Denial of Life Changing Events

Not so bullet-proof

Having led a very full life over a short forty-six year span, I have experienced several significant events. The one event I can think of that has made a huge impact on me is the one event I have tried to deny had an impact, or have downplayed the significance of for years. I am a twenty-plus year veteran of our Armed Forces and much older than your average soldier. This makes me what younger soldiers refer to as “old school”. It is a title I have worn proudly for many years now, but also the reason for my denial of the significance of this certain event. Old school soldiers are not supposed to show any perceived weakness of any kind, and think things only happen to other, weaker soldiers. These things I am not supposed to experience because I am Billy Joe Bad Ass, Super Trooper, Kill a Commie for Mommy, Leather Headed Jar Neck, and all around invincible.

The event I am speaking of is my survival of an Improvised Explosive Devices detonation five meters from my head. I had been through several of these explosions prior to this one, but this one in particular was really close. It is pretty hard for most people to imagine a 155mm shell exploding five meters from one’s head, so I will skip the details, as I can probably not describe enough what such an explosion is like. I came out of the incident without even a scratch. The only evidence I had been through this was a small black mark on my Desert Camouflage Utilities from a chunk of asphalt that hit my sleeve. There was also the ringing in my ears that persisted for several hours.

This kind of experience will, of course, only bolster one’s attitude of indestructibility. Soldiers are supposed to exude certain amounts of confidence, and this incident certainly gave me some bragging rights. This has led to my denial of the long term affects of this explosion, unfortunately. In the days of old, things like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder were certainly not viewed upon with any compassion and such a disorder was viewed upon as a sign of weakness by other indestructible men. Only recently have attitudes begun to change as the medical profession has studied this disorder more and more. Although I do not suffer the classic symptoms such as nightmares, excessive drinking, or wanting to hurt myself, I have experienced an unexplained rage over the last few years.

The significance of this event has started to come home to me recently. I can no longer deny the effects of this explosion. When one starts to snap at his innocent three year old daughter over some minor incident, or snap and yell at the most wonderful woman in the world, my wife, there is undeniably a problem. For the sake of my family I can no longer deny the impact of this event and must do the hardest thing in the world for an old war-horse soldier can do. I must admit that I have been affected and seek help where I can find help. I have to admit that I am not Superman, nor indestructible. It is a hard pill to swallow for anyone in the Armed Forces to swallow, much less an old Jarhead like myself. Dealing with this type of incident is exclusive to younger soldiers as old schoolers like me were beaten into the notion we were invincible and any admitting of weakness was viewed as a dishonor to one’s self, one’s country, one’s corps, and one’s God.

Hopefully, I can get the help I need before it is too late. It would be a devastating blow to lose one’s family over a stupid thing like pride.  Growing old is hard enough to come to terms with for an old warrior. Admitting that one is not the invincible person he was trained to be is a whole different ballgame. The warrior ethos will help in the long run, as it teaches to never quit, never surrender. Coming to terms with whatever degree of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder I may suffer will be a tough battle. With the love and support of my family, the help of God, and the support from my military family, hopefully this significant event can become the less significant event I once thought it was.

Post-Script

I wrote this hub a couple of months ago and never published it. Just to keep everyone updated, I have since been diagnosed with PTSD and my wife has filed for divorce. If you have wondered where I have been for the last few months, this hub above should explain things.

Comments 32 comments

Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

I'd just about forgotten about you on this site - even though your work is typically very good to begin with, and has personal elements that endear (and I imagine, sometimes have the opposite effect) the reader to you.

Glad to see you, and wish you the best

- Todd


CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

My prayers are with you JT. Keep your priorities in clear sight. That being your wife and kids. I know that you would take a bullet for any of them with out a second thought.....this may be tougher, but more important....you have to do what it takes to continue to be their dad and her husband.

Do what you HAVE to do!

God bless you,

CMerritt


jtcarr1164 profile image

jtcarr1164 5 years ago from Tueplo, Mississippi Author

Wesman Todd Shaw, Great to see you and thank you for your comment. I appreciate the support and kind words. I have stayed off of here, pretty much intentionally. Have not been myself, but I am getting better.

Tom


jtcarr1164 profile image

jtcarr1164 5 years ago from Tueplo, Mississippi Author

CMerrrit, great to see you too! I am afraid the husband part is a thing of the past. She will not even attempt to work things out. I appreciate your kind words and support also. God bless you too, my friend.

Tom


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 5 years ago from Rural Arizona

JT - I read this hub with very mixed emotions. First, I was very elated to see that my old hub pages friend who has been noticeably absent had published a new hub.

Then I read the hub, and it made me very sad. I truly respect and appreciate everything you and others like you have done for this great country of ours. You sacrificed a great deal with your service to our country, and the toll it took on you as a human can't even be imagined. If it were not for professional soldiers like yourself, we would not be enjoying the freedoms many take for granted today.

