As the sunlight fades

This weekend I moved in a significant direction toward my goals by getting my ass back out in public and amongst people again. My agoraphobia will never go away but it has become manageable without heavy medication.

“Why am I feeling this way? Why do I still have these thoughts?”

Because that’s what was stamped onto your forehead, Dumbass. For almost 20 years, you would not be caught dead in a big open area like this at work because you already learned the hard way what happens. You feel this way because some asshole was better at his job than you were. And he let you know he was.

Slowly, I am re-introducing myself to crowds in large open areas and it’s working. My anxiety is for the most part under control and to be honest, I only felt like running out of Ballpark Village in a panic twice. I’d been fighting it for over an hour and it finally calmed down once my buddy Steve and his girl showed up. I am becoming a better version of myself more and more every day. The most incredible thing is I am completely dealing with my pain now and not trying to mask it. It fucking sucks and it’s never going away, I get that. The anxiety is getting more manageable. I understand more and more every day what I am supposed to be doing with these experiences I had the last two decades.

This weekend I met up with a couple friends I used to serve with and have known for a long time. We’ve been through some interesting times throughout the years. They have known me at some of my highest times in the military and have even had to watch from far away while I faced my crucible. When I was suicidal. It sucked, but I understand now why it happened.

My friends have known me while I faced my withdrawals and all of the disgusting shit that floods your mind as the pain comes crashing back into reality and you are no longer drowning yourself in alcohol in an attempt to escape. My friends met me not long after I began to feel the long-term effects of back to back deployments and living as a ghost image of ourselves.

As I continue to slowly awaken from the walking coma I spiraled into after my brain injury. I know this shit is for real now. The more I continue to learn, the more I continue to realize how little I actually know. The loss of emotional connection and empathetic reasoning has been my most recent focus of discovery. Our warped and confused views on relationships and sexuality (and the difference between the two) is largely to blame. The truth is I honestly I have figured out my five primary components of veteran suicide. I’ve identified the facets leading to our self-destruction, but until I finish constructing my psychological paradigm that means nothing. I need to get my locomotive moving faster because I get the feeling, I’m reaching full steam ahead. I never thought I would be saying this. But it’s really happening.

I still have no idea which direction to lock on for my dissertation but I’ve gotten lots of feedback. I’ve been asked why I do not examine veteran suicide for my publication since it has been such a passion of mine. Trainwrecks, that is a very complex issue and not one I can put the type of longitudinal work into while trying to finish my Doctorate. Once I’m finished school, I have the rest of my (hopefully) long life to publish that direction of my work. My mentors have informed me a good dissertation topic is one that can be completed without trying to completely reinvent the wheel.

I attend my first residency in Atlanta in a few weeks and then I will prepare to study in Madrid. I can’t believe I’m finally returning to Spain. I’ve wanted this for a long time and here I am jumping at the opportunity to travel once again. I truly feel like I’m back on track, Trainwrecks.

You’re Welcome. Internet.

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