Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Scared to sleep

I'm scared to go to sleep, and I'm scared to take my sleeping meds. I've been having these nightmares that are awful, and they wake me up but not all the way. So I'm stuck halfway in between reality and a dream. I'm so tired but I just can't fall asleep. I start having unwanted memories, and thoughts and they make me afraid to go to sleep because I don't want to dream about those things. I don't know what to do. Exhausted.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hate and fear and therapy

I'm scared to go to sleep, because every night I have to live through every fear and bad memory all over again, but waking up feels like dying. I just want to shut off the world, to give me a chance to catch up. All day I spend my time exhausted and apathetic, I want to sleep all day, but I'm still scared to go to sleep. I take my pills, but everything's worse now, so they don't work as well. This is therapy.

When I don't get enough sleep, I overreact to everything, or else don't react at all. I'm almost too tired to be anxious, but not tired enough to be pissed. I want to be alone, but I can't stand it when I am. I think the cure may be worse than the curse. I barely feel alive. I hate being condescended to, which people do when I'm flipping out. I might be crazy but I'm not stupid. I DO know how to breathe thank you very much. I KNOW its not rational but I still FEEL the things I do. Down is up, and black is white, and all anyone can do is wait til the feelings pass. I wish people would stop trying to help. I wish I could stop hating myself.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Losing my mind!!!!!!!!

Sleep and Prolonged exposure therapy

So I recently started prolonged exposure therapy, which is exhausting by the way, and because my "homework" is to get at least one exposure a day, I'm having serious problems with anxiety and paranoia. I went shopping with one of my friends and some guys pointed at us and started walking our way, and I immediately started conducting counter-surveillance maneuvers. Then I had a massive panic attack. Another pleasant part of the therapy is that I have to wait 20 minutes before I can take my medication after panic attacks start, I seriously thought I was going to die.

Then as if that weren't stressful enough, for the last two nights in a row, I've watched guys trying to break into cars in the parking lot downstairs from my building. So I insisted that my bf call the cops. He didn't see the first one, and I was spazzing a little bit so he thought I was being paranoid. The next night he saw it, and called the cops. I was more than a little bit angry.

Also I have been having horrible nightmares. Sometimes they wake me up, and other times I can't wake up as hard as I try. When I manage to wake up, I automatically start looking for something sweet to eat, because even though I'm awake the nightmares are still playing themselves out in my head. Its horrible. I don't know why I have the compulsive need to eat when I get woken up by a nightmare, but I started keeping candy nearby. One morning I woke up and found I had eaten a half a bag of chocolate chips and didn't remember it. I had chocolate smeared all over my hands and face, I kinda looked like a toddler. So I am exhausted. OMG, I want a night of uninterrupted sleep more than anything I've ever wanted before. But every day I have to do an exposure and I FUCKING HATE IT! I'm sooo tired, I don't want to keep putting myself in situations where I'm going to be stressed out, on purpose no less. Its seriously depressing. I'm not even really excited about Christmas anymore. I can't concentrate very well.

I'm writing a book. Its been the only thing that can really get me excited, because I have the book almost finished in my head, I'm just waiting for my hands to catch up. I'm writing it on legal pads (yes I know that is kind of crazy), and I hunted for weeks for the perfect pen. Eventually I'll have it all typed out when I decide to start hunting up a publishing agent. Its a fiction novel. Some action, some suspense, drama, and just for good measure a little romance. I'm kind of in love with my characters, they make the story so easy to write, because I know them so well.

So I hope everyone is having a better holiday season than I am lately. Merry Christmas and all that other stuff.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Crisis number 442

I talked to the Dav finally today. The guy told me that I wasn't going to get 100%, because people that got 100% because of PTSD ought to be locked up somewhere forever. He also told me that I screwed up working with Vetwow, and suggested that they could dissolve their power of attorney and I could handle things myself. Of course I begged him not to. He said they didn't have any of my paperwork and not to bother sending it to them now. By the end of the conversation I felt like (and still feel like) stopping my appeal altogether. According to him I've got at least another year, and who was I to try and get it done faster when there are people who have been waiting for 3 years. So basically all this time I've spent feeling like I've got an axe hanging over my head is meaningless to them or anyone else. I called my therapist and she said she couldn't help. So fuck the DAV and fuck the VA and everyone else. I don't need this shit. I just want to hide in the darkest, quietest, corner I can find and stay there until this all goes away. I'm tired of being treated like a number or a nuisance or a child who can't take care of herself. Of course, lol, I can't take care of myself. I find myself wishing I had just gotten blown to hell in Iraq so I wouldn't have to be dealing with this shit now.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

