Good Night, I Would Like To Make Amends #ptsd #va #veteran

The paradox of a silent life. What is it in a man that incessantly forces you to push and shove, then push a little harder, and yet harder still, until a person is finally forced away? It’s so true what they say, the one’s you’ve loved the most, are the same one’s who can hurt the most. So what is it in a man, no longer that emotional kid, -far from it- that drives you to a place of absolute desolation? A vacuum. A place in a life where anyone that ever truly mattered is replaced and all that’s left around doesn’t matter? You can end up feeling so lonely and cold, that the environment becomes its own sort of fatigue. Unable to find peace, only a temporary shelter, not under a roof, but rather, under a skyline, with a volatile mixture of chemical intercourse. But that never lasts, not like family, or someone’s God, or that best friend. It’s always more and more, and other things, accentuating a brief buzz of the brain, until even this is pain. How do you get back home from this unmapped hell? Is this home?

I wonder how many other 40 year old’s find themselves as necessary to ponder these macabre thoughts? Is there a well-worn path to this roiling refuge from peace, certainty, solid ground and love? If so, shouldn’t there be a path to return? Or is the paradox so, that even if one was revealed, we, or old souls like me, would find an excuse to stay the current course? I have so many questions but, they all sound so rhetorical somehow. Most of all, I just would love to know; is there anything else? Could I just slip away with no further pain and unknown regret? And don’t get me wrong, I would dearly love to go, but, am also so very, very scared. If there is more than nothing after that end, will I look up and understand, that I sacrificed so much, just when I should have stood pat and strong? That’s what is so frightening right at this moment: -well, other than the pain- will I be locked in that eternal theater of flames, watching over and over, the life I should have led?

So, so, very grim. I’ve witnessed so much death, there’s this point it seems, where one can no longer pretend. This is no kinda life. No for me, not for anyone. Hurting myself over and over, again and again. Hurting others is so hard to accept. I find myself trying to drift away as peaceful as I now how, while being everything I’m not. It’s all become so confusing, I don’t even know where to begin.

If you could change one thing, what would that be? I always despise that person, -you know the one- when I hear them say, “I wouldn’t have changed a thing.” Just…fuck you, right?. It’s like they’re giving the rest of us the tallest middle finger, while expressing in reflection, “you schmucks, you loser’s, why couldn’t you be perfect like me?”

In another life, I worked at an inpatient, co-occurring disorders, drug treatment facility. I was there for a few years soon after returning from the last deployment and exiting the Army. It was good for me, for the time I was there, giving to others and avoiding my head. It necessitated a sober lifestyle that was so important, looking back now, in order to live that day to day, 40 hour a week, American lifestyle. I liked it and was often told that I was good at it by both clients and colleagues. Not everyone is. After about 4 years that today, reflecting on the time, feels much less, something began changing within my spirit. I can’t put a finger on it exactly but, maybe, I had simply reached my limit, that is, I couldn’t fit anything else into that metaphorical trash can we all stuff our shit into. With all I brought back from over there, and all that I took on at work, my big smelly bag ‘o shit was no longer potable, or portable, as it were. And in an environment like that, from what I had seen over the years, it was impossible, irresponsible even, to try to help another, if I was now broken myself. So, in short order, -a week from this realization in fact- I shoved off as quietly as I had arrived.

Only after leaving did I come to realize how much my clients, everyday, were doing for me and my mental health. But I couldn’t go back. I couldn’t take from them. Besides, my pride and ego had been working out in the back room of my brain all those years there, sober, and now, released from the burden of that responsibility, they were off the leash for good.

I’m sorta tap-dancing on and around any true, meaningful, feelings. If there was an analogy in all this to expose, it would have something to do with holding one’s breath. This blog post is so indicative of the current state of life I am living. In many ways I want folks to read it, to get it somehow, and yet, it should be consumed by no one I really know. The opposite of a ‘pen name.’ It’s me, but I don’t want anyone out there, to be here, who knows who “me” really is. And so it goes; this new reality, or more like dimension, where I eat and sleep, smoke and drink. A nowhere man, a nothing man, like that sad Pearl Jam song I suppose? “..nothing left to subtract…once divided…nothingman…”

Suicide, according to my training, is typically a planned action. In many ways it is quite easy to kill yourself, but nobody really wants to die that way I guess. Jumping off a building or bridge, driving into a concrete highway divider at full speed, lighting yourself on fire, you see what I mean. We, or at least I, want to go out clean, prepared, and feeling good. A heroin overdose or, a cocktail of opiates, benzos, and downers seems like it would be pleasant? But the human body is quite resilient you see. Maybe you drift off only to wake up in an ICU with brain damage and a suicide attempt in your jacket? Then what? Hanging? Fuck that. Ever since I was a kid and seeing a man who was hanged, just the thought of it creeps me out. If I had my druthers, I would get old Jack Kevorkian to write the prescription. Not that, then the Saudi Arabian style beheading. Quick, clean, and hopefully painless. A clean beheading while passed out on some killer, sticky, injected Afghan heroin.

This is why I don’t necessarily believe that most suicide is well-thought out. For me at least, the more I contemplate it, the more frightened I become, and the more likely I’d rather simply drink myself to sleep. There’s no one I know willing to chop my head off and I believe Dr. Kevorkian is doing 5 more years in a Michigan State Penitentiary? All joking aside though, why am I going on like this? Making jokes despite the seriousness of the subject. It’s not like me. Neither is suicide, a planned suicide that is.

At this point all I am doing with life is waiting around, hoping something will change, knowing it wont, but hoping nonetheless. Seldom do I take any concrete meaningful steps to improve my lot in life. It wouldn’t be difficult at this point. Some of the most basic changes would likely lead to progress, not dramatically at first, but improvements nevertheless. But no. Days pass, nights pass, summer passes, energy passes and winter is coming so soon that the path I’m stumbling along on, grows ever more narrow by the hour. I can make to do lists. I can draw little boxes to check. I have an idea of what it would take, yet I do nothing more than scribble this nonsense, wasting away, endlessly waiting. As bad as it all is, in some crazy way, I’m proud of the fact that it’s worse than they all will see. I’m worse than I seem even though it already looks pretty bad.

Tonight, I have already typed too much. This is like a message in a bottle, only the sea I’ve cast it into is so much more turbulent. It’s wrapped up tight, spell-checked I hope….wouldn’t want to come across as simple or dull. Maybe some day this will all be but a laugh? Something I look back upon and smile. We’ll say; oh how maniacal and sorry you were.?. Or nobody will ever read it besides Google Bots and AI rams?

Goodnight. I’m sorry. I wish there was amends.

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