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The Buckhorn

Copyright (c) 2010
Winters Express
312 Railroad Avenue, Winters, CA 95694
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Veterans can struggle with low self-esteem

By Donald K. Sanders
I have a keen appreciation for women who live with disabled veterans that are suffering within themselves. I’m talking about veterans who want to live in the present but just can’t seem to get out of their past. Veterans who suffer within themselves find it hard to smile when they feel like crying all the time. They’re always on the verge of tears; even at their happiest moments the tears are just below the surface. They are always just below the surface.
It is the same with me. I find that as I get older, I’m beginning to think more about my wartime experiences. I become more emotional. As you age, it’s normal to look back over your life and try to make sense of your experiences. For veterans, this process can trigger Late-Onset Stress Symptomatology (LOSS).
I think that’s what is happening here and I don’t know what to do about it. In the past, I would go to the VA and ask for help but I’ve decided against that because they are dealing with a younger generation of veterans now and I don’t want to interfere with that.
I don’t want to ask the VA to spend any more time and money on my case. They have already spent a fortune trying to “get me right,” so to say. I have found that years of therapy and pills have done little to solve my mental problems; it’s a hill that is just too high for me to climb.
Unfortunately, when I get on the emotional rollercoaster, so must my wife.
Imagine, if you will for a moment, how hard it must be to live with someone who is on the verge of tears all the time. I think it would drive most people insane to live with someone unable to live in the brightness of the present because living in the present, one is required to interact with others living in the now. If you’re in the now, you’re not alone because others are here with you at this precise moment. However, if you live in the past, there’s no room for anyone else — you are alone. The present and the past are two different things, and the two cannot mix.
Average people cannot understand those who are stuck in the past and, in fact, see them as useless or near useless at the least. Some veterans are classified as “Unemployable” because of that very fact. They cannot interact with others in the now, so that makes it difficult for them to hold a job. The resulting failure to feel that you are useful to society accounts for the very high rate of veteran suicide, drug abuse, and incarceration. In the past, I’ve had bouts with all three and in time, I found myself in dire straights.
So, the moral of my story can be summed up in one short sentence: “If you want to live, keep busy!”
Now, Memorial Day is swiftly approaching again and I have just a few things to say about that.
• Take a moment to remember the veterans that didn’t come home.
• If there are any veterans out there who need help with self worth, do yourself a favor and find the office of the Putah Creek Council in downtown Winters, California, for they have a plan to make each and every one of us useful to society. It’s a good plan and it works.
• Last but not least, be grateful for the help of your family and friends.