My PTSD in the mirror

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

I had a horrible nightmare. An evil nightmare about death. It was one of those nightmares that in the morning, left me quiet and depressed. However, I did not realize that I was quiet and depressed. My wife was the one who pointed this out to me. At first, when she asked me what was wrong, I deflected and lied. I said the usual, “I am fine.” Later, as I self-reflected, I realized that this nightmare had set me on path for having a bad day. I was trapped in my own head. It was one of those days where everything bothered me. The kids were being annoying, the television was way to loud, the house was now filthy, the dog’s barking got out of control, my garage became a disaster, nothing at work is going as planned, my finances are overwhelming, I am a failure, thought after thought was negative. Problem after problem started to show their ugly faces. I wanted to scream as loud as I could into my pillow. My emotions got the best me. I ended up going to the bathroom and looked at myself in mirror. When I stared at this man, I burst into tears. I cried because I no longer recognized myself. Who have I become? How could I have let this happen to me? How can I be such a failure? I was once a proud sailor and soldier. I once was a strong man in uniform who felt indestructible. I am 37 years old and it hurts everywhere in my mind and body. The man in the reflection was a man who I am no longer proud of. This made me cry more. When I gathered my thoughts and emotions, I splashed water on face, took a deep breath, and prayed. I asked God to help me understand what has happened to me. I asked Him to provide hope. See for me, hope is the only thing I can hold on to. It is my driving force on defeating this battered mind and body of mine. What I hope the most for is happiness. The happiness I lost when it was stripped out me in the military and then again when I became a veteran. I want happiness for my wife, children, family, friends, and fellow veterans. I do not want our service men and women that come home to feel the way that I do. This cannot be the answer.

And Jesus said, “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.”

Luke 18:42

What I see now, is that I cannot change the past. What happens in the past, is needed to help those in the future. Instead of focusing on my problems, I have been shown to be thankful for my blessings. This starts with being thankful for life. I have many friends from my time in the military who did not come home. I am thankful for them. Their ultimate sacrifice allowed for me, to come home. I get the opportunity to have a wife, and children. I get to watch them grow. I have been able to teach my daughters how to read and spell their name, how to catch and throw a football, how to ride their bikes and swim. I get to teach them how to drive and how to respect themselves. I get the chance to empower my girls so they can live an independent and successful life. I get the comfort of having an angel of a wife, who puts all our needs before her own. I get to spend the rest of my days looking in the most beautiful eyes God has created. I have roof over my head, and I get to live in a great neighborhood. I get to see the sunrise and the sunset each day as a free man. A freedom provided by the sacrifices of others. With that in the forefront of my mind, I created a non-profit organization that God willing, will end veteran homelessness. There are countless blessings in my life that I was blind from seeing. My happiness is my complete journey. I understand that stress is going to be there. I cannot take it away or try to mask it. My choices and my actions are mine to decide how stress affects me. Now, when I look into the mirror I see a father, husband, son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, friend, and a proud veteran. I see the man that Christ saved me to be. I see Brian.

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