The 10 Truths About Struggle: Truth 3 of 10
The Paradox of Struggle
Struggle is the most universal part of the human experience, and the most isolating.
If you are human, there’s a 100% chance that you will struggle at some point in your life. This could be the result of the loss of an important relationship, a job, or being bereaved. Despite this truth — that we will all go through times of struggle, hardship, adversity, and even trauma — these times in our life are also when we feel the most alone. When I struggled mightily in my own life, I had three recurring thoughts that reinforced this idea:
Something is wrong with me.
I may never be right again.
No one can ever understand what I’m experiencing.
While these three things are not true, they are the things that we tell ourselves during hard times when we feel like we have no one to turn to who could possibly understand what we’re going through.
The remedy to these feelings is to do the hardest thing imaginable: to speak them to another human being.
One of the great myths about veterans is that they don’t want to talk about their struggles, and in nearly a decade of work amongst these amazing men and women, I have found this to be very false. The reality is that veterans don’t want to talk about their struggles with people that they don’t trust or people who they believe can’t or won’t understand their experiences.They’ve experienced things the average person has only seen in movies, and the average mental health professional has only read about in textbooks, making it very difficult for them to feel like there are people outside of their community who can truly understand their struggles.
Throughout my time working with these men and women in the Warrior PATHH and Struggle Well programs, they taught me the value of finding people who could be trusted to understand me and walk through what is often the most difficult part of growth — disclosure — the unpacking, the facing of the facts, and the acknowledgment that nothing can get better if it is ignored. What they did was liberate me to realize that my story had to be told and had to be confronted. These veterans helped me to find the strength and the courage to be willing to do that. As Joseph Campbell said,
“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”
When you stop believing you’re alone in your struggles and start reaching out to others, you open yourself up to people who can remind you that:
Something is wrong with me. It’s not what’s wrong, it’s what happened.
I may never be right again. I am what I choose to become.
No one will understand what I’m experiencing. There are people who understand what I’m experiencing. My story needs to be told, and I am strong enough to tell it.
Be Well. Do Well. Struggle Well.
BROWSE THE SERIES:
Truth 3 of 10: The Paradox of Struggle <– We are here
Truth 6 of 10: The Best Things In Life Can’t Be Purchased – COMING SOON
Truth 7 of 10: We Must Have a Personal Philosophy About Life – COMING SOON
Truth 8 of 10: Language Matters – COMING SOON
Truth 9 of 10: We Are Our Brother’s Keeper – COMING SOON
Truth 10 of 10: There Are No Shortcuts – COMING SOON
Explore More Resources
Continue reading more about Posttraumatic Growth in our resource library.PTG Resource Center
Give strength & hope to those who serve
Your support powers life-changing programs offered at no charge to veterans, military, first responders, and their families. With your help, our Warriors won't just survive — they'll thrive.