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I Forge Iron


Michael Cochran

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I haven’t been on in a while and I have been to the shop just as long or longer. I have been battling some demons (depression and anxiety are just a couple) I carry inside of me and they have started lashing out affecting others. I have caused a bunch of trouble in the last few weeks as a result of my untreated issues. I spent almost all day at the VA Friday so I could get help. I have to go back regularly for a while for therapy and keep track of my new meds. That is the easy stuff to deal with. The most important thing I need so much help with is helping to mend the hearts and relationships I’ve damaged. I can’t even begin to describe the pain I’ve caused or that I feel right now. I know some here have probably been where I am and made it through stronger on the other side, that’s my goal. 

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Knee bent, head  on the anvil brother.  

First, the only thing you are truly guilty of is not getting treatment sooner and then only if you knew you needed help and it was available. Will power alone isn’t enough, profetunal help gives us access to medications to take the edge off the symptoms so we can learn to cope with them. Therapy provides us with an expert who can teach us coping strategies that work and don’t creat more problems. Often what works is counter intuitive (some of the PTSD treatment seem like quackery but work). 

Second, forgive yourself, except the fact you can’t will this xxxx away and really practice the skills they are going to teach you. Meditation, breathing tech niches, positive self talk, grounding, seeking social interaction, practicing hobbies, diet excersize , pet the dog etc. some of it is wired and embarrassing because it’s makes us feel like we are doing something stupid, and many skills are presenter in a way designed for low functioning patients and is so severely dumped down it is insulting but reword it for your self, and look up the technique so you can learn why it works. This will help you with the “%&!? This stupid $#!?” reaction” ( better known buy the military acronym FTSS). 

Third apologies to your friends, coworkers and loved ones you have hurt, this as much for you as them. If they won’t exept your apology that’s fine, you tried now go on and prove them wrong. Asking them to come to a support group for families of peaple suffering from SMI will shoe them that it is real and they aren’t the only ones dealing with this. Also invite your closest to family counseling. An expert can explained your symptoms and what causes them and then can mediate wile they explore the effect your symptoms have had on them and what you and them can do to mediate them in the future. 

It sucks, been there, still there and now I’m dealing with family and friends that have issues. 

Come buy and I’ll put the coffee on (even if it is virtually) and any one who lives close find him, drag his miserable hide into your forge and drink coffee, bash hot steel and remind him why we are here. 

Lastly, depression is chemically identical to grief, and I would rather suffer that pain than inflict it on my family and friends, so embrace the suck.

PTSD can either cause stunting of the hypothalamus or shrinking of it due to long turm exposure to cortical. That’s why we have such a hard time controlling our emotions. It’s normal and their are coping strategies that work. Your just a Valcan with out the ears and green blood.


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depression is hard to beat, and it helps if you have a hand to hold that's  attached to an understanding heart. Sadly its the very ones that one tends to alienate first!

i wish you a speedy recovery and good joss!



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Hang in there.

Recognizing that we have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery.

The next steps are resolving to remedy the problem. And reaching out to others for some assistance is another move forward.

There is no shame in taking medications. (especially long term).

You would be surprised to learn of the number of folks, here, that are on medication long term, for serious neurological difficulties.

Some meds take some time to kick in. (a few take 4-6 weeks). Give them a chance.

Stay with your medical regimen, even when you find that things are better. Because relapses happen to many.

The suggestions of Mr.Stevens and Mr. JHCC (( Mr. John (the grammar hammer) )) are excellent. I do not have to repeat them.

Rest assured that you have our support, (& help if needed), good wishes and prayers.





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Thank you all for your support. I know this isn’t going to be quick or easy but it is possible. I’m relearning meditation techniques I used to do regularly to help with stress. Between the meditation, medication, and therapy I should be returning to normal soon enough. I just hope that the damage done isn’t permanent. I can’t lose all that’s on the line or I’ll be worse than I am now. 

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You're on my list Michael. This happens to most everybody now and then. If you let yourself feel guilty for hurting someone it'll build on you. STOP IT!

We can NOT get through life without hurting people or getting hurt. You can NOT hurt someone who doesn't care. People who care about you will forgive you the hurts but you gotta forgive yourself or you won't believe they do. 

It's hard to do, we're hardest on ourselves and it's easiest to hurt ourselves. That's why we have to learn to cut ourselves some slack even if we have to pretend to forgive. 

