There are times in life when all the advice you give to others gets thrown right out the front door of life. I have decided to talk today about PTSD, the Death of a Loved one, and the threat of doctor telling you your chances of having cancer is 97 to 98 percent. This is a triple threat to anyone who has had to go through even one of these situation but for those of you who have had to go through all three at the same time can be and, simply put, is devastating. I feel for veterans because I am one of them and I still see today many who still have the nightmares, depressions, and loneliness one has even if you’re with friends and family. Simply put, your mind and heart has been changed forever. The PTSD that some have disables them in many ways that those who have never experienced war will NEVER comprehend or know. So don’t try to say you know how one feels until you have walked in their shoes. And for those of you who have lost a loved one in your arms and tried your best to keep them alive and you couldn’t, that is a hard reality to deal with. I know you will catch yourself years later, after the fact, with tears in your eyes wondering what else you could have done to save them. In both cases there is always what we call survivors guilt. And this, in many cases, will never leave the person no matter what they try to do to get over it. Reality is reality! So now let’s look at those who have been told that there is a 97 to 98 percent chance of them having cancer.  It doesn’t matter what type of cancer. It’s the fact that you’re told and the reality of unfinished things hit you like a ton of bricks.  I have always found that people who hear they might or do have cancer always immediately think of the others that are going to be affected. Interesting that these people don’t want everyone else to hurt for them. The unbelievable thoughts fears, uncertainties and everything else comes to the surface and we find that these people can barely hold their heads above  water if their support system is in turmoil.

So what if an individual is hit with all three problems at the same time. According to every psychologist I have ever talked to they say the chances of this individual living a full long life becomes slimmer over time. The loneliness, solitude, anger, survivors guilt and many other things eventually take their toll. My good friend, Criny, as we called him, was one of these. We found him one day leaning up against his favorite tree with a self-inflicted gun shot wound from his own favorite hunting rifle. But we first found his letter and a full ice chest full of beer for all of his friends. Once the ice chest was found  everyone knew what he had went and done. You see, he too, like so many other vets, reached out in the only ways they knew how and no one was there for them. Some might have thought they were but they weren’t in the ways they should have been. So many veterans out there are going through this right now and it’s sad because they only did what they thought was right at the time. So if you know someone out there who is having problems, be a real friend to them and just be there to listen because sometimes that is the best medicine. Unconditional love and the ability to listen to another in their times of need. We may not totally understand but just being there helps these brave men and women understand that someone cares enough just to listen and care. Most of the time this comes from a complete stranger because family has too many expectations of the person and seldom understands the pain the individual is going through. Some do, but most cases I have seen don’t. It’s the kindness and help from complete strangers that seems to help the most. And out of these type of encounters come friendships that are only found within the borders of the combat zone. It is what it is… If those who give advice have never been there then the chances of healing and understand are slim. Vets understand vets. So if you know someone who is or has been going through any of these things or is going through all three of them at the same time, take the time to listen and never think that these people are selfish or self-centered because they are not. They are going through some turmoil that few of us will ever have to experience. It’s time for people to start understanding more and helping more, even those you don’t know. Help these people and put your arm around them and let them talk, cry or what ever they are going to do because even the strongest, baddest bad asses out there needs a shoulder and someone to listen when that time comes. Also remember that these people never know when the dreams, fears, and uncertainties of their pasts are going to try to stomp on them again. I write this hoping that humans will start learning that if we don’t help one another and take part in the healing processes of others, millions more will slip through the cracks of society and disappear into the nothingness  and destruction of drugs, alcohol, and suicide. Remember that by helping these people you will be creating a friendship that will last for ever. Simply because you took the time to say you care. And you expected nothing in return..

And for those people who turn around and say ahhh you should be over that by now, or ahh you’re just whining, or how about this one… Come on get a grip. It’s not all that bad. It was years ago anyway.  If you’re one of these then you don’t need to be helping anyone. It’s that point of view and attitude that has killed thousand of people all over the planet through suicide. People handle things in their own ways. Telling them what they should do instead of helping them find a way out of their chaos is not the right way to go about helping someone in these cases. Compassion, and the ability to listen goes a long way and helps people heal at their own speed… And yes just being there counts 🙂

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July 2013
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