Waiting for the Turning Point

Go to war, see bad stuff, come home, trip out a bit…. then what? Life seems to be a series of phases. Sometimes these phases seem like independent lives where you were a completely different person. Things come and go, ebb an flow. So why is it that I am sitting here waiting for the turning point, waiting for this phase to end and the next to begin.

I am doing everything I can mentally and emotionally to force the turn. I am doing my part to make it happen now its on time to get to the right moment. I am sure it won’t be all at once, but I am done being the wounded one. Been done for a while. I just want to be able to move through life without all the extra baggage I carry. I want to be engaged again rather than viewing things from a far. I am tired of creeping my friends out when I space out. When I say want, thats an under-exaggeration I crave the time when I won’t be this anymore. I am not the type to fail at a goal like that. I will fight this tooth and nail until I get there, but part of me knows it will involve waiting.

If something was put in my mind by external forces, isn’t it true that external forces should be able to nullify it? Thats the theory I have beenGET SOMErunning on, by refusing PTSD and moving towards dealing with what happened. Working through my guilts and faults of combat and refusing to fall to the terminal diagnosis of PTSD, and just assuming thats my plight in life. To hell with that and the horse it rode in on. I will not fall to the wayside or submit to the brown paper bag of pills. I won’t let the adrenaline and the combat mentality run my life. I won’t let old fears and old guilts tell me when I am allowed to be happy. So I am armed and pissed off, ready to do some guerrilla warfare on this thing called life after combat. I am going to systematically tear its freaking heart out, like that bad guy in Indiana Jones. I think I am getting a little angry (hulk smash). Time to simmer down.

So while I wait for the turning point, I am obviously going to be making a hell of a racket in my mind where that trauma junk is stored. Gonna be like that doc lady that goes into people’s houses, where they have pizza boxes to the ceiling with a dead cat hidden in between the couch cushions, and cleans everything up. But I am gonna do it with a little more flare, like with a flame thrower or something. Hunting down bad memories and making them “teachable moments” P.S. next person to tell me something is a “teachable moment” is gonna get kicked in the teeth. So while I am all full of piss and vinegar, I might as well get cracking. Don’t just wait for the turning point in your life, do something about it, it still all comes down to time but at least you will look busy until the time being.


2 responses to “Waiting for the Turning Point

  • Michael Orban

    Someone told me this, ‘Life is what is happening while we are busy making plans’.
    In my experience with readjustment from war, it has been an extraordinary mind game.
    The volume and intensity of experiences at war threatened to overwhelm my mind.
    Seemed at times I did not have the intellectual capacity to resolve these experiences.
    These experiences whirled around my mind in an endless, furious vortex, one thought
    flashing uncontrollably and incomplete to the next. With time I learned to grasp hold of a
    thought, write it down and isolate it from the madness of my mind. Icould then go to
    work explaining that thought on paper in the physical world. I could put that paper and thought
    away and come back another time to think on it more. In this way I could identify an experience,
    see it on paper , write more to define it and remove it from the volume tormenting my mind.
    Over time the volume and intensity of these experiences diminished.
    Here are several of the standards I drew up that helped me.
    I had to accept that American soldiers have gone to war (in principle) to keep the experiences of
    war outside this country and away from it’s citizens. Yet, at the same time now, after being at war,
    I wanted them to understand what true physical, psychological and spiritual committment war is for
    the soldiers. I wanted patriotism to be real. However I saw I was caught in my own thinking. The only
    way for others to understand our experiences at war was for them to have been to war and this is
    precisely what we were successful at preventing (in principle). So, in our own success we had
    created our own isolation. I accept this now as being a warrior and being a warrior for life, I don’t
    want them to understand because I know what they’d have to go through to gain that understanding.
    I don’t wish that on them and in this I take pride which helps calm my soul.
    The feroucious anger that haunted me back from war was a major complexity.
    Angry at what, at who? Where was this volvanic rage coming from? At times the rage had no
    focus, a life of its’ own and spontaneous eruptions.. I considered it successful that for the most part
    I could channel the anger against inanimate things and not people, this took work though.
    Again on paper I wrote down what I could identify as the REAL angerS inside me.
    I came to realize that many of my angers were not at the experiences of war alone but were more
    at the failure of the expectations I had before war. In other words, if war had been exactly as I had
    expected/thought it would be before war, THERE COULD BE NO COMBAT PTSD! It was the absolute
    destruction of my expectations by the REALITY of war that caused the anger. I had to learn to let
    go of my anger at this shattering of false expectations and accept the reality of what we saw at war,
    and human history backs up the reality not the expectations.
    Just some thoughts from the madness of the mind.
    Mike Orban

  • williamparz

    It’s been helpful to think of this state of mind as a natural transition that ALL warrior’s have had to go through in some way from all wars. I used to feel shame and guilt. Why can’t I deal with “my war” as well as others? I always assumed that the soldiers from WWII came back with no issues. I now see know that is a myth It helped for me to hear the “real story” of Audie Murphy on Mike Orban’s radio show. It’s helped me to accept that war has changed me mentally and emotionally… and that includes these reactions and triggers. I’m learning that it is easier to swim with the current than to constantly go upstream.

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