The Mind of a Soldier Once Returned From War

THIS WAS WRITTEN BY A FRIEND OF MINE, JESSE BARTON, AND SHARED WITH HIS PERMISSION.

 

yours truly, Chris

 
The mind of a soldier once returned from war in a nutshell:

It took me six months after we landed back in Kansas to come to terms that my life was a reality, and I wasn’t living in a fairy tale land.I had abused alcohol on the weekends not caring what happened. I would go to bed at midnight in complete darkness only to fall asleep at 3am and be up within 2.5 hours to get to work.

I did wrong to my friends, and my family thinking of nothing but just doing. Just…wash rinse repeat.

I couldn’t wait to leave active duty and didn’t seek help. I lied to the medical staff saying I was fine, war was a joke, it didn’t bother me. 

I lied to my wife, and myself more importantly.

We moved back to Minnesota, and when we got settled in to our new home in a place that was supposed to be safe, that’s what the realtor said. 2 weeks later a man was gunned down by the police a few blocks away, and the crime just kept coming. 

Every waking moment I was there, I kept myself hypervigalant by locking all the doors, looking out the windows whenever I could, just making sure myself and my family was safe. I didn’t sleep well, and it was rough. I didn’t drink anymore though, I stopped that when we left Kansas, and continue to not 99% of the time.

Wherever we drove I looked for IED’s and suspicious people under bridges, on hills, at crosswalks even. 

We moved finally after a year, and I could only feel a small relief because we moved to a new area I had rarely been. It was quiet, and the neighbors were great. But my head was still lost in Afghanistan. 

I would go to school and be there only the amount of time I needed to. I didn’t hang out with people, and only wanted people to come to me because I felt safe that way. 

Going into crowded places made my heart race, my nerves were short, and I hated staying in the same spot for more then a few minutes. Not just your normal–well she is taking forever to find a shirt — rather it was — I need to get the hell out of here. That lady looked at me, there’s a person 25 meters away, there’s a small kid running free, what’s that light out for? 

We moved to a new neighborhood, bought a house, had Christmas a week or so after we moved in, but I stayed hypervigalant every day. 

I had a breaking point finally after all the negativity that consumed my life. Negativity that I will not share with you Facebook world, and only a few have heard what I have been through. 

The ER nurses and psychiatrist said I didn’t meet the criteria to go to a “loony bin”. So I said ” You wanna play games with me and hand me papers and phone numbers. Well I know how to work the system, I’m not stupid. This regard, I mean me, I’m going to kill myself if you don’t give me what I need.”

10 minutes later they said I would be going to a clinic for help. 

Carrie was my social worker at St Joe’s. She got me back on my feet after this “retard” fell into the abyss on a piece of string that was about to break and I would no longer exist, well physically I would be 6 feet under, and mentally I would be in the minds of some. But I would have killed myself, because I couldn’t take the negativity of this world anymore.

I couldn’t handle my home life.
I couldn’t handle people trying to kill me that weren’t there.

I couldn’t handle the image of a small girl who I had to treat that changed my view on the world forever 3 weeks into my deployment.

I started therapy. I cried. I laughed. I remembered things I couldn’t when I tried before. I was able to sleep again, and dream. 

Dreams, I hadn’t had dreams since mid Afghanistan, 2011. It’s 2015. Now I do a few times a week, and no matter if its good or bad, its a dream that I remember and love it.

It’s a big big world, and there’s people out there who do want to kill me, and hurt me. I’ve excepted that, because there’s people I want to hurt and kill too.

I’d rather help people though, and tell them it will be alright. 

Because…. I am alright. And I am better. Not %100, and there’s things I need to work on, “kinks” as my wife said to me the other night. And I will get those kinks worked out. 

I’m not living in fear anymore, thank you Jim for pushing my mind and body to be where I have gotten. 

The biggest supporter of me is myself.

The best supporter is my wife, she’s been through all my ups and downs, and I can’t say I am sorry because without those, I wouldn’t be OK. 

I would be stuck in Afghanistan, with Stan trying to kill me and whoever is with me. 
–Fuck you Stan, fuck you!!!! You can stay in your hell hole of a country and leave me alone now. You can’t hurt me any longer. I don’t have room for you in my head, and whenever you pop up Mr. Stan, I’m gonna put you down like the 300m targets this Combat Medic can hit. I can save a life, but I can take one just as easily. You can’t hurt me anymore, you just can’t.

Get help if you need it, I almost ended my life a few times, that my wife doesn’t even know about. I’m glad I did not, and will not.

So you wanna know what the mind of a soldier is who was told there is a bounty out on your head? It’s horrible. But I feel free today. And look forward to living life again. 

I won’t say I’m sorry for not being around, and declining invites from friends and family. I just couldn’t do it, but I promise myself I will do my best not to be that person anymore. And if its a bad day I will let that person know, because sadly I will always have Stan in my head. 

Stan doesn’t scare me now. I will scare him if it comes down to it. Because me, I’m going home. I will always make it home.

__________________________

Notice

I am deep in the bowels of a psychiatric treatment facility – probably in a straight jacket by now. This is scheduled post – if this had been an actual post you would receive instructions to shelter in place.

  

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4 comments

  1. I just re-read this (was checking to see if you were back, Chris! hope you’re doing better). I have friends who have PTSD as a result of their time in Vietnam and they’re dealing with it, but now they’re facing all the time they lost not dealing with it. So glad to hear the honesty in this post. I pray you’re continuing to heal. It’s a winding road. Praying for you Chris and your friend. God be with you.

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