Just Another Heartfelt Mention

As you know from my post the other day Remembering a Hero  America lost a true friend in SFC Brian Mancini.  When I was just searching for the ABC Special that I shared in my last post Gala for Saratoga Warhorse I happened to see Brian’s face.  Brian attended another form of equine therapy and a small segment of his experience is in this YouTube video.  I never met him when he was alive, so it was nice to see video of when he was.

I do not know how Brian died and I am not going to blame his PTSD or other war wounds unless they are factual.  I do know for a fact although, as a person that has been suffering with PTSD for 20, 25, maybe even more years, it is a killer.  Without constant therapy it is nearly impossible to want to live.

I did read Brian’s obituary to find out more about him.  I was amazed how many things he did to try helping others like himself.  I try to do the same but I cannot compare. It takes everyone to chip in on helping veterans.  I am one but I am not speaking for my own benefit.

When I say please help, I am begging. Your donation of time or money will save lives; many of which would have been death by suicide. The thought comes and goes for me and others like me.  This has been a good week, but as Brian says in the above video “It’s a roller coaster”

So do not think that you cannot make a difference or that someone else should do it.  Do what you can and do it right away. PLEASE!

Gala for Saratoga Warhorse

I got the email about the Gala for Saratoga Warhorse’ Gala. As you know by now if you’ve been reading my posts, equine therapy is a great way used to help veterans to heal.  Like Project Healing WatersSaratoga Warhorse is not affiliated with the VA but doctors from the VA do highly recommend them.  I always like to share the song that I wrote for Warhorse “Hero Look me in the Eyes”.

I was introduced to Saratoga Warhorse one night by watching an ABC News Special about them.  The special brought me to tears and I told myself that I wished I could have an opportunity like that. I did a search for the foundation, found their website and sent them a contact email  explaining my situation.  The next night, Bob Nevins (Founder of Warhorse and Vietnam Veteran) called me from his cell phone and invited me to attend.

I told him I wanted to get in as soon as possible and he told me that they only run small groups of about 5 vets through the program one three-day weekend per month. That is so each veteran gets the full experience with the horses and the people involved with the program.  He said that they were book for several months unless I was willing to jump in last minute and go that weekend.  They still had an opening or someone had cancelled.  I jumped at the chance and said yes (before I even explained to my wife what the program was) and within the same week of wishing I could go, I was there.

As you can see the experience really affected me or I wouldn’t be writing this post.  I don’t know that the one day with the horse changed my life forever, but the people their will definitely be in my heart that long.

This is a truly legitimate cause.  I know by fact that a lot of the big veteran support groups out there that you see advertising on television with celebrities are more about paychecks for themselves and sadly less about the veteran.

You may be like me and cannot afford to go to the Gala or live too far away to attend, but even small donations would help them out.  When this group takes a veteran in, they pay for airline tickets, nice hotel rooms, food and of course the experience.  Those who had a later flight out the next day, or drove as I did, got a tour of Saratoga, watch horses run the practice track and meet and talk to the horse owners (who are also some of the biggest donors). It is expensive for them to do!  I do what I can to help and that is writing thank you cards to donors for them. They told me that I could just write a general letter to use for everyone, but I hand wrote every card.  Some donors appreciated me sharing my experience with them so much that they called Warhorse and told them that they’d be continuous sponsors. One even copied the card and sent it to Warhorse staff to show them why they liked it so much.  It was like a thank you for a thank you.

So if you are able to go to the Gala they’d appreciate your company and support. But, if you are willing and able to help them in any way with just a small donation, in addition to other small donors it would go a long way to help veterans with PTSD.

Two Days in a Row

After a week of anxiety and depression I woke this morning feeling good for the second day in a row.  For some of you that isn’t much of a record, but for me it is a bar set high.  I have a few chores to do around the house that will likely take the rest of the week; but then next week if the weather stays fairly nice it is time to get rid of the cabin fever!

Trout  season here in NY for the most part does not start until April 1st but there are a few places close by that they stock often and are open year ’round.  I have tied so many flies this winter.  I just have to get out and soak them in a stream. There really isn’t a hatch of any sort that I’ve noticed or heard of so i’ll try a few small nymphs at the bottom of some deeper pools. I have noticed worms crawling near the surface of the ground, so I’ll likely drop a few small ones that I’ve made in as well.

Lets go for two weeks of happiness instead of two days this time. I’m even OK with Mondays being miserable like everyone else’s.  Not that’s a goal!

(Please Remember that I get much of my healing support from Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. Please do what you can to help a disabled veteran find a chapter in their home area and maybe make a donation to them if you can.)

