I lost my damn mind in Iraq due to combat stress reactions
Battle Neurosis and the 5 combat stress reactions I experienced as a bomb tech in Iraq
Whats up readers?
Today, I am going am writing about some of the weird stuff that went down in Iraq while outside the wire operating as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician.
Recently I finally broke down and wrote me first article that actually had to do with PTSD.
I am not going to lie, I have been avoiding it like the plague, but now that I opened that can of worms, I might as well go deep.
The normal adrenaline rush
At some point in most of our lives we have all experienced an adrenaline rush.
The rush that comes with things like emergency situations, or traumatic experiences such as almost being hit by a car, or being in a car accident once you realize what happened.
Your heart feels like it is going a million miles per hour, maybe your hands are jittery with the disbelief of what just occurred.
The rush you felt probably left you completely exhausted.
There is nothing like coming down off an adrenaline rush after jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. You sleep like a baby.
Adrenaline is responsible for the fight-or-flight reaction to a threat, and it triggers specific processes in the body that can
decreasing the body's ability to feel pain
increasing strength temporarily
sharpening mental focus, which will allow a person to think quickly and form a clear plan to escape a potential threat
But what happens when you are on an adrenaline rush FOR A LONG TIME?
After writing down this list, I am fairly confident at times I was suffering from battle neurosis also known as Combat Stress Reactions.
Combat stress reactions
COMBAT STRESS REACTION #1 Spidey senses & heightened sense of awareness.
Heightened sense of awareness to things unknown
You could almost smell the danger in the air.
I lost track how many times my spidey senses stood up the hairs on the back of my neck only to look around and realize we were in a bad spot.
Your mind became so sharp it was like you could read what your teammates minds, and know what they were thinking.
COMBAT STRESS REACTION #2 Time slowing down
Time seemed to slow down, and almost stop. Seconds felt like minutes, minutes felt like hours, and hours felt like an eternity.
COMBAT STRESS REACTION #3 Out of body experience or mental disconnection
Like watching a first person youtube video
At the same time it could feel like you were completely disconnected from your body, almost watching yourself picking up 155 IEDs through a youtube video, only somewhere you knew that this was no video you were watching.
Somewhere your body was there, almost on autopilot walking down those hot desert roads not knowing whether or not there was another IED waiting for you somewhere in the dirt, or brush.
COMBAT STRESS REACTION #4 Derealization
Definition of derealization
A feeling of altered reality (such as that occurring in schizophrenia or in some drug reactions) in which one's surroundings appear unreal or unfamiliar
Reality seemed to warp, and I sometimes wondered whether or not any of it was real. This sense was even with me after coming back on base hours after an IED call.
COMBAT STRESS REACTION #5
False sense of being indestructible
This must have been some sort of derealization / warped sense of reality. With the amount of adrenaline in our bodies, we must have been almost hallucinating.
This mixed with all of the other strange stuff that occured must have warped my sense of reality to the point of psychosis. I guess it really was battle neurosis
I never spoke to any of my teammates about it, maybe I was the only one that experienced it.
Looking back at the immense amount of stress I had to deal this I am amazed, and proud that I was still able to be fully operational, and save so many lives.
It is no wonder that I am suffering from PTSD, and depression with everything that I went through.
That being said, even though I struggle everyday with these issues, I now have a great perspective and understanding of how strong I really am.
THAT BEING SAID
Re Experiencing the feelings
Just writing this is almost bringing me back there right now. I guess that is the point of this, re experiencing the stress so I can let it go.
I didn’t expect writing this would provoke such a physiological response, but now my body is tight, and my stomach feels like it is in a knot.
I am so grateful, that I have been given the opportunity to be able to write this, even though I rarely act like I am.
If you are still reading this I would like to thank you for your time. I am actually feeling a bit nauseous now so I think it is time I stop writing.