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My Mind And Isolation.

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by DrBlack, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. DrBlack

    DrBlack New Member

    Hello all,

    I guess I should start this painful introduction process*Insert big sigh here.*

    I was a machine gunner in a route clearance patrol in Baghdad of 09' for three months when orders came down to shift theater to RC South Helmand Province and surrounding areas. I'm sure we could all write a novel on our experiences so I'll keep it as short as possible. I tend to think too much about what I'm saying for fear of coming off as self absorbent. We drove 5 to 10 miles an hour down dirt roads known to have IED's. Well I wished for contact and even wished to shift to Afghanistan in general due to not much going on for us in 09 Iraq. I got everything I asked for from this deployment and feel extremely foolish now that I find it hard to cope.

    We all got vehicle strikes from pressure plate IED's. We worked with the Marines, British, Canadians, Romanians, etc... I used to say before each mission if it was going to be bad just end it quick. We started losing people from our sister company from blasts of 1500IB's buried in culverts. I knew them or at least of them and had even been through basic with one. One blast would take 5 friends. So it was always on my mind as we did not right seat ride with anyone we came in and laid the ground work for operations by stopping at camps and fob's asking for routes to clear.

    When my friends started dying I started not wearing a helmet, being out for revenge wanting to confront the men who wanted to kill us and giving them justice. Once our company lost its first man, from another platoon. I stopped handing candy out to children. My TC had a box of candies and I got fed up one day with him telling me to throw candy I threw out the whole box.

    Sangin, Valley had the greatest effect on me as when we came through briefly we caught the most contact we had seen. The British said it was like driving through the O.K gun coral. So it was odd that the town was empty as we passed at night clearing and escorting supplies to the patrol bases. We pulled 360 security in a huge dry river bed in the middle of Sangin it felt like. I stayed on the gun all night. Saw nothing. As the sun started to come up the supply convoy linked back up with us and we started to push back out of there. Having no clue that the enemy had set up an ambush and monitored us the entire night. We pushed through the complex attack initiated by a blast to our right, as I scanned for someone to shoot at I could not see anything just hear the roar of machine guns and mark 19's peppering compounds randomly it seemed. My knees kept buckling as rounds cracked over head I franticly scanned but I was standing on noodles. I threw my helmet on. And we pushed out.

    The next time we entered Sangin, the lead truck was hit and broke as designed to from a deep buried in a small culvert. There was a man standing in the field to the left side of the road. I was told to monitor him as he was just standing awkwardly while bombs were detonating in the area. Rest of the town was a ghost town. I yelled at him through the gunner hatch and told him to come to me. He spit at me made a hand gesture and turned and ran. I aimed and was ready to pull the trigger when I was ordered to stand down. Frustrated and terrified I had the gut feeling he was a trigger man strung out on some heavy drugs. It just didn't add up. He looked like he knelt and picked something up then stood behind a compound wall in between some mud huts and continued to watch us from the shade of a tree. The second vehicle struck an IED and radio comms went out. The British gunner behind me fired a burst near the mans position and he did not budge.

    I leaned in on my 240's iron sights and fired a burst which missed by inches and cut down a branch by his head. He made a movement and I corrected and fired another burst and after the flash there was just a wall and two mud huts behind it. No longer did I see a man. A chill up my spine came from the guys in my vehicle's reaction of excitement and awe. I realized in that split second I had taken a life and began to question my karma immediately. But I did not get the chance to confirm. As soon as the recovery came to pick up the vehicle that had been hit as I was staring into the field lost in thought. RPG's started flying in from the field as soon as the first few men dismounted. We got into an 8 hour firefight which was only stopped due to air support coming on station. Couldn't see a single enemy. Just rockets and rounds flying at us. I returned fire by shooting into trees and bushes as the MK-19's again peppered compounds.

    When we made it to the patrol base there was a hill near us as we stood by the vehicles outside the wire. As we ate our MRE's the locals gathered in a group up the burial hill and buried the dead as we watched.

    I was non-deployable after returning home and diagnosed for PTSD. Nightmares, drinking, the usual symptoms. I had such a problem sleeping and went through periods of denial for taking medication that when half a non prescribed percocet was offered to me I took it in hopes to get a good nights rest before Fridays run. It was a surprise 100 percent piss test and I was booted out after serving 59 days extra duty for telling off a squad leader as well. Now as a civilian a few years after the fact. I went to work in a slaughter house shoveling hog guts and burning blood. To unemployed living off disability. Recently I have considered going to an underwater diver/welding school.

    I spend my days locked in a room staring at a screen to stay out of trouble. If you read this I appreciate your time. I feel like a little girl as I type this out here, considering others traumatic events. I feel weak that I have allowed this to effect me enjoying life. But refuse to let it stop me if that makes any sense. Basically I'm a stubborn ass. I haven't taken medication in over a year. And do not visit the VA. In public I feel a sense of urgency. Even buying cigarettes is a challenge. And I bawl my eyes out at least once a week lol. Last time I went to the VA the next thing I knew I ended up in an emergency room waiting for a shrink on call who offered me perscribtions. Ridiculous.

    Black.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2013
  2. reddevil1111

    reddevil1111 Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the forum. Your not alone. We all bear deep seated emotions like you. Look around, there are lots of us in here to talk if you ever want to. I know the VA sucks but sometimes its a better option than nothing. keep your head up, remember your among friends here.
    DrBlack likes this.
  3. Ba Moi Ba

    Ba Moi Ba Well-Known Member

    Welcome Black - your in friendly territory here.

