“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
Welcome to my first blog on mental health / OSI/ PTSD / whatever the hell new way I’m supposed to look at what I’m dealing with. The above statement was said to me by a friend, believe it or not. Still a friend too, yet this moment isn’t forgotten. I still remember his good will. I remember the fact he’d bought me a beer (only fair after I’d given him a cigar). I even remember the ole attaboy shoulder tap after he gave me his wisdom that I guess was supposed to help me out that day. Funny thing was, I was actually having a good day and not thinking at all about the hot day on the dusty road of Kabul where five of my poker mates from my tent lines died in a flaming vehicle exploded by the average persons body weight in explosive. Diesel and fertilizer aren’t only for gassing trucks and growing a hibiscus. Nope. This day I was actually having a good day, until a peer tried to support me by fixing me. It’s like that one day in the month when your back isn’t hurting and a friend comes up and says “ so now, about your back….”
What kind of ‘going’ do the tough actually do? Are there groups of men called “the tough.” Do I qualify? Do they have neat hats, shirts and shit? Maybe a handshake. “Hey fucker. Welcome to the tough.” Slap, slap, finger wiggle finger wiggle, ass slap, high five, slap. Thats what I imagine these “the tough “ look like. Do they wear chaps? Anyhow, that’s not my point today.
Isn’t fight or flight (faint or forget too) all about getting going? Because it sure as hell was for me. I think the ‘get going’ they refer to is the old version; the shut the fuck up and get on with your job version. That’s not the “get going’ that I got on going with. I got going on getting home. I got going on forgetting and putting it all in perspective. I got going a lot on going to work, which was the best thing to do in the morning when you haven’t been sleeping anyhow. I got going on ignoring the hell situation I was living in. And then I got going all right, on doing everything I could possible do to get back; you know, to have another go.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going, eh? What the hell would you know about it anyway? Anyhow, I’m not bitter or anything. So my thoughts are again, piss off, but after that; I am going. I’m going down one hell of a path. That path has me going everywhere in my brain, every day. From it’s all falling apart, to “you got this big guy”, to “well, tomorrow….. “ and the worst I get “how dare you piss and moan when the dead don’t even get the chance”.
So whats the plan? The solution? The golden nugget of wisdom to impart on the world today. I’ll go with this. If you’re supporting someone who is going through an OSI, know that they can get better but not at a time of your choosing or theirs even. Progress will be shocking both in how it happens, and how unpredictable it is. They’ll need a social circle to advance in life, but if you push the wrong buttons you may end up outside that circle. I suggest you treat it like a career ending achilles tendon injury for a quarterback. He may actually beat the doctors’ recommendations and have a complete recovery. But chances are, this injury is his new normal. A new normal that he can have a job under, or not. A new normal that he can have a successful marriage under, or it falls to shit. A new normal with a rewarding career, or one he hates. Just like everybody else. But thats not your job. You’re not his nanny, you’re not his wife (well maybe you are), and you’re also not a magician whose sayings or comments will make his ills and pain go away. Be part of the people that helps him move into his new normal. That’s actually help. That’s actually healing and progress.
That doesn’t mean you have to put up with his shit either.