Sleep- Not That Overrated

Sleep isn’t Overrated

When I first joined the military the one saying that I hated the most was, “Sleep is overrated.”

Well you know what, it’s not!

Since my tour of duty in Iraq in 2004 I’ve had problems with sleeping. I wake up from nightmares most nights drenched in cold sweat. So much adrenaline is rushing through my body it takes hours for me to fall back to sleep.

Sometimes I never do.

I’ve learned over the past few years that taking certain medications helps. Sometimes I have to make myself fall asleep because I’m easily triggered when my mind is hazy from sleep deprivation. I get bad flashbacks and that makes me angry and edgy when I can’t focus on reality.

The Struggle

The doctors in the military diagnosed me with Bi-polar disorder months after I got back from Iraq because I wasn’t sleeping, I was drinking heavily, and my fits of anger and rage usually lead me into suicidal thinking. I was medically discharged in 2006.

That’s when stories of the war, the ones I’ve drank away and tucked back deep inside my mind, came rushing back to my mind like an untamed fire.

It wasn’t until four years, ten medications and three doctors later that I was diagnosed with PTSD.

I couldn’t stop seeing dead people, hearing blood curdling screams for a medic, thinking that people surrounding me in public wanted to kill me. I felt like I was seriously crazy and couldn’t stop thinking of the “What if’s…” in life.

“What if I don’t ever fall asleep and die?”

“What if I tell someone what I’m seeing and they throw me in a padded room?”

“What if this is all a dream and I’m still fighting on the front lines?”

Breaking Point

I would go days without leaving the house believing that I would die if I did.

Everything I though was about death, so naturally I thought of ending it all.

One bullet through my skull and I could rest… I wouldn’t have to think again.

I bought into the idea that things would never get better because no one could understand, I didn’t understand what was happening.

I had a feeling my actions and current emotional state were leading up to consequences that would have an immeasurable impact on lives of people I love the most. That part of me cried out in exhaustion and brought me face to face God.

Hope

From that moment forward I put all my efforts into finding a path in life that I could walk down happily without worrying about my past. I’ve made it my mission to find ways to live with PTSD and to share what I learn with the world to hopefully save lives.

Click Here to Order Combat Medic on Amazon.com

Combat Medic
A soldier’s story of the Iraq war and PTSD

faith saves 22

Motivational Speech by Combat Veteran

Motivational speech by Combat Veteran S.M. Boney IV – Ending veteran suicide.

Motivational speech on how faith saves lives.

I encourage everyone to purchase my book to educate yourself on the invisible war our American troops fight every day.

Share to help spread the word of how faith can stop suicide.

Click to order on Amazon!

Combat Medic
A soldier’s story of the Iraq war and PTSD

Other than playing loud music and using drugs to help me get through fireworks on this Fourth of July, I did something different.

Fireworks and Combat Veterans Don’t Mix

Other than playing loud music and using drugs to help me get through fireworks on this Fourth of July, I did something different.
Fireworks and Combat Veterans Don’t Mix

Fireworks and Combat Veterans Don’t Mix

Other than playing loud music and using drugs to help me get through fireworks on this Fourth of July, I did something different.

This is my explanation of why fireworks and combat veterans don’t mix !

Please help me raise awareness for C-PTSD and share this video with friends and family. The only way to cut veteran suicide is to be aware of the problem.

Thank you!

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Combat Medic
A soldier’s story of the Iraq war and PTSD

Next Up- Sinister Chuckles in Hell 

Birdie Girl

Birdie = Relief

It’s been a long couple weeks for me here in Minnesota. Since Tank left, anxiety, depression, and hyper-vigilance have creeped back into every moment of my life. I’ve stayed hopeful that I won’t totally regress back into the PTSD hermit that I was before Tank brought me out of my shell. It’s been a tough go but I’m trying to stay as positive as possible.

I’ve stayed busy within my community by helping out non-profit organizations in the area. This past week I had the pleasure of representing the Beyond The Yellow Ribbon program in the Father Hennepin Parade tossing chocolate candy to sugar addicted kids. My nerves were so much on the edge that my back and knees started badly aching. I had to close my eyes to meditate through breathing exercises in order to calm down enough to sit for an hour while people surround me cheering and begging like back in Iraq. TRIGGER!

