I came out of the war with a lot of mental health problem; at that time, I didn’t know what had happened to me. I have never experienced this mix feeling some time sadness, other weakness, loss of appetite, nightmare, insomnia, sleepy and anxious. I continue with my life but then my girlfriend the woman I love told me that she has an affair. I felt betrayed and something crack in my chest. It makes my condition worst I went a whole week without eating or drinking anything but alcohol. Since I didn’t know at that time anything about mental diseases looking for help was the last thing on my mind. We didn’t separate immediately but I knew it was over and I was so disturbed that I begin looking for a way out of the best job I ever had. The cold war ended, and the Army open up a way out for volunteers to get out service before his/her time. Guess what; I used that door to get out, not because I want too. It was all those thoughts of desperation, sadness, a broken heart, it was all the thing that came over me at the same time. I was drowning in my thoughts.
I have an early out; my girlfriend stays with me until I left Germany. I didn’t get medical attention because I wasn’t feeling sick. So, I spent the following six years of my life drowning in alcohol and drugs to cope with my symptoms. Other times I stay at home for a whole month or more without going out. The depression, anxiety, and PTSD kept me from prospering in my life. I matriculated in college when I was feeling well but that last about few month and back from where I started. I went thru that about three times in those six years.
I got a job at San Juan VA Medical Center in the diet department taking the food to the hospitalized veteran. It was a good job, but I want to prosper and because my condition I medicate myself with alcohol and drugs; nothing hard. None the less I was on the wrong path. I went to see a Dr.Fuertes for a fungus that had in my nail. She saw how I was and without me say anything she gives me a referral to the PTSD clinic. Nothing happens those people from the hospital didn’t do anything. So, I continue destroying my life. I went to get help to PIC or Psychiatry Intervention Center, and I received about three or four referral to the Mental Hygiene Clinic, and after some time they gave me an appointment and assigned me a Psychiatry and a psychologist to help me with my mental condition. Dealing with VA was hard.
I move from the kitchen to Nursing Service; in the area of the escort service. There I learned about my condition talk to another veteran about it. It took me a long time to become the man I once was, but I did it. I am not cured, but I know how to deal with my condition. I occasionally drink like once or twice a year only on special occasion. I stop smoking the 25th of January 2017. I keep taking my medication and working on my condition. I wasted precious time that won’t come back due to the negligence of some employees at the VA Hospital.
The taught of going thru what I went with my German girlfriend prevent to have a stable relationship. Every time I begin feeling something for a lady friend; I sabotage the relationship because my heart wasn’t healed yet. Now I am ready for a serious relation, but I haven’t found a mutual attraction. No love that comes later after you get to know the other person. Sometimes the physical attraction doesn’t work, but when you get to know what’s inside the other person, you fall in love too. At my age is difficult because most of the woman come with baggage just like the men too. Probably my destiny is to die without love and alone. Who knows but I won’t quick until I find that lady or die trying.
I love to write and always have an inventive mind, and I am a dreamer. My first language is Spanish, but for some unknown reason, I like to write in English.
Author, Melito Santos