Sunday, February 28, 2016

When a .357 Magnum looks too good, its time to get help.

One thing which I don't like to talk about is my own frailties.  I can admit my fears, with great difficulty, to those I'm close to.  The problem is, that I have a hard time letting people in.  The specter of disappointment, and betrayals has made it so its difficult to trust anyone.  My most recent debacle with my ex fiancé is an example.  There are many painful episodes in my past that I hadn't told her about (the WTB for example).

I trusted her more than anyone else I think in my entire life.  When things came crashing down, with little warning, and unclear reasoning all of that trust that I had allowed, the vulnerability, that became something of an open wound.

To say I was broken when I arrived home is an understatement.  I barely had the energy to get out of bed for days at a time.  I don't like that.  I don't like to admit when I'm hurt, let alone to admit I'm hurt just that badly.  If I could have willed my heart to just stop, I would have.  It seems strange but that level of complete abject depression may have actually saved my life.

About a day and a half after returning I found my dad's .357 magnum.  I actually pulled it out, and made sure it was functional.  At that moment a stray thought entered my head "if I had bullets right now."  That thought alone scared me.  The loss of my relationship was so painful, so hard to bare that I was willing to eat a lead sandwich rather than face the rest of my life without her.

Add to that there's the added stress of the issues of being home again.  There are many issues left unresolved.  The mold and mildew alone have caused me enough issues, but taking apart my dad's living area, I was able to get a palpable sense of just how far he'd sunk into the alcohol.  The brilliant man I knew growing up, who always seemed to have the answer died a truly broken man.  Perhaps thats one childhood illusion I wished to hold onto just a little bit longer, or perhaps I didn't want to ask myself if perhaps I could have done something.

I found myself angry at him, angry at my ex, and angry at the world.  I was angry at my dad for giving up.  I was angry at my ex for dumping me like a bad habit.  I was angry at the world because I could not figure out what I had done to deserve the treatment I had.  I would vacillate wildly between irrational anger and soul crushing sadness.  That gun would alternate between a way out and an object worthy of no more note than a rock or a branch.  I had actually taken to sleeping with it near my bed.

I realized then that I really needed help.  I reached out to the VFW post here, and through them I learned about about the connected warriors program.  Its a free yoga program for Veterans, which helped a lot with coping and stress.  It also helped with the horrible back pain that's been plaguing me since my return.  I also reached out to the VA.  Sadly their psychological department is full up here, so getting to a shrink will be a stretch.

Here's the thing, I haven't told anyone really just how close I came.  Perhaps two weeks after I started the Connected Warriors program I got a job.  That helped a lot. I've joined a gym, and I've reached out to friends.  Sometimes just to commiserate, sometimes for advise sometimes just because I needed to talk to someone.  My friends, both former combat veterans and just people that happened to be in my orbit helped a lot.

The hardest part for me in this process has been to admit that I needed help.  Its not just admitting that to myself, its admitting it to the people that can offer to help me.  The very people that can, and have helped me have to know just how bad it has gotten.  Is it because of the war?  Because of my Ex?  Doesn't really matter why things have gotten this bad.  The reality is I had to get help.  I've started getting it.

Its scary in a way.  I look how far I've come.  I thought that I was almost to a place where I could be as close to normal as imaginable.  Perhaps the one good thing that my ex sending me packing has done is to show me the error of that illusion.  I may never be normal again.  I'm ok with that.  I'll figure this out somehow.  I'll be ok.


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