It’s been a while since my last post. I write this blog to share my story as a veteran living with service-connected chronic pain, migraine, insomnia, depression, anxiety, non-combat PTSD, and more. It’s a long list, I know. But I hope that by sharing my experience, I can help others who are going through something similar. Writing about it is a way for me to release some of the stress and anxiety.
As some of you know, I’ve been living with chronic pain for more than 30 years. It started when I injured my back during a training exercise in the military. Since then, I’ve had multiple treatments, injections, medications, and therapies. Nothing has really helped. Some days, the pain is so bad that I can’t get out of bed or do anything. Other days, I can manage, but not much more.
The back pain is not the only thing that affects me. I also suffer from migraine headaches that sometimes, like last night, wake me up in the middle of the night. They are so intense that I feel like my head is going to explode. Sometimes, they are preceded by flashbacks and nightmares of traumatic events that happened during my service. I see things that I wish I could forget. I hear things that I wish I could unhear. I feel things that I wish I could unfeel.
As a result of the chronic pain, migraine, and constant tinnitus, I also struggle with depression and anxiety. I often feel hopeless and worthless, I have trouble sleeping and concentrating, and I often isolate myself from others because I don’t want to be around people. I have had thoughts of ending my life, but I would never act on them because of one thing: my spouse.
My spouse is the only reason why I’m still here. She is the most caring, supportive, and understanding person I’ve ever met. She doesn’t judge me or pity me. She listens to me and comforts me. She encourages me and motivates me. She makes me laugh and smile. She makes me feel loved and valued.
She has her own issues to deal with, but she never complains. She always finds a way to cope and adapt, and she always tries to make the best of every situation.
She is my hero and my inspiration.
And to let you know that if you are a veteran living with service-connected chronic pain or any other condition, you are not alone. There are people who care about you and understand you. There are people who can help you and support you.
You don’t have to suffer in silence or in shame.
You deserve to live a happy and fulfilling life.
You are a warrior and a survivor.
You are amazing and awesome.
But you may be wondering: what are some resources for veterans?
That’s another great question, and I’m glad you asked. There are many resources for veterans out there, but it can be hard to find them or access them sometimes. That’s why I want to share with you some of the resources that have helped me or other veterans that I know.
Here are some of the resources for veterans that you may find useful:
- Veteran Resources – Legal, Health, Housing, Benefits & More: This is a list of over 50 veteran resources compiled by the National Veterans Foundation (NVF).
- Resources And Support | Veterans Affairs: This is an official website of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that provides FAQs about VA benefits and services, step-by-step instructions for using VA.gov tools, and other helpful articles
- Veteran Resources – U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: This is a weekly newsletter for veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors that provides information about VA benefits and services, events and activities for veterans
- VA Mental Health Services | Veterans Affairs: This is an official website of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that provides information about mental health services for veterans such as counseling
- AddictionResources.Net | Veterans And Substance Abuse: Scope, Risks, And Treatment