Being Panicked

Panicked – Not in My Vocabulary

It took awhile for me to adjust to civilian life after the Army. The whole world seamed to be out of place. There wasn’t an order to everything like the military and people ran around like little kids doing and saying whatever came to mind.

The one thing that really stood out the most is the way people would become panicked whenever something serious happened. Being panicked isn’t in my vocabulary. After 14 months of being mortared, shot at and receiving blown-up patients  in the middle of the night drove fear right out of me.

I’ve learned that nothing good comes out of being panicked. You don’t think straight and nothing will get accomplished as you’re running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

I’m not saying that I don’t get a little scared in sticky situations, I’m saying that I don’t let it control me. I have faith that God will tell me the right thing to do and that basically drives the fear right out of me and allows my brain to function properly so I can think straight. My wife and daughter sometimes think that I care about them because I don’t get panicked when they hurt themselves.  I care about them, I just know that they will be ok.

I’m pretty sure every medic who has a CMB (Combat Medic Badge) can think calmly under bad situations because of practice. Next time you find yourself in a panick just remember to take a deep breath, say a quick prayer and try to deal with it the best you can.

Panicked

In constant denial of taking Medications?

In Constant Denial? ( Short read )

For the past couple of months I’ve been fighting with myself over my use of medications. I’m in constant denial of the fact that they help me because I feel that one day I could quite possibly die from one of the many side effects that’s given to me on a 7 page print out every time I pick them up from pharmacy.

Being a veteran from the Iraq war, I struggle every single night from nightmares and cold-sweats.

I’ve been on at least 13-18 different medications just to get something that helps with my sleep. The other dozens I’ve been on are to treat anxiety and depression. In total I take 5 pills a night and 2 during the day. I’ve been doing this since getting back from Iraq in 2005.

So twelve years I’ve been off and on medications with little success. Before I had Tank suicide was always a thought in my mind, I was downing medications and still having problems with sleep.There were days that I thought I had died on the front lines; that time when mortars were landing on the roof above our heads and I blacked out. My mind was so messed up I believed I was in some sort of purgatory.

After accepting the fact that I needed help and the medications, I’ve been able to focus better and accept the fact that I’ll always be hunted by the war of my past, but I don’t have to let it get in the way of my goals and values.

I wouldn’t be able to sleep without medication, trust me I’ve tried everything from herbs to diets and nothing works. Same as the anxiety; Tank helped with it a little, but I wouldn’t be calm in public without medication. The only way I’m able to enjoy going to live sports like the Twins and the Timberwolves is if I take Clonazapam.

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At the game yesterday! Twins vs. Royals

So if I will have to take medications my whole life, should I expect to die from some sort of side effect? I believe God will take me when it’s my time, but I also know that he respects our choices so I don’t want to shorten my life on by own accord.

The only thing I do know is I’m at the happiest point in my life than I have ever been. Since I started opening up more with my doctors, they were able to get me on meds to keep me stable, but I still have my days. I know that everyone who has to be on medications the rest of their lives  feel the same way as I do.

So I wonder, is there going to be a point that I won’t need medications?

I have to remember to ask my doctors. I think this is a valid question for everyone. The pharmaceutical companies creates thousands of drugs to make us feel as though we need to be dependent on them so they can milk insurance and our pockets.

We should be champions and make it a priority to see how these drugs affect our bodies before taking them without question.

Denial

Champion

Heroes on Water

A Tail of Good Fortune (Short Read)


At this time last year I had just finished up writing the final draft of my book. I remember thinking, ‘I finally did it! I finally wrote the book I’ve been talking about doing for years.’ After 4 months of typing, re-reading and correcting three hundred pages of the hell I went through in Iraq, I was done for good.

I haven’t told many people about the mood I was in during the whole process. Only my wife, daughter, and friend Shawn can attest to the anger and hyper-manic state that I was constantly thrown into. After re-writing a couple of chapters about fighting in a cemetery surrounded by dead people and bones for seven straight hours… I wasn’t really pleasant to be around.

