In Iraq for 365

About my experiences in Iraq... the frustrations, the missions and this country... and the journey home

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I no longer live in Milwaukee or in Wisconsin or my home state, Oklahoma. I now reside in the same town as my girlfriend in Kentucky. The people are so nice here and I love everything about the area, but when I decided to move I was parting from a very solid group of friends and a counselor who’d seen me through some tough times. As many of you know, I had my ups and downs when first coming home. Just reading these old posts really puts things into perspective.

I was a different person in Iraq. I had to be. And I tried to become my old self when I returned home, but it was like experiencing puberty all over again… I had all these emotions and didn’t know what to do with them. So I sought help and I had developed a true rapport with my counselor at the Milwaukee Vet Center. While previous therapists wanted me to take pills to numb the emotions, the pain, the nightmares, this guy taught me how to control my nightmares. He gave me exercises to practice when I felt scared, outraged or sad. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know if I’d be in the situation I am now. Now, I’m back to the drawing board with a new therapist. After our first session, he was amazed by my ability to cope with certain situations and how I’ve followed my heart through it all.

When I first realized I needed help to readjust and I couldn’t tackle it all on my own, I was humbled and to a point, a little ashamed. See, I’ve always been independent and nothing has ever stood in my way. Now, after scores of counseling, good friends and the will to be a productive citizen, I have my old zest for life again. I share this, because you may know somebody who just returned from a combat zone and they don’t seem the same. I encourage all vets to seek some form of counseling, because it works and it’s free. Sure there are bad days. I still get outraged by John Kerry’s comments, and I still shake when I see a backpack lying unattended in a public place. But now, I know how to deal with it. I just count to 10 and think about the Brewers winning the Pennant.


At 9:46 PM, Blogger JUST A MOM said...

I am so proud of you Smink! Really not just like the OOOh we are proud crap, I really feel as though you have become a part of my life. I have read your words now for a year and more. I worried like a mother for you and cryed and laughed right along with you. I truly am PROUD of how far you have come. Hey I think those Kentucky people still use the Brut too don't they?

At 5:02 AM, Blogger rev. billy bob gisher ©2005 said...

i wish a bunch people who never went to Iraq, realized they needed help. i am so glad you got it, and i hope that all of our vets returning from that hell hole, do the same. perhaps it would not hurt if all of our elected officials had their heads examined too.

At 7:50 AM, Blogger kbug said...

You have come a long way. Your willingness to share your feelings and fears along the way has allowed all of us who care about you make that journey with you. You've opened the door to understanding, and in a sense, hope. I know that Seth will probably be dealing with some of the same things when he comes back, depending on what he sees while he's there, and knowing ahead of time helps us prepare for that. I hope you know that I rejoice every time I hear good news from you, you've become a very important part of my life and I pray for your happiness every day. I know you never dreamed, when you started your blog a year and a half ago, that you would have such an effect on the people who read it, even though I told you so many times. You've touched all of our lives in one way or another and continue to do so every day. God bless you, Casanova, and your sweetie.

At 10:15 PM, Blogger Robin in Ohio said...

Thanks for letting us know you're doing OK. After faithfully reading your blog while you were in Iraq, I am so pleased to know you're adjusting to life back home. I am thankful you found some good counselors to help you with the journey.

Give your sweetie a kiss from all of us and may you continue to find peace,love, joy and contentment in your life. Thank you again for your service.

Mom Robin in Ohio

At 8:16 AM, Blogger Blenster said...

I live in KY and would love to shake your hand sometime if possible.


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