‘”Deep breathe in for 1, 2, 3, 4…”

“… Exhale slowly for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6”

Repeat and concentrate on the breathing and nothing else

My friend Chris was there to help watch my back until I calmed down.It turned out being more fun than I thought it was. I threw piles of candy at all the swarms of kids that gathered next to the parade. We started with 25 large candy bags and by the time we were at the end I was out of chilled candy, throwing the melted pieces that fell out of the candy bin.

IMG_0838
Me and the team before riding in the parade!

I’m going to end with some great news for my followers. This coming up week I will be the proud owner of a new service dog in-training! Her name is Birdie and she will be joining the family this Thursday! I’m calling this next segment BIRDIE & ME.

IMG_0825
Birdie Girl!

As a celebration of our new addition, I’m giving out free E-books this week to everyone who subscribes to  be on the combatmedic.org email list ( Top of Page, right side bar).

Also, check out my blog series about Tank & I to catch up on the latest articles about my service dog training.

UNTIL NEXT TIME!! GOD BLESS!

Relieved

Birdie Girl

Birdie, My Relief

Finding Relief

Since Tank left, anxiety, depression, and hyper-vigilance have creeped back into every moment of my life. I’ve stayed hopeful that I won’t regress back into the PTSD hermit that I was before Tank brought me out of my shell. It’s been a tough go but I’m trying to stay as positive as possible.

I stay busy within my community by helping out non-profit organizations in the area. This past week I had the pleasure of representing the Beyond The Yellow Ribbon program in the Father Hennepin Parade tossing chocolate candy to sugar addicted kids.

My nerves were so much on the edge that my back and knees started badly aching. I had to close my eyes to meditate through breathing exercises in order to calm down enough to sit for an hour while people surround me cheering and begging like back in Iraq. TRIGGER!

‘”Deep breathe in for 1, 2, 3, 4…”

“… Exhale slowly for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6”

Repeat and concentrate on the breathing and nothing else

My friend Chris was there to help watch my back until I calmed down.It turned out being more fun than I thought it was. I threw piles of candy at all the swarms of kids that gathered next to the parade. We started with 25 large bags of candy. By the time we were at the end I was out of chilled candy, throwing the melted pieces that fell out of the candy bin.

IMG_0838
Me and the team before riding in the parade!

Birdie=Great News!

 

I’m going to end with some great news for my followers. This coming up week I will be the proud owner of a new service dog in-training! Her name is Birdie and she will be joining the family this Thursday! I’m calling this next segment BIRDIE & ME.

IMG_0825
Birdie Girl!

As a celebration of our new addition, I’m giving out free E-books this week to everyone who subscribes to  be on the combatmedic.org email list ( Top of Page, right side bar).

Also, check out my blog series about Tank & I to catch up on the latest articles about my service dog training.

UNTIL NEXT TIME!! GOD BLESS!

Relieved

Samuel M. Boney

Defeated, But Still Victorious

I’ve been through a lot in my life. So much so that I’m worn out mentally and physically. I’ve had long talks with God about why bad thing happen to me and he’s taught me a few things that I want to share.

Chronic pain has always been a major thorn in my side since coming home from the Iraq war in 2005. Over the past thirteen years the pain has only gotten worse, not better. It started out with the occasional  pain in my mid- back and then my knees. Over time it’s progressed and after extensive tests the VA Hospital diagnosed me with deteriorating disc disease with mild scoliosis in my lower spin as well as osteoarthritis in my knees.

For the past few months my knees have hurt so bad that I can only take the stairs one at a time because of the crunching pain that shoots through my knees when I bend them.

I’m thirty-four with the knees of a 60 year old.

I can’t run or work out anymore. The less I move throughout the day, the less burning I have to deal with inside my knee. It feels like an itchy, burning scab over a wound. I can barely walk. I wear knee braces every time I leave the house or I’ll end up having to take baby steps from the agonizing pain.

Last night, after a very active day, I had to crawl up and down the stairs. After doing this twice I started to feel depressed. I gave in to the pain and sat down on the stair in defeat. I started having memories of me at my best running and lifting weights. I used to be able to march, jump and bound while carrying 100+ pounds of gear easily.

