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Storyteller | Combat wounded veteran | Metalhead | Designer | Bleeding on a page just makes it more authentic: https://benjaminsledge.com

When calamity strikes, leaders emerge. Just not anymore.

I was confused when the soldier pointed toward the front of the line. Men in fatigues stood conversing, waiting for their turn to eat among an endless sea of people. Sheepishly, I moved past the soldiers who continued to joke, and though I was cutting in line, they paid me no mind. Scanning each rank, I continued to make my way forward until I reached my posse — the lowest of the low — Privates. Having recently graduated basic training, I carried the second lowest rank one could have in the United States Armed Forces. I was used to Drill…


A former soldier explains the emotional vacancy of “the fatherless generation”

“Men are so quick to blame the gods: they say
that we devise their misery. But they
themselves — in their depravity — design
grief greater than the griefs that fate assigns.”

―Homer, The Odyssey

I don’t have the group picture from the day my dad visited my fraternity house at Oklahoma State University. It was awkward compared to the “Mom’s Day” photo we would snap a few months later. …


I want you to grow strong.

A little after midnight this morning, I reluctantly fired off a series of emails. Attached to the emails was a draft of my upcoming war and faith memoir: Where Cowards Go to Die. After reading and re-reading the chapters, tweaking, editing, tinkering, and stressing, I knew I needed feedback. But after hitting send, I went back through several chapters and hated every. single. thing. I wrote.

The craft that I’ve worked so hard to perfect—and book I’d been so proud of—felt like a turd dropping in a piss infested toilet. …


67% of conflicts are left unresolved or are unresolvable, so what to do?

Three years ago I posed a question: Is dating hard?

The response was a nuclear holocaust of littered bodies on the field of dating. It left little hope for the future and reminded me of a dystopian novel where everything is desert and ash. If you were lucky enough to find a relationship oasis, then you gloated on social media.

In three years, not much has changed except that a pandemic has made it harder for people to be in any sort of relationship. It would appear the quality of friendships, dating, or a committed relationship continue to sink like…


Follow these five simple steps and you’ll be a better source than most professionals

I’ll spare you a lengthy introduction because if you clicked this, you want the skills to help (or the help). But before we begin, let me explain something vital.

Studies have found less than half of behavioral health professionals receive formal training in suicide risk management, and the average total duration of formal suicide management training is under two hours

That’s a major gap and problem. More often than not, those struggling with suicidal ideation get passed off or are hospitalized. People wrongly assume hospitalizing a suicidal friend or family member treats the suicidal symptoms. In most cases? It doesn’t…


Often we want our environment to change instead of changing ourselves

Austin, Texas is a city full of broken hearts and singles.

People love to talk about the job opportunities, weird culture, live music, and tech industry that dominates the city, but rarely bring up the people who move there for a fresh start.

I would know, because I was one of them.

As I found my footing in the city after a traumatic break-up, most people I met had also moved to the city for a new beginning. They’d either gone through a scarring relationship or had moved there with a significant other, only to get dumped. …


If we’re not careful, loneliness can become something far more insidious

The body had fused to the carpet. Because the remains were untouched for over two years, it was mostly a skeleton. The television was still on and around the body, unwrapped Christmas presents littered the floor.

In January 2006, the London Housing authority tried to repossess an apartment rented by Joyce Vincent due to months of delinquent payments. Instead, they found a decomposed skeleton and a fridge with food carrying expiration dates from 2003.

Joyce’s story quickly caught the attention of the national media, who asked how a young, beautiful woman in her 30s lay dead for so many years…


Instead, you’re ending up exhausted and apathetic.

Success comes to the lowly and to the poorly talented, but the special characteristic of a great person is to triumph over the disasters and panics of human life.
— Seneca

On March 1st, 2021, I joked with fellow co-workers that it was actually March 366th, 2020. An entire year had passed since the first inklings of COVID-19 emerged and began shutting down the world. Having just sold my home in early March and unable to move, my wife and I had to shelter in place with my parents by April.

Most of April 2020 I look back on with…


Obsessive calorie counting, exercise, and rabbit food for meals are becoming a trend. Why?

It’s the search function that always gets me.

Even in researching this article, I found myself second guessing decisions. Shouldn’t have had those Dr. Peppers. The breakfast tacos and barbecue didn’t help with my #gymgoals. Maybe I should run more?

It’s ironic that I feel this way given that, years ago, I sat down with a family member and had an extremely difficult conversation. I’m worried about your eating habits and obsessive exercise. You know… the 12 mile runs and rabbit food for dinner. You won’t even eat pizza anymore. The very thing I confronted my loved one about was…


Depression has been recorded throughout history for 8,000 years. What are we missing to help those struggling?

Imagine you’re bitten by an animal in ancient Egypt that causes your life-span to extend to 8,000 years. The catch is that the infection from the bite also causes severe depression. Desperate to understand the cause and find a cure, you visit with the priests and shamans in your town. They’re convinced it’s a demon or evil spirit and try an exorcism. That doesn’t work, so they try beatings and starvation.

Not wanting to endure the abuse any longer, you wait a few thousand years until medicine advances and migrate to ancient Greece. The physicians recommend physical and mental exercises…

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