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So, in this blog post I wanted to talk about som*thing that is consistently relevant and impactful to me... that is, depression. I have a lot of moments where I think I might be ok, and that I have a grip on things, and then out of nowhere a narrative of being absolutely unhappy consumes me. I do that really cliche thing where my mind is saying "Why do I have to exist? Why can't I just blink out of reality as if I was never here?" It's... you know... a pretty dark place to be in... lost in this world where... things are so dark and sad. A lot of it, I thought, was logic based. That being if you're looking out of a plane while flying thousands of feet above a city, you realize everyone is so small, and that puts your own significance in perspective. Just a ton of little people going about their days... and yet, none of it means anything? So, I felt that was part of why I was so upset... but it's not really that is it? Fact is, I was crushed. Many years ago, when I was a teenager, I had such high hopes for my future. I had joined the military, I wanted to serve my country and be part of som*thing bigger... I actually still want to be part of som*thing bigger but unfortunately, they don't want you if you don't have the will to end human lives... I tried, they said no, repeatedly... point is, back then when I joined, I believed America was such an honorable country when compared to the rest of the world, I watched all the popular war films, I thought "Wow, that could be me." (Not the guy with his arm blown off, the dude who magically dodges all the bullets and is smiling at the end... it's what we most all imagine ourselves to be). Anyway, time passed with my time in the military and things started building up on me. I started to realize that within the machine, it seemed like no one cared about each other, I was regularly paired up with other Airmen, and half the time when I learned more about them, they would reveal that they were crooks. Some were only in the Air Force because it was a choice between that or going away. There were massive scandals where entire dormitories would be discharged for a substance misuse event. What I'm trying to say is, I had a lot of faith in our country, in our government and in our military, only to progressively see numerous examples of our military members acting worse than the average civilian. It really freaked me out. Eventually it evolved into me being directly thr***ened and bullied by people who outranked me, people telling me to disobey orders of people who outranked them and people outright appearing to break the UCMJ. When I joined Security Forces, I had this bizarre idea that everyone there believed in the law and would uphold it both in enforcing it and in their personal life. That's one massive nope. So what happens when the idea of your heroes fades right in front of you. You have no one left to look up to, no one to aspire to be more like, you just feel defeated? Well... at some point I wound up in South Korea... and in South Korea, well... that was the final straw. While I was there, I distinctly lost my will to live. I fell in love with South Korean culture, I realized their people are actually really awesome, and often, better than our own as far as community/attitude goes. Being in the military was the ultimate education on the following points: 1. America is not the most beautiful country in the world. 2. America does not have the most moral/ethical/kind people in the world. 3. America is not better than many other countries. 4. People are often much more caring/considerate in other countries. 5. America is full of people who don't take care of each other or themselves. 6. Americans are so in love with themselves that they stopped trying and became predominately unpleasant people. 7. Most everything you were taught about America is pretty much a lie, all your dreams were just that, dreams and it's time to wake up. I had an identity crisis. I realized I have no idea who anyone is. I don't know who my own countrymen were, I didn't know who I was fighting, or if everything my country told me about the "enemy" was a lie. If we were this wrong about our position in the world, how wrong were we about... everything? Now let me be clear, I do like America, but it is not the America I was raised to believe it was. Our country programs us to see things a certain way. The media convinces us some people are bad, some people are good, why? Because we said so. We are given a black and white perspective on the world and that's just not honest or fair. Hard truth: People we are told are the worst in the world, are probably great to play board games with, talk to and generally hang out with. Problem? A bunch of people who have a lot to gain in convincing you people of that religion, country, culture or group want to do everything they can to dehumanize that group so they can get what they want. The lesson I've learned over and over again, money is the reason most anyone acts like someone, or som*thing is bad, and we're all just people. People have good sides, they have bad sides, none of us are heroes or villains, we're just products of our environments and brain chemistry. Our country has money to gain in promoting a military agenda. Our country has money to gain in making others look worse than us. Our society, our culture, sees profit in praising ourselves while putting others down, by separating rather than uniting. This is what all of you should understand, anyone who tries to place humans against other humans because of their culture or place of birth, is likely anti-Human. We can't control where we are born or the culture we grow up with, no one should be our enemy for that reason. To bring my point back to the subject, I had a lot of beliefs and hopes about the world when I was younger. I really wanted the people around me to have the same standards as I did, to live with honor and respect for our proposed cause... but after a while, I realized I was living in a dream far more pleasant than reality... and that dream was stomped on and torn away. I was left with nothing else to save me from facing the truth, and that truth shattered me. We're not the heroes, my life was just a product of propaganda... and naturally valuing honesty as much as I do, I didn't want to live that lie. When that happened... so many years ago, I lost som*thing I don't see myself ever getting back... like imagine walking in on your girlfriend with a dolphin. Yeah, I said, a dolphin. No matter how hard you try, that Dolphin will be in your head every time you look at her for the rest of your life. There is no going back... and that's it. There are other things that make me sad... but the main, reoccurring theme was... this shattered idea of what was, and my inability to adapt to living with what was revealed behind the fallen curtains. Young men need heroes, they need people to look up to... if you give them fake hero after fraud after phony... you just ended that young man, and his future. Young men, you think they're the strongest, but they break just the same.
I'm sure many people have experienced the sting of not being where you hoped you would have been, in various situations. So the question is, when it feels like what you had set out to do has become hopeless, what do you do to convince yourself to keep going? What motivates you to soldier on? Does it work for you?