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war is real

unconcerned, uncompromised and unconvoluted letters from a soldier getting ready to face war for the second time. 

Thursday, October 13, 2005

4:50 PM - Emails

I got an email from B. Abell Jurus, who co-wrote one of my favorite war novels of all time, Men In Green Faces. It's crazy to think that this little page is reaching so many people, including those who I have long admired for the writing they do.

To answer a question that gets posed quite often: yes, it's hard as hell to stay off the medication. The Zoloft was no problem; I was angry as hell and pissed at the world for the first few weeks, but after that everything seems a slight shade of normal. The Ambien, however, is a different story. I think you're only supposed to be prescribed Ambien for a total of 30 days, and I had been on it a YEAR when I stopped taking it. And they would have gladly continued to prescribe it to me so long as I kept showing up for formations and doing my job. It's highly fucking addictive, and I still have withdrawals around 2100 on some nights. The toughest part are the nights where I know I'm not going to be able to sleep, because then I want to take the Ambien and be done with it, but I refuse to let myself do it. It'd be too easy to get back in a cycle of medicating myself so that the pain goes away, but that seems like the easy way out, and I hate the easy way out.

Which is another reason I'm keeping my blog anonymous. I actually tried talking with my commander about registering this thing under my real name, but the chain of command flipped out on me, told me I couldn't do it and I wasn't allowed to do it, and I told them that yes, actually I was, and they told me I wouldn't do it this time. I said that it was a form of therapy, and they told me I could only write my entries and then save them on my computer, but couldn't publish them.

Well, fuck that.

I'm going to keep writing until my fucking fingers bleed, because God knows the Army doesn't give two shits whether you are suffering from any kind of PTSD or not. They just want you back on the battlefield and it doesn't matter what condition you're in. I mean, I don't mind going back, because anyone will tell you that being deployed is better than suffering through the bullshit in garrison, but give us SOMETHING, anything to hold on to that can help us through it instead of turning a blind eye and telling everyone to "man up". In my experience, being a man has nothing to do with dealing with traumatic experiences in a way where no one else knows that you're hurting inside. Shit, I've got problems, and I'll fucking TELL you I have problems. Does that make me any less of a man?

I love my job. I actually love working with soldiers. But the shit that people pull because "that's how it's always been" is grating on me.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this! I'm fascinated by the behind-the-scenes look into your experiences, particularly by your post-combat responses, and how they're being dealt with.

Keep up the good work, buddy!

~Dan W.  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

got a son and a bunch of his friends whose favorite line is "the army doesn't give a shit about (him) (us) (me) (them)"... but they stay for each other. all are rotating back from OIF III in the next few weeks and it will be interesting to see what that brings...  

Blogger Kaylie said...

man, you have done an amazing job! Know how you are feeling. Was in Mosul from Nov 03-Nov 04. Have the same troubles sleeping, functioning w/o all the memories!  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand the PTSD, Antidepressant, sleep, anxiety, crap. The Zoloft has the potential to increase agitation and suicidal behavior, so please be aware of that. it is also hell to try to discontinue. If ambien is hard, zoloft will be a bitch. When you get out, check into EMDR therapy for PTSD, With a good therapist, it can do wonders. Best of luck to you. lk  

Blogger Operation: Stand By Me said...

Thanks for sharing your exsperiences and your struggles,..People just dont seem to comprehend Soldier's are people,..and war affects them greatly. It's ashame that our government does'nt reach out to our military when they need help,..My son is serving his first deployment in Afghanistan right now,..Army Infantry,..his year will be up in 11 weeks and just from talking to him,..I know he will return as a different man than what he was before.  

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