In all the sexual assaults I think about or talk about, there's one that I never mentioned. A ranking NCO. When I first got to Iraq I was so grateful to have him there, because he protected me from some of the other assholes in my company who thought I was good for nothing. He worked hard to gain my trust, and when it came down to it, I couldn't say no. I thought he was the only one there who would protect me. I didn't know what to do. It was such bullshit. I never reported it, because I was so confused and afraid. He manipulated me to get what he wanted. I know that now. At the time, I was so conflicted about everything. He made me think he was the only friend I had in the world.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The holidays

I love the holidays. I love the lights, I love watching people smile when they see their family, and I love watching them catch up with everything that has happened in their lives. I won't get to see my family this year. I can't deal with airports. I guess that is alright, because most of them have spent all year trying to be there for me when I needed them, and honestly it was more than I could have hoped for.

People keep asking me what I want for Christmas, and I don't know what to say. I know I have more than I ever would have dreamed of asking for, but at the same time the things I need no one can give me. I hit the lowest point in my life this year, and hands came out of nowhere to catch me. I never expected so many people to care. Its humbling, and I'm beyond even gratitude, I'm awed at such unconditional love. But they can't rearrange the world so that the things that happened to me just go away. I have to live with that. I also have to live with the fact that I'm basically helpless right now. I can't take care of myself, but I'm still trying. I have the chance to do that because these wonderful people gave me the chance.

If everyone had the people in their life that I have, the world would be damn near perfect.

Monday, November 8, 2010

And Justice For All

Justice is an interesting concept when you think about it. We set up elaborate systems of laws to dispense justice, and half of the system is always working against the other half so that nothing ever really gets accomplished. To protect the innocent, and defend the guilty. There is no law anywhere that will ever make the things that happened to me, and many others, feel that we have gotten justice for the things that were done to us. I don't feel protected by the law. No one ever came to my rescue, so the part of me that believed in justice died somewhere in Iraq. I couldn't even drum enough faith in the system to bother reporting the things that happened after awhile. What is the point? I swore an oath to protect those laws. Now I resent them, but I always keep my word.

Now what really has me angry right now are the arbitrary rules, not laws, just silly rules that people invent that I'm expected to abide by. Stupid shit that civilians think are so goddamn important. I have really lost my knack for understanding civilians. They are so self-righteous, and walk around feeling entitled to enforce their stupidity on other people. I remember when I was in Iraq, the few times I was on base long enough to get a hot meal, they always had the news playing. Every freaking time I sat down to eat a meal I saw news about civilians protesting the war, religious nuts protesting at soldier's funerals, and endless gossiping about Anna Nicole Smith's death and who would inherit her fortune. I think that is where the disconnect started for me. I mean, really, firefights that feel like literally the world is ending, and the one chance I get to rest and I have to listen to CNN discuss Anna Nicole Smith.

Now I'm home, and have been for a while, and every time I walk down the street and see a homeless person holding a sign asking for money to buy weed while chatting on their I-phone I kind of want to scream. Seriously fucked up priorities going on here. I see no justice anywhere I look. I think its sort of a myth, like the boogey man. People just assume that when they need justice it will be there for them, that they are entitled to it, because they pay their taxes and never do anything to earn it. The same way criminals commit crimes and expect the laws to protect them because they say they were being discriminated against by the cops. Even a guy shoots up a freaking military base and the media immediately starts condemning the base for arresting a muslim. Criminals get released all the time, because justice gets sacrificed on the altar of "public outrage" (read- media).

