If you feel your life has no value and there is no hope. Please do not kill yourself.
It’s been an age since I have posted anything here at the PTSD Spirituality website. Mostly, it has been due to illness; the “Usual Suspects” of chronic pain, PTSD issues, mobility problems, and the mocking exhaustion from having nothing left to offer after teaching a class or going grocery shopping (hard to believe I once ran cross country). Added to those guys is a persistent, nagging, feeling of hubris, of unworthiness, of not really having much to say that counts in the big picture.
And then I got severely shook up. More death.
A very close friend of mine recently committed suicide. Another American, another United States Army veteran, with service in Iraq, a country without compassion, who was deprived of hope and now he’s dead. You know the story, you know its type.
I feel as if I have lost one of my children. There are times in the day when I think, “I should tell Dustin about that. He’d like that!” And then I remember and I feel so bleak, so vacant. I feel some more of my own hope chiseled away from me.
I hurt; the world is a lesser place without this young man. There’s so much in our culture that seeks to discourage us. It’s not easy.
His family is devastated. We all still love him, but we grieve and mourn. Hard.
I am fortunate in that I am able to talk about it with my wife. We both remain alert to watch out I don’t go into a sudden down spin. No Surprise: I don’t sleep so well, nor is my appetite all that great. I am not purposefully neglecting myself.
Yet, my PTSD trigger sensitivities are quite heightened. No surprise there, but I have to remain alert to it and watch out for bad coping mechanisms trying to re-enter my life. I usually am able to keep my anger and frustration on a short leash. It’s best if they are not allowed free range. I wanted to club a guy this morning at the grocery store. He kept walking just two feet behind me, even when I would step aside and move out of the way. I doubt he was dangerous, nothing bad happened. I needed to stop, step sideways and then walk back a bit and he finally quit getting up right behind me. No big deal, really, unless you have PTSD and have had your threat awareness elevated because of a friend’s death. I wanted to club and kick this guy at the store for putting me even more on edge than usual.
Right now I have some music playing. I keep interrupting my typing to pet my cat who seems to sense that I could use a bit more of his attentions just now. I write about how I feel elsewhere and I try to be very open with my wife on what I am experiencing. I try to play some guitar as both memorial and prayer. Other times I choke up and stare out the window.
I’ll get through it. And then I feel selfish for thinking about myself like that and having the hubris for typing that here: “I’ll get through it.” I am not the one who died after all. But I am trying to deal with loss, a sense of failure, inadequacy, and a sense of meaninglessness.
So, what is there to do? Keep praying. Keep pursuing ways to be creative, because in the creative arts is found grace and life and hope. Not sure what or how, but it is time to come back to this website and start writing about PTSD and spirituality more often, beat back the seductive temptation that says I have nothing of value to say.
I knew I needed to write and post something or my writing and sense of self-worth would be further strangled. I’d been putting this post off. It was now or never.
Your life has value.
Semper Pax, Dr. Z