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Am I alone?
I can’t seem to shake the feeling that I failed. I’ve got so much to be thankful for right? I’m alive. That’s got to count for something doesn’t it?
But still my heart is heavy, a dark hole that seems to pull on me. It has no direction or function, just a gravity like pressure that lingers under a wire tight level of hypervigilance.
One minute I feel invincible and the next as though I could be crushed like those forgotten stale potato chips on the couch when someone sits down.
Of course there are all the memories. Not the fun ones of skiing or dirtbiking, no. The intrusive ones that pop up unexpectedly when something as simple as a name rolls in the credits on television. Those only compound when your brain has been twisted by concussions so severe they are often unchartable. The confusion wreaks havoc through the wiring in my head at a dizzying rate and I question myself on a regular basis if I’m losing my mind. I’ve cheated myself out of death more times than I can recall. Suicide wish? HELL No. Been there, done that. I’m just testing deaths resolve. Fuck death.
Am I alone?
My eyes ache from staring at a ceiling hidden in the natural darkness of my room. The ceiling fan whirls it’s blades in a futile attempt to calm me. The physical pains all start to pound their individual messages with each heartbeat, reminding me that there is more to my battered existence than “just” PTSD. I’ve slept a total of 14 hours, all interrupted, in the past five days and I wonder how anyone can endure years of this sort of subconscious abuse.
Am I alone?
How do I ever trust anyone ever again when the betrayals began almost at birth and only worsened as I watched humanity tear itself limb from limb in battle? Then of course the global community exonerated those who committed the atrocities two decades later. How do I trust when those I swore to defend rewrite the rules to balance their books and cast my brothers and I through the cracks of care? When the citizens are more concerned about celebrity nausea and walk around in ignorant texting zombie bliss.
Nobody beats me up like I do.
Am I alone?
Dear Decision Makers,
“I will never leave a fallen comrade.”
Am I the only one who remembers day 1 in reception and seeing that phrase everywhere, on every wall, on every recruiting poster? Am I the only one in uniform that memorized those words???
At what fucking point did it become “I will never leave a fallen comrade….unless”
Forgive me, I’m a little pissed off right now. I just lost a soldier to suicide a week ago and I had to sit there and keep my mouth shut while I listened to officer after officer tell some grieving soldiers “Don’t go it alone.” “We are here for you.” “Ask for help. We’re here” “It won’t affect your military career.”
Sorry, but that’s complete bullshit. Because I’m staring at an email in my phone right now that’s sent to no less than 25 people of various commands and positions that concerned 18 soldier’s careers. God forbid that the medical NCO have to send 18 emails to 18 different commands. Let’s just put a blanket statement out there about everyone’s business to everyone. (Because nothing stops suicidal thoughts more than embarassment)
What was the letter? It was concerning med boards on the 18 soldiers and informing every one of the 25 people that those soldiers were not going to be allowed to train with the unit.
(People’s medical issues are everyone’s business….Every medical professional knows this right?)
What in the actual fuck??
Then they have the nerve to sit there and A) act surprised that a soldier just took his own life without reaching out for help once. (Yes, he was part of this unit) and B) Stand in front of soldiers grieving for his loss and tell them that “Your secret is safe with us, ask for help.” (translation: We’ve got operators standing by to fuck your career up.)
Then bring the very non-combat veteran, CIVILIAN who is allowed to dictate soldiers fates based purely on paperwork out to the field to ask them if they need help.
Are you serious? Do you honestly think that people don’t talk? That the information in small communities is passed around in latrines and over beers and on golf courses, in conversations in the field and at training schools??
Do you think that word hasn’t gotten to the lowest of ranks that if you ask for help, you’re fucked? That it ends your career? Do you honestly think this kid and several other soldiers (22 a day if you’re not tracking) aren’t thinking the exact same thing when they choose to not ask for help and end it all?
What in the hell is in your Soldier’s Creed?? I must have missed the goddamn memo about it being edited and resubmitted with the selfish service clause.
Psst….You…..yes you…who are ending people’s careers because they tried to end their misery before ending their life………..are you aware that veterans and current service members are killing themselves faster and more efficiently than the enemy?
22 of them every day.
Your shit is weak!
You’re doing it wrong slapnuts!!
How about you pull that smart book out of your attic, dust that son of a bitch off, stand in front of a mirror and recite your creed. For once, try to remember that you are a soldier, because there’s a few hundred thousand out there that will never be able to forget it.
We walk among them in disbelief. Those poor unfortunate souls that think they’re making a political statement standing on a helpless inanimate symbol of the very freedom that allows them to live such a protected life where they have the time to exercise such stupidity. We stand at the register in the grocery store looking at a litany of magazines caught up in what morons like Kanye and the Kardashians and are up to. We see them in the streets struggling to hurry to the job they hate in order to make payments on the car they bought to impress everyone around them. We stare blankly into the eyes of the crowd gathered outside the apple store discussing how they just can’t wait for the next new Ipersonality device to come out so they can be just that much cooler.
We stare at them on days like today, the sales, the lake trips, the grill sessions and the parties with a comfortable ambivalence and the absolute absence of fucks given. We quietly remember our fallen.