So I know I'll never get justice for the things that happened to me. It seems to be contrary to human nature. The people who haunt my nightmares will never pay for what they did. I'm not really ok with that, but then again no one asked me what I wanted. I swore my oath and upheld my end of the bargain. It is really going to make me think twice about ever promising to do anything ever again. Then again, I've done more than most. Nothing awesome or heroic, but I kept my word and did the very best I could. I'll obey the law, but arbitrary, trite, and stupid rules or social contracts are sooo fucking out.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I'm restless tonight. I don't want to sleep. Even the anger that is a cold comfort on nights like this is beyond me. I'm stuck in a bitter purgatory more hateful than hell itself. I can't move on with my life. I'm stuck with a permanent identity crisis. So many can'ts. I can't support myself. I can't go back to school. I can't work. I can't move on with my life. I can't make the VA move any faster. When the VA classified me as homeless it pretty much summed up my life. I can't even fight it. I don't have the strength anymore. I'm just tired and bitter. I can't grieve for my dead, because I'm too wrapped up with this fight that isn't even a fight. I've always been a survivor, but I've never had a life of my own. Now I'm at loose ends and it isn't settling well. I can't even dredge up the will to feel sorry for myself. I watch the sun go up and down, and check off another day of existing. When I went to war, I was put in impossible situations. Situations that people can't even imagine. I made impossible choices. I dealt with impossible cruelty and suffered impossible losses. Through all that I had the grim satisfaction of knowing that I fought hard, and well, and my work shined. I haven't had a single accomplishment of any note since. So all that impossibility led to a certain grudging self-respect. When I got home, before I got out of the army, I used it. It was the only weapon I had. The knowledge that God and the army and everyone else threw their worst at me, and I survived. I was furiously invincible and surrounded by people who I still considered my enemies, and if I couldn't kill them, well I could make them suffer and get away with it. That person seems so far away now. No wars left to fight, no handy enemies close by to punish. So what the fuck do I do now, besides continue to wait. People ply me with petty promises of this Utopian Someday when everything will be ok again. All this suffering is good, because it means I'm healing. I don't even feel human. What to do, what to do. Time seems to only leech away my strength. It is true that occasionally I have days where I feel better, which only sets the bad days in stark contrast and make them that much harder to bear. Today most definitely qualifies as a bad day, and nights are always worse than the days. The fact that all I have to look forward to in the morning is that awful feeling of terror that I have to do it all again, only makes it worse. For tonight, at least, I don't believe in the future. Nothing further than five minutes from now exists, or I think I would go completely bug fuck insane. Its a damn shame I don't drink. Self-destruction is such an easy way to pass the time. Its not like I have anything better to do either. Damn I hate being responsible.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


A big part of my job in the military dealt with secrets. In my personal life I held secrets close that I shouldn't have. I was raped twice. Both times I kept it secret until it was too late. The first was by someone I loved shortly after I was assigned to my unit. My husband. I waited six weeks, until he left town to report it. Then the DA decided they didn't have enough evidence to prosecute. I was a mess after I reported the rape. For two years, I could barely function. I almost got kicked out of the Army several times. Prior to the rape I had gone to my chain of command three times and told them I was afraid my husband was going to hurt me. I was told I was being overly sensitive, and to just get a divorce. I was weak afterwords, I didn't care if I lived or died. I didn't sleep or eat for weeks at a time. I had trouble remembering things, which is why I was always in trouble. No punishment they could dream up could get through to me, and punishment was all they understood.

A short time later I was assigned a roommate. She was raped by our acting platoon sergeant. All of the junior enlisted, including me, banded together to provide evidence against him. Everyone had had incidents with him at some point or another. He regularly referred to every female in the platoon in general as whores. My evidence perhaps was most damning. I was still weak but I felt that by helping this girl I could somehow vindicate my own experience. Because of this one of the platoon sergeants underlings came after me. He threatened me, intimidated me, and did everything he could to get me to retract my statement. I didn't care. I was weak, but remember I didn't give a damn what they did to me. I reported him less than an hour after he left. Incidentally the unit tried to get the girl who was raped up on charges of adultery because the platoon sergeant was married. Oh the joys of military law. She ended up being given a rehabilitative transfer to another unit.

