PTSD: An Army Veteran Writes to Find Peace

Alex Cook in Afghanistan.

Hi, Internet.

I’m Alex.  I’m a veteran who has been struggling with what I call the “Army Sads.”  I guess it’s PTSD.  I went to Iraq and Afghanistan, but I wasn’t a combat arms guy.

I’ve been out for three years, but I’m not quite over it.  I’m trying.  I don’t wake up in the middle of the night screaming about IEDs, and I have all my limbs.  I feel guilty that I’ve let my time in the army affect me so deeply when so many have had it worse.  I’m only now able to confront my feelings and work on getting through them.

I can only imagine how many people like me are out there.  People who “served their country” and haven’t quite come to grips with what that means.  Maybe they’re mostly fine, but something inside them keeps them from being who they wish they could be.

Maybe they have trouble leaving their own room, the way I did for months on end.  People who don’t even want to acknowledge that they were ever in the military, or people who miss it.  People that bristle at being called heroes and don’t want anyone’s pity.  People that aren’t sure how they feel about anything, but worry that what they do feel is wrong somehow.

I want to talk to those people.

We may be Veterans with a capital V, but we’re just people.  We happened to go to war, is all.  We’re all unique: we all feel something different.  We’re connected, though, whether we like it or not.  We can help each other.  We can find meaning and purpose in a confusing world.  We can become who we want to be.  We’re not defined by our experiences or our emotions.  We can make ourselves be understood.  We can find peace.

I’m going to start writing regularly for this blog.  I’ll be sharing my personal experiences as I try to find my own way in the world.

Hopefully it will help someone.  It’ll definitely be therapeutic for me.  I’ve suffered alone and I know how miserable it can be, but we’re not alone.  We have people who want to help us and we have each other.

I’ll write about a new form of therapy I recently tried in my next entry.  It’s called Accelerated Resolution Therapy and it’s available for free at USF.  They even pay you to fill out some surveys.

It sounds a little scary, but maybe with my account you’ll decide it’s something for you.

(Spoiler alert: it probably is.  Check it out at http://health.usf.edu/nocms/nursing/restore-lives/ss_2.html or call (813) 974-9310 if you’re interested.  They’re very nice.)

If you’re a vet, or just care about one, and have a story to tell, this blog might just be the place to do it.  If you want to get in touch with me, e-mail me at operationfindingfreedom@gmail.com.  I’m not an expert on anything, but I know some people who care.  I care.

The important thing to remember is that we’re not alone.

So let’s get better.

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