“How did I get here?” I asked silently, tears from defeat and pain swelled up within my eyes.

After a few minutes of being in darkness, a scripture from the old testament in The Bible came to mind that helped snap me back to reality.  In Genesis 32 verses 22-29 after Jacob wrestles with God all night, God touched Jacobs hip, permanently crippling him.

That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,[a] because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”

But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.

Even after all his fighting with God, God still blessed him because Jacob had all faith in God even after he crippled him. God even gave Jacob the name Israel because he was an overcomer of Gods and humans.

I began to realize that the pain I have came from my unwillingness to give up on what I wanted in life and not doing what I was created to do. I’ve fought God my whole life, the enemy has constantly attacked  me since I was born.

“Maybe going into the military wasn’t what God wanted for me and my fight with him was being on the front line. All of my ailments stem from the war in Iraq.”

I still have faith in God that life will get better. Even through all the pain, he has systematically surrounded me with love so that I won’t lose my faith in him and that love pushes me to be my best at all times just as he did for Jacob.

I might not be able to walk right because of painful knees, but I know that God has blessed me because of the calm in my life. He is literally polishing me, making me better so that I can shine to be a guiding light for others.

 

 

Polish

A Soul Infused With Tank

A Soul Infused

It’s been almost a week since Tank has left and I’m hanging on by a thread already. I’ve noticed quite a few changes in the way I approach life that I forgot I used to do.

“I seriously wish that I had full control over my mind, body and spirit. I have my body and spirit in tip- top condition, but my mind just seems to do whatever the heck it wants sometimes.”

For instance, I’ve noticed that I clench my jaw when I’m under stress, which is almost every second that I’m outside of the house on my own. Two days after Tank left my jaw hurt really bad. I couldn’t eat it was so painful.

It felt like my teeth were going to fall out. I went to bed with my face throbbing.

The morning after, the pain got slightly better but I was only able to eat soft foods for half the day.

It comes from the Hyper-vigilance that engulfs me wherever I go. Even at home I can’t stand in the yard or my garage without “hearing” someone walk up behind me, making me watch my back like someone’s trying to kill me. I can’t stop watching for danger.

It feels like I’m slowly reverting back to my old state of mind like before I started my search for a service dog.

IMG_0333It’s weird how infused Tank was with my life. I still hold reminiscence of him within every stride I make in life. Sometimes I hear his collar jingle and get a jolt of excitement thinking he’s walking up behind me, only to turn and be devastated by reality.

I don’t think I’m going down a path that will revert me back to the dark place I was in just a few years ago. Mainly because I have structure within my life now. I wake up and take care of my daughter and then I write and promote my book.

I’m still on a mission to save as many veterans lives as I possibly can before I’m whisked off to a better place. 

It won’t be long before I’m paired with another dog, so these feelings of despair and depression will soon fade. Until then I have to strive to fight my demons on my own in order to help motivate others to do the same.

Infuse

A Soul Infused With Tank

A Soul Infused With Tank

Realization

It’s been almost a week since Tank has left and I’m already hanging on by a thread. I’ve noticed quite a few changes in the way I approach life that I forgot I used to do.

“I seriously wish that I had full control over my mind, body and soul.”

I have my body and soul in tip- top condition, but my mind just seems to do whatever the heck it wants sometimes.

For instance, I’ve noticed that I clench my jaw when under stress, which is almost every second that I’m outside of the house on my own. Two days after Tank left my jaw hurt really bad. I couldn’t eat it was so painful.

“It felt like my teeth were going to fall out. I went to bed with my face throbbing.”

The pain got slightly better the morning after, but I was only able to eat soft foods for half the day before it started hurting again.

It comes from the Hyper-vigilance that engulfs me wherever I go. I can’t even stand in the yard or my garage at home without “hearing” someone walk up behind me, making me watch my back like someone’s trying to kill me. I can’t stop watching out for danger.

It feels like I’m slowly reverting back to my old state of mind like before I started my search for a service dog.

IMG_0333
Tank

A Soul Infused with Tank

It’s weird how infused Tank was with my life. I still hold reminiscence of him within every stride I make in life. Sometimes I get a jolt of excitement to hear his collar thinking he’s walking up behind me, only to turn and be devastated by reality.