The rest of my life was a blur, until Iraq. I got drunk, got in trouble. It was like falling asleep drunk and waking up in Iraq with no idea how you'd gotten there. Talk about a wake up call. I had a new team then, and for the first time I had a leader who stuck up for me. He told the rest of the chain of command who thought I was a waste of time to shove it. He punished me no less than any of the others, but it finally got through to me because for the first time I wanted his respect. It was the last time I trusted an NCO. He saw some of the harassment I suffered, and began the indoctrination of "We must get along with the infantry." I believed him, and because I wanted him to be proud of me, I suffered the rest in silence. When I was raped the second time, I didn't say a damn thing. Hell I didn't remember most of it. I was on some sort of medication at the time, which knocked me out cold. I remember waking up in the middle of it, and trying to say something before passing out again. The rest unfortunately I remember all to well. I remember waking up in the middle of the night with hands under my clothes and fighting them off as quietly as possible. I remember laying down exhausted on a seat in one of our trucks and drifting off to sleep for a moment when a hand grabbed my crotch. I remember pulling guard duty with other soldiers in the middle of the night, spending the entire guard shift trying to keep them off me. So many secrets I kept. I thought I was being strong. I was doing my job with all of this shit going on. People were dying literally on a daily basis, and I kept my head in my work, ignoring the rest. Toward the end I started falling apart. I couldn't handle being surrounded by enemies. I couldn't handle being betrayed by my team, by the one NCO I trusted. I thought I was losing my mind. My work was superior though. In that respect, I had succeeded. I did everything I could to keep those bastards alive.

Secrets. Humiliation. Shame. I hate secrets. I hate watching bad people get away with doing bad things to good people. All those secrets I kept could have ruined the careers of a lot of people. Maybe could have helped some other girl from suffering the same fate I did. I just wasn't strong enough to do it. All I could do was survive. Barely.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The aftermath

I hurt today. I woke up with a migraine. Yesterday's post tore me to pieces. I want to go back to sleep so bad it hurts, but I can't. I dreamed of gleeful violence last night, and I woke up angry all over again.
That sonofabitch doesn't ever want to run into me again, but I want to hurt him the way he hurt me. Writing these things down forces me to relive those experiences in HD with surround sound.
Guilt over my friend's death isn't a part of it though. For the most part, his death was a painful loss, and it makes me sad. I decided long ago that my first child will be named after him, as a sort of memorial. I will remember him forever because he was a wonderful person who served honorably and died doing his job.

I have so many memories similar to this one, that it will take me a long time to write about them all. Sometimes I just have to get some of it out. Especially when its pointed out that I'm hiding from these memories. I've never been the hiding sort.
The last time I spoke of some of these memories I spent three days in bed. I don't know how long I'll be miserable and want to hide in bed after this, but the theory is that eventually this will be a positive for me. Got to tear off the scabs so the wound can heal I guess.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Another betrayal of trust

I've mentioned before that being on a team in the Army is like being a part of a family, albeit a really dysfunctional family. I was on a team within a team. My team was distributed throughout an infantry battalion. We would be assigned to infantry companies for specific missions. The idea was that we would each be "adopted" by an infantry company on a more permanent basis. My presence as a female screwed that all to hell and back, because some of the leaders just didn't want to work with a female. Well eventually they were forced to, because I proved my worth time and time again, and there weren't enough people on my team to meet every company's needs. Throughout the course of the deployment I was shuffled throughout all the companies, usually due to a failure on the part of the companies to keep discipline amongst their soldiers. (Which is a roundabout way of saying that I was harassed, assaulted, or got in fights with soldiers over their behavior towards me.)
Toward the beginning of the end of the deployment, I was out on a mission with another of MY team mates. I was alone in a room with an English speaking Iraqi man, whom I was assigned to talk to. We were in a secured area and I was allowed to take off my Kevlar vest and helmet. (Also it tended to make discussions with Iraqi's more informal, which usually worked in my favor.) Well right away this guy started invading my personal space, which I ignored, because Iraqi's have an entirely different idea of personal space than your average American. Unfortunately in this case the guy took it to mean I was willing to do more than talk. When he first put his hands on me, I got up walked away and put my vest and helmet back on, hoping the jackass would get the message. He chose to ignore the hint. I tried other subtle ways to tell the guy to back off without insulting him, because my job was to make friends. At any rate my team mate was in another room having a round table discussion with several other Iraqi's and the company commander. So when I finally got upset enough I excused myself politely from the room and tagged in my team mate. The commander told me if I couldn't handle doing my job I could go sit in the truck, which I did, because it wasn't exactly a request.

