I have been considering when my walk through the darkness began. I have always assumed it occurred during my time in Colorado since that is where everything fell apart. However, after taking the time to consider it, I am sure the cracks started opening in Germany. While I enjoyed the Army, I started to suffer from being burnt out. Stress caused my head to pound almost incessantly; I withdrew from everyone and everything. Somedays, it seemed that death was the only option to bring relief.
In the abyss of stress and failure, I refused to consider therapy. “I am no weak-minded piece of garbage! I WILL NOT cry on someone’s shoulder; I will find a way to overcome it!” Yet, the more I denied myself help the worse things became. My temper grew shorter, my days longer, and my home life more unstable. Everything I touched seemed to fall apart. In late 2008 I re-enlisted indefinitely to finish out my career until my retirement date. The Army gave me 28,000 dollars in the form of a bonus to sign my life away for the next six years. I signed it, knowing full well that my mind was on the verge of snapping. “I am doing great things for God and country!” At no point did I consider the damage the stress was doing to my family.
No man is an island unto himself, I found this out the hard way. Every touch of darkness that stained my soul has touched my children. Suicidal thoughts? My kids have come to me and said they struggle with them. I constantly said that I hated people (and sometimes I still do) and my children have mimicked this same thought process. It seems that everything I struggled with has come home to roost with my children. This pains me because I know how hard I had to fight to come out of the darkness, and years later I still suffer from it. I never wanted my children to share this part of hell with me.
My personality shifted into what can only be classified as hateful. Venom dripped off my tongue, and even today I must be careful of what I say. I didn’t care if what I said helped or hurt someone, and the years have brought my sarcasm and hate-filled rhetoric back to my doorstep. Looking back, I am sure I passed it off as wit, however, just because you smile and then stab your target doesn’t make it humor. It makes you a psycho.
However, light pierced my darkness and I came out of it. I am thankful for an experience that changed my entire mentality, one which alleviated the stress, and allowed me to heal from the wounds that festered on my soul. Part of the healing process is getting the infection out of the wounds. I do that by writing, each word or sentence removes hurt that is left from all that transpired. Each blog chips away at the remnants of darkness that want to linger where it is no longer wanted. If you are experiencing your own walk through the darkness, don’t wait to seek help. Find a way to purge your system of the stress which life brings.
In Psalms 51 there is a Scripture that reads: “Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean, wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.” Some nights I wake up quoting this. When all else fails, God is there.