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Topic: Am I man enough?

  1. Navy Blue
    Navy Blue avatar
    63 posts
    23 October 2016

    This is a really uncomfortable subject for me to be raising, one that I have drafted and deleted time and time again after only joining the BB site.As mentioned in my first and only thread I have been diagnosed with PTSD through a military operational triggering event.I have since realised that I have suffered depression and anxiety for 8 years prior to the diagnosis.I am 40 years old and am currently recovering from my second total hip replacement.I am married with 3 kids (6,4 and 2).Whilst I have opened up about my PTSD through this forum,there are other things going on in my mind (likely connected to the PTSD) that I need to get off my chest but feel so embarrassed and fear judgement in doing so.I have discussed this topic with my wife and whilst I do believe her response,I still have self doubt over her overall truthfulness-in her trying not to hurt me further.This is more likely my depression stopping me from seeing her truth,yet I am still suffering deeply with a lack of self confidence regardless of what she tells me.With all that has happened after my PTSD I don't feel like a strong man to her and now doubt I ever was even before.By this I mean physically more so than emotionally.We have been married now 12 years and I know she had a lot of partners before me and as a result of my PTSD,subsequent depression and recent hip surgeries I have zero self confidence in being her man.Without embarrassing myself to tears I feel inadequate in all departments of being a man anymore.I feel I fail her as a man both physically and mentally.

    Mentallly comparing myself to what my wife's previous partners must've been like and the thought that I am nowhere near the man she had or wants is killing me.Before spilling my guts to her quite unintentionally I spent months without sleep,having horrible thoughts and visualisations-this all on top of fighting daily triggers and flashbacks of my PTSD.I am on ADs and seeking therapy for my PTSD,however this other somewhat embarrassing issue is really crushing me and it is something I find hard to raise in discussions with my wife again or even begin to talk to with my therapist-due to the fear of ridicule,embarrassment or the fact of being seen pathetic.Help,advice really needed. Ta.


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  2. geoff
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    23 October 2016 in reply to Navy Blue
    hello Navy Blue, thanks for deciding to post your comment, as I too have had three hip operations, where the second one didn't work so a total hip was done, but your involvement in the military has well and truly taken it's toll on you, which I'm so sorry but also thank you for the effort you had to do.

    It doesn't matter one bit about her other partners she had, because their personality obviously clashed and that's why they're not still together.
    The same happens with males as it does for females, they always talk about the body of someone else, that's been happening for years and it won't stop.
    Imagine if you were with a group of your mates wouldn't you all comment on how a female looks, of course, well it's no different when a group of females are together, don't they talk about the physique of a male, yes and that's what happens.
    If you are happily married then you both accept eachother's body, you can't change her figure and she can't change the size of yours, but when you are being intimate it doesn't matter.
    Try not to make this an issue, it can't be changed, because you both got married as you were, and at that time nothing mattered because you were in love.
    I am wondering whether you are afraid of performance so
    does it happen to go a bit deeper than this and I'm not including your PTSD which I really hope you can get on top of, but these two issues could be combined.
    Hope to hear back from you. Geoff.
  3. Doolhof
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    23 October 2016 in reply to Navy Blue

    Hi Navy Blue,

    I'm really sorry to read of the suffering you have endured due to the career path you have chosen in life. Three hip operations! Hopefully you are doing a lot better now physically.

    Geoff has shared some great comments with you. It is not always easy communicating about sexual issues. We all have the body parts we were born with, apart from operations and procedures, there is little we can do about the more intimate parts of our anatomy.

    Ten years ago my husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer. At that stage I was still dreaming and hoping for our first live child to be born. Due to the cancer, (and my own medical issues) that dream was not realised.

    My husband coped by shutting himself away from me. We now have separate bedrooms and he calls us friends.

    I guess he had his own demons to fight. I tried talking to him about how he was feeling, but he just closed down even more. I learnt to love and care for a totally different person. He still does not like me to even touch his arm let alone hold hands.

    It breaks my heart that he has shut me out so much. Friends have asked why don't I leave and find someone better. He is my husband. I would be so immensely happy if he would just give me a hug or let me snuggle up to him on the lounge. But he doesn't.

    Over the years I have had to learn to accept myself and change the things I can change and live with the rest to the best of my ability.

    Can the children have a sleep over somewhere so you and your wife can have a night alone?

    Cheers, from Mrs. Dools


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  4. Navy Blue
    Navy Blue avatar
    63 posts
    23 October 2016 in reply to Doolhof
    Hello Mrs Dools, thank you for your insightful response.Reading what you have been through and endured just makes my issue seem pathetic.I am sorry to have bothered you.Like my therapist said most of my thoughts of inadequacies, my low self esteem and insecurities come from my PTSD.I deal with triggers daily,I hate the smell of diesel,meat cooking and any loud screams - even kids screaming in a supermarket can set me off. The sense of failure as a man of not being able to do enough that day,I guess has left me feeling not strong enough as a man.

    My subsequent hip,surgeries haven't helped my self esteem either!The socially pressured view seems to be that a strong man must have no fear or show emotional sadness.Not a day goes by where I don't cry,don't think about maybe there was something I didn't do,or there was something I did wrong in not being able to save those children and people.I have sourced counselling for PTSD and it is helping slowly.

