This week was the worst time I’ve had in probably two years. Everything that could possibly go wrong, did. Murphy would be proud.
It’s times like these where I truly regret ever going into the military. They are good at their training, which is why I’m still here to write this. What they’re not good at is telling you what could happen after.
I did my job. I did it well. When we got into trouble, we always won. Every single one of us came back. Other elements weren’t as lucky, and I do feel guilty about that. I was given a day off while the incoming division was taking over, and the first day out, one of the new soldiers didn’t make it back.
A part of me stayed in Baghdad, and something else hitched a ride home. It hid under the philandering and alcoholism, getting stronger and leeching off what good I had left in me. It waited until I was finally happy before it struck a critical blow to my perception of the world.
I fell in love. My mistake. If I had known that parasite was in my head, I would have been more careful. I would have worked on removing it before getting serious with her. Instead, it waited until my fucking wedding night to whisper madness into my soul.
“You don’t deserve this,” it would say. “You’re just a child-killing drone trained to follow orders.”
Those whispers haunted me for years. They made me feel like I didn’t deserve happiness, but it was the only thing I wanted. We were in love, and that beast kept making me question why.
I don’t regret still being in love with her. I regret trying to fight this thing alone. It’s one thing to get treatment for PTSD by yourself; it’s truly the only way it will work. However, it’s another thing to push your only source of support away because of how scary recovery can be for them.
At your first session of behavioral therapy, the therapist should make it very clear that things will get worse before they get better. If you have anyone that loves you, they need to be there to hear it and understand. It is not a deterrent. It is the truth. You’re cornering the monster in your head, and a cornered beast fights for it’s life.
You won’t see the damage you did to your loved ones for a long time. When things get bad, they will probably see the monster you were and defend themselves. Don’t take it personally. It wasn’t you, but they won’t understand. It was a monster in your body, tearing them down. They need to heal now, and it may be better without you.
Don’t get discouraged. Your life may lose meaning, but it is not meaningless without them there to love you. This is why it’s been so hard for me lately. Her and my kids are the only good things in my life, but I’m losing her. I’ve been losing her for years for something a body-snatcher did. It can’t be helped, and it’s not fair to her that I try to convince her otherwise.
I’m still holding on to my love for her. It makes me feel whole. It’s my way of proving that demon wrong. She did love me, I did deserve it, and I’m capable of love, too. I’m never letting that feeling go.
If you ever have thoughts of hurting yourself or others, please reach out.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline – (800) 273-8255
Veteran Crisis Line – (800) 273-8255, press 1