August 3, 2009

If You Need Help Ask For It

By CJ Grisham

I then explained that seeking that help, either from us or real professionals, is not a sign of weakness. I talked about my conversation with General Chiarelli and the Army's commitment to ending the stigma that has historically been attached to seeking mental health counseling. To lend credibility to what I had just told them, I entered phase II of my recovery – telling my Soldiers that I am seeking counseling. For far too long since returning from Iraq, people both inside and outside of the military have sort of hinted to me that I should seek help. My lovely wife has mentioned it a few times, sometimes joking for fear of offending me. Even my Command Sergeant Major suggested I seek professional help when he spoke to me about my IG complaint. I met each suggestion with either humor, disinterest, ambivalence, or anger depending on whom was telling me. There's nothing wrong with me. I'm fine. You're crazy for even suggesting such a thing. Haha, that's funny.

As most of you know, I started this blog as self-medication. It worked for a few years, but I'm not sure what's happened in recent months and years. Perhaps it's the physical pain I've been in for more than six years now. Maybe it's the accumulated lack of sleep that is catching up to me. Maybe there really is nothing wrong and I'm just really tired! Whatever it is, my behavior has changed and it sort of scares me.

I am always tired. No matter how long I "sleep," I NEVER wake up rested. I toss and turn throughout the night. I lie awake for hours enjoying the company of the beautiful woman beside, soundly sleeping. Sometimes, I get up and walk around the house or surf the internet. I'm not willing to get specific about the things keeping me awake at night publicly, but it's a combination of bad dreams, everyday stresses, and physical discomfort. I have a prescription to Vicodin for nights that I can't sleep through the pain that I rarely take. I'm afraid to get addicted to the pills if I take them every time I need them. A bottle typically lasts me about six to eight months. But, when I take them I keep Emily awake. Sometimes, they even keep me awake. I'm not in pain, but they make me itch.

I'm not comfortable being around people. I'm not the social butterfly I pretend to be anymore. This year's Milblog Conference was the most uncomfortable I've been in years. I used to love being the center of attention of making an ass out of myself. I don't like doing anything anymore. I hate leaving the house and when I do, I make sure I'm always armed. There's a sense of impending doom just walking out my front door. To at least get me out and about, I've turned to geocaching. It's something I can alone or with my family. It keeps me moving, but I don't have pay for anything or worry about large crowds. Even when I went to the Tea Parties, I tried to keep mostly to myself and not draw attention.


  1. I'm glad to read this post. I wish all soldiers would trust that others can help, and that they could get the help when they ask! We do care!

  2. This is really helping me understand PTSD, I have a loved one who is so lost right now and has given up on everything, he is just 22 and I want to help him, but I feel I need to understand what exactly is PTSD and this website is really helping me a lot. Thank you for your story and it really is helping me understand more, so that I can help him

  3. I am glad that you commented today. I was needing the extra boost that you gave me today, thank you.


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