At this time last year I had just finished up writing the final draft of my book. I remember thinking, ‘I finally did it! I finally wrote the book I’ve been talking about doing for years.’ After 4 months of typing, re-reading and correcting three hundred pages of the hell I went through in Iraq, I was done for good.
I haven’t told many people about the mood I was in during the whole process. Only my wife, daughter, and friend Shawn can attest to the anger and hyper-manic state that I was constantly thrown into. After re-writing a couple of chapters about fighting in a cemetery surrounded by dead people and bones for seven straight hours… I wasn’t really pleasant to be around.
I remember one night I was having so many flashbacks that I ended up having to call my friend to come pick me up because of the thoughts that were running around my head. I’m beyond fortunate that God has placed people like Shawn in my life that can relate to the situations that I went through.
He ended taking me on a joy ride and to a bar to eat and drink while I sat and poured out the wells of dread that was going through my mind. By the end of the night he ended up dropping me back off at home in a lot better mood than I was. If he hadn’t of came I don’t know what kind of trouble I could have gotten into.
That’s what every veteran needs in their life after being discharged from the Military, someone else that can get on their level when life get’s tough. I have constantly made myself available to every veteran that I meet to insure that they have someone to talk to. That’s why my friend Shawn started a non-profit organization called Heroes on Water. We take Veteran from all government services and take them out on kayaks to fish. It gives us time to talk with each other and create friendships.
I know that the VA has been taking the heat on a lot of their practices, they are good for one thing… talk therapy. There are hundreds of vets that trickle through the VA waiting for hours everyday. I can’t name how many times I’ve sat down and traded war stories with Vietnam and World War II veterans while waiting for appointments or going through group together. I don’t know where I didn’t have anyone that could relate to me.
So if you’re a veteran or you know someone who’s a veteran, please share this information. A lot of veterans don’t try to fuss with the VA because of their bad rep… I don’t blame them. I’m not saying that they are great, I’m saying that the relationships you can make with fellow veterans are awesome and could possibly save a life one day, so why not try?