That day was fucked. I’m not even sure who I’m supposed to be mad at. Some pissed off local, the taliban, the russians who might have dumped it 20 years prior. Who knows, and I guess at this point it doesn’t matter. We’ve left the country recently making little ground from when I was there 18 years before. One of my bigger fears shouldn’t manifest. My son fighting the same war as I fought. It being over is the best of what we got out of the whole time we were there. Bin Laden didn’t even die there. Can’t help but wonder how many Bin Ladens we created in our 20 year occupation. Young and idealistic I thought what we were doing mattered. What’s the legacy? The stock increases for Raytheon and Lockheed? Some people never met the lives they brought into this world. I feel obligated to do the most I can with my life not sure I’m accomplishing that goal. Gotta get up everyday and try though.
If I died today who would mourn
If I side hopped would it storm
If my heart stopped peace be born
Though at first it may look like pain
After the worst you will see gain
Know our course would see us change
Loves a sport but we’re in flames
When the resort is to start again
We had the best of times
I keep that in mind
When I look for the signs
A mirage I can find
It never fails to shine
Even in the deepest mine
Or this prison of my mind
Through this prism I’m blind
Hard to go on without what I’m
The most solid thing I had in this world is gone. With it everything else is shaking beneath my feet as well. The thing I had turned all my focus on, that I had dedicated all my attention to is now crumbling before my eyes. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know who to turn to. Even the roof over my head is questionable at this point. All I can do is wake up and do the best I can with what the day offers me. Which at this point isn’t much to inspire. I am though. Going through what feels justified in classifying as a tragedy I drag myself to each day with the energy of a zombie, plastering a fake smile on as much as I can. I soldier on because that’s all I know how to do. I have reached out for help. That call is going pretty unheeded at this point. Supposedly somebody will get back to me. With a government beauracracy that seems ever unlikely. I have found a little solace in the pen and pad that used to so fully consume my life. In some ways it’s also like pouring salt on a wound. This cocoon I’ve used to become semi recluse has betrayed me in the most unforgivable way. Being at odds with myself has put me there with everyone else. I wanted to be left alone. It looks like now I will be.
16 year old miscreant.
17 year old rifleman.
18 year old assistant gunner.
19 year old combat veteran.
20 year old sham artist.
21 year old combat leader.
22 year old lifer.
23 year old victim.
24 year old rehabilatator.
25 year old broke dick.
26 year old full time Dad.
27 year old expatriate.
28 year old dreamer.
29 year old minimum wager.
30 year old compromise.
31 year old sunny skies.
32 year old crashed his bike.
33 trying to revealuate life. Repurpose my time. I still have it so I need to sharpen my mind. Rested on my laurels thought I’d always be good. Saw it all come crashing down in an instance. Thankful that I can walk but it’s too late for me to stock shelves.
Gotta try something else totally left field. Got a year of school left thinking about heading back in Sep. Broadcasting or journalism maybe.
Can’t sit back too long and let everything fester. My mind will not improve hiding in my burrow, for whatever good it’s done my body.
I have what you could call an addictive personality. Whatever it is I can take it to excess.
Gaming, gambling, smoking, drinking, sex; if it’s an indulgence I can over do it.
Not sure if it’s a nature or nurture thing, but it’s my battle.
Balancing indulgence without developing dependence. I have a beast that needs to be fed. I have to feed it on a leash though.
I cant let it run loose anymore, there was a time and place for that.
Knowing what I know has kept me from going off the deep end when I’ve seen soooo many people take that dive.
It would have been easy too. The prescriptions were mine for the taking. I always rationed myself though and kept it from becoming a dependency.
With my most recent accident I leaned heavy on the weed to keep myself from being dependent.
Even that’s in decline of use though now. My legs are somehow still under me, and I’m still going.
Just a heads up I know I’ve been dark for awhile. Life’s a bastard but it won’t get me. Cheers
It’s coming up on a year since my accident. A few years now that I have been having issues with driving.
So basically I spend a lot more time at home and alone than I use to.
Part of the way I pass time is YouTube.
It’s been quite a few years I stopped using cable. So I wasn’t able to sink into the grind of daytime soaps.
So I’d put on a YouTube video in the background while going about my day doing housework, cooking, or writing. At first usually some music video. Than I started listening to podcasts.
