Falling Apart

My Trust issues, negative attitude and over generalization

After spending many years in the military, I became very skeptical and developed a negative attitude towards people who had not joined the military after 9/11. It became clear that people have absolutely no idea what freedom or liberty means and how it’s achieved. People seem to just use and abuse their freedoms and liberties, they have no idea that the rest of the world has so little freedom and is in a state of chaos and dysfunction compared to our way of life in the United States. Unfortunately people’s behaviors have lead me to the conclusion that in the time of need or in the defense of our freedom and liberties, the average American will expect others to stand up for them so they do not have to take ownership and the responsibility of our way of life. For this reason, I have no trust in people in general. After all my education and healing. I still find it very hard to form relationships outside of the military.

Isolation (self-imprisonment)

When I came to the conclusion that I was unable to form the type relationships I felt were healthy and appropriate, I completely isolated and ignored most of the people in my life including very good friends. The only people I let in, were people I knew felt the same way I felt about the world and life in general. I even withdrew from my wife and children, I felt as if I was a danger or a negative influence on their growth as individuals. I really tried to make my home life and family like a tight net unit, it was so hard for me to understand why my family didn’t want to be a part of it.

Regret

During my isolation period, I began to regret my decision to join the military and truly began to look down on myself for what I put my family through. I came to the conclusion that I was hurting my family and it was time for me to leave. After thinking this way for months, I began to regret my regret! I felt I risked my life for the greater good and I am a better person for it. When this mindset kicked in, I completely regretted getting married and having children. I truly felt I should have just died overseas instead of coming home to this type of disappointment.

Entitlement

From basic training to combat, the military has always explained that the VA will take care of your medical needs when you get out of the military. This is true to some extent; however, the VA is also there to prove that you’re mental and physical injuries did not happen while on duty. This type of invalidation leads to distrust and anger towards the entire system. The other unfortunate circumstance is the fact that most of the VA employees are civilians, this interaction and invalidation is destructive towards transitioning and working with civilians at worst, and complicates transitioning at best.

Aggressiveness

Once my anger set in and I perceived that I was being treated wrongly, I began to aggressively assert myself if a person tried to challenge my behavior. I truly felt like I was pushed into being aggressive and It was not my fault. It took becoming physical with a completely non confrontational person and almost going to jail to calm my behavior down and to get serious about my behavior and therapy.

Apathy

For years I lived with constant change at a moment’s notice, it seemed like if I had something planed with my family and friends the military always got in the way. Unfortunately I made my civilian job and appointments just as important as my military obligations. Almost every time I would get excited about spending time with my family something always came up. After years of letting down my family and putting them second to my obligations I completely lost all emotion and excitement for just about everything in my life. My last deployment and mission were so emotionally draining I had to turn what little emotion I had let off, I felt completely dead inside. The worst part of having no emotions is the fact that I couldn’t enjoy my children and I drove my wife away.

Anxiety

With no emotions and lack of communication, I felt as if the whole world was against me. This feeling made me a nervous wreck, I felt I could not trust anyone I knew and I never allowed anyone new into my life.

Depression

Because of the distrust and loss of emotion I became extremely depressed and felt hopeless. Although I am the one that caused the problems and pushed everyone away, it was hard for me to understand why no one wanted to be around me.

Alcoholism

The military and drinking go hand and hand, from the top down drinking is used to release the stress and build units that fight together. Drinking is just as important as physical fitness is to your social status in the military, if you’re not a good drinker or runner the possibility you become an outcast is pretty good. The important part of drinking in combat arms units is the how much of an ass you can be and how physically aggressive you can be to outsiders. This type of behavior is right of passage and is expected by peers and military members, to a civilian this type of behavior is completely and totally uncalled for and is not understood on any level. Because the military conditions people to internalize and to use alcohol to release stress, I naturally drank at home to cope with daily stresses. Ironically, unlike most people that drink to suppress their emotions, I drink to feel my emotions and to mourn the loss of friends and relationships.

Anger

Anger is one of the only emotions I could not suppress, I was angry over everything in life at one time or another. I was angry over every part of being indoctrinated and its effects on myself and on the people around me. I loved the military and being a soldier but the ramifications of my service were overwhelming.

Fear

I am in a constant state of rear of being relied upon, controlled and committed to anything that my take time for myself or my family. The worst part of my fear was the fact that I felt I was a danger to my family and to society, I was always on edge and looking for a fight.

Guilt

Because I walked away from my wife and children and came home a completely different person. Also I was unable to connect with other military members because I was a broken person physically and physiologically.

Shame

Not only did I seconded guess every decision I made as an NCO overseas, I blamed myself and took responsibility for things that were out of my control and had nothing to do with my unit or my own actions. At one point I was so ashamed for being injured and having the been diagnosed with PTSD I wanted my entire life erased from history. I tried to go back over seas to fight ISIS a number of times hopping I would never return and not be remembered for the failure I had become to the military and my family.

Disappointment

No one understood me or what I went through or what I was going through, also people in my circle and society were not living up to my standards of morality. I felt lost and unloved by the people that were closest to me.