"As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others."
"The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am
convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it."
(Full quotes at end of this document.)
We who lived in the concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting
others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient
proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: The last of his freedoms - to choose one's
attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.
--Viktor E. Frankl, "Man's Search for Meaning"
This section comes first in terms of rebuilding your life, because it is by far the most important. Your attitude is the cornerstone upon which your future depends.
Over the years that we have worked with service members and veterans who are ill from the anthrax vaccine - and/or other vaccines and mandatory Investigational New Drugs given to our troops - we have seen a phenomenon that, while understandable, can hurt your recovery. It goes something like this:
"I have sacrificed for my country. I was willing to lay down my life for my country. I did as I was ordered to do, and was an exemplary service member. Now I am sick from a vaccine that the military knew all along was highly reactive and dangerous. But to add insult to injury, I have been told I am lying, that I need psychiatric help, that I am a malingerer. Now I have to fight tooth and nail for medical benefits, and until I get them, I am paying my own medical bills. I have lost a (job, career, home, car, marriage) because of all this. My country has betrayed me; military physicians have betrayed me. I am bitter and angry. My government owes me. This country owes me. There is no sense trying to rebuild my life. Nothing will ever be the same as it was. Here's my list of symptoms; here's what has happened to me (symptoms and illnesses are reiterated.). When will I get what is due to me? When will I get justice?"
There is not a single statement in there that is not true, that is not valid, that does not reflect the feelings and thoughts of thousands of sick service members and veterans. More than one person has given into despair; more than one has committed suicide. For that reason, let's talk a little about depression first.
If you feel despair and depression that are so deep you do not know how to climb out, you need to understand, first and foremost, that you could be in a clinical depression (see http://www.wingofmadness.com/ for more information).. This means that your body chemistry could be off; that it is not all in your mind; that this can be diagnosed. That is one of the most difficult things to understand - that depression is not just a down feeling or a mood. It can also be a severe, physical, debilitating illness. It does not mean you are crazy. The author of these notes has always thought that if one were not depressed about becoming ill from a vaccine, one would certainly become depressed after being subject to the kind of insults, denials and the fight to obtain adequate medical care afterward. It is a mountain no service member thought he or she would be forced to climb.All that being said, it is critical that you not fall into a "victim mentality." Sinking into "victim-hood" almost guarantees that nothing will get better.
What is a victim mentality?
- It is being positive that the world owes you, and you do not have to do anything to make your own life better; you absolve yourself from any responsibility for your health care.
- It is settling into complacency.
- It is giving up. ﾓNothing will get any better, why should I try?ﾔ
- It is feeding your own bitterness and betrayal, day after day, with more news accounts or stories about how bad it really is out there.
- It is wanting everyone to feel sorry for you.
- It is compulsively telling your story over and over to anyone who will listen.
- It is feeling you have no responsibility to speak out and take action to right these wrongs.
It is understandable ﾖ the temptation to sink into these ways of thinking. The first shock of becoming ill from a vaccine you were required to take absolutely changes oneﾒs view of the world. But if you have been injured by the anthrax vaccine or any other mandatory Investigational New Drug such as PB pills, the facts are these:
- You are exactly right: your country and your own government have betrayed you, and the least you are owed is immediate and adequate health care. You may not get it.
- You are exactly right: you are owed disability benefits or VA benefits if you are sick enough, and you will have to fight for them. And even then, you may not get what you are really owed.
- You are exactly wrong in thinking that you do not have any responsibility for your own health care and road to recovery.
- You are exactly wrong in giving up or being complacent. You are still alive, if you are reading this. Your doctors and nurses need your help if they are to help you.
- You are exactly wrong in feeding your bitterness and sense of betrayal. As you allow your heart and mind to be poisoned in this way, so will your body continue to be poisoned.
- You are exactly wrong in expecting everyone to feel sorry for you. This is one of the toughest, but itﾒs also true. If you donﾒt wallow in self-pity, you clear the path for others to truly come to your aid and truly give you some needed assistance.
- You are exactly wrong in feeling you can leave it to others to speak out and take action. If you do not add your voice to this mix, an important message will be lost. If you do not learn to speak out on behalf of yourself and your fellow service members, then the message is simply silence ﾖ leaving those in charge to assume all is well, or at least not nearly so bad as some people are saying. Speak out.
Your attitude is the only real thing you can control. Your attitude, and your willingness to take as much charge of your health and your life as you possibly can, will either help create a new future, or keep you mired in the past, increasingly ill, with no legacy to leave your family and friends except one of despair. It doesnﾒt have to be that way.
If you love the people who love you, you have a responsibility to take as much care of yourself, and to treat yourself with as much self respect, as you humanly can.
Yes, we know some people reading this have terminal illnesses. These thoughts still apply. You have only to think of Superman ﾖ Christopher Reeve. Or the little boy down the block with leukemia and just a month left to live. Or your parent who has Alzheimerﾒs. Or a veteran whose stomach was slowly becoming paralyzed after the vaccines. In the end, it could be anything that could happen to any of us at any time, whether through accident, illness, hereditary misfortune, or through sheer military carelessness and negligence.
What matters is that you are on the planet today; that you have a gift somewhere in this day, and these hours. What are you going to do with the time you have been given? Who will you be ﾖ someone content to remain a victim, mired in a sense of outrage and self-pity, or someone who will grab each small bit of life provided, and apply a shine to those bits, to help light the way?
Here are two of our favorite commentaries on attitude. We hope they help understand some ways of thinking differently.
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than the facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a companyﾅa churchﾅa home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our pastﾅwe cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. ﾖ Charles Swindoll
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We as ourselves,
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesnﾒt serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people will not feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not in just some of us; it is in every one.
And as we let our own light shine
We unconsciously give people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
- from Nelson Mandelaﾒs Inaugural speech, 1994
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