Soldiers with PTSD often get it from what they did, not just what they saw.

When you’ve done something that had catastrophic effects on your life, or someone else’s, how do you ever reconcile that?


I guess it starts with owning your shit.

Really, fully owning it. Feeling it.

And letting that filter down through you, for as long as it takes.


That’s a start.

But then you have to move on.

And I don’t mean forget or dismiss it. That’s just self-delusion.


But you have to move forwards.

Because people are affected by your life, whether you know them or not.

Your life matters. Even if you hate yourself right now.


You have more to give, and more to learn.

Your pain and your experiences will be knitted into the fabric of your existence.

And the only way to feel whole is to integrate all of that and become more than you were.


Yes, you will have to reconfigure. But that’s growth.

It’s part of maturity. It’s part of your journey.

The person you will become because of this is stronger, wiser, better than you are now.


You will be capable of a lot more good.


You’re right, it doesn’t excuse what happened.

Nor should it, but that’s the point.

It’s not a zero-sum game. It’s far more complex than that.


It’s life.


Make amends where you can; if it’s appropriate and won’t just cause more harm.

Be humble but not pathetic.

And give them as much time and space as they need.


Then go for a walk. Cry, or don’t.

And remember that there is more to you than this event.

There is more to you than you have any idea about.


You are not defined by this.


Consider, for a moment, how many people there are in the world.

How many mistakes have been made just today.

Some small, some monumental.


They are not so different from you and me.

Just humans making their way, making choices.

Living with pride and regret.


And perhaps, have a little compassion for them too.

Because we’re all just muddling along.


Mike Cassidy



Photo by felipepelaquim on Unsplash