Category Archives: war

The Other, Other… Ad Nauseam About PTSD Depression

I’ve considered killing myself an uncountable number of times, but I remember the first and the last very well.

1st – I was sitting in the dirt, a rock cutting into my ass cheek, but I didn’t want to move. Feeling that bit of pain was somehow soothing. I was leaning on my ruck waiting to go home when new orders came through and we were diverted. And it came upon me quick that I could leave this shit one way or another.

 

Last – I’d moved back to my hometown after a business venture in Vancouver flopped. I was self-destructive, full of pity and self-hate. I felt like everything I’d done didn’t matter because I’d come back to the place I’d left to the same job. And I don’t know how my friend knew, but he did. Internally, I raged at myself for every moment I was awake. I hated everything and myself the most.  And my friend made an appointment for me with the VA in Dallas. I don’t know if he knows it or not, but he saved my life.

It’s a struggle, people. Some days are good and some aren’t. But it’s worth it because things change. Circumstances change. Improvise, adapt, overcome. Tomorrow will be different.

 

Depression
TL;DR: Depression is something you live with, that’s always there. Take your meds and live to piss someone off another day.
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The One About Acceptable Losses

Yeah, it’s the world we live in.

Yeah, you need to understand that safety is nothing but a fucking illusion and the glass doors of the cube farm won’t stop anyone that is a motivated shooter.

This isn’t hyperbole or an overreaction. It’s the goddamn truth.

I work in a school.

I have had a plan in place for the 14 years I’ve worked here. Every class that I’ve taught knows pieces of my plan. And I have always been very careful with my words for the kids’ sake and mine.

Yesterday I attended a school safety briefing. The language changed. It’s not IF it happens, it’s WHEN it happens. It’s having to say that there will be dead and injured no matter what you do. It’s explaining to PreK-2 teachers that hours of silence is not likely. There are legal business things that had to be said, but when asked away from the crowd, telling those teachers to break out the glass in the windows, toss kids out, and fucking RUN as the best option for them living through this without being acceptable losses.

It’s helping a teacher “bulletproof” her room as much as possible because there’s more of a chance of wall penetration than knocking down doors.

It’s telling teachers that they have 3 seconds to lockdown.

There’s explaining not to react to a fire drill on lockdown – even it’s a real fire.

There’s explaining not to open the door for ANYONE. ANYONE. Even if that means listening to their coworker, friend, or student crying in the hall.

It means teaching our kids where and how to hide. There are 740 of them and 80 of us.

There’s seeing the realization on civilian faces that this is a fucking reality and that kids and staff will DIE. That there will be acceptable losses.

It’s me puking in the restroom after.

This isn’t a case of people coming for your guns. This is what it’s like to prepare for those guns coming for our kids.

Fuck you and your AR-15 that is safer than kindergarteners.

TL;DR I am sick of kids dying.

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The One About Students

I will not quote statistics. I will not rail against the NRA. I will not explain to the close-minded. It’s all been done and said before. And it does no good.

Instead. I will tell you what I do in my classroom.

  • Answer 11 year olds’ questions about the shootings (every time)
  • Explain my plan in case of an active shooter
  • Practice my plan with 30 11 & 12 year olds
  • Hold part of it back because I don’t know who they might tell.
  • Explain that NO is an acceptable answer.
  • Allow them to conclude that women, POC, nonbinary, and LGBTIA+  are people
  • Discuss anti-violent solutions to problems
  • Role play difficult social situations and discuss the various options
  • TALK to them and KNOW them
  • Be an adult worth trusting
  • We read about mental illness & “differences” to normalize it
  • We study world religions and their similarities

For the last 14 years I have taught kids to love one another and to save the world from itself.  My kids are out there. They’re still learning and now some of them are teaching their own kids.

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The Other One About My Weakness

I thought that last post would be my last on this topic – at least for a while.  Since then, I’ve had two more really bad PTSD days and a couple of just real bad days. I leave for work in the dark – about 5:30 a.m. and have conversations with myself about how would be the best way to wreck my car so that no one else gets hurt – just so I don’t have to go to work and be stuck in a small room with 32 kids for 6 1/2 hours. I have blown up and yelled at home a couple of times. I came close to punching someone in the face because they appeared behind me, speaking almost in my ear. I spent an hour on the floor of my closet with my dog for quiet solace and crying.

I currently have three coping mechs:

Shutting down without speaking for long periods time

Drinking

Spending money

I have 22 days until my appointment. And that’s at a civilian center, because I would be dead if I had to wait on the VA. Besides, going to the Dallas VA sends me over the edge to start with. The place is packed to the gills with people much worse off than me. I won’t take their spot.

But I feel like a failure. I haven’t had to take meds before. I’ve been able to shore myself up against the darkening storm. I’ve made myself OK. I willed it to be so. I’m just out of time.

In 22 days I could be a silent, broke alcoholic or worse. 23621228_1461471297300803_3708888256101548341_n

TL,DR: I am falling.

 

The One About My Weakness

Part of my problem is the job. There are TOO many people in my space. My processor slows to a crawl and I fight the urge to just walk out and never come back at least twice a week.  Jamming 33 people and desks into 21 by 25 foot room will do that to me. I can’t remember shit. Any request for help has been met with adding teaching assistants to my already over crowded space.  That is not the help I need.

This weekend I had a full blown episode. Couldn’t breathe. My heart jackhammered my head. It’s like being punched in the chest, like a hammer blow to the sternum. Like being physically attacked. On the way to a party, my sigoth had to pull the car over so I could get out. Had to STOP the MOTHERFUCKING CAR so I could get out RIGHT. NOW. My body shook. Tears. And then to the party where I slammed a couple of beers before I could feel right again. I’ve seen this path. I know where it leads. Statistics can eat my whole ass.

Yesterday I  found a psychiatrist that specializes in PTS and anxiety in combat vets. Couldn’t get an appointment until December, but that’s OK. I’ll limp through until then. I’ve trained for fighting wounded.

If we’re friends and you notice a change in my behavior, please – PLEASE- document it. You don’t have to say anything to me, just hang on to it. I’ll ask people to email their observations right before I go to the appointment.

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The One About North Korea/Russia

If you’re worried about Russia and North Korea or just want to feel a little more on top of things, I get you. I really get you. Doing some prepping is never a bad idea and sometimes even makes you feel a little more in control.

No space for a bunker? No money for sniper training? Me neither.

READ.

These are a few of the books recommended by The Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley and the ones I’ve downloaded.

Big Stick

Another Bloody Century

Leaders Eat Last

Ghost Fleet

The full reading list can be found here:

The Chief of Staff’s Professional Reading List

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Gather information that isn’t just a scare tactic. Be as self reliant as you can. Stay away from slanted social media that’s aimed at scaring rather than being helpful. Anything less is a Rook mistake.