Monday, February 6, 2012

I will make myself safe.

For all of my misery, it does get better. It gets better so frustratingly slow that it is hard to appreciate the progress. I still wake up angry almost every morning, but I don't have as many days where it seems the whole day is one big panic attack.

The hard part is trying not be angry with myself for not being able to wave a magic freaking wand and making it all better. This is not a matter of being "weak" or any of the other incredibly stupid things ignorant people love to toss around. I have zero control over the panic attacks or flash backs, other than hiding out while I work on my therapy. It's easier to handle when you don't feel as though you are being judged.

People like to make sweeping assumptions about all sorts of things they know nothing about. Someone once said something like "Of course bad things happened to you, it was WAR." Oh, my bad. The army trains you to work as a team, and the team is trained to protect the whole team to the best of their ability. I had the same training, so it blew my mind when members of my team hurt me. I was thousands of miles away from home, the team was all I had, and I needed to be able to depend on them, and I couldn't. Believe me that kind of shit, will drive you crazy. War is hard enough, there is no "of course" about it, because nothing in your whole life can really prepare you psychologically for it except living it. When it becomes real, illusions will be shattered, fear and pain thresholds change, and you fall back on whatever you can to hold your sanity together until you either die, or go home.

You can not make sweeping generalizations about that kind of thing, and you are an idiot if you try. That is the truth as I know it, and having lived it, I would know. I also know that picking up the pieces are hard to find and put together after the war is done. It's hard to even recognize the pieces of yourself from before the war, because you aren't the same person you were before. I don't know if I will ever be close to the person I was before, because I don't remember who she was. I've got pictures of her, and I can't relate that image to who I am now.

It is hard to accept the illusion of safety once you are back home. Soldiers never take that kind of thing for granted after war. Even in your own home it is hard to feel safe. For some of us, it is hard to even PRETEND that everything is alright. Even in our dreams, when we sleep, we don't feel safe, because the dreams, the memories, the pain is still there. It really gives a hard new take on the phrase "You can't go home again". I read something somewhere that said something like "It is of the utmost importance to not have to worry about being shot in your own home." This is a simple truth, and it made me laugh. And cry.

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