I remember one night I was having so many flashbacks that I ended up having to call my friend to come pick me up because of the thoughts that were running around my head. I’m beyond fortunate that God has placed people like Shawn in my life that can relate to the situations that I went through.

He ended taking me on a joy ride and to a bar to eat and drink while I sat and poured out the wells of dread that was going through my mind. By the end of the night he ended up dropping me back off at home in a lot better mood than I was. If he hadn’t of came I don’t know what kind of trouble I could have gotten into.

HOW
My buddy Shawn taking a photo of the staff of Heroes on Water

That’s what every veteran needs in their life after being discharged from the Military, someone else that can get on their level when life get’s tough. I have constantly made myself available to every veteran that I meet to insure that they have someone to talk to.  That’s why my friend Shawn started a non-profit organization called Heroes on Water. We take Veteran from all government services and take them out on kayaks to fish. It gives us time to talk with each other and create friendships.

I know that the VA has been taking the heat on a lot of their practices, they are good for one thing… talk therapy. There are hundreds of vets that trickle through the VA  waiting for hours everyday. I can’t name how many times I’ve sat down and traded war stories with Vietnam and World War II veterans while waiting for appointments or going through group together. I don’t know where I didn’t have anyone that could relate to me.

So if you’re a veteran or you know someone who’s a veteran, please share this information. A lot of veterans don’t try to fuss with the VA because of their bad rep… I don’t blame them. I’m not saying that they are great, I’m saying that the relationships you can make with fellow veterans are awesome and could possibly save a life one day, so why not try?

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(From left) Me and Shawn

Fortune

Heroes on Water

A Tail of Good Fortune

Good Fortune
At this time last year, I just finished writing the final draft of Combat Medic. I remember thinking, ‘Finally, I did it! I wrote the book I talked about doing for years.’

After months of typing, re-reading and correcting three hundred pages of the hell I went through in Iraq, I was done for good.

I haven’t told many people about my mood during the whole process. Only my wife, daughter, and my good friend Shawn can attest to the anger and hyper-manic state I was constantly thrown into.

After writing about gunfights in a cemetery surrounded by dead people and bones for seven straight hours… I wasn’t really pleasant to be around.

The Dilemma

One night after the fourth of July, I was having so many flashbacks I asked Shawn to come pick me up because I didn’t feel safe with crazy thoughts running around in my head.

I’m beyond fortunate that God placed good people like Shawn in my life who can relate to the situations I went through. He’s an Army Veteran as well.

He took me on a  long car ride then to a bar to eat and drink while I sat and poured out the dread that was going through my mind.

By the end of the night he ended up dropping me back off at home in a lot better mood than I was. If Shawn hadn’t of come I don’t know what kind of trouble I would have gotten into.

good fotune
My buddy Shawn taking a photo of the staff of Heroes on Water

Heroes on Water

That’s what every veteran needs in their life after  the Military, someone who truly understands the struggle when life get’s tough. I have constantly made myself available to every veteran I meet to insure that they have someone to talk to.

That’s the reason Shawn started a non-profit organization called Heroes on Water. We take Veteran from all government services out to fish on kayaks. It gives us time to talk with each other and create friendships.

Good Ole’ Talk Therapy

I know that the VA has been taking the heat on a lot of their practices, they are good for one thing… talk therapy. There are hundreds of vets that trickle through the VA  hospital waiting for hours everyday.

I can’t name how many times I’ve traded war stories with Vietnam and World War II veterans while waiting for appointments or going through group.

If you’re a veteran or you know someone who’s a veteran, please don’t hesitate to share this information. Lots of veterans don’t try to fuss with the VA because of their bad rep… I don’t blame them.

I’m not saying the VA is great, but the relationships you can make with fellow veterans are awesome and could possibly save a life one day, so why not try?

good fortune
(From left) Me and Shawn on a Heroes on Water fishing trip.

Fortune