When we got back to base, my team mate ( actually my boss, or one of them anyway) asked why I had left the meeting. When I explained what happened, he laughed and said "So what?". I told him I refused to be put in that situation with that man again and someone else could deal with him next time. In not very polite terms I was informed that I would do whatever was necessary to do my job. In even less polite terms I told him where to shove it. We ended up in a yelling match over the issue, with many threats made to discipline me for refusing an order.

I couldn't believe it. This guy, my team mate, a supposed part of my family, was ordering me to be sexually harassed and assaulted by an Iraqi. The Iraqi had put his hands on me, had tried to get in my clothes. I couldn't make my "boss" understand why this wasn't acceptable. It made me sick to my stomach. It still makes me sick to my stomach. I hate him. The day he was promoted, I spent a good hour puking my guts out. I'd even reported the incident to his "boss" another guy on my team, and he didn't do anything but rescind the order. Another betrayal. He wasn't punished for trying to subject me to a potentially dangerous situation? How could this be? I still don't understand it. They didn't really care about me or my welfare. When that little epiphany struck, I thought about all the other times I had been subjected to abuse by the infantry, and how I kept my head down and kept working without complaint. You see I had been indoctrinated about the necessity to work well with the infantry. Any problems with the working relationship came down on MY head, not theirs. By that time I had been raped, assaulted, and humiliated by several soldiers, while rumors about my supposed promiscuity and other insults were heaped on my head. My job was to save lives. I knew that. It was my first priority, always, even with all the bullshit going on. It was NOT an attempt at heroism. I suffered it quietly most of the time. It wasn't until my own team, my own family betrayed me, that I stopped caring. The entire rest of the deployment is literally a blur of blind rage. I fought with EVERYONE about ANYTHING. I argued with every order. I also had a humiliating tendency to burst into tears around my team. I lashed out at friends, commanders, anyone who dared to come close.

That was how one of my friends died with harsh words between us. He kept trying to hug me, to comfort me, and I didn't want to be touched. I yelled at him, until he finally walked away. Then he died. He was 19 years old.

I will never forget him, or forgive myself for forgetting how easily people died where we were. For not treasuring my friend, who tried to comfort me, who tried to stick up for me when no one else would. For not getting a chance to say goodbye.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Things that make me sad

I'm sad for the world. I don't know what it is in human nature that makes people hurt one another, maybe some random gene. I want to think that if society was simpler people would be happier. I remember my history classes well, however, and it seems we've been this way since our beginning.

I'm sad for myself. I'm sad that everything I see reminds me of the worst things I've seen and been subjected to. I'm sad that I'm not the only one who has the kinds of stories I do about things that happened to them.

I'm sad that I can't do anything to fix myself, much less the bigger picture. I do the best I can do to make it through the day, but most days that means hiding in bed sleeping or reading or staring at the ceiling. I take my pills I go to my doctors, and social workers, and nurse practitioners the VA have assigned to make me all better. I've finally convinced them that I know they are lying when the say "You'll be fine." I've also convinced them that saying things like "Just breathe" or "Just don't let it upset you" only reinforces my opinion on their lack of competence.

I'm sad for the system. It is an inorganic thing, which cannot adapt well enough to fix its own flaws.

I'm sad, I'm angry, and I'm terrified. I may only ever learn to "cope" with these problems I have, and never be the same again.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How to kill time without killing yourself

I'd really like to know how to do that. I've got a good case of pissed the fuck off today. The shit that goes through my head is driving me crazy. I want to scream, and break things, and hurt someone. I know why, but the reasons why, I can do nothing about. Useless rage is a terrible thing. It eats you alive from the inside.