    But I am guessing the fact I feel small is because I failed as a man to protect those poor people on deployment.I am so over protective of my children as of what happened on deployment -if I smell diesel or there is a car that back fires when I am with them-I go into a state of panic and get them to a safe place, even though there really is no danger.

    Maybe I take my perceived failures as not being man enough from failing and direct it or compare it to societies instilled view to me that women judge a mans strength and success by their penis size, or how big their muscles are or how tall they are...

    Unlike Geoff suggested performance is not an issue,thankfully,I have enough on my plate without that extra worry - it is just a distinct lack of self confidence in adequacies of being a strong enough man and a need for constant reassurance from my wife that what happened that day was not my fault.I need to hear I am a strong man and she feels safe and fulfilled with who I am.

    After 15 years of active service I am not ready to return anytime soon.At one stage I was suicidal as I was unable to connect/open up WRT my PTSD with my wife.I stupidly associated this with lack of being man enough  - and she can see right through my failings. Run out of characters will continue on new post..sorry
  5. MarkJT
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    23 October 2016 in reply to Navy Blue

    Navy Blue, we done on the post - took a heap of courage to do that so well done.

    You will never ever be judged on this forum, you will be ever be criticised for posting questions that you want answers or advice nor will you be ridiculed. It is a supportive environment and we will do our best to assist where we can.

    PTSD drains all of your self worth and confidence. Many of the feelings you have explained i went through as well. Although i'm not quite at the place i want to be, i am building it back up.

    In time and with the right treatments, you will get your mojo back. Time mate, it just takes time. Like other mental health conditions, recovery from PTSD cannot be done quickly.

    Stay in the game mate, you will be fine.

    Cheers

    Mark.

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  6. Navy Blue
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    63 posts
    24 October 2016 in reply to Doolhof
    Continued... I won't bore you any longer with this likely trivial insecurity that I have only recently inherited. I just want my life back the way it was.I know it will never be quite the same with these 2 titanium rods in either hip but I need my self confidence back,I need to feel like a man again but I just want for my wife to keep loving and desiring me.I need to feel strong and able to emotionally engage with my children - and for the love of god let them be children without me constantly worrying.

    My deployment and PTSD has taken so much away from me and distanced me so far away from my lovely family.Everyday is a struggle for me to put on a happy face for my children and carry on, to look my wife in the eyes and try to see that she still sees me as a man and desires me, even though I failed whilst away and that I relive that traumatic haunting failure daily.

    🤔 Thanks for putting up with this ramble. Besides the seriousness of my PTSD issues,this subject thread is pathetic,I apologise for wasting readers time. I feel so stupid posting it but may be it can give someone a good laugh.Not sure I can face the forum world after letting this cat out of the bag... Thank you anyway, yours humiliated Navy Blue
  7. Navy Blue
    Navy Blue avatar
    63 posts
    24 October 2016 in reply to MarkJT
    Hi Mark, thank you for your support. I just finished a part two post in reply to Doolhof and felt so embarrassed by it all, so pathetic that I felt I should just crawl back into my hole and no longer post such personal and emotional issues. Then your post came in...As much as I hate myself as a man right now and as much as I fear women or even men see me as weak,insecure and small, I will keep on trucking...I can still see even if it is heavily clouded at times - I have so much to live for. I love my children and would give anything to keep them safe and feeling loved. Anyway thank you for keeping me active on the site when I was seconds away from deleting my account. You're a good Aussie bloke, cheers D
    1 person found this helpful
  8. Just Sara
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    24 October 2016 in reply to Navy Blue

    Hi and welcome Navy Blue;

    I've read thru your thread with intensity. I can't compare as a man, but I can as a fellow PTSD traveller.

    Firstly I want to say; "Thankyou for your service; as a man as well as a defence force soldier."

    Next I want to put forward; you will never be the same person again; this is definitive. Wanting to go back and change things, taking 'blame' off the shoulders of others or trying to gain what you feel you've lost, is part of the PTSD roller-coaster.

    All individuals have to change and grow with age. Our bodies morph under the influence of gravity and time. But what lies beneath becomes wiser thru experience and knowledge gained from 'life'; whatever the realm.

    In my view, the insecurities you have as a man are comparable to those of a woman, just with gender influences as a differing factor. AM I ENOUGH? Who are we asking this of? Who are we comparing ourselves to? These questions aren't gender specific. They're from people who've been significantly damaged thru unimaginable circumstances.

    I cannot imagine what you've gone thru, and you couldn't imagine what it's like to be violently raped, sexually abused as a little girl, catching a friend sexually abusing your 2 yr old boy and deal with his night terrors for yrs alone, be rejected over and again from people you've loved deeply or cope with 7 yrs of bullying in the workplace until it broke you. There is no way to compare.

    Pain is pain, and fear is fear. What binds us can be our ability to survive and move into the next phase of our life with courage and determination. It is a long road my friend and not for the faint hearted. You have proven your worth time and again; you're still here and pushing the boundaries. You've sought help and are gaining the resources to heal and recover. This is in itself a mighty effort!

    In regards to your wife? I know from experience that 'believing' those who supported me had to occur. Trauma depletes our sense of self. Positive people and their words of encouragement are 'gold' in our recovery. Take them with gratitude; it isn't like that with everyone. What you consider a man's worth, may be related to media, generalised statements of bragging or marketing crap. When you breach the surface of any man or woman, they have the same concerns. Am I enough? Have you ever considered your wife may be having the same doubts?

