With the passing of a friend today, I have been left thinking about some heavy shit. You see not all the wounds that people get leave scars we can see. Somethings just sit in the back of your head, and good or bad they alter you forever. You can never be who you were before. You can never get that back. This is not some aging maturity bullshit either. It is not about recapturing your childhood, but rather being fundamentally changed on the deepest level of your psyche. Now this is tied into this thing we call PTSD. Its a disorder that I think is more dangerous than cancer.
I do not mean to talk about the things people see, like the health effects that PTSD can have. It is not about the insomnia, or the lowered immune system. I am thinking more about how little bits of you die, and the changes in your personality lead to death in many people that suffer from it. Its about losing one of the biggest factors in your health, that most people ignore. Hell losing the part of me that gives a fuck actually has benefits, but in most cases it can be very harmful.
When you see a dude drinking shots chased by beer, with a dip in, smoking a cigarette, you get a bit of the attitude. Its not that he doesn't know he might get cancer, its that he truly does not give two shits and a fuck about cancer. It is not a death wish by any means though. It truly is not giving a shit. Not really depression per-say, and a bit hard to explain to people. It is a part of the mind that just does not work anymore, and the sense of self preservation takes on a whole other meaning.
In this I wonder how many people die from PTSD each year. Over a decade of straight fighting. Most of this done on two fronts. Rotations in and out of theater that hold the frequency and resemble a place of expected normalcy. Add to this a lower standard in recruitment, the paradigm shift of social morality, and this unending pressure from the 98% of people that have never and will never put on a uniform. Then you look at how people expect veterans to act. You see them brush off behavior, or praise things that would otherwise have gotten somebody committed a few years ago.
Now you look at the guys that get bored, or overwhelmed, and suck start a pistol. Or maybe those guys that do what they are trained to do, and violently assist others over to their train of thought before they suck start a pistol; then think about would they have done that if their give a fuck had not been damaged? Would they take that next shot ten years ago? Or would their personal regard for all life and the survival instinct still intact, prevented them from going over that line into alcohol poisoning? Would that still healthy give a fuck have prevented them from driving in that state of mind years before?
Why is it that we can see crossing that line between hard and retard, and brush it off as just something that happens now? What part of our brain is so altered that we can not see these consequences as something of value? Maybe it is not depression but an understanding; an understanding that all things will eventually die, and being afraid of it is not going to change that fact. We all stop breathing at one point or another. All bleeding stops. All pain ends.
So in this how many Service Members die from the long term effects of PTSD? If it is by their own hand, is it still a manifestation of their illness? Is it possible to restore or heal a broken give a fuck, and if so is it even worth it? I would be interested in seeing how many vets have died over the years because of what could be considered self destructive behavior that in a time before would not have been engaged, or at least engaged with such eager abandonment? These are the thoughts running through my head today. You did this to yourself brother, but I am still gonna miss you Bat Man.