Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Old Me vs. The New Me

 The military had provided my network for nearly most of my adult and professional life. I had no idea how important my peers, superior officers, and non-commissioned officers were to my success in the military. Leaving the military separated my network and it basically disappeared. Rebuilding my network sounds easy but having no idea what I wanted to do made it very complex.

 The military had shaped me into a stone cold killer so to speak. I was sometimes afraid of myself because of my past military experiences. That fright kept me from being the confident person I have always been. I had leaned on my confidence so much to stay alive through the scary moments but unsure of myself without combat.  I was never sure of my reactions or reactions I would get from others. Stereotypes and lack of understanding who I am after I left the military had drove me into a deep hole. I became very depressed, easily startled, and dependent on medication to keep my sanity. Through this I thought about suicide and ending my life. I had been in some very stressful situations but rarely faced them alone. I was alone when I came home and very scared. I felt empty.

My family is the reason I came home after the military. In my mind I thought moving closer to my family would help with my transition process. They helped and they supported me with love and understanding. But I was missing a special person in my life. My mom had worked with a young lady for nearly a year. She would tell me things about her, all good things of course. She told me about her smile that can light up a room. Recently out of a bad relationship I thought to myself, "I need some light in my life!" So I asked my mom to get her number. All I wanted to do was talk. Little did I know the impact a text message would make on my life. 

A text message turned into a call, then a date, and then a year went by that we had been together. We only knew each other for one year and I new I wanted to marry this beautiful woman. I could feel the warmth from her heart on a daily basis. She made an impact on the person I started to see in myself. I was in a dark place when I met her but she brought me back to seeing the positive things in my life. She added the light that had been lacking for the 4 plus years I had been out. Courtney has been the most important person in my transition. I can lean on her when I am down and I can confide in her when my thoughts race. She has a heart of gold and epitomizes the image of a ranger wife. Shes strong, loyal, and compassionate. Her patience and persistence has allowed me to find the side of me that I wasn't sure was there.

What Courtney and I face on a daily basis is rough and at times very challenging. I was diagnosed with PTSD after my military service. Nothing really out of the ordinary but it can be very challenging. That challenge can take you places you thought were never possible. Keeping your thoughts stored away will only compound your problem. Let yourself talk, write, and understand the feelings and emotions inside you. Find that light and use it as a guide.

 The reason I am talking about this is because I challenge anyone who has faced a rough transition to take the step of reaching out.  If I hadn't taken that first step I would not have found Courtney.  Reach out and you may find that person that will stick through it with you. Having issues from war can hide the good parts of someone's personality. Being open, honest, and willing to accept the changes that have made you different will pay dividends with how you interact with others. Courtney has taught me to be honest about my situation and to never be ashamed. Be yourself, be happy, and remember never forget what the military has instilled in you. 

I will pick back up on other parts of my transition, thanks for reading. God Bless.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Jay! I have a quick question about your blog, could you email me at ewalsh @ mesothelioma.com when you have a chance? Thanks, Emily