    I consider myself a warrior; a fighter, as you are too.

    Keep talking to us..Sara (hugs)

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  9. Doolhof
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    Doolhof avatar
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    24 October 2016 in reply to Navy Blue

    Dear Navy Blues,

    My heart goes out to you big time. As Mark wrote, this is a very understanding and compassionate place to be, a safe place to share how you are feeling, to express how crap life is at times and also to share the glimpses of happiness.

    There is no way I can ever imagine the pain you feel after the traumas you have experienced. I wrote what I did not to in any way belittle your experiences but to let you know that in some small way I have some understanding of the way a man desires to be a man.

    As Sara has also mentioned, people go through all kinds of traumas in their lives. Is one trauma any bigger or more significant than another? I believe if they cause trauma then they are all significant.

    You write so very well. Have you thought of writing out your experiences? Has that been suggested to you by counsellors or would it all just be far too horrific to face?

    A couple of years ago I started to write about my pregnancy losses. It helped to a certain extent. It took the edge off the pain.

    Once again I will never know what you have been through. You sound like a deeply caring kind of guy. The things you have seen are experiences I would not wish upon anyone.

    I care for you and all that you are experiencing. Other people here care as well. Please never think that you are a burden to anyone here. Your posts are not pathetic, they are deeply moving. You do not need to feel humiliated. I feel deeply humbled by reading your post and Sara's as well.

    Please remember that answers do not come through immediately on the forum. People may have responded to you, the posts might just be taking time to come through.

    To me, you do not seem weak at all, but amazingly courageous to share your story.

    Some of us share cyber hugs on the forum. I'm not sure if you are into hugs or not, but I send you one anyway.

    We are here to listen and to care, cheers from Dools

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  10. Just Sara
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    25 October 2016 in reply to Doolhof

    Hey Mrs D!

    What a beautiful response...just lovely.

    Hi again Navy Blue;

    The caring words of Mrs Dools can be reiterated by all our amazing champions and regular posters on BB. We care deeply for those who have the courage to seek support, as well as those that prefer to just read. Your post is very individual and is taken as such with sensitivity and respect. It'd be nice if you could allow yourself the same sentiments...yes?

    You say you felt pathetic writing your post, but you pressed the reply button. (BTW, I've never met one pathetic person) I take this as a cry for help from someone who needs to be heard and validated. I'm here for you; we're here for you ok?

    My previous response may have come across as a bit straight laced, but to me, PTSD is an insidious disorder that infiltrates the very soul of a person...indiscriminately. It angers me to know intelligent and relevant people like yourself are affected so drastically. Personally, I've been to hell and back and would never in a million years criticise or belittle anyone suffering its affects.

    Of the many issues faced by me, sexual identity and loss of faith in this realm, took a nose dive due to my ex rejecting me sexually for nearly 3 yrs. I've recently realised the gravity of that situation; my body stopped working the way it's supposed to. Due to not having another relationship, and the time lapse since personal pleasure was experienced, I'd forgotten what it felt like - 'and so did my body'.

    Our nervous systems create physical abnormalities from anxiety and depression that mimic the brain's idea of 'normal'. Being rejected for so long and believing I was unlovable, my brain became accustomed to the idea and my body followed suit.

    Your feelings of inadequacy won't change unless you convince yourself it's false. Otherwise, you may end up worse off. What you believe or think, affects your brain chemistry. That's why it's so important to 'believe' the supportive words of those around you and to pump yourself up with positive self talk and mindfulness, even if it feels like 'pretending' to begin with. Your brain doesn't know the difference.

    Practice makes perfect...Sara xo

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  11. Navy Blue
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    63 posts
    25 October 2016 in reply to Just Sara

    Hello again Sara, thank god there are people as strong and caring in this world as you.I've returned from a session in which I reluctantly took my wife along with.I say reluctant as talking not only about my triggering events but the insecurities that go with it in front of her and the counsellor together, was one of the hardest things I have had to do - and this is coming from a 15+ year officer in the military! I broke down into tears, I was sweating and shaking. I wanted to be anywhere else but there in that room. I have never felt an emotional release quite like it, nor do I really want to feel it again any time soon. Turns out I am more of a man than I question myself to be. Having the emotions of guilt and failure that I felt that day during deployment,wishing I could've done more just means I care, genuinely care for others-even people I don't know.I HAVE to accept that I DID EVERYTHING that I could've done that day and more.I have to see that some things in life, no matter how f*#ked up they are,will be out of my control and showing/feeling hurt/failure in not being able to fix them only shows I am human or a MAN who cares deeply for others inspite of his own safety or wellbeing.I am not looking for hero status or gratitude, I just want my life to return to normal.Reliving the event time and time again I can never find an alternate action that would have changed the outcome.

     I cannot thank everyone here for their support.Cyber hugs warmly welcomed and are sent back to all and sundry in sweeping salvoes! I will remain in touch and would love for the same contact from you all as well.All the support,compassion and understanding means the world to me and it is taken as truly inspirational.Love NBx

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  12. Just Sara
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    25 October 2016 in reply to Navy Blue

    You know what Navy man? It's not often I'm bought to tears or read such magnificent words of healing and self insight in such a short amount of time. But you've absolutely blown me out of the water! (Pardon the pun!)

