Now, somewhere inside, I know they’re normal people going about their own lives.
But I think they hate me.
I think they’re coming for me, to kill me. To Punish Me…
My arms are tingling. I can’t feel my fingers.
And even though I know I’m not having a heart attack, it feels so real.
I know it’s not real, but it feels real!
Am I going insane? Is this where I lose it?
It’s like being in The Matrix, jumping back and forth between two different worlds. The more you do it, the less you can tell the difference between the two.
The people I love can’t help me because they don’t know how, and I sure as hell can’t help them help me. So they are just potential collateral damage to me now. I’m worthless.
They’re better off without me.
I don’t want to hurt them. But I know I will.
I can only cause damage to those around me, especially other vets.
Like wolves, we roll in packs and smell blood in the air a mile away.
The downside is, when you’re sick, you often infect the entire pack.
I can’t let this pain show.....and so I hide
In my basement or living room with the curtains drawn, of all places, and as safe as that bunker might have felt, it was just restricting me even further. I start drinking more and more just to cope. Drinking beer alone on a random afternoon has a different feel to it than our standard, scheduled, mess hall celebrations back in the service.
A place we let our guard down…
Booze and war stories told in jubilation. Feeling supported, and confidence refuelled.
A community of soldiers trading the atrocities of the world for the innocence of the moment.
I snap back to reality, looking down at the translucent orange pill bottle in my hand.
"Do not operate Heavy Machinery and do not take with alcohol."
I’m 6 deep into a 24 pack.
I can’t even remember how many of these pills I’ve swallowed today.
Offhand, it’s somewhere between 6-10 in the morning. Then 10-12 at night. Let’s just call it an even 20.
We’re not talking aspirin here, some are for depression, some for anxiety; One of them has this side effect that actually shocks my brain: It feels like a lightning storm inside my head, but it’s worth it… because the medication takes the edge off of all this.
It gives me breathing space for small pockets in the day, an opening…
And an opportunity to take just a single step forward…