    Black, that is the way many of us felt. We're warriors, that can't be, we adapt, improvise and overcome. Don't be ashamed of being wounded - PTSD is a wound of the mind. If you want to get better you have to do things that you may not like but necessary. I know you don't want to hear about the VA and meds but you have to keep an open mind. There are alternatives for you to pursue that have worked for others on this forum. Explore the posts on this forum - you'll see that you are not alone. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

    Ba
    DrBlack likes this.
  4. Sleeping Dragon

    Sleeping Dragon Well-Known Member

    Welcome my Brother.

    A few of thoughts:

    Don't beat yourself up over your condition and the prolems it brings. As Ba put it, you're not weak, you're wounded.

    The road back will be filled with set backs and frustration. But, each step you take will bring you closer to a world that is worth while. We call them baby steps, and ya gotta take a few each and every day.

    Every one of us here has felt like giving up more times than we can count. And, each of us is glad we didn't.

    Don't give up on outside help. It's available, and you've earned it. You're going to change a little each day. So, what didn't work yesterday may bring relief today or tomorrow.

    Most of all, YOU'RE NOT ALONE. KEEP COMING BACK.

    SD
    DrBlack likes this.
  5. Jimmy

    Jimmy Well-Known Member Can Ban

    Black, what can I say. First of all welcome to our family, there are brothers and sisters on here that share your feelings. We all have our own nightmares and guilt, something we could have done better, something we should not of done, but that is the past.

    What is chewing at you and crippling your life is what we call 'The Beast' or PTSD. There are other names for it, but if left untreated and allowed to do as it wants, will totally destroy you and your relationships with everyone you know, family, friends, and loved ones alike.

    As Red and Ba have said, we have all been down that lonely road and some of us still visit from time to time, it is the nature of the beast. But, with the right treatment it can and will get better. I was a single father and used to send my 9 year old son down the shop when I was at my worst.

    Nobody will criticize you here, we will guide you, occasionally give you a kick in the pants if your feeling sorry for yourself, but we are all one big family. We have brothers and sisters from all parts of the globe on here and from conflicts dating back to Vietnam.

    So read some of the articles and by all means, message any of us, we won't bite.

    Glad you have joined us mate.

    Jimmy
    DrBlack likes this.
  6. Dan84

    Dan84 Well-Known Member

    Morning mate, I served in Sangin too, which is why I couldn't read all that; avoiding triggers! But welcome.
    DrBlack likes this.
  7. JennyMac

    JennyMac Well-Known Member Can Ban

    mornin black, welcome .....glad you found us. sounds like you are in the belly of the beast at the moment and although it may sound hollow from where you are standing it does get better...if not better you learn to tame it so it will not take up so much space in your life. just hold on, stop bullying yourself you are not acting like a little girl, you have been to and through hell and you survived.....with scars to prove it. depression and ptsd is a crappy combination with ptsd putting you on edge and depression blaming you for being ....insert self induced insult here.......its a shitty dance and its one we do for the rest of our lives. you need a good doc to help you learn how to deal with this, and believe it or not you can learn to do it. the hardest thing for me was finding hope that it would get better...it does. welcome, pull up a chair and join in.
    DrBlack likes this.
  8. Zipperhead

    Zipperhead Well-Known Member

    Morning Black. After a few outings around Gundi Ghar I began to notice that the locals all knew where the IEDs were. So maybe they didn't put them there. So maybe they didn't set them off. But they sure as hell didn't report them or try to stop us hitting them either. So don't feel bad about taking "a human life." They wouldn't hesitate a second at taking yours, or that of those around you.
    DrBlack, Ba Moi Ba and Dan84 like this.
  9. Spock

    Spock Well-Known Member

    Welcome Black,
    I'm glad you came here and told your story. I hope that helped you. It helps us all to share. It brought us here too.
    Thousands of warriors are all around you that you don't see, suffering from the same combat injury. You're not alone. We're hard on ourselves but playing the game my combat injury is less than yours, or I'm not worthy, misses the target. The target is what you have to deal with and the weapon is treatment and coping skills. As for karma, you did your job. Swim with the current now, not against it. Look forward.

    Stay safe, stay strong
    DrBlack and Ba Moi Ba like this.
  10. Jimmy

    Jimmy Well-Known Member Can Ban

    Well said Zip.

    Black, the powers that be, the ones that sit on their fat arses in airconditioned offices call it collateral damage, but they have no idea of the guilt that is felt by the person on the ground. Guilt is a powerful thing that will eat you from the inside out, turn that guilt into a regret, it makes it easier to stomach, It's hard to contemplate now, but if you do this and seek therapy, life gets easier. Medication might be a necessary evil too, but get just for now, if you find the right combination, it will ease the tears and let you get on with healing.

    Now, as for the military booting you out for a piss test, well, you might be able to fight this, well at least get compensation for PTSD.

    Cheers

    Jimmy
    Ba Moi Ba, DrBlack and JennyMac like this.
  11. DrBlack

    DrBlack New Member

    Thank you all for taking the time to respond I appreciate it. It took a lot for me not to just delete this when I woke up this morning but after reading the replies I was surprised. I will take in to use your advice and pointers. I got a letter today from the VA stating it was time for a follow up and to come in at my own date an time. I think my big thing about medication came from a friend urging me to do research on messing with serotonin levels in the brain.

    Thanks again for the welcome everybody.
    I'll be sticking around.

    Black
    JennyMac, Dan84 and Spock like this.
  12. Barberian

    Barberian Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the forum Dr.B. Writing out what's on you mind helps to organize your thoughts/memories. You can do this here or on your own puter. I wrote out 30-40 pages and in the process remembered a lot, realized some memories were not real (dreams) or mine, but somehow I incorporated them into my trauma, and was better able to put things in proper order (timeline). It was very, very, very difficult to drudge through all the crap in my head, but when I came out the other end, I was better off overall.

    Feel free to say what's on your mind, ask advice, or just bitch about life, the universe and everything.
    DrBlack likes this.

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