Veteran's Day 2013

It’s hard to talk about PTSD. It’s a hell of a disorder to deal with in so many ways that it would take me years to fully explain it. The real bitch of it is that my form of PTSD is my own, and not like anyone else’s. In some ways, it’s easier for me to talk about it, because I can easily blame other people for what happened to me.

Veterans choose to enlist, and are expected to be the best men and women there are. There is a constant push from all sides. Their families are proud of them, their friends and colleagues respect them, and the country they are serving reveres them, even when not politically inclined to support what they are doing. But they don’t get breaks. Not the ones they need.

Veterans give everything they have for everything everyone else has. They sacrifice themselves for many reasons. To support their families, or to serve a higher purpose. Some do it because they just feel like it’s the right thing to do. At the end of the day, though, vets get the shit end of the stick.

Nobody wants their heroes to come home and cry. No hero wants to tell the people he or she loves that the world is evil.

I can sympathize. I draw a very crude sketch of the inside of my brain, and the vaguest description of my past, and people cry. Either from reading my blog, or from knowing me personally, people are hurt by what they hear from me sometimes. It can make me physically ill to talk about my past.

But in my past, I never had to follow orders to kill someone. I have never “done the right thing” in a way that killed or saved lives. The guilt, shame, and flat out terror I experience just feels like a cheap imitation of what “real PTSD” feels like.

A while back, I talked to a friend of mine in the service, and he reminded me of something. PTSD sucks. He reminded me of my own personal motto: “Each tragedy is tragic in its own way.” You can’t quantify it, no matter how much you want to. If I measured most people by my scale, I’d tell them to nut up and shake it off. Anxieties that can cripple some people are my Saturday morning cartoons. But that doesn’t mean that their anxiety isn’t real!

I’m all rambley again (still a word!).

TLDR; PTSD sucks. For everyone who has it. Veterans: my hat is off to you. If you have PTSD, talk about it. You don’t have to go into every detail. You can just explain how much it hurts. That’s all I do most of the time. If you think you need help, you probably do. Get it. Okay?

Love you guys.

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