Although I must admit is better than feeling so fucking useless and weak. Weakness has been eating me alive for a long time now. Anger isn't power. Its something else entirely. I don't know what to do with any of it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

My "vacation" in inpatient psychiatric ward with the VA

Oh the joys of the VA. They took me off about half of the medications I was on because they said those medications were like speed and were probably making my anxiety worse. Then they put me on a bunch of new meds, most of them sedatives, and said they would make my panic attacks go away *poof* like magic. Its funny but I recall my psychiatrist said the same things about the meds I was on before, the ones that were making my panic attacks worse, and the meds before that come to think of it. I have two gallon sized bags of medications I have to go turn in to the VA today of crap that didn't work or made me worse.

Ten days in the hospital and two weeks later and I'm still not doing much but sleeping all day and having panic attacks. I can't concentrate well enough to read more than a chapter at a time, I've accidentally set my hair on fire, I can't get dressed correctly the first time around, and I have a tendency to fall over. Oh yeah and I forget to eat sometimes too.

They asked me three or four times while I was in the hospital if I felt as though I had lost something. Duh. I've lost everything about the person I used to be. I've lost my ability to have simple trust in people. I've lost my sense of personal safety. I've lost the ability to leave my home alone. I've really lost my identity, and what they expect me to do now is pick up a few pieces and glue them on at random until I become a functioning human being again. One of the nurses at inpatient told me "Just get over it, get with the program".

I don't know how I didn't hit that woman. I was having a lot of anxiety at the time that she said that. I was very very angry. Well in as much as I can feel anything at all as heavily sedated as I am most of the time.

So my bf shuffles me to his parent's house when I don't have any appointments, because he wants me to be alone as little as possible given the effects of the medication I take.

Because of my service connected condition I had to drop out of school, and now the VA says I owe them $3000. My income every month is like $541. My bills every month are about twice my income. Let me think. I can't pay them. They originally said it was five grand, and they posted on my credit report that I had an account in collections for about a grand. Dropped an A-bomb on my credit score.

Oh yeah and I got orders to mobilize to go to Iraq. That is the event that finally pushed me into the psych ward. I got the orders and I just started puking, and spent most of the day completely out of it, walking around like a damn zombie. My advocate got the orders rescinded and is working to ensure that nothing like that happens again. I'm kind of a full time job for her.

So I'm making it one foot in front of the other and that is all I'm capable of at the moment.

Monday, May 3, 2010


I feel helpless. I don't feel like I have any control over any part of my life. I feel like every aspect of my life is directed by my symptoms. I over eat. I'm depressed. I can't get out of bed. I can't go anywhere. I can't get a job. I can't go back to school. I feel like my head is going to go spinning off on its own. I can't sleep. Can't can't can't can't.

Someone told me that I was using my symptoms as a crutch, and my jaw dropped. Is it easier to be fucking miserable and hate myself every day? Orly? I'm afraid of people. I was raped in a combat zone by one of the soldiers who was supposed to be on my team. In the army to work with another soldier every day makes that soldier your family. I don't even remember how many incidents of sexual assault and harassment I was the victim of in Iraq. I didn't deal with the fallout of the rape right away because I was bullied/brainwashed into believing I still owed the unit something. They didn't protect me. Matter of fact, I was told I would continue to endure it and do my job or else. So now a couple of years later, all of this shit comes crashing down on my head and I (not surprisingly) breakdown. Completely. I go to my appointments, I take my pills, and every damn day I think how much easier it would have been if I had died in Iraq. I don't live. I might as well be dead some days. I exist.

There is nothing anyone can say (I've heard it all) to make this better. Nothing can give me back what I lost, or the time that I'm still losing. There is no compensation for that. Me sitting at home all day instead of working or going to school isn't a good thing for me. Its not healthy. Its definitely not something I want. It isn't a choice I made. If I kept working and going to school, I think I would have killed myself. I couldn't deal with the sheer number of panic attacks I was having. Spending all damn day dealing with panic attacks isn't productive. I would have failed, or died trying to push myself so hard. Panic attacks are exhausting. Constant anxiety is exhausting.

