Every Day Is Another BattleI 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 ba
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.