Why? Because we are walking, living breathing history. We have spent years of our lives denying ourselves the comforts of this world to deal with the ugliness of it. Just as Lorde says We’ll never be royals.
However, we have lived and walked this Earth as Gods. We will never know what it’s like to owe anyone our most prized possession………our freedom.
Tag someone you know who’s on the outside, who’s not part of the clique at school or the best dresser, or in supermodel shape or who might be struggling. Tag someone who needs to hear that they matter. Because they do.
The other day I was talking with a friend and overheard her say “Who’s going to find me worth anything?” and it ticked me off. Why? Because I was willing to die for her and every other social misfit out there. So this one’s for you, the kid who’s getting bullied, the single mother just getting by, the musician who’s parents wanted a quarterback, for the kid who never knew they were special to anyone. All of us, all the vets from all over the world. We were all willing to fight and die for you. That makes you pretty damned special I think.
By the way, don’t sweat the opinion of the crowd. We weren’t the cool kids either.
I’ve sat back and watched as my life had fallen apart around me. Wondering what the hell had happened, yet knowing full well that my actions caused it. I’ve learned multiple times of brothers who have taken their own lives. With one as recent as just a week ago. I’ve marveled in disgust at how our respective governments have ironically allowed us to dangle in the breeze.
It brings back that deep-seated rage that comes from the betrayal of whats right. I’m talking about how humanity betrays itself on a daily basis and we are forced to live in its mire.
There are two choices in this,
1) allow it to consume you and become one of them; a soulless wolf
2) find balance and extinguish a fire that has no purpose, and watch over our brothers.
The choice is yours, but only one will bring you the peace you know you desire deep down in your soul of souls.
How is it that as people we can sit in the same rooms and be two worlds apart from each other. I am finding this to be a current and reoccurring issue with my wife as many of us I am sure have found us to be in the same situations. Time and time again I read stories where us as Service Members and Veterans have our worlds fall apart due to the ones we love not understanding the people that we are in todays sense of the word. How is this so possible, where have we gone wrong? Well in my beliefs I do not believe that either of us have truly gone wrong at all, I believe that we both have different expectations as to how we are supposed to act now that we are ‘different’ than society seems to think we truly should be. Aren’t we still the loving caring people that we once were? Yes, yes we are! However we tend to show that differently in the present tenths than we ever have in the past, we have changed, we have learned a love language that is different from those around us. When a Vet is in trouble or needs some advice we all tend to jump at the opportunity to help them in anyway shape or form that we possibly can. Why can we not do this for those who love us to the bone though? That answer is a little more vague at the root of the question. Why do we turn the so called ‘other cheek’ to those that we care about and surround ourselves with but we can stand tall and proud with those that we don’t even know from a world away. I find this to be tearing my current marriage to shreds with the door open for my wife to walk out and not really have a second glance. Where possibly have I gone wrong in the dealings with family? At this point I truly am not sure, even as I write this my wife sits in the room next to me not knowing what I am doing as it’s not for her concern in my mind. This is where I come to a fault and I know this but I am not sure how to approach the situation. We have to come to these crossroads in our lives from time to time to find the true person we are meant to be. I might be rambling at this point as I do not know where to go, where is my next step supposed to be. I know the things that I have to do but would I rather take that step with those I am comfortable with or would I rather share with the woman who is supposed to be in my life until my last breath. This is a crossroad that I am sure many of you have passed not knowing if you have made the correct answer but where does this discussion lead us? I leave you with this, as a help to your brothers and sisters and a discussion amongst yourselves, what do you do? Where do you leave this piece?
People say, “You’re so philosophical now.”
After 22yrs of dealing with demons of what cannot be unseen, sometimes conquering, sometimes failing miserably, I have spent many days in reflection. To find some semblance of balance is one of the keys to dealing with PTSD. Balance comes through understanding. Balance, Peace…call it what you may.
Just a reminder that this Saturday, like all Saturdays is MMI’s SITREP Saturday.
This weekend is the Canadian Thanksgiving long, and in the USA, it’s Columbus Day long, so perhaps being alone and in self isolation, this Saturday may weigh more heavily than normal with those that are on their own.
We ask you, the raging masses to call, text, or swing by for a visit, a Veteran, or serving member who may be having a bit of a rough patch.
You’d be surprised on how good these simple gestures can mean to someone.
Believe me, I know. In my darkest time, I had a call from a Veteran’s organization, who rang me out of the blue, just to see how I was going.
It did make a difference, and so can you.
Remember in the US alone, there are 23 Veterans each day, taking their own lives. The UK, Australia, and Canada, plus other Allied nations are also experiencing service related suicides.
** keeping in mind also our LEO and 1st Responder Brothers and Sisters.
I used to sit out in the open on the hills at night listening to crack thump and watching the green tracer lines fly through the night, pinging off the hills all around me. Picking out different calibers and firing positions of the shooters. You know just sitting, enjoying the night, invincible, no way one of those guys could hit me if they tried, watching as if I were watching fireworks. It is actually one of the most enjoyable memories I have of Bosnia. They couldn’t do it then, I’m not about to do it now. Even though I witnessed the worst of what mankind can do to one another, it is this that broke me and caused me to leave a piece of myself over there. We are fighters and we must keep up the fight my brothers.