This is Part 2 of Cpl Craig Silverson’s journey through PTSD. You can follow him at @
There was no escaping it!
From helmet to boots. Once you stepped off, it was there. Moon dust.
It was so fine, similar to baby powder, that underneath my feet tiny clouds would appear.
To my surprise the landscape had changed and the terrain had become hard and clay like. Fractured. The stark contrast captivated me. An image that I would later see when I looked in the mirror.
Underneath the surface and often barely evident was our biggest threat, Improvised Explosive Devices. Now my anger had become my own IED and the slightest thing would set me off!
I desperately wanted my internal conflict to end.
Once again I found myself at the medical building looking for some kind of relief. Still unable to ask for help, I used other events in my life as cover for my dilemma. More false support. Inner embarrassment. More anger!
Exasperated, exhausted and explosive!
SUFFERING IN SILENCE: PTSD
I was suffering in silence and was now suicidal.
Prescription medications entered my defeatist world.
Sedatives, sleeping pills, antidepressants, pain pills.
Dulling the danger. Masking the mayhem. Erasing my essence.
LIVING IN CRISIS
Meanwhile, my family lived in complete crisis.
I was ready to die.
The day before I boarded a bus to leave for basic training I was given a gift by my wife. A book. She wrote on the inside of the cover. “May your faith give you comfort when you feel alone. L.”
I started to read.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
Under the cover of darkness, with the enemy advancing toward me, I broke noise and light discipline and revealed my position.
Did I actually have any? Sure I did, I went to Sunday school.
Where was it then?
My wife made a statement about my faith and the comfort it would bring. Where was it then??
SOLDIER OF THE FAITH
If a member of the military accidentally fires their weapon it is known as an ND (Negligent Discharge). It also becomes a chargeable offense. The assumption is that a trained soldier should have full control of their firearm.
Did I accidentally commit an NDF (Negligent Discharge of Faith)?
Was I careless?
Would I be charged?
Was I a trained soldier of the faith?
I continued to read.
“COME AS YOU ARE”
We dismounted from our vehicle and proceeded on foot. We were met without resistance. Quietly we navigated through the crowd and took up our position. All sound was removed. A streak of light lit up an area on the platform. Stepping into the light stood a Pastor. He said “Welcome” and I felt the concussion.
It was Christmas 2012. Nearly two years to the date that I had returned from the battlefield. I had been in an unexpected war with myself ever since.
The celebration began.
During the course of the evening, a light shone brightly on a singer. Her voice was uplifting. But it was her walk by faith, that restored a soldiers broken heart.
ESPRIT DE CORPS
Esprit de corps. The common spirit that inspires enthusiasm, devotion and strong regard for honour of a group.
Morale was good and that was always a bonus.
I started to attend regularly with my family.
Then I went against what I had been trained to do.
I took a knee.
I raised my white flag.
And surrendered my life to Jesus Christ and won the war!
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2-4 NLT)
I offer my brief story as an extension of my faith to those who are in the trenches of tragedy.
Read Part 1 of Craig Silverson’s journey through PTSD here.
Do you know someone with PTSD? Please leave a comment for Craig, below.
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