Thursday, 12 January 2017

PTSD and Me: Part One - Where it all began for me

To begin to come grips with the darkness and the demons raging inside of me, I need to look back to where I come from and what shaped me to that person, that soldier trying to do what I was trained to do.

Disclaimer: A lot of what will appear on these posts are the way I remember things happening. Time plays a factor in those memories, so there are likely instances where my memories might deviate slightly from actual events.

There are also a pile of my opinions on different people/subjects in this post and the ones to come. Some of those opinions may be offensive to some people, and honestly I don't care if they are. They are my opinions and I am entitled to them as much as everybody else. Don't like them? Don't read the next several posts, unfollow me or mute me - doesn't matter to me.

As I write this posts you will get my perspective on events, what I saw, what I felt, what I thought. As I said before, it will be the ugly, unchecked raw emotion of the moment. I will not be holding back the punches.

My father had been in the military, so I was around the culture right from the get go. Not that I was brainwashed by being around it. What made me realize very early the path that I was set upon was the fact that had been stationed in West Germany during the Cold War. Those heavily formative years spent in Europe were amazing.

I was an early reader so I read about a lot of things my parents maybe wished I hadn't. Before I was 7 years old, I had been to the beaches of Normandy and the cemeteries above them, I had seen places like Vimy Ridge, Paaschendaele, Dieppe, Ortona and countless other battlefields.

I had also seen places like Buchenwald, Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen.

I also had the experience of talking to many people who fought and bled on those battlefields - on both sides, and talked to people that survived the hell of war, again from both sides, and I had the chance to talk with people that experienced and survived the abyssal nightmares of the concentration camps.

At 7 I had a pretty solid idea of the hell that man can unleash on each other. Maybe that had already set me up for what was to come.

I had developed very idealistic thoughts and beliefs. Some people understand nothing but getting hit with a big fucking stick, and doesn't matter what you want, you will need to carry that big stick and use it sometimes. Its the nature of humanity. I decided I was going to be the one to carry that stick - there are people that can't, and there are people that won't. It didn't matter to me, I was there carrying it for them.

I am sure, much to the disappointment of my parents, my school marks reflected the effort I put in, that is to say very little. I already knew what I wanted to do when I finished school. So much for their dreams of me being a dentist or doctor.

Back when I graduated high school, the recruiting process for the Canadian Military was painfully slow, it took on average 2 years for the process from stat to finish. A consequence of successive Liberal and Conservative government policies to essentially ignore the military all together.

I can remember when I first got into the military in 1992, being told not to wear uniforms in public - the public didn't (and still don't) military. I can remember being spit on in my uniform, I can remember having rocks thrown at us on parades. I really didn't care as I was finally in, and I wore that uniform with pride everyday.

You learned on that the military was a huge game of "hurry up and wait". There might be a big panic to get you get somewhere and do something....but you are still going to wait forever to get there and do the job. But, man, when they really wanted you somewhere, they could you there in a hurry....just meant you'd be waiting at the other end until some dip shit got his head out of his ass long enough for you to do what you had to do.

I also got into the military about the time things were going really bad in the press. The first couple years there were dozens of reports of really nasty hazzing rituals (and the idiots taped themselves or took pictures), there was the Somalia affair - that along sent repercussions through the military - some which are still there now.

Then the fucking disasters of the Balkans and Rwanda happened, but that's for the next post.