PTSD is a hell of thing. (understatement I know) It has broken men and women who were much stronger than me. So who am I to think that I can take it head on. Quite frankly, I can’t. There are days when the struggles of just dealing with life after combat will hand me my ass on a platter. I will drink myself into the bottom of a bottle or lash out at people I care about for no reason. The truth is that you can’t take it on all at once. You have to kill the mountain one rock at a time. Obviously you have to face the demons and work through the issues but along with that is a little thing I like to call, arming yourself with perseverance. I kind of touched on it when I talked about how PT is helping me deal. But this is a broader concept, the idea is to find something to strive for, struggle against, desire, drive to, something attainable but still difficult. This thing should be just tough enough to get you shaken and when you come out on the back side you’ll be smiling. Not because you succeeded but because it was tough and you had the brass to even take it on. This has such a tremendous impact on your view of yourself, it boosts that self-esteem, gives you the right attitude to keep moving forward, to keep fighting, to keep healing up the wounds.
When you get caught up in the fray, you fight, you learn an immeasurable amount about yourself and you realize, I GOT THIS! To hell with my own doubts, I don’t give a damn what I have been told or how I feel, I will get over this thing called PTSD, just as I have succeeded in this challenge I will crush the next.
These little challenges that build your belief in self, your strength, your energy, your intensity will only be contained to their little confines for so long. Soon the same benefits you have gained just by making it through the little struggles will propel you through to the big struggle, taking away a rock or two from that mountain and giving you the energy to move a hundred more.
So what’s a challenge? Anything you choose as long as its positive, i.e. challenging yourself to floating a keg alone is not a good idea. It could be as simple as reading a book every 4 days or as mentally unstable as completing an iron man triathlon. Its whatever you think is a good positive FUN challenge for yourself. Finish a couple mile run, learn how to cook well, finish a college course, just find your little corner of the struggle market and kick its teeth in for all your worth. You will come out smiling and a whole lot stronger. It also gets you moving or thinking about something other than the things you saw and went through over there. It gives you an outlet to put the stress and a positive place to put the adrenaline in certain circumstances (dunno about you but reading doesn’t make my heart pound). It also allows for connections to made to new friends and support networks.
Finding the perseverance to keep fighting is just as much of a struggle as the fight itself and should never be over looked. So add challenging yourself to the small scale to your tool belt and keep moving little rocks until the mountain starts to shrink.

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