There is one picture that when I ever see it…..IT… SHOCKS… ME.
It shakes me to my very bones because I see the mask I so tightly fitted to my face. The mask to hide the invisible scars I was now carrying. It shocks me because I can see that all ready I was gone. An emptiness behind my eyes, I had all ready started to disappear.
I see it now. I had been back 5 days from Afghanistan and the enormity of what I had bore witness to was sinking in.
The thing that scared me the most was the deep burning anger and dare I say it hatred. I was doing my best to suppress. Thrown back into normal life after hundreds of hours immersed in blast injuries, gunshot wounds, hideous crimes against beautiful children and humans. I was trying to make sense of women being torched because they dropped the dinner or tried to protect their children.
I was trying to process and understand how it was possible for Children to be carrying automatic weapons.
That even in 2011 barbaric and medieval principles where operating in that society.
The unfairness and wastefulness of it all left me burning inside. How there could be such disregard for life and living. I was exhausted I was angry, the rage it scared me. I was in a pressure cooker situation, It crackled and zipped just below the surface. My hackles raising easily, I could become agitated, anxious or just plain furious. This was not me. None of these feelings felt familiar to me.
My body no longer felt my own;
I couldn’t even take a walk with out feeling like I would hit the floor any second. I was now suffering with Vertigo! I never had anything wrong with my ears or balance ever. That symptom seemed to reappear when ever I became exhausted and stressed from that moment on. I now see my subconscious mind created a way to get me to stop. To force me back home away from the world that now appeared so threatening.
I wouldn’t stop. Its not my style, I would push on at the cost to myself. Why? because if I stopped and took time to look in the mirror I would see the shadow, the emptiness the fear the anger and the hatred I was so desperate to not feel. I would see just what shell shock looks like.
While I was deployed I felt like I made a difference, returning home the weight of it all pressed down on me. How could I detach from experiences that I felt broke my very soul. Strand by stand parts of me snapping, being wrenched away so violently.
I felt the hate boil up in me as I looked in the eyes of the most prolific bomb builders, women and children had been shredded by their hellish devices. It scared me to hear my self thinking why are we saving this person. They have taken so much why do they get to live. It rocked me to my very deepest parts. I was supposed to help, save, support life. How could I have thoughts like that?
I would immerse myself in exercise, push myself so hard I couldn’t see, all I could think of was breathing through the hot, dry, dusty air letting my lungs burn. My mind could rest at least then.
The anger would simmer under the surface for months, frustration building at the lack of understanding of just what life was like out there. It wasn’t any ones fault it was my responsibility. I had those experiences and they where tunnelling through my mind. I couldn’t release the emotions from them. It consumed me.
I had watched a women be defended, she wanted to be near her dying son and had arrived unescorted by a man….Gaurds needed to be positioned to protect her from a beating or even death. Even now I can feel the rage, a tightening in my body each muscle coiling and twisting. How can it be possible that anyone thought it was acceptable to attack a mother praying beside her dying son. Where was the compassion, love, support. I was engulfed in rage; Rules about how women should conduct them selves in the most of horrific circumstances? It was barbaric and crazy.
She was attacked because she was fierce, courageous and a lioness. They wanted to cut her down, I had honestly wanted these men to push a guard so hard he did the unthinkable. I did not like who I was becoming, hate rage and shame now at the fore front of my invisible armour.
I now know that I can transfer that harmful and destructive energy into love, hope and possibility. I am so thankful that I can accept my own emotions and have an awareness of just how they affect me, protect me and allow me to grow.
I choose love, I choose to accept I only truly have control over my own emotions and there for my experience of this wondrous life I have been gifted.
Knowing all I have seen and bore witness to has made me grow. That I will continue to grow everyday leaves me hopeful and curious for what the future has instore for me.
I have come to realise just how privileged I am in this life. I am so damn thankful for all the love hope and positivity that is showered on me each and every day.
I know that I was given that experience for a reason. Understanding how these emotions manifest in our bodies and the energy they carry has given me an insight into how to bring others back from the brink.
I wasn’t at the brink, I had fallen off a ledge into the deepest and darkest of places, by some miraculous way I found a way back. Now I hold the light for others until they can do the same.