I Can Learn!

coffee-and-writing

I have been dealing with nightmares, flashbacks, and PTSD/PTSI for years now.  My current counselor advised that I write down the usual (date/time/weather/food/drink) but also include such things as what I was watching on television, music I listened to, what I was reading, was I stressed (always), was I anxious (always), how was I feeling, any other information I could remember.

I have faithfully done this for 3 years now and began to notice a trend, the flashbacks can happen at anytime, that much I get.  They have happened while I was drinking coffee in a diner and they have happened sitting in a restaurant having dinner with a beer.  But the most interesting trend…the nightmares seem to happen after I have watched programs on the History Channel regarding warfare or programs like Band of Brothers.

However, the WORST ones occur when I am extremely stressed, anxious, and distressed. Which almost always happens to me when there is someone near me who is insistent on jabbering on and on to me even though I try to ignore them or politely let them know that I am not interested in chatting (being an introvert, I am NOT one who enjoys shallow chit chat).  I don’t understand people who simply feel compelled to talk constantly to people who have given every indication they don’t wish to be engaged in conversation.  Yet they just go on and on, oblivious to the all signals.

I actually told one such chatterbox, as politely as I could, that, while I am flattered she found me worthy of her attention, I wished to be able to sit quietly and enjoy my own personal space.  This person either did not hear me, ignored my statement, or felt she had the right to invade my personal space because she continued on and on.  I finally looked her dead in the eye and said, “May I ask you a question?”  She stopped talking, smiled and said, “Sure.”  At which point I got up and left.  Honestly, by that point I didn’t really care if I had offended her or not.

I understand that I am an introvert and that not everyone is such.  However, I cannot understand why others seem to believe that introverts should become targets of their aggressive personal space invasion and to be tormented by there nonstop chattering.

The Darkness

The Darkness seeps into every cell and synapse of my mind. Like an oily mist slowly engulfing every thought until no longer has a spark of light remaining.

Paralyzed! Unable to move or think or breathe. Only the droplets of sweat are able to move. Eyes cannot unsee the memories of the evil deeds done, which can never be undone. Scars that still seep blood. Screams which cannot be released…stuck in the throat, choking….suffocating.

Every appendage trembles as they straining to escape, yet the electricity of horror refuses to release the mind or body. Eyes open, unable to close, forced to bear witness to the carnage rendered by these unmoving hands.

Is there any relief to end this cycle? Will death end these horrific scenes? What is a quick and painless way to cease to exist?

Sleep is always elusive! During the day, The Darkness is always just within the realm of consciousness waiting for the chance to invade again.

Sitting at my desk, driving to another meeting where I am expected to help others, staring into my coffee, while staring into my computer screen, I still hear the screams spilling from The Darkness into my mind.

Would that my mind would snap and be done with this torment! Would that my heart would cease to beat so the pressure would not suffocate any longer.

Release! Sweet permanent release of death. The cold silence of the end.

Slogging

flashbacks

The darkness was so dense it clung like skin.  My feet felt as if I were slogging through swamp mud.  Just ahead I could barely make out the backs of First Squad as they moved with precision and stealth over the dune heading for the village.  In my mind, I could not keep up.  My legs felt like lead and I could not move any faster.  As I struggled, my own squad moved past me.

When they crested the dune, in the night sky I saw an even darker entity and I heard a deep, evil chuckle.  As soon as First Squad reached the village center, I heard a rifle crack.  I finally managed to reach the top of the dune just as Second Squad reached the outskirts.  Then all Hell rained down!  The village had been emptied and set as a trap!

From over the rise came the mortar shells. They came crashing down into the village destroying everything in a maelstrom of death.  I was forced by this dark entity to watch as my Squad and First Squad were shredded, shattered, and destroyed.  Only two out of 10 managed to escape and they were badly injured.  I tried to shout commands and tried to scream in frustration, but nothing came.  I smelled the death in the air as the faces of those I knew, my brothers, were dying.  The blood was horrifically splashed everywhere, the coppery smell filled my nostrils, yet I still could not make a sound or move.

Finally, the insurgents came down the far dune firing their AKs into the bodies to make sure they were dead.  Finally, as if to show the evil disdain, I was released to move and speak.  I stared at the carnage and could not believe that humans were capable of such horror and carnage.

I was soaked with sweat, every muscle in my body was tense to the point of knotting, and I woke as I was halfway through the Lord’s Prayer.

I hate flashbacks!  The older I get, the worse they get.  There are times when I cannot discern what is memory and what is happening now.

The Sands

Heavy! That’s what it feels like to try to keep moving in sand. The heat of the baked earth; the scorching of legs and hands and neck and face! The stinging of hot blasts of sand as you struggle to move forward and keep balance and control and momentum.

Passing the sightless eyes of your friends as you push on. The friends you have known through weeks and months of training. The mates who swore to always have each others’ backs now lay in the sand. Many of them are only parts of those you knew. The Buzzards’ Feast waiting for the attendees to arrive.

Stench of death fills the air and nostrils…pungent…sickening…filling my throat with bile needing to explode forth. Yet we keep moving forward regardless the cost.

Why? Every face I see looking back at me with clouded eyes and faces contorted in their last excruciating breath.

Any vestiges of humanity disappear in times like these. It is only in the annihilation of one another that we seek humanity. Cowardly souls dressed for battle awaiting only that one brave soul to lead from the front and guide the way.

Life….what is this dream? Living….what nightmare is this which distorts every day existence into a series of unending nightmares?

The sands have swallowed most of my brother’s in arms. Their faces cry out silently in the agony of the nightmares.

It Never Ends Until The End.

I wish I could forget, but I cannot. The waking nightmares….the faces….the names…their deaths…I will never be able to forget. Nor will I ever be able to forgive myself for surviving when it should have been me.

“Boom Boom” Bryan, “Chico” Charlie, “Dammit” Dave, and the rest…their eyes glazed, their breath no more….

When does it stop? It doesn’t! The faces, the tears, the fears, the carnage…never lets up.

Regardless of my efforts, I could not save them. I followed orders, they died…yet I survived. I, and I alone, bear the guilt of their demise. I, and I alone, bear witness to the events of that day. Would that I would have gone down with them so the burden would not weigh so heavily on my soul.

Would that I could so honourably die and join them in honor and glory. But here I remain, to relive over and over the battle where so many were shredded by enemy fire.

But who cares but me. No one dares to bother with the likes of me when the raw truth be told.

Adventures In Stuff Mart

Stuff Mart

I pulled into Stuff Mart to get my supplies for the month and was absolutely stunned by the complete apathy of people, as the detritus they left behind proclaimed.  When I exited my car, I was greeted with the pungent stench of a rotting dirty diaper sitting right next to a refuse container!  This diaper had not even been folded or wrapped, it was just left with the putrid contents drawing flies from near and far.  This was surrounded by empty water bottles, various food wrappers, straws, cigar and cigarette butts, beer bottles and cans…all less than a single step from the rubbish bin. Then there were the abandoned carts scattered, each containing more rubbish and refuse.

Is this indicative of our society having become so apathetic that we seem to believe “someone else” is responsible for our own laziness?

Upon entering Stuff Mart, the lazy apathy continued to be apparent.  There were pallets of merchandise blocking aisles while employees leaned on them glued to their cellphones.  Then came the Aisle Blockers who come in droves, refuse to walk behind each other, so there can be a two way traffic flow.  They spread out across the aisle and slowly trudge up and down each and every aisle.

Stuff Mart might have “lower prices” on some things, but I would rather pay more and go to a cleaner, less crowded shoppe for my supplies.  I HATE SHOPPING!!!