‘That Which I Love Destroys Me’ explores two firsthand accounts of Veterans’ struggle upon returning home


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The making of That Which I Love Destroys Me was a passage and though it is long done filming, hindsight keeps changing what the journey was. Now I know that though the cameras have stopped rolling the making of continues because I continue to learn and evolve.

It’s funny how different situations are when you were in them versus once you are out and they are viewed in hindsight. Even from retrospection your feelings and perceptions about those situations will change over time and as far as I can see that never ends. Everything is temporary, and I feel differently now about TWILDM than from the day we started, the middle, end, and even now every new day our documentary seems like 100 different versions to me, but more specifically: I feel like 100 different people in it. I say the above because the more time goes by, the more I learn about the process of helping yourself and helping others.

I state these two things above because these are the main lessons I have come to learn in my expedition of mental health specifically as a Veteran. The first is that it’s hard to see a situation you are in the middle of for what it is and second: mental health as a Veteran doesn’t stop when your service stops or even when you think it does. Using a personal example from the doc, most people think a competition I’m in towards the end of the film is the end of my story. I went into it as the old me and it felt great at first but I quickly learned that I was no longer that person but a new one. The old me failed and that was new for me: failure. At the time it was a catastrophe and crushed me in a way I had never been before. I failed to make it to the objective for the first time in my life. What I had to accept was that failure and the reason for it: I was no longer who I once was but a new person; and that was ok. It was all ok: the failure was the lesson and I wouldn’t be the new me without being forced from that old shell. That was the new beginning of the new me and now I know that the “making of” continues forever, the journey never ends.

I have been asked often why I did the project and the answer is simple: a friend asked me if I wanted to do a project to help veterans specifically with PTS/D. Seems simple enough right? Looking back I realize this is the problem with helping Veterans in regards to mental health: the desire to help is simple, the “how” is very hard. Honestly it took me the entire filming of the doc to figure out my own “how”. I thought when we started making it that I knew how to help others but looking back I didn’t really figure that out until we started screening it and people starting asking me questions asking for help. Ironically and accidently this taught me the seeming contradiction of helping other Veterans in regards to mental health: you must start with yourself. You must put yourself out there. You must figure out your own “how” and then talk about your own journey, about the paths you tried and failed and then the ones that worked. Talk about failure, talk about shame, and talk about anger and pain. But also talk about trying another path, about continuing the fight, and then talk about ultimately achieving the objective.

TWILDM taught me that when you talk about your own weakness and struggle people will listen. When you talk about the same or similar issues in yourself to something someone is having there is no stigma.

Mental health in the Veteran community is a silent similarity. Everyone feels the same way but everyone thinks they are the only one because no one else talks about it. The Stigma is self-imposed by our own minds, from a system that conditioned us to never show weakness and “suck it up” for the duration of our time in. But now as Veterans we are out and what I learned is that the greatest weakness a person can have is never showing or admitting any. We are so much stronger and weaker than we think. To conquer anything you must accept that as truth and not judge yourself or others on the current situation you or they are in. As I said above: its temporary. Just keep pushing towards the objective until you reach it, no matter what gets in your way; never give up. That is something else we are conditioned for. Just accept as I have learned from making TWILDM, that though you may reach the current objective for your situation, like in war, there is always another one. The mission of your mental health, that journey and the one of being a Veteran never ends.


image of Tyler GreyTyler Grey is a former US Army Special Operations soldier. He has extensive special operations combat experience from multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Grey is currently working in the entertainment industry as a military and law enforcement technical adviser working on projects that range from video games to TV as well as film.

 

