As I sit here and write this, I look back on 40 plus years of trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I will not remember everything due to over indulgence in medications. (Booze, pills, women and anything else I thought would fix me.)

My military life was very colorful--illustrious, for lack of a better term and very insane at times. I am getting a bit ahead of myself I suppose. I was born in an elevator in Holden, West Virginia. Talk about a dichotomy my childhood was up and down. My childhood was filled with the usual events of a child with divorced parents. I had massive mood swings from as far back as 4 or 5 years old. My heroes were sports figures, mostly professional wrestlers, and Evil Knievel. Evil was the epitome of “balls” when I was a kid. I use to jump trashcans on my bicycle pretending to be him.

In my mind, everything was black or white, no gray, no in between. It was all or nothing and that was how I lived from childhood until I was 38 years old. I feigned confidence, took risks that no one in his or her right mind would ever do. This is everything from the jumping of garbage cans to drinking whiskey until I became so drunk I had to hold onto the grass to keep from falling off the earth, and volunteered for every suicide mission I could go on in the Army. Rage was my constant friend and companion; I had no inkling of peace for many years. The only peace I had ever known was the adrenaline rush with the garbage cans, living in the doghouse (my fort and escape) and flying over and into combat with the military (facing death or ignorance).

I must tell you about the doghouse. My doghouse was a place I escaped to when I was a kid. I would sit in it for hours and dream of ways to make the doghouse fly away and take me to anywhere but there. I was too young to realize that if it did ever fly I still had to take “me” along. The irony of my “dog house” escape is; we did not have a dog; the previous owners left it.

I always felt like I did not fit in. It was like watching a movie, sometimes I was the leading character at other times I was sitting in the theater watching with my heart beating for fear of finding out the truth about me. The truth I might add that I did not even know at the time and the truth would get darker before it would get better. It would take me around the world several times because I despised “Garrison Duty” with all of its rules and regulations.

The title of this forward came about because of the nights I wake up and feel pain and indescribable fear all though my body. It reminds me of Lon Chaney Jr. in “The Werewolf.” When I wake up at 2:30 or 3:00 a.m. and my body hurts and feels like a transformation of sorts. I go downstairs and huddle on the back porch away from the light that is over our pool. That is when I would turn into the Werewolf, my body aching, my mind racing 100 mph, trying to focus on anything but the fear and anxiety.

Sometimes I will see things that are not there, Or are they? Weird, other times the silence is deafening. In this book are some of my discoveries that have kept me from blowing my brains out, or destroying the ones I love. Thank you in advance for allowing me to share with you.

-Timothy Kendrick , SGT. U.S. Army, Retired

Taken from the book PTSD: Pathways Through the Secret Door
by Timothy Kendrick

Author's Bio: 

Timothy Kendrick is a retired U.S. Army veteran who served in Panama, Somalia, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and various other places in the world. His last duty was in Iraq with the Department of Defense. He has spent years researching how to deal with his emotional disorders related to being in combat zones.

Timothy became an author by accident. In trying to heal himself he was drawn to help others. Timothy’s first book PTSD: Pathways Through the Secret Door is widely used throughout the Veterans Administration to help returning veterans cope with the emotional scars of war. Timothy currently lives in Tampa Florida with his wife Brenda.