What Veterans’ Voices Means to Me
By Janice Walker
VA Medical Center — Dublin, GA
The first time I can remember being published in Veterans’ Voices was while I lived in the Atlanta area. The inspired poem was titled, “In the Morning.” It was a time of struggling and suffering, yet the Holy Spirit birthed it through me.
My first health challenge—the horrible mental illness called schizophrenia—was present in me. Then, as if I’d slept for a period of time, the poetry came bursting loose. I’d ever heard of the disease before it surfaced in my life as fear, madness and the onset of uncertainty. As a child and teen, I sometimes would write. I used writing as a channel for the good part of my brain. I also used it to help encourage and bless others. Veterans’ Voices was and is ideal…a great means to get published. The life-long challenge of schizophrenia really baffles me, yet I know hope. Writing gives me a chance for freedom of expression—to write about the part of myself that I like. Writing is such a joy, yet I’ve learned I can write about many diverse things and occurrences.
Veterans’ Voices is great for veteran patients. We, the suffering, can share with others our joys, our struggles as well as various triumphs and victories. Creativity is a wonderful thing. Veterans’ Voices has been there for me since 1985. I am honored to have had poetry, prose and a few drawings published. I appreciate this outlet and channel for the various subjects I’ve pursued. The magazine is great therapy for us. Whether we are happy, sad or dealing with fears, emotional scars or discrimination, writing allows us to express ourselves. I feel as if Veterans’ Voices has many writers who can top my talents, but I’m always thankful for an opportunity to express myself in between the stressors of medical and physical disabilities. It is exciting to receive the magazine in the mail. Yet, I know not what emotions will explode inside me since it captures many journeys through others’ experiences. I appreciate being connected with other veterans. It’s an honor to be among a cadre of published writers. It’s an honor to have someone look beyond my illness and see a creative spirit. I am grateful to Veterans’ Voices, God, the veterans, the staff and the volunteers for allowing time to pass, for understanding my rants, and helping me capture my thoughts and jot them down in poetry and prose.
I suffer with things other than the schizophrenia that could have taken my very life. The magazine has sustained me during many hardships and joys. I am so proud to be an American, who happens to be disabled, living in one wonderful country as a member of the veterans’ family. I’ve saved copies of the magazine throughout the years and I see myself in other people’s work. The gratitude is endless. I’ve been ill for the last two years and it was an effort to write this but now a great weight has been lifted. That monster, schizophrenia, is a slave master, holding me captive. But, the Bible says there is a higher power, greater than all my diseases, who cares for me. Veterans’ Voices remains a source of ministry for sharing and blessing others. Veterans’ Voices is a mirror.
Typist: Pris Chansky