There is a book called “A Road Less Traveled” which my wife the psychologist has recommended to me which I honestly still have on my “To Do” list so this is not a recommendation at all. My title is, a road differently traveled. There is a movie that I have seen and do highly recommend called “No Country For Old Men”, that brings my point clearly into place. In the movie the arch villain Anton Segur provides various subjects to this situation. He sets up the choice by saying, “The World has led you to this exact place and time and now you must make a choice as he produces a shiny coin, ‘Heads or Tails’ “ We the audience knows exactly the consequences of the person making the wrong choice and that is a death sentence by Anton Segur who acts as the executioner. Since we never really see anyone make the right choice, we don’t know their outcome. We only know they have postponed the inevitable. But if you think about it aren’t we all doing this every day?
Life is made up of an unlimited number of choices that we must make daily. Do I get up now and face the day or push the snooze button and get up 15 minutes later? This goes on time after time after time all day long and we simply exist with our decisions. But have you ever heard of something happening and think, “What if I had gotten here 15 minutes earlier that could have been me” or “What would I have done in that situation?”
I touched on this in our Book “PTSD How I crawled out of the darkness and back into the light and how you can too”. I spoke about my plane trip over to Vietnam. The flight was completely filled with other military people like me wondering what this next year was going to bring. Suddenly someone from the back of the plane yelled out, “At least it won’t be this crowded on the way back”. Gallow’s humor for sure but also very true. Statistically there would be casualties on this plane which could easily have included me.
We have so little choice on how our lives will unfold
and though we have choices to make on a regular basis we have no idea what
might result from any of these choices and more often then not we don’t even
realize that we are making these choices to begin with. wouldn’t I have chosen an alternate route if
I knew that I was going to be in an accident at that very spot? Wouldn’t I have left a few minutes earlier? So there I was on that airplane, heading
perhaps to my death, yet had so little control of it. I was simply on the path.
I often wonder, how would I have turned out if I had chosen to dodge the draft and not entered the Army at all? Why am I in California now instead of still within miles of where I was born n New Jersey? My answer is almost always the same. I could have done things differently but that doesn’t mean they would have been better or perhaps worse.
I would prefer to have not to have come in contact with whatever it was that deposited PTSD on my doorstep and would have to be dealt with over and over again. But the reality is that I cannot change things no matter how much I would want to hope and/ or pray them away. What I am thankful for though is that I didn’t spend too much time wallowing in my own pity. I decided quickly that I refused to be beaten nor hindered by something that I knew I could control and that was my reaction to my decision. I couldn’t redo the initial decision but wouldn’t punish myself for it either.
People react to me by saying, “Well it is different for me” To this I answer, “Maybe” because I don’t know what you are going through but if this is the case then you must admit that you don’t know what I went through either. We have this in common for sure. We both have to deal with PTSD. I chose to fight it and not be defeated by it and you have this same decision. There is a way out if you chose to take it. It is not easy, but they say that things that are worth doing are often not easy. Not impossible just not easy.