Love Pain & Poetry
|MENTAL HEALTH POETS
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Pain & Poetry

Stories of real people experiencing real pain from relationship, family and life issues. People struggling with anxiety and depression can all submit as a guest blogger to share their life and mental health frustrations.

I was in love once...

I was in love once like really in love but that's not the crux of my story. It's likely I was depressed the entire time and not capable of giving her all of me.  I was emotionally available but mentally, maybe I wasn't free.  I'm going to tell you about this relationship in my book series but what I don't detail is the underlying depression.  

We have to go back to 2013 and I just got back from Afghanistan.  I took the P.T.S.D matrix and scored a 48 on what I believe was a 60 point test.  I knew it was temporary because I didn't shoot anyone or see anything that would cause me to have P.T.S.D right? Maybe, I was wrong. I came back I had everything going for a new car, home and life was a beach. I mean that literally it was Honolulu.    I went to see a social worker a few times but life was grand but I wasn't getting the support I should have been getting at home.  It didn't bother me.

Lets fast forward a bit. I left Honolulu and met a beautiful girl the one I mentioned in the first paragraph.   You can read all about her through my book series. Despite my grandfathers passing and the turmoil that followed his death.  I also had a straining custody battle for my daughter.  I just couldn't take it anymore. I was at my lowest point in life.  I told my doctor I needed more than talk therapy.  I was sleeping 18 hours a day and only left the house to report to work. The United States Army.   

I show up to the Intensive Outpatient Program and I'm there to get well not get a free retirement. I was looking for recovery. I tried to participate in the program but I noticed a lack of respect for the service members enrolled in the group. I dismissed it because there were people much worse off sitting next to my depressed ass.  I felt like I didn't belong on the first day. I questioned how bad I was when talking to other people.  My friends and family wouldn't recognize who I was. I can be confrontational. If you confronted me during this time I'd just walk away.  Anyway, couple weeks go by I noticed the facilitators are extremely edgy.  I know I made a statement, the lady made a nasty statement using some vulgarity. I gave her the language and tone she deserved.  

They sat me down with four facilitators. They attempted to make the incident about me. I wasn't having it. A civilian will not be treated with the respect of a Military Officer. Don't get me wrong we ALL deserve respect. But social worker nor Officer will get to verbally abuse me. The difference is the Officer can shut me up.  However, neither will get to be accost me with out repercussions. I've never been suicidal these four mental health professionals got together and plotted to get my weapons taken away. They went as far telling my commander to do so.  I'm trying to get help and these Military doctors are more concerned with their error than my care. At one point during the conversation they tried to convince me that once of them could be military dressed in civilians? Then they said some of us are former military. They were willing to humiliate me. Now, I am very familiar with the law and they didn't have the grounds. But these women wanted to strip every piece of dignity from me because I wasn't about to let a counselor cuss me out.   I'm thinking to myself this is why 22 service members take their lives a day. 

Needless, to say I was emotionally distraught. They didn't take my guns.  I made a complaint and treated all of the civilians indifferently my remainder of the time there. There was a Navy Captain so of course respect was proudly given to drive home. Civilians don't outrank soldiers. This is an important event. I'd just successfully defended myself something I hadn't done in over a year. I felt great. 

I followed up and complained to the hospital. The guy who took my report joked, "You sound like a redneck". I couldn't help but laugh. He took my report and told me all about what the VA would be doing for the medication I'd been on and his story. We talked about things and I went on my way. This battle was the beginning of my recovery.  

Just as all this was happening my friend disappeared. She had been telling the social worker she wasn't alright for a week. They told her to go to the emergency room. She attempted suicide that weekend. They literally ignored my friend. It was the scariest thing and I was thinking 22 lives a day. I'd drawn the conclusion that they didn't care or won't provide the resources. I'd later confirm from a military doctor that the army standards for mental health is very low. I took something very important from that conversation and it was they don't care. 

All of the aforementioned events would serve as the catalyst for me becoming a self-published poet. It was the poem I wrote about my friend who attempted suicide.  When I wrote a drink I realized I wrote well enough to complete a book. I went on to do just that. The book would keep me one step ahead of depression and safe. Depression made me human, Poetry saved my life and so I'll continue to encourage others to write. This is the origin story of why  I am here and where I am. 

Learn more about me by clicking one of the social media sites below. 

Charles StokesComment