After awhile I found that I was seeing the same people on rotation. People who I felt made valid arguments based on logic and reason.
While I’m not a genius I don’t consider myself an idiot. I feel I’m rational and logical and can change my opinions and beliefs based upon the introduction of new evidence.
There are people I know, who I feel share these qualities, that are on the opposite end of political thought. I began to wonder how. What had they read or listened to, or had they come to this place on their own.
I’m an 80s baby I grew up around technology. Saw the birth of the internet. I understand algorithms. To the extent I understand they look for patterns and try and show you things you’ve interacted with before.
I decided I wanted to break free of my echo chamber. Stop telling me everything I already think. The only way to test your views is to try an oppose them. Try an rationally argue against your points.
So I set about finding dissenting views.
I’ve found a few that I can listen to, but they tend to lean more my direction than the furthest from my starting points.
I need to push further. To create a new online footprint in the algorithm to truly find the break I’m looking for.
I must forge a path in stark contrast to my current. A brave new world where ideas, that in my mind have been proven to be fallacy. An idealistic world where stated intentions were exactly as they were described.
To do so I’ll be creating a new identity online trying to make clicks opposite of the way I do now. Hopefully I find some rational dissenting opinions.
I think I’ve done it. I may have retreated so far within myself I’ve turned inside out and am unravelling.
Plateaued has probably been my status these last few months. I’ve been noncommittally excercising. Trying to rebuild my muscles waiting for muscle memory to reinforce the motion my nerves are fighting against.
I’ll say it’s a struggle.
My license expiring has been surreal. I let it go as it had been months since I’d driven. Before the accident I was only driving to work. Without work I haven’t been driving at all.
Driving was getting to be too much. Knowing I was about to drive was becoming enough to have me anxious.
I felt like I was playing Russian roulette with a car. The panic attacks I was having I could no longer catch my breath while driving. I was having to pull over which had worked out until this point. A close call or two. I’m sure I left some people cussing at me.
So when earlier this year I received the form to renew I decided I couldn’t do it. I would have to find alternatives. Which I could probably manage if we still lived in the city.
I got my bicycle lubed up, and although I have some issues feeling the pedals, I can for the most part just push down hard enough to keep my feet on board.
So that’s expanded my search range slightly. Cardio might keep getting it wider.
Going back to what I was doing isn’t really an option but I could swing a desk job. Haven’t quite worked anything out yet though.
So I’m doing my best house husband. Trying to help the kids and keep things up to snuff, emphasis on try. Never been my wheelhouse, but trying to make the most of it.
I spend too much time alone though. Coming from me that’s saying a lot. Yesterday talked to the bike store lady for way too long. Gotta keep it together.
Signed H.D. from the bottom of the wall.
“Dad doesnt ever smile laugh or play with me.”
“Living with someone with PTSD you never see them smile.”
I’ve felt like this so long, I can’t really remember feeling any other way. A huge portion of my life I’m on autopilot. Maybe it’s the training. Ive heard people talk before about the training taking over. My memory is such a blurry haze I cant recall it happening to me.
Maybe I can train myself to smile though.
I often feel things are going well, only to realize that things feel that way because I’m withdrawing. I find solace in my isolation. In that comfort is the danger of not being able to leave it.
Does it matter if I smile when no ones around to see it?
What I do recall comes in waves, sometimes gently rolling up to me. Other times crashing beating me down and reshaping me. My memory being what it is it’s unreliable as well. I’ve found myself carrying guilt for things that weren’t the way I remember.
Smile, because it’s never really that bad.
It’s never the combat that eats me. That’s what I signed up for. What’s haunted me most has been the non combatants. The by-standers who ate shrapnel meant for us. The victims of the civil war going strong while we stood on the sidelines.
Smile for the people we saved.
After one such incident, I carried an unnecessary burden for years. I was the driver in the lead vehicle. We were coming from behind a building and getting back onto the road. A wall and trees blocked even my gunners field of view.
Smile for the beautiful day it was.
As soon as my tires hit the road a car collided with our front end at a high rate of speed. We didn’t budge. A turn signal marker was cracked. Not the light itself but the plastic cover.
Smile, because we were okay.