It's true, you're a good guy Michael, I've been reading your posts for a couple years now and I'm a pretty good judge of character through the written word. Drawing upon my 66 years experience talking to people in person and via the written word I judge you to be one of the good guys.

Hear that brother? Frosty says you ARE A GOOD GUY!  I SAY SO!

We're here for you, any way we can. Prayers, talk, bad jokes, what EVER it takes. We're here.

Frosty The Lucky. (Bi polar)

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7 hours ago, Charles R. Stevens said:

Are we listing our crazy now Jerry?! Lol.

I like ghost chili & dark chocolate ice cream,

I enjoy jumping out of perfectly good aircraft, as a civilian... (The 82nd Airborne sure had a way of sucking the fun out of it).

I voted for.... oops, I can't say that here! :blink:


Seriously, I have been dogged by the demons of depression in the past. While there is little anyone could say to take away the pain, knowing that people that cared and prayed for me was what kept me here. And strangely enough, my brother-in-law's great sense of humor saved me many times. Helped me lighten up when things were getting pretty dark. I hope you find a way to get on your happy path again soon.

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We don’t need to aim for happiness, peace is the goal. Peace with ourselves, peace with our past and peace with the moment.  

We learn to keep our demons firmly fettered, our minds calm and our hearts at peace. 

I have had well meaning peaple tell me that I am repressed and should “ just be your self and let your emotions out” ah, no, best to keep my daemons fettered, lol. They just don’t know what they are asking.

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I found most of the well meaning (and unsolicited) advice to be trite and infuriating. "Buck up", "There's always a light at the end of the tunnel" "Get over it" "Things will get better". "Snap out of it", etc... When I was in the depths of depression I could not see any light or imagine how anything could ever get better, and there was no "snapping out of it". When I heard such advice I felt like shaking the person and saying "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND ANYTHING ABOUT WHAT I AM FEELING". It was very difficult to reconcile the words that seemed stupid and insensitive, with the intent of people that really cared... If this is true for you, try to remember the intent is often good, even if the words are clumsy.

Whatever your goal is Michael, I hope you find it. I think that it is wonderful that you are seeking to heal past wounds. I believe that will help you towards your own healing.

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6 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

I found that doing small projects that you could do in one go and SUCCEED with helped rather than fancy things that would always not get completed or would fail.   Baby Steps.

True for both mental health and blacksmithing.

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My list?: Born slacker, classic underachiever but smarter than was good for me. Bi polar, with classic TBI issues. Blah blah. My trick for dealing with depression and the anger that brings out turned out to be too simple.

Back in my single guy days living 3,000 + miles from family Christmas used to be a tough time of year. I got to spend about a month feeling down and sorry for myself, the worst part was I only had myself to blame, I still rarely send even a card, a phone call or now FB message is about my speed.

I used to buy myself something for Christmas and the day before Christmas eve I was wandering around the local mall. I gave up and was sitting on a bench watching the front door and all the people jamming themselves into the crowd with that last minute something they just HAD to find expression. A constant stream of stressed, unhappy, worried folk. Boy did THAT cheer me up. Right, pile on the load.

Well, I made eye contact with a really stressed looking person and we exchanges strained smiles, the stress eased a little bit and our smiles got easier and better. In maybe half a second we both went from pretty darned miserable slacker late shoppers to grinning at our shared problem and feeling pretty darned good. We actually shared a laugh in passing. 

I didn't feel good but I sure felt better so I tried it again. You GOTTA make eye contact to make it work but smiles are infectious. A shake of the head and a "you too ey?" smile and they go off feeling a little better usually smiling. I felt better every darned time and soon I was walking around the mall making people smile for no other reason than some complete stranger made eye contact and smiled at them. The eye contact lets a person know the smile is for THEM and not some random goofy guy smile. 

In an hour stressed people walking in the entrance were met with hundreds of people smiling, laughing and generally having a good time on one of the worst shopping days of the year and they couldn't get more than a step or two in before grinning like idiots themselves.

I'd turned a couple few thousand unhappy souls into happy laughing folks with nothing more than a smile. I started out miserable and some other miserable soul shared a smile with me and I passed it on. You want to talk about feeling better? I actually bought Christmas cards and surprised family and friends with belated Christmas wishes that year!

It still works when I'm feeling down, I hit a mall or store and smile at people, help them load the truck, get a door, jolly a baby, etc. and we all feel better for it. I have to pretend to start but that only lasts one or two smiles.

Humor is my armor, the worse something is the quicker I am to turn it into a joke. I'm not saying I treat serious problems like a joke but I DO joke about them. Lightening the mood isn't the same as taking things lightly. 

