There have been many times that I've heard someone say, "If only I could find the right _____________.
The right doctor, the right counselor, the right medication, the right procedure, the right anything to make this stop.
I was there once too. I used to think that if I could just find someone who knew what this was and what to do about it, then I could be fixed. Since then I've learned about the fallacies of both of those ideas. There is no one right person to cure us and we can't be fixed because we're not exactly broken; we are evolving.
Last night I spoke at the veteran owned, Backward Flag Brewery, in conjunction with a number of other organizations who have a mission to help veterans. My message for the evening was that there isn't one thing that is going to heal us, it is going to be a combination of many things. There is great value in doctors who have knowledge about our bodies that we don't have. There is great value in mental health professionals who have an education about many things we might not know about. There is also great value in medication for some, because without it there are many people who would be enduring some serious physical pain. So let's not villanize these avenues, but consider the idea of seeing these as parts of the puzzle and not the whole of it.
Doctors, counselors, and medication are tools in this process, but they aren't the only tools. They help with certain areas of our lives, but not all of them. One of the greatest things that has helped me to heal was to be a part of helping others, to have a connection again with people who are like me. The troops were my greatest advocates and last night I felt that same kind of support from the people in the brewery. Some had great questions for me in talking one-on-one, and others recognized my growth even since last time I was there to speak. We are always growing, always changing, and never stuck. But growth is scary, change isn't easy, and we tend to believe we are stuck. As human beings we don't make this process of healing easy on ourselves, but I think in our stubborn resolve we have a shot at helping each other overcome that. I love seeing growth in others and I love seeing false beliefs about ourselves shatter because what breaks through that is confidence and a hard-charging attitude to do something to help others who are where you once were.
Big thanks to Backward Flag Brewery for a great evening with great people. Feels a bit like being back on the base again.