I wrote my the blog post about Memorial Day while I was at work. I didn’t really think much of it, just getting it off my chest a good four days after the fact. I went on to handle a few other things – no big deal. What I didn’t realize is that holding on to it for that long had really left a mark on me.
Within an hour of typing it up, paramedics were asking me questions and hooking me up to leads.
It started off as a little chest pain and I ignored it. It progressed to pressure, sweating, and I was unable to catch my breath. I didn’t associate the post with what was happening. Instead, I realized I was the same age as my dad when he had his first heart attack. That brought down the full on panics.
911 and 12 leads later, I told the paramedics I had PTSD. They wanted to know why. The words “combat vet” will sometimes upset people. No one in my PoB (place of business) knew. And there was no taking it back. A full siren, lights blazing ambulance and it’s firetruck escort has a way of jumpstarting the gossip machine. By now they all know. It’s one thing to have served at one time, because that could mean anything. It’s a different monster to have participated in the trading of bullets. It isn’t shame that keeps me sharing this with the people I come in contact with on the daily, but the lack of wanting another person’s opinion about it. I don’t come to work to swap war stories. I don’t go there to give pieces of myself to virtual strangers. I come to work.
In case you’re worried, I’m fine. It wasn’t a heart attack. It was a straight up bona fide panic attack during working hours where the whole of place knows about me now.
TL;DR: Secrecy isn’t an option and you can’t unfuck the cat. Compartmentalization breaks down and people will know your shit. Deal with it. Not dealing with it is a total Rook mistake.
Also, cardiologists are important.