Hello, brothers and sisters. My name is David, and I am an Iraq veteran. I want to thank you for defending this country. I also want to thank you for trying to understand your struggles, trying to put up with the different thoughts that race through your mind every day or every week or every second. Please try to understand that this is a life-long process. There are many memories that you have that are both good and bad. However, how you choose to look at those memories will go a long way into how you recover.
I never want to pretend that I haven’t gone through it. I’ve done way more self-destructive behaviors then I ever thought I was capable. One of the biggest blessings in my life has been the strength to be able to realize when I’ve needed help and when I’ve been able to ask for help. If you’re angry all the time, if you are sad more than not, if you’re in a room full of people and you feel like that is the last place that you want to be, relax. Try to take a deep breath and smile. Try to think of the people around you that really care. There are no pills, good voices, good will, that we accept right away as veterans.
A lot of people will shake your hand and say, thank you for your service. You’ll look at them and say, if only knew. Never, never give up hope. It’s what we have as a vet. It’s what we had when things were beyond bad, when we tried to think about how there’s no way we could have got through it. But if you’re watching this, you got through it. That was one piece that we got through. We might say, man, how’re we going to make it a whole lifetime? How are we going to not drink and drive? How, I can’t even imagine putting down this needle?
If you’re living in your parents’ basement or on a friend’s couch because you don’t have your own place or you don’t have the courage to ask someone for help, remember, there are places that you will not be alone, and there are services. People want to help. It’s just that you’ve got to be willing to accept that help.
There is so much love, so much hate, so much understanding, so much lack of understanding. Somewhere in that gobbledygook of a mess there lies you. There lies all the beauty of you and all the ugliness of you. But to find that happy medium takes time and it takes a lot of effort. Thank you for what you’ve done. You are not alone.