Now that you have recognized and admitted to yourself there is a problem, the first hurdle is out of the way. I would hope the government would now do their part in treating and helping you cope with the PTSD diagnosis. I'm very sorry to hear of the difficulties between you and your wife. If there is ever anything I could do to help, you have my email and my phone number. Never hesitate to call anytime day or night.

Take care of yourself and I'm hoping we will see more of you soon.

Mike


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

I wish you only the best. Continue to get the help you need and a better and happier life awaits you, perhaps even with your wife. It takes a very brave guy to admit when he needs help. Remember Superman isn't real.


jtcarr1164 profile image

jtcarr1164 5 years ago from Tueplo, Mississippi Author

Mike, my good friend. So glad to see you. I appreciate your support and understanding. I know everyone has been wondering what happened to me. I was down but not out. I will come out of this better. Email me your phone number, I never got it. I have a busy couple of weeks, but I will still publish some more on here, a lot of stuff in my head these days. I also have a new cause I would like to champion. I will let you and Jim know about it soon.

Thank you again Mike,

Tom


jtcarr1164 profile image

jtcarr1164 5 years ago from Tueplo, Mississippi Author

Breakfastpop, great to see you too! Thank you for your comment and your support. I wish my life could include my wife, but i guess that is not to be. But it is time to move on, either way. Take care and keep hubbing!

Tom


Ghost32 5 years ago

First of all, J.T., I may (or may not) have said this before, but: Thank you for your service.

I don't have PTSD, mostly (no doubt) because my military service did not include combat. Viet Nam era, NOT in-country. But I do know a slight bit about divorce (having had 6 of those) and also about loud noises up close. Most recently, I stupidly fired off a target round from a 4" barrel .357 Mag from a prone position (never thought about short barrel + low-to-ground = ....) about 5 months ago and still haven't gotten all my hearing back yet. (Volume, no problem, but words tend to blur-and-slur if the person is speaking rapidly.)

One of my nephews did three tours in Iraq as a Marine by the time he finished his six years...and was the only member of his original boat company to come back without either a Purple Heart or occupying a body bag. The other nephew is an Army lifer, also with multiple tours, who was stationed at Ft. Hood when the Hasan shooting went down.

And my Dad (deceased 1997) was a Navy aircraft mechanic in WWII, came out alive but half nuts after his ship was sunk from under him in the Pacific. He was (though like you say, we'd never heard the term then) a walking billboard for PTSD for many years.

But he did, at least in my judgement, find his inner balance eventually--even though it took a bunch of years and, in his own words, "a lot of cases of whiskey".

Anyway, welcome back and then some. Old school.


rachellrobinson profile image

rachellrobinson 5 years ago from Southwest Missouri

Welcome Back JTCarr; we've missed you. Prayers for you and your family.


TheManWithNoPants profile image

TheManWithNoPants 5 years ago from Tucson, Az.

My brother,

I won't go into details. This is about you and not me. One thing I can tell you is the day you learn to cry is the day the healing begins. Once a gladiator always a gladiator. PTSD is just as real as a broken leg, and when you break one of those, you go to the doc, get it x rayed, put in a cast, and you baby it for a while. Then you work that sonofabitch still it gets strong.

You write me every day even if it's only a few lines. I mean it. Maybe you need to come out here, and hop in that old Willis of mine with me, and we'll go down and secure that freakin border. I hope I've still got your e-mail. If so, I'll send the first e-mail. Stay with me my man. This thing has a happy outcome.

jim


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX

jt - Welcome back from one vet to another. Keep the faith Brother and may God bless you and yours. Good to see you.

The Frog


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas

JT, being an old Air Force flyer, I can think back on some situations in which I could have easily died and did not for whatever reason God had in his mind. In one event, we were halfway across the north Atlantic when the flight engineer noticed that the #3 engine was actually elevated on the wing indicating that it was not locked in place in its mount. We finished the flight successfully likely because we did the right things. Some years later, a similar incident killed the entire crew. Courage is most definitely the trait of an old, seasoned warrior but we have to define that courage for the circumstance that we face. The young warrior does not see that need...one size fits all. Us old ones do. The courage to seek help when you realize there are thins that you love more than yourself is the kind of courage that makes heroes. I have been through the divorce process and lost two kids in the train wreck. Sometimes we can fix it and sometimes we cannot. You will come to that fork in the road at some point where you must again apply courage and either give it everything you have to make it work or to decide to go on with life and make things as good for your kids as you possibly can. There are few, if any winners, in the divorce process and many times those who are trying to win the hardest hurt the kids the most. If there is indeed a winner, let it be the children. I pray for the best outcome for you and your family. Be strong. WB