    I read every one of your words cheering and crying and yelling; "See...it works, it really works!" Bloody fantastic Navy Blue!!! Crutches and all...you're a legend!! 

    Your wife? Well, she's a beautiful legend too! So's your psych and everyone who believes in you including me. I'm just stoked for you, I really am.

    Your tears and sobbing are priceless; they 'knocked the cap off' yeah? But it's the self insight and believing the people who love you that matters. I hope one of those people is you. Ruminating may still occur, but now you have the rationale of reality, life will ease up for a while until your next lesson.

    Thankyou from my heart for agreeing to keep tabs and continue with your recovery journey. It's not often people stay to let us follow their path of self discovery.

    This is so exciting I could pee!

    I consider myself a warrior because I've fought the good fight till it nearly ended me. As history shows,

    They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
    Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
    They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
    They fell with their faces to the foe.

    Laurence Binyon (Exert from the Ode of Remembrance)

    I don't want to be remembered as someone who 'fell' without the good fight and I'm sure you don't either.

    At the going down of the sun..'we' will be remembered..

    ..for our gallantry and courage..we're still here Navy man...

    Love...Sara (Mega hugs)

    2 people found this helpful
  13. Navy Blue
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    63 posts
    25 October 2016 in reply to Doolhof
    Hello Dools, again thank you for listening and making me feel that I am not a burden or seen as pathetic for expressing my issues. Thank you for noting my writing skills,must stem from recent graduation of ADF Senior Officer Staff College!Something good to take away from my service history I guess.You hit the nail on the head when you said I seem like a deeply caring guy.I am, I have always been seen as too sensitive, too empathetic and caring - I guess traits that go against the norm in military service or manly behaviour in general.I can't change the way I am nor do I wish to. I do however desire to learn how to switch off pain, erase my flashbacks and the guilt that goes with them.How to cease selfblame and not develop or enhance insecurities. If anyone who reads this has SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) on how to do all the above please send them through.Just blocking out flashbacks whilst playing with my children without unleashing any anger or a scary side of dad in front of them is so challenging,demanding and exhausting. All this while recovering from major surgery is taking its toll on me physically,mentally and emotionally. I'm not here for a woe is me,oh give him a hug type of thing,as I read things that Sara for example has endured and it makes my situation look insignificant. As a loving caring protective parent I am sickened and angered beyond words to hear of her stories. If I could change all the darkness, hatred and evil in the world I would,believe me,I would do it in a heartbeat.I read your stories Dools and I am emotionally hurt by empathising in the pain you must go through like Sara on a daily basis.I live in hope that I will become a stronger man and in doing so be able to help and save others from the pain myself and good people like yourselves are going through.I am tired and will try and write more later. Again thank you for everything.
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  14. geoff
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    25 October 2016 in reply to Navy Blue
    hi Navy Blue, I do understand how you feel by your hip operations, because I was self employed when I had my car accident so I lost my business where I had 6 months work in front of me but I also was suffering from depression and now any work in what I used to love, well, I don't want to do any of it again.
    I would never ever believed that I would feel this way, but unfortunately that's what has happened. Geoff.
  15. Kazzl
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    25 October 2016 in reply to geoff

    Hi Navy Blue - I've just read through this thread. I too want to thank you for your service to the country and acknowledge the personal price you've paid.

    You have put your life on the line for others, have the ability to lead, the compassion to care for your people, the ability to love your wife and children deeply and to be a good husband and father, and the courage (and it takes real courage) to share your emotions and seek help when you're suffering.

    Lordy fella! Are you man enough? Mate you should give lessons!

    Seriously Navy Blue, I was thrilled to get to the last posts here and learn of the great things you're hearing about yourself. Believe them! Especially what your wife says. You are a fine man indeed.

    Kaz

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  16. Doolhof
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    25 October 2016 in reply to Navy Blue

    Dear Navy Blue,

    I agree with all the comments and sentiments others have shared. As hard as it was for you, it is wonderful you were able to open up to the counsellor with your wife present. No doubt she has been wondering how best to help and support you. Now she has a better understanding of things you have endured.

    The compassion and care you have within you is to be applauded. The world needs more people who are willing to reach out and help others no matter what.

    It must be a small relief to realise there was nothing else you could have done to save the lives of the people you tried to help. Holding onto blame and guilt can destroy your soul. So much of what happens on a battlefield must surely be out of anyone's control.

    For me the most important thing you can do for your children is to constantly tell them that you love them. They will be too young at the moment to understand what you have been through. It may be beneficial to tell them that part of you is sick, that it has nothing to do with them, and that sometimes you become angry and scary even though that is not how you want to be.

    Children need reassurance. They need to feel secure. Don't we all!

    Once again I echo everyone's sentiments here, you are certainly man enough. Embrace the man you are now. None of us can go back to how we were even yesterday, the excellent thing is that we can be who we are today and be proud of that fact!

    I'm sending you more cyber hugs and a huge congratulatory pat on the back for being willing to take this journey of healing and change.

