How I Met Adam, Part 6

In my life I have had periods of severe depression.  Sometimes the weight of my experience and the troubling state of the world are just too much for a hypersensitive person like me.  I’ve taken meds and I’ve not taken meds.  Right now, I don’t take meds.  Number one, with my experience with drugs and alcohol, the idea that some drug can “fix” me is very troublesome to me.  Now please here me when I say that I am not against people taking psych meds if they need them.  I’m just explaining my thinking around why I’d rather not.  That’s not the only reason either.  To me, there is a lot to be very, very sad about in this world.  It all has to do with the suffering of other people.  My life is wonderful.  I never want to look at the suffering in the world and not be so troubled by it that I absolutely have to try and do something about it.  Other times I’m convinced that there is as much divinity in me as there ever has been in a human and that we all, in fact have that same spark.  Knowing that you are a part of God can end up leaving you feeling pretty great.  Because I had experienced such low lows in my life, when I did find myself feeling good, I so wanted to stay there I would find myself doing things to keep the high high.  I’d go out into the desert and ride my Ducati at 140.  (Before Adam) I would go on big sex binges.  I’d spend a lot of money, drink a ton of coffee, eat sugar….all just to keep that good feeling from turning back toward the darkness.  Of course over the years I have more that a couple mental health care providers slap the bi-polar label on me.  They’re probably right.  My good moods are transcendent.  My dark moods are devastating.  There are some things that God has given me as solutions:  Gathering with, seeking help from and seeking to help others who are walking a spiritual path, especially those who had once turned to drugs and alcohol as I did; meditation and prayer; eating healthily; exercise.  All these things help me to stay more stable.  However, if the depression is so great that it precludes my ability to do these things, I’m sunk… and don’t think that if I ever find myself there again, I won’t be running back to the Psychiatrist lickety-split and if the Scientologists don’t like it then they can kiss my ass.

So now that you have all that back story, you should know that at about this point in time with the whole “How I met Adam” story, I feel into one of those very dark and painful depressions.  Ever since Iraq, all I need to do is get just the right little tidbit of information coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan or hear some of the bullshit that goes out over the internet or airways justifying the occupation to send me into a spiral.  Trust me, through the help of my fellow veterans, I have gotten much, much better with this.  But six years ago, in the week after that fateful Halloween party, I went into a nosedive.  Now I understand how scary this must be for the people around me who love me.  Nobody likes to see someone they love suffer.  Hank, especially, since his nature is to be extra attentive and compassionate, was worried about me.  I had no intention of killing myself but had admitted to Hank that the thought sure came up a lot.  It was so bad that I couldn’t shower or shave or eat.  I just shuffled around my apartment praying for things to get better.  I stopped answering my phone.  Finally, I knew that if I didn’t eat something, it was only going to get worse so I made myself a little bowl of rice and was literally choking it down.  I was sitting at my dining table when I heard a key go into the lock on the door of my apartment.  Hank still had a key from when he was keeping Sydney while I was on the road.  He just let himself in which startled me.  He was scared and he loves me.  He had had time to dream up all these worse-case scenarios and half expected to find me dead.  He started screaming, “What the fuck!?  I’ve fucking been calling you!  Why aren’t you answering your goddamned phone?”  Now I know Hank well enough to know that he didn’t mean to make things worse, but there’s something that he didn’t understand and something that most of you who never received any military training won’t understand.  I don’t care if you saw combat or not or never served outside the wire in a combat zone.  I have seen the same tendencies in many and varied people who have served.  When you train with the United States military (and I would guess especially the Marine Corps), it is beat into your DNA that there comes a point where it is kill or be killed.  Ultimately, if it scares or confuses you and you are already in that red zone, you kill it.  Period.  That works well in a battle with an actual enemy who is trying to kill you I guess, but is completely inappropriate to the huge majority of situations the veteran finds him or herself in when he or she gets home.  (Incidentally, I think that perhaps women vets are somehow better at tempering their rage but this is just a theory.  Men in general are celebrated for being brutes whether you believe this is true or not.  Look at 95% of the male heroes of this culture and see if their strengths don’t lie somehow in the arena of aggression.  But that is another long subject for another day.)  When Hank started screaming at me, I just flung that bowl of rice across the table and headed toward Hank who hadn’t quite made it all the way in the door yet.  “Get the fuck out!”  I was screaming at him.  “Get the fuck out right now!”  It was as if someone had slid red lenses over my eyes and all I wanted to do was take him by the throat!  He stubbornly started trying to push his way in the door, (not a good idea, should any of you, God forbid, find yourself in such a situation with a marine.)  It’s all kind of blurry but I do remember just whaling on the poor guy.  He ended up with bruises all up and down one arm and shoulder.  Even to type those words makes me sick to my stomach.  I’m horrified that I would ever hurt someone who had just come to try and help me.  For the war vet, all things in situations like that are reduced to their simplest equation: “Something is threatening me.  That something must go.”  The door to my apartment was right by the kitchen and there was a knife block within arm’s reach.  I pulled the largest butcher knife out of the woodblock and brandished it at Hank.  I must have screamed something else like, “If you know what’s good for you, you’ll get the fuck out of here” because he did.  Hank left and I spent the next hour huddled and crying.  I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life.  I’ve done a lot of things that hurt people who loved me.  Of all of them, what I did to Hank that day will haunt me forever and I wish it never happened.  The only good thing that I can say came out of it is that I now know what I am capable of.  Training or no training, my friends are not the enemy and my life need not be a battlefield.  The other possible good is that I am now able for the first time able to share the story and if any of you military folk who are reading this, or any one of you who loves one of us has had a similar experience, you’ll at least know that it’s happened to me too…and to many, many others.  Sometimes good people do bad things because of what’s happened to them in their life.  There are a lot of good things about the military.  One thing is for sure, all of us who served were at times treated harshly by that same military and were expected to do things we would not normally do.  This affects us in our lives after but it need not be a life sentence of unmanageability.  As one of my Vietnam vet friends puts it, “It’s about living in right relation to it.”

 

 


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