Why did you start this web site?
I have been asked this question many times over the course of the years that I have been posting here. I answer it pretty much the same way each time, but it has become more and more apparent to me that many people want to complain about their condition but very few want to read, work and try to get better. Today I was watching a news program, and someone said something that really hit home for me and summed up what has been motivating me all along.
Lilly Tomlin wrote a book entitled “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe”. This is a humorous look about life and a whacky view of it. In one section of her book, she looks at an issue (Name one, we have plenty to pick from here) and she said , “I wondered why someone wasn’t doing something about… (that issue)? I looked at myself and realized ‘Hey I’m someone, why am I not doing something about it myself?”
When I returned from Vietnam, I found that I was suffering from something that had no name (PTSD was not named until after I arrived home). Not only did I not know what I was suffering from, I quickly found out that there weren’t any solutions established for its treatment either. So, it was left to me to try and figure out what it was exactly that I was suffering from and what was going to help me feel better. No one prodded me into doing something nor did anyone criticized me if I did nothing. No, it was me who motivated me. I thank whatever it was that drove and pushed me to act and not simply accept my fate as so many at this site seem to be doing.
The solution that I stumbled upon was journaling. It was accidental believe me. No drugs nor therapy nor any miracle cures. It was simply me, sitting down and writing what I was feeling and then me again attempting to understand why I was feeling the way I was feeling. All I knew for sure was that something in me was different. I was acting erratically and the person who returned from Vietnam though seemingly the same person, was not me.
I liken it to the Body Snatchers where people were complaining that the person who was living with them was not their mother, father, wife or husband. They looked the same, sounded the same but something was wrong. Others looking and living within my sphere of influence knew it too, but every one of them remained silent about it. They were trying to “wait it out” hoping that time would change me back.
Knowing what I know now, I am completely thankful that I didn’t wait for that miracle to come along to heal me, because PTSD does not heal itself. I didn’t know that at the time, nor did any of my loved ones know anything about what I was going through. PTSD was a one-way street if it is left untreated and I had no idea about this at all. PTSD could only get worse and as badly as I was feeling then, I cannot imagine what that “Worse” person would have been like.
Journaling was not a quick fix as most of you who have stopped by and blogged a time or two,’ have come to realize. Healing PTSD doesn’t work that way. Just as an example, most Vietnam tours were one year in duration. That’s 365 days, 24 hours a day. Posting takes maybe a few minutes. Let’s say my average post takes me about 15 minutes or so. If I post twice that’s a half hour. To expect to unravel a 365-day, PTSD complex problem by devoting 30 minutes is simply unrealistic. I’ve been posting for over 40 years. In the beginning often multiple times per day. I wanted answers and they could only come from me.
People still say to me. I came by your site and posted but never heard back from anyone. I might ask them, “How many times did you try?” The answer is never more than “Twice”. I must tell you this is like the expression “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. This site was not established to cure or heal you. That is your job. All this site is, is the water. It is here for you to start trying to understand yourself and how you are responding to who you have become. Please do not expect me to provide you the answers. The answers are yours to find but they are safely inside you waiting to be discovered. But, be pre-warned it doesn’t happen quickly. The journey is for you and I would suggest that you start learning to enjoy it versus seeing it as a chore that you hate doing. Attitude is key here. Ever hear them talk about a runner’s high? I’ve never personally experienced that since I hate running but as I write this, I can tell you that my statement is why I don’t run so don’t use it as the excuse to keep you from posting.
After years I think I have made significant improvements. My wife, who is a psychologist, one day, a few years ago, said, “You should create a blog to help others. If it worked for you, maybe you could help others find some relief.” Looking back on Lilly Tomlin’s quote above, struck me as the answer. Someone should have a blog where others come and anonymously post and examine their own PTSD. Not only would it help them, it might encourage others to do so, as well. So, there it is, to answer the question again about “Why did you start this site?” I did it because someone needed to.