The Soldier I couldn’t forget.
I was right there, right on your shoulder, I watched you die, I watched you leave this life. To look at your face no one could have known you had been shot.
I couldn’t look upon your face once you went. It wasn’t my place to feel your loss, I knew that. Another beautiful young man gone, the wastefulness of it all was becoming to much to carry.
I had to leave you, more casualties where coming. I didn’t want to, I knew your face was locked in my mind, I knew, I knew then in that moment I wouldn’t be able to forget you.
I felt it happen as I turned away, the moment I froze. I felt a strange feeling flow through me like ice had been injected into my veins. It stopped me from walking my feet rooted to the ground a heaviness like boots made of cement. My ribcage rigid I wasn’t breathing. The chill swept through to the very deepest parts of me.
I should have stayed by your side. A deep sense that something was very very wrong was permeating through all of me. More casualties where coming I had to go.
I saw your face in my sleep , I saw all of it over and over again, thousands of hours of trauma but this single moment played out on repeat. I would hear the chatter, a split second choice.
I never thought I would see you again. I was under hypnosis, some how I felt you in the corner of the room. I knew it was you. It felt so real, I said it out loud . ‘I know him thats the solider who died, I was next to him”
I heard your voice, you heard mine.
And then I saw you leave.
You said one last thing “my granddads waiting I have to go now, stand strong.”
I felt your warmth, the cheekiness the powerful safety you provided to your friends and family, you smiled and walked into the distance.
I felt a shift in my body like I had been righted on my axis
Hot tears pouring down my cheeks through my closed eyes.
I knew he was safe I knew he had gone.
I don’t know what happened that day, I know I healed, I healed in a way I never knew was possible.
I was brought back round, I blinked my eyes open. Some how it felt like my eyes where open for the first time in years.
I was experiencing things I had not felt in what seemed like forever. I could feel the breeze from the open window on my skin. Everything appeared more colourful, I could hear the birds outside. The room which had felt cold and restrictive now felt open, airy and calm.
The PTSD I was living with from deployment lifted. I could breathe again, I could feel again. I was awake and present in my own body for the first time in years. A sense of awaerness that had be lost to me was back.
I knew within hours I was back, the raw energy I had always relied on was coursing through my body. I felt grounded, connected, strong and whole.
It hadn’t been clear to me I had PTSD. Even with all my training, I couldn’t see it in myself. I had suffered no physical injuries.
I hadn’t understood that each individuals expericence of a traumatic moment is different and what may affect one person deeply, may not even scratch the surface for another.
I hadn’t understood that PTSD wasn’t a mental health condition, but a part of the human condition. Documented as far back as the ancient greeks.
I believed others had experienced worse, how could I possibly have PTSD.
This part, this feeling I later discovered was called a sensory flashback.
The moment your senses take a snapshot of all you are experiencing. And for what ever reason that sense is played out over and over again. I would feel the feelings of freezing of fear and terror and not know why.
Some how it was residing in my nervous system. It was exhausting a feeling I could not shake or get rid of..
It was accompanied with a constant state of expecting to be verbally attacked or questioned. I had no idea how or why I had be come so defensive and insular.
To cope I just numbed out, in many ways I don’t believe it was a conscious decision.
Adrenaline and endorphins seemed to bring me back to life I would train hard, it also served as a way to help me sleep. I recognise a compensation when I see one now.
I reached a point where exhaustion was winning, I would wake up and feel totally unrested, like sleep had not took place, I was wired seeking stimulants to appear present and able during the day. Caffeine and sugar became some sort of life line.
My emotions where completely lost to me I was either numb, angry or cried easily. I masked everything with a smile.
I cried so easily, I truly despised and hated myself for what at the time I thought was a show of weakness. I never ever used to cry. The slightest bit of conflict and I was an emotional car crash.
Concentration so painful it almost hurt to be still and focus, I would fidget feeling caged and uncomfortable.
My memory became lists on paper everywhere constantly losing things. I’m affectionately called ‘Dory’ I’m the person who forgot her dog at the supermarket!
I’m the person who couldn’t meditate or be still, or feel or any of that wonderful woo stuff.
Every single one of those feelings those ways of being left me the day I had a subconcious hypnotherpy session.
Cellular release therapy (CRT) was used on me…It was a life saving, life regaining intervention.
To this day I am astounded by the chaos and havoc that can be caused by one single moment in a persons life. That the net can be cast far and wide affecting every detail from mood to how a person sleeps, socialises works and feels.
I hear the stories now, much like my own, its only when the pieces are placed out in front of me that the picture of just what is happening becomes clear.
Then we go to work…
Healing does come.