    Huge cheers to you and all who partake of this journey, from Dools


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  17. Navy Blue
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    26 October 2016 in reply to Kazzl
    Hello Kaz, thank you so much for those supportive comments.I have been reading them over and over again trying to take them as a compliment and slowly rebuild confidence in myself, from the foundation of love, support and security that has been laid by my family and supporters like yourselves on here on BB.I am still mentally drained by yesterday's session and in some stupid way having self doubt over some of the positive things said about me.I am trying to shut these negative thoughts out, believing it is just the depression making me think along these line.Or maybe it's just the mental fatigue from yesterday not giving me the strength to engage and neutralise these thoughts.

    I went to bed last night only to wake after some awful dreams and flashbacks to be back in that sh*t awful place where I was yesterday - before the joint session. I guess here is where the battle that Sara mentioned of adopting self insight, believing those who love me wouldn't lie just to comfort me,comes into play.I can't demand constant reaffirmation on this apparent "untrue" insecurity for the rest of my life surely?That is unrealistic and unfair on my wife.I just don't understand, I was so relieved, had such a warm glow in my heart and felt genuinely happy hearing her comments not even 24 hours ago.

    I am a people pleaser,I hate to fail and I hate to disappoint-my counsellor clearly stated this trait of mine.Maybe this is me caring so deeply about pleasing my wife by abiding by societies rules  and I see this issues as making up for my failures as a man that fateful horrific day?Please tell me this is the PTSD talking and I will go back to how I thought and felt yesterday-knowing/believing I am more than adequate for my wife like she said.I'm scared this is going to be a constant battle for ever,unless I finally rid the PTSD demons of failure and the obvious false insecurities of being small that coincide.I feel like a tourism motto "happy and confident one day,sh*thouse the next"!I want off this roller coaster it is making me feel sick.Going backwards
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  18. Kazzl
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    26 October 2016 in reply to Navy Blue

    Hiya Navy Blue

    I don't think you are going backwards mate, I think you're having a very normal reaction to letting out a whole lot of difficult personal stuff. I think most people here would have experienced similar after an emotionally difficult session.

    It's a very hard thing to do. We feel vulnerable, we have to trust our partners and our professionals with our most intimate and deep fears and doubts, it's a leap of faith. And even though we feel relieved afterwards because of the release and no longer having to hold something secret, it's not long before the doubts reappear and vulnerability emerges again. I've been through it too.

    I think if we accept that talking therapy (which is one of the best forms of treatment for PTSD) is often a process of two steps forward, one step back, then we start to see that there is progress overall. It's a bit like building muscles I guess, you have to work them hard and tear them first, but eventually the pain gives way to greater strength.

    Keep going Navy, this is possibly the hardest and most worthwhile thing you'll ever do, because in time you will heal and you will have your beautiful family and they will have their man and their dad. Nothing is more important. Believe them, and believe in yourself.

    Cheering you on from the sidelines

    Kaz

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  19. sensitiveswan
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    26 October 2016 in reply to Navy Blue

    Hi Navy Blue,

    I'm so sorry for everything you're going through. I can only imagine how it must feel to be in combat and have flash backs. I have never been in that situation, but I can relate as far as being a hypersensitive, over-empathising person, as that is also what drives my depression, guilt, and 'am I enough?' thoughts. I have mild PTSD, but have not gone through anything as bad as you or Sara. I think you are both heroes.

    You ARE a man NavyBlue. 12 years is a long time to be married, and I'm sure your wife married you because she loves you. It's great she dated a lot of men before you - she got to know exactly what she wanted - a sensitive, caring man like you!! I know I married my husband for who he is, and there is nothing better than when your man lets you in and tells you how he is feeling. That is true intimacy. That is marriage. Everyone wants to feel needed and useful - let your wife be your rock for a while. There is nothing unmanly about that, and it may even speed up your recovery. Instead of thinking of it as being a burden, try thinking of it as helping her feel important and to feel that you trust her. That you are going through all this and choosing to share it with her - there is no bigger honour!

    Do you think you could get your wife to write a letter to you, stating why she thinks you're special, why she loves you, why she married you, happy memories etc. and then when you are feeling that horrible self-doubt, you can read the letter (instead of feeling like you are demanding constant reassurrance) and remind yourself that way?

    The roller-coaster definitely sucks and I really hope it is not long before the ups are a lot longer than the downs. Keep talking on here as much as you need. I definitely do not find it pathetic!!!! I think it is very brave, and you may even be helping other people going through similar things.

    Big cyber hugs to you x

    2 people found this helpful
  20. Just Sara
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    26 October 2016 in reply to sensitiveswan

    Hey and welcome Sensitiveswan;

    I'm sure Navy Blue will gain great insight from your post; it was lovely. Thankyou for your wisdom and kind words.

    Hi Kaz!

    As usual, your beautiful gift of wise, purposeful and practical magic comes to the rescue. Navy Blue has assets unknown in the 'physical' community here on BB and is well deserving of our support ta-boot.

    Navy Man;

    In my last post I referenced the Ode to Remembrance. After signing of the Armistice Treaty in 1918, the terms of peace were fought out in a locked room with ally rep's from each country. Long story short, the last issue to be dealt with was compensation for the 'fallen'...What is a man's worth?

    This question was so difficult to answer; there were only a few men left to determine the outcome after many others couldn't engage anymore and went home. The importance of that debate however, is more relevant than the amount agreed upon for each family to receive.

    Considering your worth re your service and contribution to your country, is valid. But your worth to your wife, children, extended family and even your community, has no monetary value equal.

