The Cost

I was reading something recently and it said that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Everything comes at a cost. This is true. But to go deeper, I would suggest that in our lives, Newton’s Third Law of Motion is more apt: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Not only is there no such thing as a free lunch, but everything we do has a response, not just in physics, but in life as well.

Everything I’ve done in my life has had an impact to my surroundings and or to myself, be it subtle or profound. This was a topic of discussion in my most recent session with my psychologist. I’ve been seeing a new psychologist for about four weeks now and I think it’s going well. He’s kind of a dick, but I like him. Here’s why:

     Doc: “What do you want to talk about today?”

     Me: “I don’t know, what do you want to know?”

     Doc: “That’s up to you, it’s whatever you want to talk about.”

     Me: “I don’t want to talk about anything. Why don’t you ask questions and I’ll answer them.”

     Doc: “Then why are you here?”

     Me: “Because I need to be.”

     Doc: “Ok. Then what do you want to talk about?”

Dick, right? No, quite the opposite. He’s making me think throughout the week of what I need to talk about instead of just seeing on my calendar that I have an appointment. This is an approach I had not experienced before. But I can see how it works. However, with this approach, there will be reactions. When I talk about something that happened, it causes me to think about it even after therapy. I spent time trying not to think about certain things, but there those things are again, rolling around in my head, bouncing off the walls of my mind. This is the reaction to this approach to therapy, I have to get it all out and deal with it and learn to put it back where it goes.

Same thing with my writing. I’ve shared a lot of stuff on my blog. Some of it good, some of it not so good. But some things will never be shared here. Each time I write about something, I experience the emotions again. The hardest one I’ve written was my post Battlefield (February 2016) where I walked you through my attempted suicide. It took six months after the attempt for me to be able to verbalize it like that. It was very rough. Re-living that time disrupted my sleep for days, changed my mood, and gave me a feeling of vulnerability. But on the other hand, it gave me an outlet. Writing has become my therapy. It may sometimes take me to bad places in my mind, but I’m getting it all out and learning how to put it back where it goes.

One of the most obvious reactions to any of my actions would be serving my country. I volunteered both times I deployed (once to Iraq, once to Afghanistan). The reactions for those actions are very profound. I traded my physical wellness and my sanity. I have problems with anger, relationships, crowds, driving, focusing, memory, anxiety, loud noises, and memory (ha ha, I put that in there twice because I still do have some of my sense of humor, though it’s probably darker than it’s ever been before). I can’t run anymore, I have problems breathing, and my body aches.

But the thing I miss the most is who I used to be. I used to always be able to find something good in most circumstances, make the best of any situation, and find something to enjoy in each day. I don’t see those things in me near as much anymore. I try. I fake it sometimes, but I’m far from the old me. I traded all of that that to go war. But I am still here and I know that some traded their whole lives to go war. I only traded part of mine. A lot of us that have traded part of our lives have had thoughts at one point or another that it would have been better to trade our whole life, instead of living with the pain and craziness of the reaction of our action. I was one of those people. I was one that tried to finish the job myself, like 22 other veterans a day do. I had a very hard time coming to grips with the fact that I was no longer the ‘me’ I used to be. I’m getting better with that now, but it has been a hard process to go through.

And I will continue to navigate this process. My life will continue to be subjected to Newton’s Third Law of Motion. I will continue to get things out and deal with them and learn how to put them back where they go. Thank you for taking the time to read the Story of My Life. I welcome your feedback.

Oh, and I have a lot of stuff to talk about during my next appointment with the doc.

Good day and God bless.

Dave

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14 thoughts on “The Cost

  1. I have not been in the military, yet I complex PTSD from years of abuse. My therapist does the same thing. It is hard to talk about all of the crap. To dredge it all up! I can relate to your post. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a therapist and a psychologist both of them sound like your Doc. Ive had one before that allowed me to be passive and I honestly just stopped going. However the very ones I have now make me think about the past, present, and future and how they all work together.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Not only do our actions set up a reaction, but it seems every major experience we have leaves a mark on our soul, sometimes bad and sometimes good. I’m glad you are seeking help in dealing with your experiences and the feeling of loss of self. I’m also glad you’re still here. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When I first started counselling, it was weird. I didn’t know what to talk about, I just wanted help. I’ve seen psychologists/psychiatrists too and how the conversations begin are … weird since they do ask what do I want to talk about. I am not a conversationalist; so I just sit there until they start talking.

    P.S. I didn’t notice the memory part until you pointed it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I just started seeing a counsellor again after a long period without therapy. I think it will be some time before I run out of things to say, but I’ve found it helpful to jot things down in a notebook that I might want to talk about later. Otherwise those thoughts can slip to the bottom and they are hard to bring back out .

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Re: ”I used to always be able to find something good in most circumstances, make the best of any situation, and find something to enjoy in each day.”

    I find that the best way for me to become the person I want to be, is to behave like that person would. For example, if I want to be a better husband, I imagine the things that a better husband would do, and then I do those things. The change in my behavior manifests itself in the form of an improved attitude.

    When I had a mini crisis of faith, I chose to practice the disciplines that a man of faith would practice, and my faith was ultimately strengthened. The behavioral practice seems to have changed my brain.

    Maybe you can find a way to apply this concept to your life. With any luck, it might help. If it does not, perhaps you may find comfort in knowing that the cost you paid for your service to our country has given others, including artists like me, the luxury of an environment in which we can create for the good of humanity without fear of censorship…or worse. For that, thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you for visiting my blog “How to be Alone.” It takes a lot of courage to live with the aftereffects of what you have endured. I think only those who have been subjected to the same can fully relate. However, as someone else has said, it is good you are here. In ancient tribes, didn’t warriors tell tales of their experiences? We need our warriors to tell their stories and also, hopefully, be cared for by their tribe. Thank you for being here and telling your story. And thank you for your service to our country.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, that is correct. Edward Tick talks about that in his book “War and the Soul.” It’s one of the things modern cultures don’t do anymore with their warriors. But I’m gonna tell my story anyway. 😉 Thanks.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Why can’t we turn tables and ask those so called DOCTORS “Well, tell me ‘why are YOU here?’ and they would have to answer our questions? Did you become a doctor because the brain surgery class was full? Or there were no more slots left in bedpan changing? I sometimes wonder whether even the so called “professionals” are tired of what they do so it becomes inferior? And why can’t these professionals answer one question I have had about our returning VETS since Viet Nam: Why does “we the people” support sending our military personnel to fight wars on foreign soils then pull the abandonment plug upon their return and will not support the proper treatment necessary for not just physical recovery but for other types of recovery as well?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Writing is my therapy too, for dealing with my own grief and loss, and many other things, none of which hold a candle to the type of things you have suffered.

    Thanks for having the courage to share!

    Liked by 1 person

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