Made a Hobby Room

desk2I made a room of my house into a fly tying/hobby room. Just picked up a cheap desk today and put a glass tabletop on it with my POW-MIA flag under it. Going to need better light but I am loving this room. I couldn’t imagine if my granddaughter starts crawling and I had hooks throughout the house. I always said “Safety first “.  But then again I followed that up with “now slowly squeeze the trigger”.  Anyhow I’m enjoying my new home. I even put a nice chair with ottoman and a twin bed in case I want to read, write or sleep and my wife and dogs are snoozing loudly in our bedroom.

Oh…and about the dogs…Why is it that my “supposed service dog” follows my wife to bed and the toy poodle follows me?  At least someone loves me.  But I think i’d be a little embarrassed carrying him around in public with a service dog vest.  I guess I am in the closet about loving the little poodle.  Oh well…I could be a worse person.

Have a good night all!

Thank You!

Many of my friends have been following my blog posts, and I have met new ones in the short few weeks that I have been blogging. My last post “What’s Next?” brought much attention to the pain and suffering that I experience from my mental health. 

This page is not only about what it is like to have these illnesses, but what it is like to heal or at least feel better through the help of others. I mention Healing Waters Fly Fishing so often because besides my family and friends, there is no better way for me to enjoy life. I really love fly fishing now; hence my blogs name. 

I have also always been the guy that wants to give in return. Even though these organizations see it as their way to help me and veterans like me in return for our service, I want to turn back around and find ways of helping them continue so that more people can find healing. 

I just started a website called fliesforlives.com in order to do just that. Right now it is only directed to this page because it is not ready to publish yet. 

What I plan to do with this site is to start a completely nonprofit to give aid to organizations like this and more. These people have given me the ability to tie flies and to make and repair rods. I have also become efficient at repairing reals. 

So I plan to find good wholesalers to work with for buying and selling fishing supplies. People who want to donate money to an organization can donate directly to them. But if they want to buy themselves items knowing that 100% of the proceeds go to a charity then they will have this option. 

Beyond money though, I will be taking donations of rods and reels new, used, good condition or needing repair; then taking these items and donating to other legitimate nonprofits whether it is veterans or poor children, etc. 

maybe someday I’ll even be taking cash donations or putting large orders in for chances to win fishing trips. The idea I have there is to not only raise money for charity but to be able to send healing veterans on these trips along with the winners. 

There is still a lot of planning to do but I hope that you can see that my heart is in it. If you follow my page you will see how I am healing. You’ll see that not all of my blogs are about my pain and suffering. And mostly you can stay up to date on the progress of my own charity.  It may not be up and running for several months, but if you have old rods, reels, waders or anything to do with fishing, you can contact me and I will give you information on where to send it. 

Thank you all so much for caring!

Charlie

What Next?

Every morning I get up with good intentions to take on a project and actually get it done. My wife wakes me up before she leaves for work to have a cup or two of coffee with her. Sometimes she helps me to make a list of things to do (most guys hate that, but I need it). Whether it is work on the house, reminding me of a doctor appointment or just to take my medication, if it is not written down I will often forget.  Even with the list I ask myself if I did things and forgot to check them off, or did I not do them yet.

I can’t drive far because people are afraid that I will blank out and hurt myself or someone else.  For the most part it is just me and my three dogs sitting around the house looking into each others eyes with one question in mind (What are we going to eat next?).

As I said earlier, I get up with my wife every morning, but I don’t always stay awake. Sometimes my brain just won’t shut down at night and she is waking me an hour after I finally fell asleep.  When that is the case, I go back to sleep and often sleep more than I should.  The dogs don’t complain; they just snuggle up.

Every waken moment I have to ask myself “What next?”. I often can’t tell the difference between a being awake and dreaming; I just don’t know where I am.  That’s why it is important to me for both PTSD and the dissociative amnesia related to it to stay busy in one way or another.  If not, I get extremely depressed and being home alone is the worst place to be.

Do I want to tie flies?  I love doing that.  I learned to make my own rods and I’m working on my 2nd one now.  How about writing on my blog, do I want to do that?  What should I write about?  Maybe I will just see what people are writing on the blogs that I follow or look for new people to follow.  I might look up PTSD support groups and find ways to help them to help others like me. I might even find another cause to support; like the Veterans for Standing Rock, where innocent people are taken advantage of.  All I have to do is turn on the news and I will find something I can’t stand to watch. Someone gets shot, a bomb goes off, a child abused or hit by a car; what next?

The thing is, I never know what to do next.  My wife says I should be happy.  I get to stay home all day.  She says that she would love the chance to do the same. But I don’t get to stay home, I have to; just like a person on house arrest. At least I do have things to do.  But I just can’t make up my mind (no joking; I literally can’t).

My absent mindedness due to my illness is getting worse and it is really starting to hurt my marriage lately.  My wife is a mental health nurse and it kills her to come home to a husband that is more like another client of hers.  We are a week away from our 25th anniversary and we are seriously fighting to get there.

All I can ask myself is “What next?”.