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Every Day Is Another Battle

I battle post traumatic stress. But - it is not what everybody seems to want to assume. It is not the 28 years I spent in the US military.

Oh, hell no.

That was, in many ways, stress relief.

A place where I felt, safe, and useful.

It took me many years, and much soul searching, to understand myself, to understand what I am, what I fear, what it is, exactly that bothers me, and makes me who and what I am.

The experiences that shaped me go back to childhood, to some very ugly experiences - but - in a way that I have only in the last few months have figured out how to articulate, I decided that I would never again be a victim.

I would be the meanest, baddest, nastiest mo-fo around, and all the smart predators would damned well take a look and leave me alone - and the dumb ones would learn from -ahem- "negative reinforcement of undesired behavior."

Oh yes, that is another one of my survival tricks - I learned to be the smart one - I could sound like the broke-*** redneck cracker that I was, easily enough, but I also could sound like a high class erudite gentleman when I wanted to.

I learned everything I could - studied anything I could, especially if I could use that knowledge to some advantage as a weapon or a defense. Don't ask me anything about Sports like Football or baseball - I might be an American Male, but I couldn't tell you what teams played in the Super bowl or World Series last year or any other...but if you want to discuss firearms or ballistics or explosives, then I'm there.

And - I'm most assuredly NOT a bully. I am the person who goes to help the person in trouble - I studied Medicine, I am an EMT, have worked as a Volunteer Ambulance Tech, and a Volunteer Fireman, worked on Humanitarian Relief Operations all over the World. I try to help people in trouble whenever I can.

But what that comes down to, is that, for so long, people have gotten used to seeing me as that pillar of strength, that power, that rock, that now that I am getting old, and my body and mind are not as strong as they once were - well, I find myself alone.

I find that my days are well - scary. I see people, and I get frustrated, and I feel the anger welling up. I withdraw, because I know, I am capable of causing harm - and it is totally inappropriate. But - it is Catch-22.

Until I break down and hurt somebody, they don't want to help me. I'm pretty much on my own resources. It really is not a military-caused problem, so the VA won't get involved.

and - if I admit the truth - that a day when I don't think of suicide is a good day...then they put me on a ward at the Psych Hospital. But - it has been years since I have gone an entire day without thinking about it. So many times that I held the blade to my veins or the muzzle to my skull and considered it, then set it away.

And - there are reasons - good reasons - why I want to live, to go on.

But so many other times, when I close my eyes, and listen to the voices in the darkness, and I want to just make it stop.

It has been almost ten years since I retired from the military, and for a lot of reasons, I wish that maybe, somehow, somebody more deserving than I got to ride home on that Freedom Bird....the aluminum box and the tie down straps on the C-17 would have been good enough for me.

But - it didn't happen. I am still alive, still here, still going. Why? - I'm not so sure. I see so many other people, with reasons just as valid as mine, or better, and they are dying. But I am - still here, still going.

To forfeit the game and punch out early, not my style. Just wish I knew why it's happening like this.


angusmcfarland angusmcfarland 51-55, M 1 Response Jul 19, 2012

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Why are we still here? No one person can truly say why they are here. But if you ask the people around them what would it be like with out them then you might get a little insight why God has blessed you to be here. I come to find out it is not always about me. Some times I go throw something in order to show the way out of it to somebody else. To the world your one person but to one person you mean the world.