Not in a Good Space

DocImage000000008In five days I will “celebrate” the 26th anniversary of the Embassy Annex bombing in Beirut. The day my life was literally and figuratively turned upside down.  The fun has already begun; the increased anxiety, the vivid recalls, nightmares, edginess, anger, sadness, tightness in the chest, jitters, and the ever present survivor’s guilt.
All this and I still have five days to go. There’s not enough drugs or booze in the world to stop this shit!!! The healing has to come from somewhere else. That is what’s driving me, there has to be a better way, I know there is, and we are trying to put it together. But what really sucks is the shame I feel about all of this. The inability to tell friends and family about the inner torment because they will think I am crazy. I mean after all it’s been 26 years, get over it!!!
I am so tired of the shame this brings, if I had been blinded by the blast, or lost a limp or two there would be no shame cast upon me, no doubt cast upon on my condition. Instead people could “see” what I had given for this country. Yet because my scars are internal, many not yet healed, my sacrifices are somehow questioned. My own neighbor this evening was talking to me, he knows of my situation, my service and my current circumstances. He was kind enough to ask how everything was going, and I told him I was holding my own at the moment. His reply “because from the outside it looks like you are doing fine, and we’re just wondering if you are gold digging”! Gold digging, what the fuck..for what the scraps of money the VA may someday pay me, if and when they ever get around to reviewing my file. It took 2 1/2 years for them to settle my first claim, and it has now been 5 months since I filed again and I do not have an appointment with them for another month and half. Oh yeah I am gold digging because I love living the way I live. I love shaking, nightmares, flashbacks, having a back that barely allows me to lift my three and five year old children, having lapses in memory that have begun to rob me of days spent with my family and so much more shit. Would he ever had said that if I were missing a leg, or arm? No.. I do not want his or anyone elses sympathy, I served, I fought, I bled, I am damn proud of all that I have done on behalf of this country, I do not want your sympathy, I want understanding and respect. I want to be treated fairly and justly. I do not think that is too much to ask. Do not speak out of ignorance, instead ask questions out of curiosity, I will answer them, I want to educate any and all that which to be so; but if you wish to remain ignorant and propel stereo-types forward, do us all a favor, sign up for a tour in a combat zone, spend a moment in the shit, then come back and open your mouth and if your not willing to do that simply shut-up.
Sorry tonight was more of a rant than anything else. I am burning out a bit. Ever once in a while I look at numbers and see how slowly our efforts are moving forward and it frustrates the hell out of me. What we are doing is RIGHT, yet to get it done you have to jump through so many bureaucratic hoops, red tape, and dole out some serious ass cash, and that is even before you can help anyone.
Everyday when I type on this blog I realize on average at least 18 veterans have killed themselves. And I think if 18 were successful, how many tried and failed? How many had a plan and pulled back at the last moment? How many thought about it?  And I wonder how many of them will succeed in the next 24 hours.
And I all do is keep typing on this blog, waiting and hoping for paperwork to come through, money to fall from the sky that will finally allow us to get out into the communities where these vets are and show them there is a better way….May God give me strength because sometimes I feel pretty damn weak. (and yes that is a very hard statement for a proud warrior to make, but you know what, it is true for EVERY one of us)!!

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