Updated: Oct 23, 2020
The room has that odd silence dotted with the soft creeks and groans the hour before dawn seems to usher into dark spaces. I am immediately aware of my surroundings and alert to any changes around me, my heart beating too fast. The alarm isn't due to come on for another two hours, but I am awake. I settle into my pre-wake up, wake up. Another early morning with no place to go and no place to be and the anxiety of what-ifs fill the void.
The warnings are all there - a change of lifestyle will come with certain peculiarities and unsavory thoughts. The mind treats you to a litany of bad decisions, possible rejections, and frustration. I am not alone is what they told me - yet I feel very much so, even with a dog, two cats, and a spouse sleeping next to me. The loneliness I expected, the lack of confidence and insecurity of a life stretching out before me with no boundaries seems unfair. I have waited for this moment to relax, to rejuvenate, to learn what 'me' entails. I am more frustrated with myself than any program or offer of help that I have seen.
They say 22 veterans commit suicide and I understand and that scares me still. The awareness that never seems to stop, the heavy burden of a weight unseen and unsaid. I will not succumb to this statistic, but I understand it. No, I haven't woken up strangling my spouse or other hideous acts of violence that happen in the quiet hours of the morning at some veteran homes. But, I have woken with a start ready and waiting, for what - I have no idea. I worry for my mental health and my ability to remain resilient, a topic veterans are so familiar.
Be resilient, but once you finish that last appointment you are discarded like a worn out shoe with no tread left, a crumpled piece of paper with the words all wrong, and to ensure it hits home your body feels equally abused, used, and crumpled. Resiliency is an action, a call of arms to protect you from the bad people of the world and the bad events of the day. It does not; however, remove your mind's wanderings and cravings for dangerous people or events. Be resilient.
Sighing I breath in air to calm myself, continuing to settle my mind and heart into the rhythm of a day full of goodness and wonder. It is an action as well, a meditation I do daily, to rid not-so-great thoughts and words. To start anew. Luckily the sun arrives just in time to break the spell of a twisted night and open the door to another day. Thank you sun. Too many gray days have passed and this is needed. A warmth to move aside the void and chill. 22 a day they say, well today I'd like to think, knowing there is someone else out there, thinking and feeling the same things said no, -- NOT today - that we collectively lower the number.
Make sure you care for your mind and seek help if you find you can't shake the knowing, the understanding of why. Hotlines, friends, old co-workers. Maybe, today YOU call another veteran and help them because I promise they are having moments where they understand and a phone call - it can mean everything.
Unaffiliated locations to find sunshine on a cloud filled day:
Til Valhalla https://tilvalhallaproject.com/
National Suicide prevention hotline 1-800-273-8255 Press 1
Online therapy https://lp.talkspace.com/
I was not going to add this to the blog, but I feel in the true spirit of vulnerability I must and maybe it will help you, whether military or transitioning phases it is hard. Peace