I remember how messed up and bitter I was back in 2011, living day by day thinking death was right around the corner, hatting the fact I joined the Army. Seven years after war and it felt like I was still stuck in hell.
One moment I’d be fighting in a Wadi-Us-Salaam cemetery taking mortar rounds, the next moment I’m driving to work with chronic back pain speeding through traffic having flashbacks. Some days I just called into work because I was, quit frankly, scared to open the door because it might blow up.
In those dark moments my mind led me to believe that nothing in life was real, believing I died back in Iraq and I was in hell. That’s the reason suicide constantly ran through my head.
“You’re never getting better, just let go of the steering wheel and it’ll all be over.”
Engulfed in Bitterness
I hated the military for making me this way and my parents for how I was raised.
An overwhelming sensation to hurt my ex-step-father for the years of abuse he put me through enraged me. He once beat me so hard, an ink pen somehow got stabbed through my ankle. I had this overwhelming urge to kill because of the random flashbacks I was pushed and pulled from.
Sometimes I wouldn’t sleep for days at a time, I was used to it you know, from the 24-48 hours duties in the Army. I wished I was back in Iraq fighting on the front line again so I could feel normal. Like someone important again.
Anger turned into bitterness, which always led me back to suicidal thoughts, descending down a dark path.
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6: 14-15 ESV
As soon as I softened my heart to the people that hurt me the most and tried my best to move on, life started getting better. I started talking to loved ones again and I served in my church as much as I could. I’m slowly remembering the person I was before the war.
Things didn’t miraculously change in a week or even a month. I had to learn how to live with my pain as well as my PTSD symptoms. Since I started actively working on re-building my life in 2014, I’ve become happier with the fact that I’m alive and I have a loving family that gives me support and things to look forward to every day.