They called it a hard, hard landing…

The Navy called it
a hard landing. We called it a crash. That was where my back had
originally gotten hurt. I was in pain the whole time
there, but I had to push through it. It got worse, steadily worse. They diagnosed me also as PTSD
and what they call residual brain injury. To this day I’m in
pain every day. It’s nothing they can do. The nerve damage, it’s
hard to walk. I have a wheelchair. I hate it. I don’t use it that much. I use my crutches, and
go as far as I can. You just suck up the pain and
just go on every day. I didn’t do good with
any of this. I started drinking a lot. You just have memories or
thoughts that pop in your head, and sometimes I’m
somewhere else. It’s like one big movie running
through your head, and I would just remember things,
not just from the last deployment but then from years
ago when I was in, and things just all rambled together. The problem is one person
drinks too much. At least for me, once I got home
I was trying to sleep. That’s when it all came
back tenfold. It was rough for me
after I got back. I had lost my father-in-law
that I knew for 26 years. I was going through a divorce. And then a month after
I got back, my mother ended up dying. So I had to go home,
bury her, and then get back to San Diego. Emotionally I was a mess,
dealing with all that and PTSD and physical pain. When I got out, I had absolutely
no support. Nobody that I knew was around. None of my buddies were there. And it was like starting
all over again. My drinking really got bad. But what got me under control
of that was when I finally ended up moving in with my kids
and becoming a single dad, having to put them first.
Bills have to be paid. If it was not for my children,
I’m not sure what I would have done. But inside, I knew if I
did anything, well, my kids still need me. It was really hard when I
finally called for help. I will say one thing. The commercials or the little
stickers they have as far as calling the veterans’ lines,
when they say it takes the strength of a warrior, they’re
not kidding, because it is very hard, and it takes
a lot of strength to actually make that call. And you hope that you’re going
to get somebody that’s a vet or somebody you can talk to. And I melted down a
few times, and I needed to talk to someone. It’s good that that’s there
to be able to do that. I keep in touch with other
veterans now, with my battle buddy I’ve known for– while we were over there. And while we were there, I
always told everybody that he kept me alive. I kept him alive. We stay in touch with each
other about once a week, sometimes more. I can call him for anything. He is my support. It seems like vets still
rely on vets, and the VA, they’re there. They’re there to help us. Don’t think that it’s
being weak. It’s being weak not
to reach out. That’s the great thing about
talking to another vet. Find out how they got through
it, and they can help you. Our best support
is each other. That’s what I love about going
to the VA, is that if I get confused or lost in the
hospital, there’s another vet that’ll come up and ask
me if I need help. And I do the same thing. The vets help each other.

5 thoughts on “They called it a hard, hard landing…

  1. "The Navy called it a hard, hard landing. We called it a crash.” Hear how John overcame chronic pain and traumatic brain injury to get back on track. They called it a hard, hard landing…

  2. He my big hero that is my dad you all are don't give. Up the fight get hold some one to. Talk to there always there I have family and friends how have Army navy I can as for good friend s thank to all for what you have Done and are doing there are all kinds of us how will list to you all amen my god be with you all

  3. Been there…Done that…Staying in touch with my foxhole buddies and going to the VA helped a lot… Vietnam Vet '65-'66

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