The locals car windshield was maybe a foot from the truck. Majority of the front passenger side of their vehicle was stuffed under our vehicle.
Smile to try and give them the impression they’re going to be alright.
My immediate impression was the front passenger was gonna die and the other 3 occupants didn’t appear much better. Our medic started providing first aid. I ended up pulling security near my vehicle while we now cordoned off the accident vehicle.
Smile and do your job.
I can’t remember if I moved the vehicle or if it was moved for me. I do remember looking back too often and telling myself to pull security. Especially once the popshots started.
Smile none of us got hit.
For years I thought those guys died. Only when I did a paper on the incident years later was I able to close the loop. Corresponding with my former platoon leader and platoon sergeant I got answers to questions I guess I never asked. Our medic was able to stabilize all 4 of them. They lived.
Smile we’re still in touch.
My point being, that while digging through the past can hurt, there can also be closure there. We all carry the weight of our decisions and thier impact on the world. We don’t need to shoulder additional weight.
Smile because it really wasn’t that bad.
We all do the best we can with the information available at the time. When seconds matter, having years to second guess can be grueling.
Smile because we still have the option.
Since I got out the army my family has noticed I’m fairly good at maintaining my situational awareness.
When I go places I pay attention for exits, I evaluate the threat capacity of all my fellow patrons, and I sit with my back to the wall so I have best field of vision. Doing so also removes threats from behind.
Most vets probably do similar things. Not because we think the world is crazy and constantly erupting into gunfire. Rather we’re this way, because we know when the wall does pop off, it does so in an instant.
You don’t have time when the burger joint your at is getting robbed to figure out a side exit to slip out with your family.
You don’t have time to practice loading your magazine in the dark when you hear burglars downstairs.
Knowing these things ahead of time could be the difference between life and death.
Now I can’t look over my shoulder. With my broken back my ability to keep my head on a swivel in severely diminished. Sep.>>>>>Nov.
I have worked hard though. It has paid off. I spent a few months in a rehab center, and I’m out of the chair.
For that matter I’ve cast off the cane. Nerve pain is new ,but it’s just another type of pain. A signal to the brain, or in this case a misfired signal. I’ve been in pain more or less since 2002 just increasing in scale.
I have had pain killers here and there over the years, and I will say I could get used to not being in pain. I mean “sneaking into people’s houses to support it” used to it. At that point it’s a fight you’ll probably have the rest of your life. I got too many wars going on.
Starting a battle on another front would have been too much. I would have lost myself, so a week after my surgery I was already eyeing dropping some pills out of my life. I was introduced to medical cannabis, and am now living opiate free.
Along this path though I realized the medical community is not very pro-marijuana. two incidents specifically stick out in my mind. The first was when my Dr., a nice young lady who I probably had a few years on, made me promise not to smoke and take THC pills for fear of an overdose.
It’s happened so many times over the years don’t you know.
Later an incident involving one of my nurses, she lost track of days and thought she had given me medication the day prior when it had actually been two days.
Mistakes happen not a big deal, but she refused for awhile to give me the THC pills while I was in pain. Eventually she acquiesced, but not before offering me a Hydromorphone. Which is an extremely powerful opiate. One which I wasn’t even prescribed anymore.
I’m not suggesting there is some big conspiracy between pharmaceutical companies and doctors, but we should probably have some information sessions.
I have seen first-hand the destructive capabilities of someone with an opiate addiction. Not only to themselves, but the people who love them. As a lightning rod for madness I don’t need to add a steel skirt.
Currently the Veterans Affairs of the United States follows the federal stance on marijuana, which is that it is a schedule 1 narcotic. A drug for which there is no medical purpose. Which is ridiculous and hypocritical as it recognizes derivatives of the plant as having medical purpose.
Many soldiers are being given cocktails of pills to deal with wide ranging issues that could be helped by one plant. From the pain relief of CBD which I am now a firm believer in. To studies linking marijuana to helping support people dealing with mental illness such as depression and PTSD.
At this point there is certainly a need to remove marijuana’s status as a schedule 1 narcotic, and allow clinical trials to be conducted of the effectiveness in treating mental illness.
Part of me would like to try and spearhead this movement. The rest of me wants to close up shop and move into the vault. Only time will tell.