I'm not a weak person. I sound like one right now, and I feel like one. No one could have survived the things I have survived in much better shape than I am in now. So screw it. Someone clearly has no faith in me. That is not a new experience for me.

So sleep, yeah. Gonna go try that now.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


When I was in Iraq I had trouble sleeping. I mean I would go two or three days without sleeping. Eventually I started dealing with it. I would be lying awake at 3 a.m with an 18 hour mission in 2 hours and I would think something along the lines of "A mortar could hit me in my sleep and I could just never wake up." The key part in that was "never wake up". At any rate after I would have that thought I'd go straight to sleep.

I'm having trouble sleeping again. Only now nothing is likely to kill me in my sleep. I can't comfort myself to sleep anymore. Even if it was a fucked up thing to use for comfort, it was something.

I feel blank, empty, and I don't have much hope. I don't know if or when I'll get better. I just keep hanging in there because.......I don't even know. I don't have a reason. I have a few things that I look forward to, even though they are silly things. The things I really want out of life right now, I'm afraid I won't get. These things are a step down from the things I wanted before. Maybe I'll have to take another step down before things get better. I'm trying to be a better person, but I am so broken. I'm trying to glue pieces back together blindly.

Sleep would be good. The nightmares that I've had lately have been so bad that I've wished I had a table to crawl under and hide the whole next day. I'm exhausted. I quit smoking and I'm too tired to really give a shit about wanting a smoke. Which is weird. I bitch about it, because its the only thing I can articulate about how I'm feeling lately. I feel trapped and lonely. I feel like I'm a burden to myself and everyone around me. I started this blog, because I never intend for anyone who knows me to read this. Its anonymous just by sheer obscurity. I just discovered I had things to say, needed to say. I ramble sometimes, and sometimes when I'm feeling dramatic, I ramble with poetry.

I tell people who are close to me how I'm feeling and that I am overwhelmed by these feelings, and the next day I have to have the same conversation again. It never changes. I'm sick of hearing myself talk about it, because I can't say it right. I can't convey the butterscotch ickiness of how I feel every day. So some days I pretend to feel better. Just so I don't start boring people with repetition. Its circular. It always starts and ends at the same place, except it doesn't really end. Cyclic. Maybe that's a better word. Today its despair. Yesterday it was frustration and anger, and God only knows what it will be that is stuck on instant replay tomorrow. Well we will see won't we.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Things I hate, fear, and avoid

I hate when people tell me to breathe. I hate when people say well just don't let it upset you. The very basis of my problems are that I have very little control over my physiological reactions to stress. Also I have chronic insomnia and what the VA charmingly refers to as "sleep disturbances". You know how cranky you feel when you didn't sleep well or get enough sleep? That is me every single day almost. When I'm home and calm and feel safe, I really want to smack people for the idiotic crap they tell me. Panic attacks don't come with an off switch.

I've never sat down with any one person, even therapist, and just listed all of the bad things that have happened to me in my life. I tried to list the things when it was just me and I was alone, and I found myself thinking "No one would believe all this shit happened". Sometimes it doesn't even seem real to me. There was way too much. It was one thing after another after another for more than five years. That's not to say nothing bad happened to me before those five years, but MOST of the trauma I experienced happened within five years.

I spend most of my time alone now. Its a lot of time to think, to remember. Its good that I can remember some of it that I forgot. My memory of some of the things that happened are spotty at best. Sometimes I worry that I will suddenly remember something even worse that happened that I completely forgot. Most of the worst of it comes in sensory memories. Smells or sounds are the most frequent. Those usually trigger panic attacks.

I really really don't like being around people. I tough it out sometimes, because I know that total isolation is really bad for a person. Sometimes when I get angry at myself I push myself and that usually ends up in panic attacks. Most of the time thought I stay at home, and I love/hate the solitude. I watch tv just to feel some connection to the outside world. I get angry at the people on tv which is usually amusing to watch I'm told. I can't relate to people on a personal level anymore very well. Sometimes people ask casual questions and I give what turn out to be completely inappropriate and horrifying answers. That is another thing that makes me angry at myself. I intensely dislike confrontation, but in many ways I handle potentially dangerous confrontation better than normal social interactions. I'd rather fight than talk to strangers. I can't go around picking fights though.

