or disability in your life take away precious moments or time that can empower you and those around you.
Once I recognized the beast (PTS), it was almost like being an alcoholic in that choices in life could start the stair step out of the hell hole that living had become by learning how to control my choices and actions. Counseling, for me, helped. I discovered a vital point in that I was not alone, recognition was a strong factor in getting past the PTS control, and I could start modifying my actions to return to stronger abilities.
I know there is hope. Before I knew the issue, my brain would just go haywire with stress leaving me incapable of making choices or even regular conversation. Working with outreach communities to help other veterans, healing began and became stronger with each new issue. I had found hope.
The recent issues did have an affect on me. Being unable to move forward because each new death happened just as I was starting to address the loss, they all became jumbled enmass of a swirl of issues in my thoughts. It did not matter what I was trying to address, I could not get past 3 items on a page before my writing went crazy and my thoughts started to hurt. I pulled back on all contact because my brain and body were unreliable. I would be on the computer for a short time, pain in my back from the injury not allowing full follow through, would have to lie down, sleep took over, depression closing in. Was I returning to the fog and dark hole that I fought so hard to leave? With my age, was this going to be a permanent change in my back?
My friend's suicide jolted me. Unexpected and senseless - he was deeply loved, admired, and had communities of people that followed his lead. Much younger than me, it was senseless. I was angry, with so many fighting to have one more breath, why did he do this? Some would think that would have a darker affect on me. Think it was opposite ... it drove me to soldier up .. to fight whatever issue is trying to drag me down and overcome it. It is more important to recognize that even though darkness seems to be closing in, even a small light can pierce the darkness. Life has a way of going up and down. We have a way of turning it around, if we have the patience and ability to believe again. That is where helping each other along the way is potent. Nothing heals the heart than having another veteran tell you how important you are in their life and their positive journey. We still have value, we still have the soldier within that lead us forward before the challenges came.
I have seen many veterans waiting for help, help comes from within. The struggle may be harder without help from those that "owe" us, however, it is much easier when we soldier up, embrace those who are there willing to help and find a path to move forward.
In this season of Believing ... no time is better than now ... believe in yourself, believe in the future and embrace life in the fullest.
We can do it.