This all began as a short summary or letter to the VA explaining my claim of how my PTSD is linked to my time as a service member. I wrote a six page letter that I have decided needs truncating. That letter is an abridged version of the story that is currently 22 pages long.
In 1992, I began a consistent 15 year relationship with a pen and paper by writing letters during a particularly difficult time in my childhood. Since then I have become a husband and father and have had two careers. One career took me overseas to Iraq and the other provided me a place to hide when I returned home.
I stopped writing some time ago, 2009, perhaps. There was an emptiness in my words and they often lacked an honesty — something about the truth stole my need to compose. I have been sad for a decade, walking around in a fog thinking that it was just a depression, I’ll come out of it one day. Ten years now and I am weary of being so damned sad.
From 1999 to 2006, I was a soldier in the Army, enlisted infantry. Recently, my wife and I looked into getting help at Veteran Affairs, maybe a group or individual therapy. After checking just about every box for PTSD, I have to admit that things aren’t just getting better. Going to the VA is difficult, there are guys who don’t have legs. I have two. It seems to me that they need the time and help more than I do. However after examining the events of the last several years, I have come to realize that inner wounds can be burdens and disadvantages in a very heavy way.
I have a story to tell. My story isn’t just about a soldier returning home from war with PTSD; it is also about an abused, abandoned kid who has, somehow, kept it all together. It’s about a father who did a good job, and his sons know it. In the end — I see that I have done okay, but there is a knot in my gut and a pining in my heart to write.
It feels good to write again. It’s like waking up.