Finding Answers

| January 1, 2021

Everyone has a Guardian Angel. Even us miscreants at TAH.

Veterans New Year

By Denise Williams
Another New Year but nothing is new and what is there to look forward to? What in this new year is going to make the past any better? What will tomorrow do to change yesterday? Don’t tell me to look at tomorrow with hope or optimism or tell me to just keep going because it will get easier. I’ve been doing that for too long already. The things that have happened cannot be changed. Things that were lost, people, relationships, time, cannot be recaptured. Time is linear and even if some things change in this new year those won’t, can’t change the past.

What is the point? There are people I lost, dead, buried and gone forever. Those hurt but not as much as the people I lost who are still living. Everyone says time heals but that’s not true. The more time it goes on, the worse it gets. It is like walking with a pebble in your shoe. Time makes the body form a callous that even after the pebble is gone makes every step painful. So, you go to the foot doctor and get the callous cut out. But how do you cut out the callous in your heart that causes pain with every beat?

Life is change, no question about it. We cannot avoid change but some changes are damned hard to bear. And they never get easier, particularly when they are changes we didn’t want. How do we correct, compensate for, make better changes we didn’t want, maybe didn’t even see coming? How do we go on living a life we didn’t and wouldn’t choose? How do we get back to who we were, where we were, what we were? Going forward on the path you’re on is too bleak to contemplate but the past is gone and all around is darkness, so what choice is left? That light at the end of the tunnel is illusion. Or a freight train laden with more pain barreling at you.

That is some pretty dark and scary stuff and are the thoughts of too many. I’ve written them out here because just about every person who has ever had these thoughts believes themselves to be the only one. Yeah, sure, others are or have been in a dark place too, but their darkness is different from mine is something we all think. It must be because others appear to be functioning better than me.

You’re right. There are differences, always, both in general and in the details. But, if there is any part of this that resonates with you, any part that feels like it was plucked from your own head, if these thoughts live in you more often than not, reach out. Most of us have these thoughts on occasion at least. I know I do. And it sucks. Sucks so wide and hard it feels like I’m a turd being flushed in a giant high-flow toilet. It can be so hard to resist the pull of those swirling thoughts, particularly when you can’t see a reason to bother.

I’m not here to give some brilliant, pithy answer that will make everything okay. Such a thing is not possible, at least in my book. But my book does say there are answers. The proof is I can look back and remember when thoughts like this circled, swirled and kept floating back up in the toilet bowl of my head.

How did I get myself over the rim I couldn’t even see much less have a hope of reaching in those moments? Sorry, buy my how and your how are going to look very different. But there is something I can tell you that does make a difference, does matter and most importantly, does work. There is a way.

You don’t have to see it, understand it, believe yourself worth the effort or even believe it is possible. Just accept it. There is a way and you are capable, worthy and deserving of finding it. It probably won’t look like what you envisioned as your future way back in your past before these thoughts stained the bowl but I can promise, I can guarantee that it is real, exists and is worthwhile. How? Because I’m living it. Because I’ve watched others, more than I can count, live it.

Here’s one other proof that a worthwhile future not only exists but you can achieve it…

You are a warrior. You showed a mental, physical and emotional toughness most of the population can’t even fathom, and that was while you were in basic training and didn’t know a fraction of your capabilities.

A warrior fights. A warrior never gives up. A warrior fights until he can fight no more. Then, a warrior allows his brothers and sisters to fight for him, to protect him, to care for him, to stand in the gap for him just as he swore to do for them.

You are a warrior. You took two Oaths, one public and one private. You swore publicly to protect and defend the Constitution. And you swore that private oath to care for your brothers and sisters. They took the same Oaths as you. Let them fulfill that profoundly sacred, private Oath.

Reach out. Talk. Talking about the things you don’t want to remember doesn’t ‘bring them to mind’. Talking about them with someone who knows what they’re doing literally rewires your brain, allowing those memories to move into the backseat where they no longer have access to the gas pedal, brake or steering wheel. Yes, the memories will always be there but like an annoying passenger in the backseat of a cab, you can raise the partition to block out their noise; you’ll still see them but maybe, in time, even become amused at the thought the reactions they try to provoke in you are a faint shadow of what they once were.

Talk. If you are talking to someone and it’s not working, tell them that. Straight out. Tell them they are not helping you. Any clinician worth their salt will welcome that information.

If you stopped going because you believe talking doesn’t work because you tried one, or even several times, Good news! There are more than seventy, 70!, validated, empirically supported methodologies for working with trauma. Try another. Or are you one of those people who would try on a pair of pants and because they didn’t fit, decide pants are stupid and a waste of time?

