Rehabilitation Tank& I

How to: Beat Suicide (3 min.)


Happy new year everyone! This year started off with a bang for me. I got free tickets to the Katt Williams show on New Years eve. I brought my wife and my friend with his wife. The show was hilarious, a bit vulgar at times, but hilarious.

I had second thoughts about bringing my church friends to the show as soon as the first comedian came out and the smell of marijuana filled the arena. Ha! But seriously it was ridiculous. If the comedian wasn’t as funny as he was I think my wife would have called it an evening. Katt Williams is a funny guy in person though. Very short with a mouth like a sailor. I tried to get a good picture of him but there were too many lights.

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This is the best picture of Katt Williams that I could get!
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( From the left) My Friends Leo and Stacy Ballard, my wife Jessica and I at the Katt Williams show.

I had to leave Tank at home with Aleah and my mother-in-law. By the time we got home he was passed out on top of the stairs. We walked through the door around 11 and I saw his head shoot up with eyes locked onto me. I swear he hates it when I leave him, especially for so long. He ran down the stairs just to lick my hand then ran back up and hopped into his bed. He was snoring long before I changed into my PJ’s and hopped into bed.

Public access training is getting easier each time we train. I’ve had Tank next to my side ever since he got his vest. Lindsay has moved our training from Target and Lowes to the Ridgedale mall. A big leap so fast, I know, but Lindsay said that we have a strong bond and she thought we were ready to move along faster and I trust her.

The first day we went was a little overwhelming for me. Even though it was in the morning and there weren’t a lot of people, the space and random noises and people was enough to make my anxiety sky-rocket.

Tank did his job well though. While my head was growing foggy and heavy I felt a heavy nudge on my right leg. I looked down to see Tank with his head resting against my leg staring up at me with puppy dog eyes. I couldn’t help but to snap out of whatever was going on in my head to reach down and pet him. It didn’t take long for my anxiety to calm down. Lindsay saw what had happened and gave Tank applause for a job well done.

After going a few times with Lindsay, I took Tank on my own to practice. I had to get my wife a gift for her birthday so it was a perfect excuse to go. It went well, we were in and out without any interruptions. I would have been in a better place if I got Tank a few years ago. He feels like a part of me now, we move in one fluid motion when walking. I give him cues without even thinking anymore.

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I finally got him to look up. HA!

I’ve been happier than usual lately. It’s weird that I even notice it, but its like I don’t have to worry about everything anymore because I’m giving Tank most of my worries, expecting him to warn me if anything is happening, so I think that I’m enjoying life a little more because of him. I haven’t yelled at anyone in a long time, even when I’m driving I tend to stay calmer with Tank.

I don’t usually open up to people about my emotions and how I feel about things because I learned in the Army that it doesn’t matter in the long run. I think that is one thing veterans that struggle with PTSD like me has a hard time doing and that causes us to go through with extreme measures to get better, like drinking until we pass out, using drugs so we won’t dream, and suicide because we feel alone in our struggle.

I’ve struggled with the thought of suicide since leaving the Army in 2006, I even planed it out a few times. The only thing that was holding me back was the fact that I had a loving girlfriend and Daughter that wouldn’t let me be alone.

Since getting Tank, I haven’t thought of suicide even once. I think I haven’t noticed until now because I was in transition with having Tank and Training him all the time. I think God’s giving me the tools I need to reconnect with my emotions, who I used to be, so I can help other veterans get out of the same abyss I was in. I’m starting to love life again thanks to the love God is pushing into my life.

Author of Combat Medic : A soldier's story of the Iraq war and PTSD.Served as a combat medic on the front lines in operation Iraqi freedom/ enduring freedom. Medically retired from the Army in 2006 with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, retired from the VA hospital since 2013. After struggling with PTSD and suicide for twelve years I have made it my priority to share my story with as meany people as I can to help America understand what it's like being a combat veteran back home from war. It is my hope that other veterans can relate to my life and take use the same tools as me to live a better life with PTSD.

3 comments on “How to: Beat Suicide (3 min.)

  1. I’m glad to hear your thoughts and emotions are feeling less overwhelming. It’s amazing how your dog is helping. I pray for all of our active/ vets.

  2. am so grateful to you for your work

    doggies are the best – would love if you’d consider writing a guest post for my blog – then my readers could get a chance to find about your great writing & site!

    if you’re interested, type ‘call for writers’ in search bar on upper right of my site – &/or email me at ContactdaAL@gmail.com

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