    In the armed service, duty, protocol, chain of command, rules, regulations and hierarchy is the premise behind survival. At home, 'choice' and 'options' and, consequences without an authority to be held accountable to, must seem foreign and new. Doubting yourself is par for the course, I know this first hand.

    My family home was my war zone, as were many of the situations I confronted. My recovery depended solely on 'me'. Yes, I had my supporters, but at the end of the day (the going down of the sun) it had to be me who forged a new path with new rules, new purpose, and a new sense of confidence and 'self'.

    BeyondBlue has given me purpose replacing my career (now medically retired) and renewed/validated my sensitivities, empathy and caring for others. It appeared at a time my 'worth' was so depleted, I felt lost beyond words. Being a sensitive man is soulful and rare; embrace it..please.

    I thought about what I 'wanted' to be instead of what I 'thought' I'd lost. I was willing to do whatever it took to become that; I still am.

    This is your personal journey of self discovery dealing with collateral damage. I'm here to guide and support you through the quagmire.

    Kind and warm thoughts...Sara (Comforting hugs)

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  21. Just Sara
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    26 October 2016
    Post Script...sorry Geoff for not mentioning your wisdom with surgical trauma and its affects. You're a wealth of info and caring..Sara xo
  22. Navy Blue
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    26 October 2016 in reply to Kazzl
    Hi Kaz, sorry to be writing so late, I am exhausted & hysterical.I have regressed & for this reason I am so angry & disappointed with myself to the point of not knowing where or who to turn to next-or if there is any point in trying anymore.I took onboard every little piece of positive support regarding my self worth; & the heartfelt confessions of my wife on how much of a caring,empathetic,selfless,loving strong man I am.And yet,I cannot believe them,not a single word.I just can't possibly see how they can be true after what happened.Reading Sara's previous post of her excitement (which made me feel so proud) I can only see now that I have failed someone yet again through letting her down in thinking I had "seen the light" in understanding & adopting self insight.My wife & I spoke again tonight,and I broke down & basically all the warmth & glow in my heart & the positive progress from what she'd told me during the joint session,in my mind,just couldn't be true. Why?Why have I no self belief in the fact the person I love & married would make these comments up?Is it because I almost got killed in a deliberate detonation only to later witness some evil people execute children and other innocent people point blank while laughing, yes laughing as they're pulling the trigger-& myself nor my team being in a position to not stop this from happening?Is this why I cannot see how I deserve to be classed as a man?Is this why I see myself as failure?I have unintentionally clearly upset my wife by questioning her responses from today,& due to this I have uncontrollable guilt & sorrow.No doubt she is sick of me by now,this constant whimpering insecure wreck-no matter how many times she says it is not true.Maybe if I arrived at that detonation a few seconds earlier I wouldn't be going through all this pain nor dragging the ones I love most into this horrible nightmare.My wife agreed to write a letter truthfully addressing/negating the false insecurities & false inadequacies I am having.She will remind me of why I'm a man & why she loves me & why I did not fail anyone or continue to fail anyone.I'm sure she is becoming sick of me & how can I blame her,listen to me or re-read my pathetic story?I am hoping this note will give me the reassurance I need & will not only help me but remove the burden of the sh#t she has to deal with from her husband.Apologies for my anger and graphic post,out of character-very sorry.
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  23. Just Sara
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    27 October 2016 in reply to Navy Blue

    Good morning Navy Blue;

    Firstly, you've not let me down. I want this to be clear ok? I believe in you because you have the courage and insight to identify and describe what you're feeling and going thru. Not everyone can do this. Having moments of clarity during and after your psych visit and then crashing, is a normal process with PTSD.

    Your brain/body is recovering from massive trauma, therefore mental ups and downs will occur as a matter of course. Your body has the capacity to heal itself; time, gentleness and patience is crucial for this to happen.

    Yes, I've been thru some debilitating trauma too, but what you've described is brutal and can't be compared. I put this question to you; 'If this had happened to another man, how would you support him?'

    I'd like to suggest a book; 'Waking the Tiger - Healing Trauma' by Peter A Levine; North Atlantic Books. It's about healing trauma being a natural process for humans and animals alike. It helped me to look at myself from a biological standpoint. It complements psychological counselling and support for people who are interested in who and 'what' they are.

    The following link, which you may already have, might lead to some support from those who've already gone thru your predicament.

    http://www.army.gov.au/Army-life/Wounded-Injured-and-Ill-Digger/Support-tools-and-organisations

    We on BB, care deeply about people. I'd like for you to have the maximum support possible with your specific area of PTSD. Please keep writing to us; getting it out of your system onto the screen with genuinely interested people can be healing in itself.

    I truly empathise with you and your situation. I am in awe of your ability to push on and question yourself. You're obviously experiencing insurmountable confusion and mental anguish. Please find even 1 moment of peace each day and remember it as precious. Those moments will grow in time.

    We like to encourage 'mindfulness' as a means of 'being in the moment'. Not the past or future, it really works. With practice, this process creates positive pathways in the brain, just like learning to drive a car. Eventually it becomes automatic.

    I'm with you all the way Navy Man.

