Do you really know who you are? I am not talking about who you think you are.
I’m asking you, do you know who you are through the eyes of everyone else who knows you? Who are you? You have to know who you are before you try to fix what’s wrong. Are you a good person? Are you happy? The only way to know is to look deep inside and settle things.
We have taken off the uniform, the patches and the badges, the rank, the beret, the body armor and the boots. We’ve stepped back into civilian society and are expected to know who we’re talking to, expected to know all the rules we’ve never engaged with. In the military, when you walk up to a person, you have a good snapshot of who that person is just by his or her uniform. You know what rank they are which tells you if you need to salute that person, where you relate in the food chain, above or below that person’s pay grade, you know pretty much how much that person makes a month in pay and benefits, you can tell by the patches and badges where they’ve been in the world, if they’ve been to combat, which unit they were in, are they SCUBA qualified, Ranger or Sniper qualified, Expert Infantry, Airborne or Air Assault. But all those indicators are stripped away when we return to the civilian world. All of the symbolism we depended on to get and keep our bearings are torn away and we’re left to “sort it out” on our own. We miss the indicators that civilians take for granted and don’t assign weight to them. By the same token, civilians are equally baffled by our perspective. They don’t know what a “nine line” is and give no weight to a Silver Star and a Purple Heart.
The program at TOTB is intended to teach you some new tools to mitigate your symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, and depression, but also to show you who you are and why you have problems re-integrating into the very same civilian society you swore an oath to protect and serve, to defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic. There is a reason you are now the problem. There is a reason you are feared as a wolf at the door, when you were the sheepdog for so many years. It’s no longer about who you think you are, or who you were. Now it’s about what you look like to other people.
It took me a very long time to come to my own consciousness. The self-destructive behaviors I used kept me isolated and kept everyone else out of my life. I did it subconsciously, but very intentionally. And I could have healed a lot quicker, a lot better, had I not gone down that road. Self-analysis is a big part of “looking in the mirror” and taking responsibility for our actions. Conscious living is the only way to really, truly come back to life and not only prosper, but fully engage. We owe it to those who come behind us to reach back and lend that helping hand.
Tier One was founded by Veterans, for Veterans. Welcome home.