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Can You Help Me Fix Me, Doc?

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From the U.S. I guess I’ll start with some background. I am 29, a veteran of OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and a fortunately uninjured member of that group. I had a relatively uneventful term of service so probably no ptsd or whatever.

The heavy stuff happened when I was a kid, I don’t even know how old I was or anything specific about the events that transpired because no one ever wanted to talk about it when I was growing up. From what I understand my mother was engaged in an affair and my father shot her in a fit of rage paralyzing her and condemning himself to prison effectively removing both parents from the equation of my life. I was placed into the custody of my aunt on my father’s side, a woman riddled with substance addictions and other personal problems that should have eliminated her as a potential child rearing candidate. Today I don’t have much contact with any of these people because I feel like it would only compound things.

I’m here because I can’t afford to see a doctor and I have no family or friends to burden with my problems. I am a reclusive train wreck even in my own eyes but can’t find the motivation or courage to talk to anyone or seek help because of pride, or stubbornness, or fear maybe I don’t even know. I am not in “crisis” or whatever because I don’t think I would ever actively try to hurt myself but doubt I would put up much of a struggle to live if the situation ever arose that I was in danger.

I chose to pursue a career that would be compatible with my introverted nature and am close to graduation from college. Now I’m afraid that I’m not good enough to actually secure employment in the field, which makes me feel like I’ve wasted a huge amount of time and resources on something that will yield me no benefit whatsoever.

So that’s my story, can you help me fix me doc?

Can You Help Me Fix Me, Doc?

Answered by on -

A.

No, I can’t fix you from afar. But I can give you some suggestions. First — Give yourself a little credit. You actually are asking for help by writing to us here. It’s a start. I hope you will build on that effort.

It’s not at all unusual for someone who experienced trauma as a child to have little memory of it if it was not handled properly at the time. Even if you were not the witness of your parents’ fight, you were aware of their conflict for some time and then you lost them both. A kid can’t make sense of that when the grown ups won’t even talk about it. Often kids store it away in some part of their brain since they conclude that if the grown-ups can’t handle it, a kid can’t either. This is what “repression” is about.

Although you believe that your tour of duty was uneventful, it may be that you are so practiced at repressing your emotions that you don’t realize that the stress of service really was taking a toll.

You say you are a “train wreck”. Well. It’s time to put yourself back on the rails. At 29, it’s time to take care of the wounded kid inside since no one did it for you when they should have.

Since you are a veteran, your local VA probably offers counseling services that are affordable (or free). At least take a look. Every branch of the armed services has mental health support available to their vets.
Army: Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline: 1 800 984 8523
Navy: Safe Harbor: 1 877 746 8563
Marine Corps: Wounded Warriors: 1 877 487 6299

I doubt very much that you wasted your time getting an education. Do see the career counseling center at your school to learn how best to go about getting appropriate employment. If you haven’t done an internship, you might consider volunteering or interning to gain some experience and confidence before applying for a job.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Can You Help Me Fix Me, Doc?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Can You Help Me Fix Me, Doc?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 26, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/07/03/can-you-help-me-fix-me-doc/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.