A person I know, that possibly I may one day become good friends with, just came back after weeks of recovery after hitting rock bottom. Depression, PTSD, alcoholism the whole skinned cat. And it brought up memories. Of when I was there in that same place, freed after years of depression.
You get an emotional high for a while after you first break through the dark days and aren’t looking through smokey glasses at life. And then, of course, you have to maintain. The bandage is ripped off, you’ve gone through the hardest parts of psych surgery, and now its time for mental physical therapy. Make sense?
Its odd in this day and age in the military to talk about having mental problems NOT caused by the many deployments. In fact, I think for those of us like that, that suffered before, those deployments either helped us maintain in that time alone from all we cared about, or just put a band-aid on it. For my friend, it was a band-aid. For me, it was the former.
It’s been years since I was cutting on my wrists, trying to see how deeply I could cut without leaving permanent scars… of course I did end up having them, but I can only call it a miracle and blessing that they disappeared over the years.
I didn’t even suffer the kind of abuse that my friend did, not physical anyway. There was verbal abuse in my household… From my father even now. It’s why I don’t talk to him. Physical/sexual abuse in my early childhood years came from another female. It took me years to be comfortable with a female friendship after that.
But that is my past. One thing I’ve learned from mental health, and my own research is that you have to face your past and move on. You don’t let it rule you. Yes, I’ve gone to mental health over I’d say the past 15 years, off and on. Does that make me weak? Heck no! I’ve gone when I knew I was close to a breaking point, or just so stressed by my circumstances that I needed someone who didn’t know me to talk to. I don’t drink to excess, and keep in mind at all times that alcoholism runs on my dad’s side of the family. I hold my fathers picture in my head as a focus point of who I don’t want to be as a parent, and as a person. I wear my scars, the ones that cover my spirit, with pride AND humbleness. And I face new challenges, whether the outcome is good or bad, with no fear… But determination.
My friend will get through this time. He’s strong and surrounded by people who care. He’ll make it. And then, he’ll maintain.