A good example was when I'd healed enough from the accident to start posting here again. I was a mess but talking to the gang was like talking to family. You guys had gotten Deb through it and I'd come back from the dead, literally. Anyway, I was flooded with sympathy and good wishes. Hundreds of posts a day all of them the same even though I kept throwing out the straight line bait of ,"being attacked by the Great White. . . birch. Then Grant Sarver Bless his soul started the "Great White Roast" thread and started giving me crap. 

That's when I knew down deep I was going to be okay. How bad could it be if your friends are giving you a hard time about it? Then the Iforge gang got into the swing and I really started healing. People are teasing me, making fun of the injuries, making up outrageous cures, the crew was gang joking me, on and on. You guys saved me, I needed that kind of soul deep medicine and you were there.

You too Michael, nothing is so bad you can't laugh at it and we'll help. :)

Frosty The Lucky.

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I don't believe anyone ever totally gets rid of the black dog, but you do learn to cope with its visits and techniques to hold it at bay / send it away quicker.

Sadly surviving can tend to make you a harder person, whether that is part of the coping mechanism or some part of you is just burned out I don't know.

I wish you well on your journey.

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Sir Winston Churchill suffered from bouts of serious depression throughout his lifetime. He managed to work around it and accomplish much.

Yes, he had the help of his wife and friends. They understood and they helped. 

There were no helpful medications, available until the end of his life.

In that way you, (& many of us), are far more fortunate. Depression is better understood these days.

Persevere and take it one step at a time. We have your back. Rest assured.


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You are correct.

Scotch is wonderful stuff. Especially some single malts.

But too much can mess up our heads.

His last few years were clouded with dementia. Did the whisky contribute to it? (e.g. Pick's disease etc.). We'll never know. 

Also his use was not moderate.

I cannot hold that against him.

.He was an extraordinary man



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From one Vet to another I completely get this. I was in the same place 1 week ago today. Involuntarily committed due to the suicidal thoughts and instability it caused me. The therapist helped a lot. God helped me more. Forgive yourself brother. Let go of it and refuse to give it power over you. Don't "buck up" and "get over it". Fight it, every day. Follow the Dr.' advice, listen to those that love you, deny the lies that inevitably run through your head. Actively seek to conquer this every day and you will win. I will pray for you. You are a Veteran. You have already conquered a challenge most cannot. You may have faced war or threat that most cannot. You are strong enough. Remember, your vet brothers need you to win so that you can lend them the strength you find. But do it for yourself first. You deserve it. You owe it to you. PM me if you need someone to talk to.


On 3/25/2018 at 4:36 PM, Michael Cochran said:

Thank you all for your support. I know this isn’t going to be quick or easy but it is possible. I’m relearning meditation techniques I used to do regularly to help with stress. Between the meditation, medication, and therapy I should be returning to normal soon enough. I just hope that the damage done isn’t permanent. I can’t lose all that’s on the line or I’ll be worse than I am now. 

THIS^^^ This is perfect. You will win with this attitude. Some of it may be permanent. But from my experience, much less of it than you think once you decided to beat this.

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I can’t even try to respond to everyone’s posts, there’s just too much to reply to on a one on one basis. I will however post updates as I feel up to it and will continue to be thankful for all the support this great community has to offer. 

Yesterday and today were good days for me. I spent most of my day in a relatively good mood but did have a couple slumps to fight through. Today was a little tougher than yesterday because of the cooler temps today and being stuck in a warehouse stressing because I’m doing someone else’s job instead of doing my usual job. 

Tomorrow makes me nervous. I have no problem telling my closest friends and family some of my personal issues but I’ve never been too open with strangers. It’s one thing to type random thoughts and feelings into this box and the whole world see it. It’s conpletely different when you’re trying to craft the words with someone you’ve never met sitting there looking at you. I don’t like the idea of spilling my contents like that but I know it’s for the best and will have to fight myself to keep from biting my tongue and shutting them out. 

I do have one comment I have to respond directly to. 

19 hours ago, Frosty said:

you're a good guy Michael

I have had a couple people tell me that recently. One today that’s a friend and coworker and another just a couple days ago. The one is someone I texted by accident a couple weeks ago and we’ve had casual small talk but don’t know each other. Either someone’s feeding everyone false truths or maybe I’m just too hard on myself because I just don’t see it. 

Thank you all for your support, I really appreciate it and I only hope I can repay the favor one day. 

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