My Name is Matthew, and I am a soldier. I have an interesting view that I share from time to time with the folks I encounter as I walk the road. Some of those people have encouraged me to seek out ways to help others or simply share my views or ideas with more people. I will blog on many subjects, from things that piss me off on a daily basis to more important issues such as dealing with chronic depression and the struggles that ensue as a result. I will be taking bits and pieces from emails and rants that I have verbalized as well, so if you see something we have talked about please, smile and nod...Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Other people

It has been some time sense I posted last. I'm still doing all right though. I ran into a friend of mine from years and years ago just the other day. I was in a pet store getting food for my bearded dragon, and I heard a voice from the back of the store. "I know that VOICE!". It turns out it was my friend from two of my four combat tours. Joe, was working in that store, just down the road from me sense he got out four years ago.

We hit it off like old buddies, and the next thing you know, we are hanging out together during the weekends and offering to help one another with various chores. His Wife is very nice and does a wonderful job putting up with the two of us.

At one point we started talking about those rougher times when we were over seas. I asked him questions about some of the events I remembered and he asked me some of the questions he had. Together we both went through those memories and tried to put the past to rest. We tried to better understand some of the things that had happened to us back then. We even remembered some of the fun times as well, and that made it seem less upsetting. The simple fact is that we were both not sure what to do in those situations and we were doing the best we could to cope and come out with our heads on straight.

The reason I'm posting this, is that sometimes, it's okay to talk about trauma and past events with people that were there. Sometimes that helps us process those things. Sometimes that process can be made a little easier with confirmation and some sense of justification from someone who was there with us. That's why they always push group therapy for people in that environment. I think that a Doctor, who is smart and educated on various coping techniques can also recognize that he or she can't replace someone that was there with us. The Doctor can't replace someone that shared in that experience and maybe formed a bond in that process. The Doctor can't help us validate or confirm what we think we know about an event. In our minds, we still want to second guess those memories. I think that we do that because in times like that, we don't always have the best memories. I think that in moments like that, in high stress environments, we strive to stay alive and our cognitive mind steps back. So, why shouldn't we trust our memories? Why should we feel the need to validate or confirm what we think we know? I think we do that because we always want to better understand ourselves and the world around us. I think that people genuinely care about the things that happen to them and want a better understanding of the world around them. That drive to learn is inside us all and I think it's important to cultivate.

I ran into a complete stranger, and started talking to her. One thing led to another and I found myself wanting to talk about some of the events from the past. I opened up to her. Complete stranger, what could it hurt? If she judges me, all I have to do is walk away, no harm done. If the encounter leaves me feeling one way or another it will only be because I allowed myself to feel whatever way that was. We want to let this crap out, we genuinely want to spill out all the trash from our past and get rid of it. When we ingest something poison, or unhealthy our bodies try to get rid of it, any way possible. This is typically speaking, I'm not a doctor. I think that our minds want to wash the dirt away too so to speak. I think that we want to clean that stuff out of there so that we can make room for better memories, better dreams, better fantasies.

So I leave you with this thought, if you only have one good friend in the whole world, is it because of shared experiences that you are so close? Is a friendship, a REAL SOLID friendship built on trial and struggle, and hardship? How good for us is it to relive the trauma with another person who can actually identify with us? I personally believe that something like that should be done in the presence of a Doctor, who can help us make the right conclusions and steer us away from dangerous ideas that can creep up into our heads in those moments. I know it would have helped me. Whatever you do, if you feel yourself sliding into a depression, call someone for help. Don't just sit there feeling lousy. GET UP and go outside, get some fresh air and pull out your cell phone. Go to a friend's house or call a family member, call a 1800 number, call a church. Go to the hospital, or go to a stranger's house and say "I NEED HELP, I'm feeling dangerously low right now and I need to talk to someone". Most people in the world are decent enough to help out someone in need like that. Just, don't stay alone and sad with no one to talk to. Shoot me an email and I will talk to you if that's what you need. Life is precious.

I hope this helped someone, if not, it helped me to write it out. Best of luck to you all.


  1. You just hit upon the exact reason why I blog. I can put it all down and not care or worry if someone is judging me. If they leave comments I'm not happy with I just delete them (walk away). I used to share all of my feelings like this with my husband. He hadn't shared the same childhood that I had but he gave me comfort and support the way that I needed it. Even my own siblings think it best to just not talk about the bad things. We all remember them differently. Do you find that to be true with your buddy? Or do you remember them the same? I am glad that you have re-found your friend....

  2. I am happy Joe and I connected again. The facts were the same with what we remembered. Nothing I remembered was fundamentally wrong. We both had different feelings regarding the events though. Sharing that was very helpful.