On a day to day basis there is a void inside, an internal blackhole that lies dormant waiting to suck you into it with no chance of escape. I say this because regardless of how much success one has or happiness sometimes it is not enough. Your inner circle or your support system must be comprised of those who truly will be there for you at the lowest points of your battle with PTSD and depression. The issue is your support system will suffer with you out of fear of self-harm or self-medicating. I cannot tell you how many times over these 14 years since the war that I have contemplated suicide. I can honestly say that the thought of it was nearly daily. I’d time the speed I could get to, to drive myself into a concrete barrier, I’d consider walking in front of a train, and my “preferred” method which was via gunshot. It is hard to accept daily that you can adversely affect those around you to the point where they can’t even stand the thought of being next to you. That is the hardest part and truth.
I will give you a true example of the fish out of water effect for a combat veteran by explaining my own personal experience. You feel like an alien in the sense you are on your own planet with thoughts and actions. The sense of displacement is unbearable which is why in the summer of 2016 I decided that I would happily go back to Baghdad Iraq as a private contractor for Triple Canopy (formerly known as Blackwater) protecting foreign dignitaries. I was even bold enough to contact a National Guard Special Forces recruiter to re-enlist as a Green Beret candidate. Reality set in however when I told my wife Danielle when I was half way through joining Triple Canopy. As you can imagine that did not go over well nor did the fact that I was going to try out for Special Forces. Ultimately Danielle washed her hands of interfering with the decision I had made to go back to Iraq as a contractor or a National Guard Green Beret. She left the decision up to me and again reality set in. It just wasn’t going to happen. Triple Canopy disqualified me during the security clearance background check because I openly admitted to using cannabis to treat my PTSD and I personally decided against going to the National Guard because I would have had to uproot my family to Ft Bragg North Carolina. I wanted to go back so bad that even after having the wife and kids, the house, successful corporate career it just did not fill the void of feeling that the only thing I am good for in life is combat because I loved it so much and gave two shits about the fear of dying on the battlefield…that’s just what warriors accept without compromise one bit…death. In Iraq I wouldn’t have to worry about disappointing anyone or ruining anyone’s day, I wouldn’t have PTSD there because there is no need for emotion or happiness just straight war if I was lucky enough. If anything, it would be a sense of relief for those around me to have me gone which is why the thought and sadly at times there is a follow through with suicide. When a veteran that has his mind nearly made up on ending his or her own life all they are waiting for is to run out of options or have their support system crumble which over time there is a great risk of it happening. I was out of options that summer which is what lead me to have to go back to the VA for immediate help in August 2016 which then lead on to me being given the two medications I speak of that pushed me closer to the edge.
I am writing this blog to give insight through my own eyes on what some of my thoughts and process’. One may read this and have more questions after reading it than before, but it is important to note that this is what the mind of a combat veteran looks like at times. How scattered our thoughts and process’ are when we are at that point. All this can be summed up in three words “fuck it all.”. I always tell others to not let the darkness consume them that there is always light at the end of the tunnel the issue is that sometimes we want to head to the light by ending the pain.