February 7, 2016

Veteran on the Edge

This post is inspired by reading Patience Mason's PTSD Blog about her new book idea. She asks, "Reality is that most people who come back from war, or survive another trauma, are not fine, so if that might fit you, here are some questions to think about: How or why might you be fucked up?"

Dear Joe Public,

I would doubt you were in the military or a veteran if you could not recite two or more times a curious and insensitive clod trampled through your trauma to relive his boyhood romanticized thriller of the military life.

For the insensitive thinking that leads a stranger to ask intimate questions, and then discount my story because it does not match the official narrative. Even though most know the television and government lies about everything.

I am not fine. Why the fuck would you expect me to be? Because my war was a little war and does not matter? I hear this all too often, recently and even from veterans.

I am angry and full of rage when not numb or heavily medicated. Hear my witness, in three days my brigade killed over 24,000 Iraqi soldiers under the Desert Storm.

When I got home the idiot box repeaters called me a liar further altering people's perceptions of me as unstable. Caregivers know the safest people in the world are standing next to veterans with PTSD.

When I got home it took filing seven times with the Veterans Administration to get a 0% service connected rating for hearing loss.

In 2005 unchecked PTSD led me to get stabbed in the face and precipitated a crisis. Hospitalized for two weeks in psychic ward and then transferred to a two-year intensive treatment center for veterans.

It took the ninth case, to get a 30% rating for PTSD. Without the support from the treatment center I would not be alive or have a stable life.

Fast forward past the bouts of homelessness, and over 12 hospitalizations for suicidal ideation, in 2007 and the eleventh case, I was finally awarded an 80% service connection for PTSD, hearing loss and tinnitus. Which seriously exacerbates PTSD and infuses the flashbacks and hallucinations with sound, when I am doing deaf.

Do not ever forget. I participated and witnessed in a massacre. For I cannot. My mother shared stories of our great-great grandmother walking the Trail of Tears as a child. I now know her level of sorrow, a lost Cherokee of an unknown clan, branded with genocide where the past meets the present.

Today, if I make perfect financial decisions every month I can barely get by. But, I am not only human and prone to the same mistakes and stresses everyone faces. That is a base for a veteran with combat PTSD, MST and TBI, welcome to our good day. Now heap on hyperstress and crippling anxiety that literally makes your skin crawl. Welcome to our good day. For a great day, heap on cannabis. I don't make enough money to have that the whole month though.

Why the fuck would I shoot bullet eyes when you ask, "Are you okay?" No, I am on the edge. Are you ready to listen?