The real truth about talking is it’s not about the methodology anyway. It is about the relationship, the bond, the trust you develop with a clinician. Professionals that don’t admit this are the ones to avoid, because it is proven that your comfort and confidence in them is the single most important factor by a measure of more than two-to-one. So, make the effort, find someone you think you may be able to trust. If that one doesn’t work out, find another. Yeah, that’s a lot of effort to expend when you don’t feel like you have any effort to expend. It may take time. But, those stains on the toilet bowl that is your brain pan didn’t form overnight either.

Maybe I do have a pithy answer after all. Talk.

Thank you, Denise.
Posted in its entirety, Chicago Now

Category: Guest Post, Veterans Issues

Comments (18)

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  1. Graybeard says:


  2. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    That monster lurking in the shadows telling you “can’t” “won’t” “quit” “give up” “despair” is lying to you. Don’t feed it.

    Lying to you.


    That is all it has, lies. Even if it says a truth, somewhere, it is to deceive you. More lies salted with twisted truths, thus just lies.

    Don’t feed it. Kick it in the teeth when it pokes its snout out.

    It is smaller than it pretends. Weaker than it pretends. -way- smaller and weaker than you. (It’s lying again. See it slither away from the light.)

    Don’t feed the monster.

  3. thebesig says:

    Our life challenges were meant to be. It is a purpose of living in flesh and blood… To go through the crucible that we all have to go through. Some have it tougher than others, we all have it tough in one or a combination or another.

    In Exodus, Moses parts the Red Sea and leads the Hebrews through. This is an allegory, one of many in the Old and New Testaments, showing that God has to rake us through the coals… To put us through the proverbial furnace to make our souls progress and be better. Throughout the Bible, and in recognized history, transits from Egypt to Canaan and to the Mesopotamian region was by land route adjacent to the Mediterranean. There were adjacent sailing routes.

    Going through the Red Sea would be out of the way and, if faced in real life, most would not want to walk through. But, God took the Hebrews through this path to get them to something better on the other side of the sea… And of time. We have our versions of the Red Sea crossing. Do we get taken up in the waters, or do we trust that this is a test and we trust that God has something planed on the other side?

    When we get to the other side and join family and friends that have passed on, we would look at these rough experiences and thank God for bringing us through. May not make sense now, but as argued in the New Testament, God at his most foolish state is wiser than the wisest people at their wisest.

    Bad times is Jesus putting us through test

  4. KoB says:

    Little dusty in here. You’d a thunk all this rain would have cleared the air. Must be the filters need changing…again!

    My Guardian Angel is in therapy…Deep Therapy. Since being in therapy my Guardian Angel has lifted Its eyes Heavenward and beseeched…”What hath God Wrought…”! Despite all of life, or maybe because of all of life, I’m still standing. Not supposed to be but here we are. I pray that my Guardian Angel recovers from being…My Guardian Angel.

    Those of us that know the particularly cruel loss that Denise has had give Thanks that we have not had that burden to carry. We also carry her, and those like her, in a special place in our heart, ready to answer any call that they may ever make of us.

  5. Guardian Angel, The Imaginations 1961 0n Bo Marc. One of the 4 Capri groups covered the song.

  6. 5JC says:

    Pithy quotes don’t make things ok, but maybe offer another point of view.

    “We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is is rounded by a sleep.”

    Or as updated for the 21st/ 25th Century:

    “Mortality gives meaning to life. Peace, love, friendship, these things are precious because they can not endure. A butterfly that lives forever is not really a butterfly at all.”

    With much more of my life behind me than in front I can’t dwell on who and what I have lost and fret about nevermore. I have to appreciate what I have left, even if it isn’t what I would have preferred it is better than the alternative.

    My own sleep will come soon enough.

  7. ChipNASA says:

    My guardian angel(s) is(are) either bald or silver/gray LONG ago.
    I thank them daily as I do all my dead relatives and acquaintances and friends I remember.
    They all look out for me. I know that.
    I should not be here from birth and certainly have had a few “should not be here” moments in my life. Some were sober some were not. ALL for the recent past have been sober, and I see even more clearly the “coincidences” happening and things coming together, completely not of my doing. It is God/Goddess/Powers That Be/Jesus/Mother Mary/The Universe etc. all working to help me in my meat bag get through this life and learn the lessons I came here to learn. I absolutely know that the people I meet and come across are maybe random and absolutely NOT random and we have arranged to meet each other on this plane of existance for this trip.
    Even animals. I now have a “step dog” that was a rescue, my ex-wife asked me to look after one time when I had the kids, “just in case as a favor” and then “Willow, a white lab mix, walked into my house, my life, rolled over on her back in total submission and pushed up in my lap. I am so in love with that dog and I was not a dog person for 45 years. I told this to my therapist (much of the staff who are “dog people”) and she said, too, that Doggo was a soul mate, and we probably chose each other on that other plane.
    I explained this belief system to my 7 year old daughter and she completely grasped it and (old head that she is) said, “Yeah, I know, I’m glad I chose you to be my Daddy>”

