The Navy was good for me. It taught me discipline, how to work hard and most of all it got me away from the fighting. For the first time in my life I was on my own and free from the turmoil I was used to. Of course enlisting in the military after 9/11 I should have seen it coming the day our commanding officer came out and said, “Our mission has changed, we will all be going to Iraq and Afghanistan over the course of the next 3 years.” My heart sunk very quickly but I stood tall at attention taking the news in trying to act as if it was no big deal.
After serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and seeing violence I feel no one should ever have to witness I decided I would serve my five year obligation only. The Navy changed me. I did not want to admit it at the time but I was not the same person I was before I enlisted. Being the type of guy who never faces his true feelings I was now dealing with the issues from my past along with the mental and physical challenges of suffering a debilitating back injury and the nightmares of two wars. All of the stress was taking its toll on me and on my marriage. At times I would get so angry with my wife because my back would not stop hurting, or because she would try to talk to me about the war. These stresses would blow up into fits of fury. Eventually my back healed and my wife and I were able to take comfort in that. She continued to encourage me to seek out some help to deal with the PTSD label the military had assigned me. I once again refused help and our troubled marriage did not improve.
To add fuel to the fire my health was in jeopardy again, I began to suffer from intense migraines. I had been to numerous doctors, tried several medications and become an expert of self diagnosis with every possible cause. The more attention I paid to my migraines, the worse they seemed to get. I often would find myself lost in my own self loathing of poor me. I remember several times a day I would ask myself why me? Have I not been through enough already? I once again took my anger out on God, shouting to the heavens, cursing his very name. I was now more convinced than ever that there was no God.
My father would call me often, and he could hear the hurting in my voice as I explained to him that I was excited that my back no longer hurt but now I was getting incredibly painful headaches. He became increasingly worried about my health and had suggested I try something called EFT or emotional freedom technique with his new girl friend Dr. Kim Eisen.
I was very reluctant at first and did not believe that a “witch doctor” could help me with my health. My dad explained to me how she had helped him finally make some peace with his own childhood. My father comes from a family of alcoholics and lost his own mother to a house fire. After my father had worked with Dr. Eisen for a while I began to see the change in him as he ventured out to visit me in California. During his visit my father for the first time in his life openly displayed his love for me and as a result our relationship has blossomed into a beautiful friendship. I am truly grateful for the changes in my father but more importantly I was inspired to deal with my own demons. I was still hesitant to call Dr. Eisen but at this point I figured I had nothing left to lose. The doctors basically were telling me they did not know what to do to help me and that “generally people will outgrow these headaches and we hope they do not come back.”