SheriSapp profile image

SheriSapp 5 years ago from West Virginia

jt,

May God bless and keep you. I am saddened to hear of the personal hardships you are bearing as a result of your service to this nation. I hope you get ALL the help you need, psychologically and other wise. Warriors like you deserve all the resources we have available here. I am glad to hear from you though, I thought maybe you had just deserted hubworld.


jtcarr1164 profile image

jtcarr1164 5 years ago from Tueplo, Mississippi Author

Hey Ghost, great to see you again as well. Thank you, thank you for your comments and support.


jtcarr1164 profile image

jtcarr1164 5 years ago from Tueplo, Mississippi Author

Hey Rachel! It's good to be back! Thank you for your comments (all of them) and your support and your help.


jtcarr1164 profile image

jtcarr1164 5 years ago from Tueplo, Mississippi Author

Hi Frog Prince, Thank you for stopping by and thank you for your comment.


jtcarr1164 profile image

jtcarr1164 5 years ago from Tueplo, Mississippi Author

Hi Sheri! Thank you for stopping by too. I am glad to hear from you too. Thank you for your comment and support. It is really great to hear from all of you and know y'all have my back.


Shona Venter profile image

Shona Venter 5 years ago from South Africa

Great to have you back, jt :-)


jtcarr1164 profile image

jtcarr1164 5 years ago from Tueplo, Mississippi Author

Hi Shona! Thank you, it is good to be back!


Jason R. Manning profile image

Jason R. Manning 5 years ago from Sacramento, California

Hi JT, you are a strong man for putting such a personal premise as this out there. God will always bless those who can admit the need for healing greater than self. May the community place their proverbial hands upon you and heal your need. Seek young man...bless you.


jtcarr1164 profile image

jtcarr1164 5 years ago from Tueplo, Mississippi Author

Hey Jason, great to see you. Thank you as always for your kind words and your support.


mslizzee profile image

mslizzee 5 years ago from Buncombe County, NC

JT: Please stay strong and healthy. America so needs men like you and strong warriors like the Oath Keepers because our freedoms are being stripped away. Take care of yourself and keep writing. Writing down things is greatly therapuetic. You write well perhaps you should write a novel in which you could create bizarre characters. That is the fun part for me, creating really off the wall crazies. I think it's like a therapy. Anyway, God Bless you, we need you. Lizzee


jtcarr1164 profile image

jtcarr1164 5 years ago from Tueplo, Mississippi Author

Hey mslizzee! Thank you for your comment. I get better and better every day. It is all mind over matter. I no longer mind because she no longer matters! Aside from that, yes, writing does do me a lot of good. Unfortunately these days my school work has me bogged down.


Lady In NC profile image

Lady In NC 5 years ago from A Small Town In North Carolina

Awesome Hub ! I Loved It !

And of course ,Thank You for YOUR sevice ! One of America's Best !!

Vicky


Lady In NC profile image

Lady In NC 5 years ago from A Small Town In North Carolina

Hi , I should explain the reason I Love this Hub . You're outlooks on your life then & now ,I can read in this hub .. You encourage others . Your perpective in life for yourself , the respect you show for yourself ,,well Um I LOVe that lol ..

Vicky


jtcarr1164 profile image

jtcarr1164 5 years ago from Tueplo, Mississippi Author

Hi Vicky! Thank you for coming by this hub also and leaving wonderful comment. I really appreciate the support that everyone has given me throughout this ordeal. I hope that I do encourage others and that is really my goal. I understand that there are many soldiers out there that have not realized they may have PTSD. I hope that I can reach them and let them know it is ok to ask for help. It is ok to hurt and cry and there are many of us out here going through the same type things. Thank you again Vicky, it really means a lot to me and all veterans.


WTucker profile image

WTucker 5 years ago from Florida

I loved the Hub it was full of acceptance of ones self and true reflection. I felt a physical bolt go through my body when I read your comment at the end that your wife had filed for divorce. I am truly sorry and while not near as hard as what you are dealing with my experience has shown me that if a person is not willing to be in your life then they have no buisness there. I am currently mulling over joining the Army so I truly do respect and honor your sacrifice.


jtcarr1164 profile image

jtcarr1164 5 years ago from Tueplo, Mississippi Author

WTucker, Thank you so much for your comment and you make an excellent point. Keep me posted if you decide to join or not. I wish you the best of luck.


WTucker profile image

WTucker 5 years ago from Florida

You are very welcome. I will surely do that and thank you.


Guanta profile image

Guanta 5 years ago from New York City

I appreciate your Hub jtcarr1164 and thank you for your service. God Bless.


jtcarr1164 profile image

jtcarr1164 5 years ago from Tueplo, Mississippi Author

Thank you so much Guanta. I appreciate your support and the comment. God bless you as well.

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