Learning To Live with my PTSD!
My goal for these next few posts, or but many it may take me, is to work through my issues. To relive and sort out what happened and share my story along the way. I also hope that I can help others living with any level of PTSD in silence. That they will find the courage to do that same and remove their veiled mask of PTSD! #BreakTheStigma
Some may find the following to be graphic or triggering to read. I am being honest and open!
After the interview was complete, the body was than escorted to the local village. The family of the victim received a payout for their child’s death. EOD was busy cleaning out the back of their vehicle, where the body had been during the interview. It was now covered in blood, and human debris.
It Stunk Of Death!
Walking by it was enough to make you gag! All I could think was, they now have to drive back 7 hours in that mess! I did not envy them at all.
The Drive Back
The drive back was uneventful! After the mornings events, and due to the fact the intel was good for the drive back. We made our way to the highway, or as we called it Ring Road South, and took it all the way back.
I remember sitting there almost lost in my thoughts. No, I was for sure lost in my thoughts. That drive is still a blur to me. I kept seeing that kid, lying there, motionless. My driver and I made small chit chat. He kept asking me what it felt like. How I was doing. I shrugged, said I was fine. Told him I didn’t even pull the trigger on my weapon.
He knew I was lying, I could see it in his face. This is where I began to wear that Veiled Mask. Trying to hide my emotions. Being the TOUGH Infanteer! I decided to pop my head out the hatch of the vehicle and get some air.
Breaking down. I cried! Using the wind from the drive hide my tears behind my Ballistic glasses.
I felt so weak! So Frail!
Upon arriving back to MSG, after the unloading of gear from my vehicle, we were given time to sh*t, shower and shave. Of course we had to shave, heaven forbid we went one more day with stubble. I mean we took a life, but hey get in there and shave soldier.
After taking the time needed to get sorted, we then had to make our way to the CP, Control Point, and wait for our debrief. CSIS debriefed us, told us we did a good job, and not to let things bother us.
Yeah ok! Let me shrug it right off! Of course, at the time that is what I did. Hiding ever more behind that Veiled mask of PTSD!
They proceeded to tell us how much money the family had got. A number lost to me to this day. The fact a value can be put on the life of an individual is mind blowing to me. They also told us the child was not of sound mental health, they believe he was Autistic. The theory was they did not have the means to care for him, so they pushed him towards us knowing!
Knowing we would take his life!
Why did they have to tell us that? What reason or end game did they have in us knowing this. They told us, without saying it out loud, that they used us as executioners for what they perceived as a win win for them.
How could anyone do this?! I have a 10 year old son, and 1 year old daughter at the time of writing this. I could not in a lifetime imagine giving up on them. Allowing them to die, or be killed, to save me hardships!?
I could have grasped the gravity of what happened if all I knew was, we had killed someone probing us. Trying to test our laager defenses.
They told us something that we did not need to know. Did not want to know. I wish I hadn’t known!
I felt used! Lied to!
Back To KAF
As the debrief came to an end, the CSM told myself and the soldier I had come with, that we would be flying out that night. Heading back to KAF, away from here as we were not needed any longer.
Not needed. Guess they had no one who needed to be killed at the moment.
So, we packed up our things, had a quick meal, and caught some sleep. Our helicopter was not coming in until later that night. I had a very hard time falling asleep. I could not shake the feeling that something was not right! Even then, I knew something had switch in my brain. Anger started to creep it’s way into my life.
I had anger before, but this anger would consume me the rest of the tour, and lead to some dangerous situations. I never put anyone at risk, other than myself. But that alone, put the people I love at risk!
This was about 2 weeks into my being in country. I had been in the military at this point for about 1 year and 2 months. I was still a FNG, F*cking New Guy! No one prepared me for this sh*t. You hear stories, see movies, pictures, get the briefing. But when you actually have to aim down your sights, and take a life. It is not something to take with a grain of salt. In not dealing with it from the start, and lying about my role. I had willing put that Veiled Mask on! I wanted to hide.
I used anger to replace the shame, and guilt I felt!
F*ck them for doing this to me!
The End For Now..
This is where I am going to stop for now, but it is just the start! I don’t know what else to say right now, other than remember you do not have to live in silence with any form of PTSD! It feels good to write this out, even though it kills my stomach and makes me want to almost puke. Thank you for listening. I hope this made sense. Feel free to comment if you want clarity on something or have a question.