What happened overseas is not your fault. You are not responsible for what happened. No one can tell the future and we have no idea what is going to happen, we can’t save everyone. Guilt plagues many of us who have survived when our brothers have fallen. You can “what if” and “could have, would have, should have” the piss out of those situations and work yourself into a dark, spiraling, black hole of self loathing and depression; or you can accept the fact that what happened was out of your hands, break down your walls and really let the emotion out, then release it.
When we come back from war we bring home so much more baggage than the rucksacks and duffel bags we carried back. We hold onto this baggage with white knuckled emotion not knowing how to loosen our titans grip upon it. You must face those horrible situations, face them head on, let all that raw emotion come up. Cry, scream, beat a punching bag, yell at the top of your lungs, let all that emotion that you’ve been stuffing away come up and out. Acknowledge what you are feeling and the situation it is coming from, then breathe deeply and with each breath release the emotion, release the situation it came from, and release your grip on it. Forgive yourself, forgive everyone else, don’t harbor grudges, anger, blame or hatred toward anyone. Just as much as you can’t control the things that happened, no one else could have predicted or controlled what happened either. Let go of your resentment and stop pointing fingers. Let go of all of it completely, and breathe deep.
This method is not easy to do and you will have to do this more than once to fully release each traumatic event you’ve endured. This isn’t for everyone, you have to be ready to let go and release. Being in a good place mentally and emotionally is highly suggested, if you bring up all of your deep seeded pain and don’t release it, you could do a lot more damage to yourself. Taking the time to work on yourself is essential to your path of healing, for some suggestions on how to work on yourself look back at my article “Combat PTSD: Managing Your Symptoms“. What I wrote in that article will be helpful on your path to rise above your PTSD, now go out and start taking your life back.