Every single day perhaps a dozen times or more I think about Iraq. I think about the rapes. I think about the assaults. I remember firefights and bombs and mortars and death and destruction. Its nerve wracking. Some days it feels like torture. Those days I can't even get out of bed. Some days it actually makes me sick. The symptoms are extensive and disruptive. I'm appealing my disability rating with the VA. I can't work right now. I literally cannot deal with people, not even myself.

I hate listening to people talk about their problems, because I can't empathize anymore with anything less than a life destroying issue. I hate listening to people talk about their day to day lives also because I don't have a day to day life. So I don't like talking and I don't like listening. It makes for great conversations. I can't just "be myself" because I am a fucking train wreck. People like to stare at train wrecks, but they don't make friends with them unless they are as equally as wrecked.

I get so scared sometimes that this is all my life will ever be. I try to focus on goals or anything positive I can think of, but thoughts are slippery fuckers and they get away from me sometimes. Lately I've tried to make some changes. (Also I really hate being told people are proud of me. My life is nothing to be proud of, all I've done is survive. Animals can do that.) When I'm around people, I have violent thoughts. I find myself hoping for a fight. I want to hurt someone, but I can't do it unless I'm given a good enough reason. Even then I refuse to escalate situations. So far I've never provoked a fight, or let a situation escalate to a fight. Its the training I think, strange that it would stick. I think it would either be the best feeling ever or it would put me over the edge and either way it would be bad.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

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Monday, April 12, 2010

A long story not so short.

Once upon a time I was a soldier. I remember this time with more clarity than any other period of my life. I remember the war. I remember things that happened in the war that never should have happened. I remember the faces of the fallen.

I remember Old Baqubah. I remember running towards a battle that was long over. I remember that while I was running to that battle the mortars were clearing the path for us...a little too close. I remember thinking that this would be what the end of the world felt like. You feel the shock wave before you hear it. Its like a rubber band around your chest tightening for a moment before shoving you back. It was always not quite powerful enough of a blast to completely knock you off of your feet. Or perhaps you've gotten better footing through a long bitter deployment. The explosive concussive blast makes a shrill trilling noise that comes after the shock wave but still before you hear the explosion. The explosion itself is almost anticlimactic, because once you hear the explosion it doesn't matter. Once you hear it, that is when you know that it didn't kill you, and you have to keep moving forward.

You can't use your night vision because the explosions are close enough that the light from them will blind you. The mortars are coming fast enough that you are never without light for more than a few seconds.

I remember these moments were the most terrifying of all of the moments I had during a long 15 month deployment. And as it turns out, when the mortars stopped, there were no enemy in Old Baqubah that night.

I remember the firefights. I remember the IED's. I remember the sound of bullets flying a little too close coming from no where. I remember the silent wounded. I remember the corpses lying dead in the street. In the night animals would come and eat from the dead. No family came to claim their dead while we were there. I remember I really never wanted to know what the inside of the human body looks like. I remember I once served tea during a firefight.

I remember all of these things through a kaleidoscope of emotions.

I remember the smell. I remember the smell of the raw sewage and garbage in the streets in Old Baqubah could almost kill you by itself. Underneath those smells, were the smells of desert sand, like burning hair and smoke. Gunfire has its own smell as well, as do most explosives. So does fear.

I remember I was part of a team that didn't want me there. I remember the bitter taste of contempt. I remember blank confusion in the face of misplaced rage. I remember being friendless and alone. I remember after the battles, in the dark, fighting dirty hands. I remember the silence. I remember choking on tears and screams when I couldn't get away, when I was cornered. I remember being raped. I remember never stopping to think about how that made me feel. I remember being afraid to go to sleep and not understanding why. I remember drugging myself to sleep because I had another mission hours away and I remember having no choice.

I remember so many things I want to forget. I remember once upon a time I was a real person. Then I was a soldier. Now I am a ghost. Because you can survive these things, but you never feel quite real again.