    Shit I was probably still eating grass and making mud pies and building forts, lighting things on fire, jumping my bike and learning to skateboard at 7. Sure as *HELL* I wasn’t grasping reincarnation or soul connection on different planes of existance at 7.
    This kind of shit is why I totally believe in “miracles”. Like my ex-wife giving me a second chance to get sober an get my kids back in a few weeks after I got arrested. She totally should have fed me my junk. That didn’t happen. *shakes my head*

    So, point being, 2020 was shit. I got through it. I graduated rehab. I got my year under my belt. My kids and I are better, my life is better, I’ve met people who’ve helped change my life. I am being of service to others and I’ve not been much happier, even though I *thought* I was happy before.

    I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

    Oh and I have my first gun, and quite a bit of ammo. THAT makes me happy. More on the way.

    I love you guys. Thank each and every one of you. Well except maybe a couple. (LOLZZZ) (Sorry for wall of text but you know how it is when you’re rolling!!)


    • OldManchu says:

      Awesome. Thanks for sharing. And way to go on your year+ under your belt. Keep Up The Fire!

    • MustangCryppie says:

      Congrats on getting a year under your belt. It only gets better as long as you keep working at it.

    • ChipNASA says:

      Thanks guys. Yeah, it’s *SO* much easier staying sober than *getting* sober.
      OK so what do you guys think about this?? (I’ll post elsewhere as well…)

      I heard last night two futurists and psychics on a radio show both say (predict) that not only is Trump going to continue to be president but Joe Biden is going to jail and it’s possible, technically that Kamalia Harris may be Vice President. 😮💥😬
      Huh, well the way 2020 went,
      that practically seems normal. 😳🤣
      I guess we’ll have to see how next week and the coming weeks and months go.
      I guess I have to wait for aliens next because aren’t they declassifying that? I did post that below. 🤷‍♂️👽🛸
      Don’t forget you heard it here second. 

      • 11B-Mailclerk says:

        Sober since about 3:30am. Only way I know to do it. I start counting days and my bleeping monster gets froggy. (Kick)

        Keep on doing what works. Habits of sobriety beat willpower.

  8. Doc Savage says:

    I lost my wife a few weeks before Christmas; 2020 has been completely devastating for me….but I have a new Guardian Angel(s).
    My children; They are very much an extension of my wife, and have served to anchor me in a sea of complete chaos.
    I am going to keep pressing forward because I have to believe it will get better, Because I love my children and will not leave them alone, and because Lady Savage would have never forgiven me if I gave up and laid down next to her and died.

    I wish you all a better year ahead than the one we are leaving behind.

    • ChipNASA says:

      I am almost speechless, which is a thing…
      I am so unbelievably sorry for your loss of your spouse.
      I have no idea how old your children are but they’re always your little babies no matter how old they are.
      I’m saying a prayer nit now, for you and your kids. I hope anyone at TAH who reads this will immediately join me.
      You know your wife is probably still close to you and don’t give up, like you said, and press on, like you said. Look for tiny miracles around you, besides your kids. They will happen.
      And don’t piss off Lady Savage’s spirit, because I have a feeling, as you may also, that she will come from the other dimension and throw down a knife hand on your ass if you slack or feel like giving up.
      I’m damn proud of you and my heart goes out to you and the kids.
      Hand in there my friend. It *will* get better.

      • ChipNASA says:

        *Hang* not Hand….and Right, not “nit”

        (I has the dumb and fat fingers)

        • KoB says:

          Prayers lifted up to The Great Healer and Comforter of us all Doc. May His Comfort bring His Peace to you and yours. We can’t say it will get better, but with His Help, it will get bearable. Mrs. Doc will always be right there with you and when the time is right, you WILL have a most Joyous Reunion with her.

      • Doc Savage says:

        Thank you, Chip.

        My Son is 27 and daughter is 25; He is a high functioning autistic, and his sister is amazing in keeping him engaged and navigate social obstacles…..they both live with me as Lady Bum was an only child and wanted to keep the family together as long as she could. 🙂

        Lady Savage, unfortunately, drew the short genetic straw…cardio vascular disease ran in her family, and It appears that no matter how active she was, ( and she was active) she developed a 100% blockage of the LVA….the result left her on complete life support.

        We had discussed such a scenario at length when I was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and when She deployed to Kosovo; neither of us wanted to be left lingering, so I made the decision to let her go and bring her home to her gardens.

        She will never really be gone; I see her every time I look at my children….and I plan to be around for my kids until she calls me to join her.