    Kind and warm thoughts...Sara..hugs

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  24. Navy Blue
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    27 October 2016 in reply to Just Sara

    Hi Sara,

    I am crying, crying a lot. I can't begin to thank you enough for firstly taking interest in my issues, especially with what must be going on in your own mind, but secondly for genuinely caring for me-someone you know so little about. I am gobsmacked at your mental strength and your amazing knowledge but not only these traits, but just how well you can communicate with such clarity it to me, particularly when I am in a clouded state. The question you ask "if this was to happen to another man how would I support him?" Clearly it seems quite simple and obvious to me, I couldn't. I am too caring, too sensitive too empathetic, I cannot therefore see possibly how I'd have the strength to assist someone with this much pain of failure. I guess this is why I am so grateful that you responded to my posts and entered a part of my life - as you have that gift, that strength to help, console, understand and empathise and provide the exact required support when it is crucially needed. Ah, I am so tired Sara, so very tired...I think the last time I recall sleeping, Jesus was in kindergarten... Just going to cry myself to sleep today as I am home alone and have the option of being able to do just this. I just wish for non disturbing dreams for a change. I will return to the forum again soon, maybe tomorrow afternoon, as my wife and consellor strongly urge me to return tomorrow for another group session. I therefore need rest as I am petrified and exhausted of even the thought of this... I will try and cuddle up,with even one of those warm hugs and kind thoughts you so generously offer and try and sleep or at least lie here with my eyes closed in a peaceful and safe place. Thank you again Sara for helping me through a particularly difficult day. Oh, random question without notice for the day... I am thinking of changing my profile name to Navy Man instead of Navy Blue... What do you think? You gave me the idea and strength to adopt it (by referring to me as it in several of your inspirational posts to me) and it did make me smile and feel good about myself, so would that be ok with you? Thank you for being you and as caring as you are all the same. I'd hate to think where I'd be today if not for your genuine caring support. Cheers NM xx

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  25. Just Sara
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    27 October 2016 in reply to Navy Blue

    Just beautiful Navy Man; many, many thanks..you too have made my day

    (absolutely fine to use this name..go for it!)

    Your post humbles me. Just so you know, I still struggle with complements. I will accept yours with pride and accomplishment though; you've given me something precious. I choose to believe you...and believe in myself.

    How you'd support another man in your situation? If you read back over your own words, you've described yourself the same way you've described me; caring, empathy, sensitive. Just food for thought...

    I pop in a couple of times a day to check on you and your progress. Your story and genuine need to recover and do what it takes to get there, inspires me. It's also that your words are so close to mine when life was unbearable for me, I dare not walk away; it isn't in me.

    I have 'so' been there. The tiredness you speak of? "Sigh", I still have those days. But I recover quicker and more self aware. You're going to get there..I assure you Navy Man. Rest, recharge and learn to 'be'. I hope your GP has given you a good medication plan to complement the counselling. Sleep is absolutely essential! I find anti anxiety med's give a better quality sleep than others. Talk to your GP.

    This too shall pass...

    Tell yourself this every time life 'sucks', one moment at a time if necessary.

    You're the man I spoke of supporting; the man in your mirror. You have it in you, I know you couldn't walk away from someone in pain as you are now.

    I'm here...I will be as long as you need me.

    Grateful sentiments...Sara..hugs and warm thoughts

    1 person found this helpful
  26. Doolhof
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    27 October 2016 in reply to Navy Blue

    Hi Navy Man,

    My heart goes out to you. I can not imagine the images you have entrenched in your mind. I don't know how a person goes about changing that, maybe you can't. Can you think about the people whom you have saved? There may be so many you do not even know about.

    When the dark images hit you, try and think of those whom you have helped. Think of the children whom you have no doubt seen in the streets who have smiled at you, or who have been running around and having fun.

    Think of your own children and the things that you enjoy doing with them. Plan activities and places where you can take them, make lists of things you would like to show them one day.

    Attending another session of therapy may seem harrowing, sometimes we have to go through the really tough and horrible stuff to find the light at the other end. As Sara has mentioned, the journey can be difficult but it is worth it.

    Crying is good. Please don't think of crying as not being manly. Who gives a toss about that! Tears are healing, cleansing and a natural part of being human. I read somewhere that tears actually release chemicals in the body that help a person feel better.

    It can be hard at times to believe the positive statements people make about you. Write them down. Put them in a box or container and look at them when you need to be reassured. Tell yourself that you are a worthwhile person. That it is because you care so much that you hurt so much. Allow the love, care and concern of others to sink in.

    Your soul is understandably hurting right now. You have experienced a living hell. You will need time to get through this. Accept the lows and take hold of the highs. Allow yourself to laugh and enjoy life when those days come your way. Don't feel guilty for being happy. You did all you could do for those people. They are now at peace. There will be no more war or horrors for them. They have been released from all of that.

    Can someone look after the children so you can take your wife out? Even if it is just for a coffee.

    Plan to do something different with the family. Make sandcastles at the beach. Fly a kite in a park. Have a picnic.

    Watch cheerful kids movies or a comedy and remember what it is like to laugh.

    Dear Navy Blue, many people here care for you, as do Sara and myself. Some people may be reading this but just don't know what to write. You are not alone.

