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Diary of A Mad Sailor

My Reasons for Sharing My Story

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This is a work in progress. More will be added as it is written. Some will have videos so you can listen, read, or both. I am teaching myself how to do these videos, so don't expect production quality.

How did I create a Website that has helped tens of thousands of veterans and had millions of visits? Created a community of over 26k members and thousands of visits a month and have been able to keep it up and running for 27 Years? With severe PTSD, Major Depression, and a string of incidents that should have killed me. I overcame them, got up, and continued. Though I couldn't describe it, I felt pulled towards something more significant than staying in my hometown. It was just a feeling at the back of my mind. I give you some background here on my history because it shaped me into who I am, and I shaped what Veterans became. Despite the mountains I had to overcome or dig a tunnel under, I could always get to the other side, recover, get up, and move on. I was called to help my brother and sister veterans, and even with crushing PTSD/MDD, I could make a difference, even if it was only in one veteran's life, and I could continue to be a productive member of society.

These are stories from my life. Each one, though some horrific, taught me something, even if, at the time, I did not know I was learning something that would prove to be instrumental in what was to be my purpose in life later.

You may read these posts as one-offs or read them through phases of my life and lessons learned. 

This will not work for everyone. Your mileage may vary.

First, I got out of the Navy in December 1990. Around Oct of 1991, I had a breakdown and went to the VA. I got into the system after a few hospitalizations, miscommunication, and frustration. Which meant I had a regular psych doc and psychologist to work with. My goal was to be admitted to the Day Hospital Program, which was a five-day-a-week place to go; you got lunch and did crafts, group therapy sessions, individual sessions, etc. I finally got admitted to the Day Hospital Program and did well in that environment for nearly a year. My next goal was to get a job in Veterans Work Compensation Therapy, a sheltered workshop where we did mailings for large companies and earned a small amount of money. For example, when I started, I stuffed envelopes for a nickel an envelope. We had to put a stamp on the back, and the veteran in charge was OCD, so if my stamp wasn't perfect, she threw my envelopes away. Which, for me, was like throwing away my food at the time. Don't get me wrong, I was damn grateful to have that job and would go home every night and thank God for the good things that happened that day and that I had a roof over my head and a bit of food. Some nights, I would also have to thank Him for sending me many opportunities to work on my anger throughout the day. I had PTSD and MDD, and my anger was just way out of control, so it was a daily struggle to manage it. The Lord, I believe, would place various assholes throughout my days so I would always have an opportunity to work on it. At least, that's the way I figured it.

So then, my next goal was to get back into the competitive job market. Which I did through the Veterans Workshop. I went from stuffing envelopes to working in the computer room and setting up a new inventory system. This caught the eye of one of the civilian companies we did business with. They had me start work a few days a week at their location, and then after about a year, they offered me a job as a marketing systems analyst.

Once I got the job, I had unlimited access to the Internet and a web browser in 1993. In 1994, the browser Netscape Navigator came out, and we were all over that. We would watch each other code and shared what we learned, I would spend hours reading other peoples codes and then trying to recreate and change it so I could learn how to use it.

To backtrack for a minute, from 1991, I was trying to get my claims filed and questions answered, and it was an endless source of frustration. I swore I would gather as much knowledge as possible to pass it on to veterans. I thought about writing a little newsletter, printing copies, and giving them to veterans at the hospital. Then I discovered the internet.

I knew immediately that creating a website was the best way for me to share my knowledge with my brothers and sisters in hopes that it would save them some of the frustration that I went through.

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