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Comments

  1. Anna    

    Another thing… How come the majority of commenters do not feel the same gun hoe loyalty for the military? Why isn’t more attention being given to the fact that the military brainwashes people to be co-dependent. Being co-dependent is NOT MENTALLY HEALTHY!! It is not exactly healthy to consider yourself as a “professional killer”, and look for other people to support you in that mentality, and wrap your whole sense of identity into that of a solider. HOW DOES ANYONE ENJOY THAT KIND OF JOB!! When you are being treated for alcohol addiction, drug addiction or any addiction, councilors tell you to stay away from people that are addicts because they will not help you stay away from what your addiction is. But with this video the VA and these soldier addicts are saying to seek out others who think and feel the way you do. As a woman I have been at war all my life. I have had to be on the alert and on guard with men who rape and sexually harass women simply because they can get away with it. What is really sick, and has been my experience, as a woman soldier, was the fact that I was in more danger from the men who were suppose to have my back than I was from the “enemy”. The articles that are being put out by this VA website is a FRAUD!! Go to the tab “Women Veterans”, and on every article, where women vets share their experiences of what they are calling MST, military sexual trauma, the comments are closed. This website has troll monitors that make sure the subject of rape and sexual harassment is really not given much of a voice. They don’t want women and men really exposing the military’s lack of interest of seeing that the women and men who are raped and sexually harassed ever experience any help from benefits or any justice. Why are not named known rapist in jail? My rapists are still serving in the military and are treated like hero’s. I am treated like I am a LIAR!! Then there are the soldiers who know that I was raped and because of the “bros before hos” mentality, they cover for their buddies… The articles on this website are just giving lip service to these problems and are a bunch of LIARS!!! THIS WILL PROBABLY GET REMOVED!!

  2. kirk Mc Kinley    

    First of all: You’re never “out”.Second,Recovery is just a word with a meaning but doesn’t apply to at least some of us.I served and reported to The Company.I was discharged 30 years ago and now with the Panama Papers and the investigations popping up,I’m right back in it.When questioned I have to lie,because if the truth got out parts of our government would be in deep dodo.It never ends.My nightmares are real events happening even today and are covered in blood.There is no peace.

  3. Anna    

    I don’t know… To me this is like saying, “I love the one who raped me”. The military brain washes you than it rapes you… Over and over…

  4. Dennis Pelliccia    

    I’ve suffered from depression – PTSD / Post Traumatic Stress Disorder… and..

    I was once called a Lunatic… I wish to share.

    I’m a Vietnam War Veteran and was a Huey Helicopter Crew Chief – Door Gunner with the 174th Assault Helicopter Company – July 1967 to July 1968. Yes, I helped save lives… many lives in support of my Fellow Soldiers.

    Yes, I was one of God’s Own Lunatics… serving our Country… The United States of America.

  5. Teta Williams    

    Your story and many others inspired me to go and get my degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I was in the military but I know some that gave so much more than I did. I know the love for the military and I have heard the other side after coming home. Thank you for sharing, the military needs to understand the reality of this situation that befalls our brothers and sisters of the Armed Forces!

  6. Debra Mullens    

    Very inspiring several day after high school I joined , and I will forever be different. My anxiety is so bad my mom and aunt came to visit and all I can do was clean ,figet ramble,anxious . You would think I would be calm but I am only calm when alone, comforting but a very lonely life.# forever different.

    1. Timothy Eagan    

      You are by no means alone or in ANY WAY the odd man out brother. Lots of saw and did things no one who didn’t go would never believe. It’s kinda better that way but if you don’t own up you get no help. What can you lose? 101 ABN in country 1-69 to Aug 71. Hang in there bro!

  7. thomas gomez sr    

    i just cant bare to see things like this.i cry every day. and my war ended in viet nam can not be said vietnam never ended for me till this day ptsd is a real thing. im 67 now. and i know now.the only time this will end is on the day i die. people say when i die i will look for family. if i can look for anyone when i die .it will be my brothers from vietnam! i never forgave my self for making it back!if there’s a way i will find them! ever see the poster of a vet touching the wall?hes in civ clothes and in the wall his brothers are in full combat gear reaching out to him. putting there hand on his. i had a dream once that i died and all of a sudden i was in front of that picture. only it was life size giant picture. i reached for the soldier with his hand out. he grabbed my arm and pulled me in to the picture. when i got to the other side. i had my rifle back in my hand and flak jacket on my uniform boots helmet. the solder said we were waiting for you. let’s go. we all left together i smelt nam herd choppers gun fire in the distance in my dream i was happy. don’t ask me why.i felt i was where i belong with my brothers. then i woke up tears in my eyes. and remember wishing. why cant the dream be real? and this a dream,

    1. Peter J. Kizer    

      Thank you for sharing, Thomas. The fact that you are still here (and not on the other side of that wall) is a good thing. If you can, share more. You may not think the sharing will help you (altho I certainly do); but it does help the rest of us. Semper fi.

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