    Huge hugs to you from Dools

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  27. MarkJT
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    27 October 2016 in reply to Navy Blue

    Navy Blue, by reading what you have posted, a few things come to mind:

    1) I reckon you have a red hot case of moral injury. It is when we cannot stop something from happening in front of us despite everything that we are trained to do. There was a really good article written in the Huffington Post about this. Have a read of it but be warned, it will trigger you so best to do this with your wife nearby to help you settle and have some settling techniques ready to go. Music etc is good for this.

    http://projects.huffingtonpost.com/moral-injury

    2) In twenty years of policing, I have done some really exceptional work on some very large operations as well as making a massive difference in peoples live for what is perceived to be low end offending, but to them it is high end. When i was going through my PTSD journey, I never thought i was any good at what i do. I was a failure and couldn't investigate diddly squat. I am now back to saying that i contributed significantly to the safety of the Victorian community. What i am saying here is, DO NOT bash yourself and think that you are worthless. Absolutely far from the truth. YOU did something that i reckon 20 million other Australians would not want to do and that is deploy to a conflict zone. That takes some serious courage to do and YOU did that.

    PTSD is a marathon mate, it is not a sprint. You need to re-build your base as it has been wiped out by PTSD. Your resilience is drained, your confidence is gone and your self is highly damaged. I have just described what i was like but not anymore. I am currently sitting in a zone of complete peace within myself. Will it last? Who knows but i do know that my exercising, doing my mindfulness, eating well and continual clinical treatment, I am giving myself the best chance possible to remain in this state of peacefulness.

    There is zero reason why you cannot do this as well. It is baby steps at the start, nothing more. Do not push yourself - there is no need to. Settle in to rebuilding the base and once that is done, then we move onto the next phase of recovery.

    PTSD is a horrific injury that takes a massive toll. It makes out brains have really stupid thoughts and I can guarantee you that all the serious violence that takes place daily on earth, we can only control a small portion of it.

    (end part one)

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  28. MarkJT
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    27 October 2016 in reply to MarkJT

    (Part 2)

    Groups like al Qaeda and more lately ISIS have zero regard for human life and will do atrocious things to other human beings just like what you have described above. This is where the moral injury comes into play. There is only so much we can do, we cannot fix everything.

    I want you to watch the link below. Admiral William McRAVEN, fmr Navy SEAL and Commander of US SOC, JSOC and Seal Team 3. I have watched it a gazillion times. It outlines a set of rules that he goes by and i have lived by a few of them since I first watched it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxBQLFLei70

    PTSD is not a life sentence. What you are feeling now is the brunt of it, it will get better if you do the right things. As i said above, exercise, diet, mindfulness, clinical work and re-train your brain to not be so hard on yourself. You have done more than enough in your life, it is okay to sit back and coast for a while to get yourself right. You are severely injured by the theater of war, there are so many just like you so you are NOT alone.

    Apologies if you have already said this but have you hooked into SoldierOn at all?

    Keep with us, here to help.

    Mark.

    3 people found this helpful
  29. Kazzl
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    28 October 2016 in reply to MarkJT

    Hi Navy, I've been reading these posts with awe. I'm so humbled and grateful to you for what you've done (look at those medals!) and impressed with your efforts to get well. And I'm in awe of the responses you have received, such insight and kindness - that's what you have brought out here.

    Navy I don't feel I can add much other than to reinforce that recovery is often a two steps forward, one step back process, so don't feel you have failed if you relapse after a good period. It's part of the journey.

    We care about you Navy, it's an honour to have you in our community, and we are here for you.

    Kaz

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  30. Just Sara
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    28 October 2016 in reply to Navy Blue

    Hey Navy Man;

    I take it by your absence today the visit with your psych may have been a bit rough or family life is in the fore. I hope you're at least a little settled. I send my best wishes till you return.

    Mark, Mrs D and Kaz have joined forces to hold gentle hands under you while you convalesce to get through each day, and sometimes each moment. You know what I mean in this respect - yes?

    Mark has told of his time within the Police Force and his PTSD, so I thought I might give you some insight into one of the issues I faced and how I survived.

    I was violently raped by my de-facto at 21, a man I loved dearly. The Police said there was nothing they could do, my father was having a beer with him at the pub, and my mother asked me what I'd done to make him do that to me. My support was zero.

    I stopped sleeping, looking after myself, and couldn't keep food and water down. I was broken and dying. In the weeks that followed my weight plummeted and deep heartfelt sobbing was my constant companion. My mum made me move in with her and encouraged me to eat small bites of food. But it always came back up again. I can't express in words what I went through NM. I was a vital and exuberant young woman with my life ahead of me, reduced to a deeply sad, empty, irrelevant and damaged 'body'.

    How could I still be here? During one moment, I couldn't tell you when, something happened. I 'felt' a small urge to live. It wasn't about family, future or something spiritual; it was a primal instinct to 'survive'. I went to my GP and broke down. He hugged me and gently spoke in my ear; "I'm here for you. Everything's going to be fine"

    He gave me med's to sleep and slowly, my brain began to repair itself. Sleep is essential! The rest is history. I didn't have counselling and relied on my mum for sustenance and company. When I was well enough, I got a job and created a goal to go on a cruise. I went on that cruise 18 months later.

    All the situations I've faced in my life don't matter. It was listening to my 'will' to survive that set me apart from those who chose to self expire.

    I am driven by my ability to take one breath at a time; I am valuable beyond comprehension, just because I was born.

    Missing your words...Sara; hugs of support xo

    2 people found this helpful

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