I have studied this for a decade now, since I got back from Afghanistan. I remember when the dreams set in, when they changed from within. It was a day in April 2010 and I want to say near the end of the month rather than the beginning. The dreams change now, even still I can see them when I am awake. Even more, I can often feel them. When I die in my dreams, I always wake up here. It makes me think of this song, click the link to remind you.
Where to start?
Is usually where you are, but how you start isn’t always how you finish. You get to choose the outcome that you want to see within yourself. Many people will try to compare but that isn’t what this is about, only you can compare yourself. You compare yourself to what you think society says you are. If it is “PTSD” that you have been diagnosed with does this mean that you have a disorder and that you no longer fit into society? I believe you have to see where you fit in society to belong, and this is for everyone. Post trauma is stressful and can bring a certain level of sadness with it, this is something you need to discuss with people. “PTSD” is merely learning to deal with the things that you have seen, as traumatic as it is, to you. You are the only one who is making a comparison story, everyone else is just trying to understand. Even you are trying to understand these new feelings inside, self doubt, did you do what was right? What is right? Morality is broken in war as war shows no morality, not even those broken by war. You can prepare for war, but you can never prepare to live with what war will engrave in your memory.
But did Mefloquine Cause my PTSD?
September 11, 2001
I remember this day very well, I was sitting in class. I was 14 and I guess a usual teenager just like any other. The teacher had stopped the class lecture and had turned on the tv right after the first plane hit. I remember seeing the planes fly into the towers.
thePTSDiscussion…. where to start?
I am the beggar in the street, a protector, one to defend the innocent from unnecessary harm or violence. But not just any beggar, rather a watchful eye, like a watch dog. Not just any dog but, a sheep dog, someone as-
“If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath—a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path.”(Grossman)
Explained here is simply put, you cannot let the innocent suffer. The children are to be protected at all cost, but what is that cost and who will pay the toll? I will stand against those who oppose freedom and threaten others. It is my right and my sworn duty until I die to do so, and there are twenty million other Veterans out there like me. They share the same ideology, some even the same memories or sometimes even worse. The atrocities of war are something no one should have to bare, but if others could fathom it in their hearts to see and help the children. Then they too, would see the reason why I stand and fight. It is their right to have their peace and prosperity, who am I to tell them otherwise. You have to lose your mind in order to old back the force that is inside of you to want to destroy those who seek to harm the innocent who endows upon their lands and steal the bread from their mouths while they try to eat? Who will defend them if not you? If you are unwilling to stand for those who cant, then who will take up that battle and bring with fierce all their might into whatever fight that falls before them?.
I would not expect the every day Citizen to pick up arms and defend their Nation, even though we are the every day Citizen and we stand at attention always ready. rather I ask them to stand along those willing to do so in their stead. I will pick up that shield and sword and take charge to those who seek to harm, I ask not that you stand beside me as I fight. But believe that I will win because of all of my might. You could even follow:
The Bill of Rights states “That a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people trained to arms, is the proper, natural and safe defense of a free state; that standing armies in time of peace should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.”
I have always felt that I have a connection with an elite group of men who would do anything to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. Men who make you stay awake at night, they have trained all their adult lives. Great men who stood for something great, mainly within themselves. My friend Frank, he was my battle buddy at SOI in Camp Pendleton 2007. October 11, 2010 he was taken out of the fight unjustly and to say that he died in vain. Why, so that you can feel good? You think that we don’t know? What really happens, what goes on there. Martine Luther King said that “In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” For a Nation to turn its back on those who defend it is nothing more than a disgrace. Most people I know feel the same way that I do about the scenario but honestly they don’t ask or try to change it. Even I stand in solitude as I try to figure out how to even start, of course the country is a mess here in America but we have allowed it to become like this. We have all sat back and done nothing, almost watching as everything has collapsed around us. I have often thought at times how do we unite us? The only way that I can ever think is to use the Veterans to serve another purpose yet again and unite amongst themselves and start helping to bring everyone together. Our society has lost the individual, the one willing to work at any means necessary in order to bring order to their life.
It has been many years since I separated from the Marine Corps, for me fighting war is over. Or is it?…. The internal battle is a war for no one else to see, one that has waged in my mind since the day I left Afghanistan. For many others I assume, the feeling is mutual. More so if they have been where I have been, the battle field where the fighting is and facing it for what it is. A member of the armed forces is different than just any other citizen, it is important for the individual to remember who they are. A protector of freedom and defender for the defenseless. Most people will compare what you have seen and try to place themselves in your shoes. That is impossible, at least from my perspective it is impossible for us to know that which we have not experienced ourselves.
What is experience? Is it going to Iraq and staring into the desert for 20 hours a day, waiting for an unknown enemy to strike? Or, is it going to Afghanistan and beating them in the fight? That is for only you to know and to find out for yourself. What I can tell you is that from my perspective and experience it is important to ask yourself, who am I?, and what do I want?, daily to achieve your life’s purpose. The fact of the matter is, no one will know what you are thinking unless you share your thoughts. But for most, the hard part is sharing what you know or trying to get others to understand what you have seen.
Your objective truth is usually far different then peoples subjective truths about the event you were in. How can they fathom what you have seen? How can they relate to something they have never experienced first hand. Ask yourself if you can understand.
A Post Traumatic Discussion, sometimes creates Sadness.
When you reflect back on the things that you have done in war you start to see the things that you have done in life differently. You sometimes even reflect back the things that you have already done back into your present reality. You start to see yourself controlled by thoughts and ideology. Your imagination is the limitation that you have set up for yourself, and you let the things you have regretted, last forever.
Mefloquine, sold under names such as Lariam and is a medication used to help prevent malaria. I first experienced mefloquine when I got to Afghanistan on January 3rd 2010, as we prepared to invade the city of Marjah, Even on this night, this very eve my mind troubles me, we are 2 weeks into the battle, the war inside my head replays the events as if it where yesterday. I now know that I am not alone, that many other Veterans have experienced the side effects of this drug and the damaging effects it has had on our dreams. I often mistake dream from reality, my thoughts are sometimes mistaken for interaction. I think I have communicated with someone, because the thought has occurred within my head, but often times the other person does not respond the way that I intend the conversation to go. Mefloquine has also followed into my day dreams, the moments when you get lost in your thoughts and reflect on past events of where you have been or the things that you have seen. The longer the time goes the more vivid the dream and thoughts become, at this point I have learned to enjoy the experience the thoughts have created. Isolation can be a companion, you don’t have to give power to your thoughts. I know that is easier said than done, thats why I practice it.
Here is a brief overview of some of the things I have noticed help me with my thought process; I usually meditate in the sauna 20-60 minutes first thing in the morning while drinking a ton of water. Then I take a cold shower for 5-15 minutes. I find that the hot teaches you to breath and the cold focuses your breath. Breathing gives you oxygen which brings dopamine, the natural body high the feeling of the moment. It also helps with circulation and inflammation, fasting brings clarity. I only eat once a day, it also helps me regulate everything else. It is called intermittent fasting, I have post on this blog about it. I also work out, unless I am injured, then I just rest. But working out is the most important part, you have to push past your pain by creating new pain every day through hard work. The dreams might be more vivid now, a little intense even. But we have lived through them, we have seen what we dream face to face. Remember where you have been and teach people about why you went, write down your dreams when you first wake up, this is going to take years. Do not give up, the dreams can change. Or at least the way you remember feeling will change.