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I had several more types of fugues, I would be walking down the isle of the grocery store and experience a fugue. I do not know why, but a grocery store would send me into a crying fit of guilt and grief with only one thought in my mind and nothing else. I would cry for hours and could not be moved, lying in the isle of the store just crying with my wife holding me thinking only of the one singular thought. The Iraqi soldiers we killed that were trying to surrender.
Other times in a store I would walk aimlessly around not knowing why I was there and wondering what it was that I was supposed to do. My wife would have to come to the store and get me after having been in the store for hours. The episodes were triggered by areas with an abundance of numbers, letters, colors, areas of high visual traffic. This went on for about two years after the war.
The incident that solidified the mental wound of PTSD results in a mind numbing, or psychic shift. In response to the trauma of combat, the person needs to make a mental detachment to do what needs to be done. The survival mode of operation forgoes the higher levels of functioning and depends on the primitive reactionary portion of the brain (Cercone, 296). When this unconscious detachment has been activated to frequently or for extended amounts of time it becomes part of conscious processing and interferes with everyday interactions.
I remember in the Gulf War when that cognitive fracture, or dissociative reorganization happened for me. It was at night, I was watching our long range rockets and artillery barrage launching to rain down on the enemy. It was surreal, beautiful, terrifying, the most intense fireworks I had ever seen filling the entire sky illuminating the battlefield, I was in awe. It felt like I was one with the universe, out among the everything, feeling all and knowing all. I heard over the distance of what seemed like eternity, "Move out".
I realized that I was no longer inside of my body, the instant that I heard that order and made that connection I was paralyzed as I slammed back into my body. In that same moment, I had this switch that went off or turned on. This mode of operation was no longer a thinking thing, it was a reacting thing. My field of vision opened up completely, it was like my central focus point had widened to include my whole field of vision. I was aware of everything without having to look at it. I was more alive than I had ever been, except that there was no conscious processing of information and a total lack of emotion, absolute detachment. Time had suspended itself for me, I was eternal, I had accessed a part of me that was omnipresent.