I don’t think I’m going down a path that will revert me back to the dark place I was in just a few years ago. Mainly because I have structure within my life now. I wake up and take care of my daughter and then I write and promote my book.

I’m still on a mission to save as many veterans lives as I possibly can before I’m whisked off to a better place. 

It won’t be long before I’m paired with another dog, so these feelings of despair and depression will soon fade. Until then I have to strive to fight my demons on my own in order to help motivate others to do the same.

Infuse

An Everlasting Impression

Tank has left a everlasting impression within my heart…

IMG_0696
I can’t stop the tears from rolling down my cheek.
It been two days without Tank and my hearts grown weak.
Our bond will last within my heart forever,
Broken only by time and this body that withers.
Tank, dear friend,
I love you so much,
Although it feels like the end, I’ll always be able to remember your touch.

Although it feels like the end of my journey, I can’t accept giving up.

“One door closes, another one opens” has to be my mentality.

One day as I look back at this situation, I’ll have a great new best friend by my side and my heart won’t feel heavy with sorrow.

IMG_0697
You will be missed Tank…you will be missed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impression

The Precipice of PTSD

The Precipice of PTSD

 

The Precipice of PTSD

You don’t understand the change that happens inside a soldier after war.

Everyone comes back changed, whether they admit it or not, some worst than others.

I was the worst.

Not a day goes by in the past 13 years I haven’t thought about Iraq, the Fuck’d up things I saw and did.

I’ve just recently started moving on with my life with the intent to show civilians what it’s like to be on the battle front, fighting for our country and our lives, only to come home to a never-ending battle.

This scene from my book Combat Medic takes place at the precipice of my PTSD, the worst moment of my life.

Preface

” Slamming the door, I locked it and rested my head against the wood frame, trying to regain my thoughts. You’re home…you’re safe.

Sunlight is beaming in through the blinds, making it hard to see. Leaning against the marble counter in the kitchen, I set my keys down before wiping the sweat that wasn’t there from my brow. I wondered, Does it ever stop? My angst was making me feel cold. No…it never will. I stared at the floor. What if I was dead? Would anybody really care? I wouldn’t have to deal with this pain anymore. The thoughts; the nightmares…

My lower back throbbed. I pushed myself up on my hands, thrusting my hips back and forth, waiting for the pain to go away. I closed my eyes, put my head down, and started taking deep breaths, trying to calm down.

Standing up I grabbed a glass of water when a loud bang shook the room. My heart started racing; a chill ran through my body. The hearing in my right ear fell out, leaving a high-pitched ringing in the background. My heart jumped then started beating faster. I closed my eyes and saw flashing lights and heard gunfire – echoes and bangs.

I squatted to the ground behind the counter with my eyes wide open staring at the door. A chill ran through my back, into my heart. My jaw started shaking; teeth chattering like I was stark naked in a blizzard.

Someone kicked down the door dressed in battered, torn clothes with dirty rags covering his face. He ran towards me with an AK-47 rifle pointed at my face, shouting gibberish. I felt a rifle in my hand, the weight of the barrel upon my fingers; but it wasn’t there. I felt naked without a weapon, cold and unsafe.

My heart felt like it was being pulled in four different directions. It thumped, pumping me full of cold blood and adrenaline. My mind raced. What should I do? I smelled gunfire and smoke, but I could see that I was in my apartment. Is this real? The back of my throat was sore; there was a bad, acidic taste in my mouth.

I took in a couple of shallow breaths then jumped up and ran over to the kitchen. I grabbed the handle of my 8-inch chef knife and pulled it from the drawer figuring it would be better to have a weapon in case it wasn’t my imagination. I turned toward the door crouched down, waiting for anything that came through.

A minute slowly passed. “This isn’t real.” I thought out loud, “What am I doing? This is crazy.” At that moment excruciating pain shot from my mid-back down to my left foot. It was like someone had sliced my back in half with a searing hot knife. I tried taking a deep breath in, but stopped short when pain wrapped around my lung.

I dropped the knife. Feeling dizzy and nauseated, I slowly walked over to the bathroom, flipped the light on, and stood over the toilet, holding my stomach and head. I was sweating hard now. The room started spinning as an overwhelming smell of gunpowder filled it.

Images from war started shooting through my mind. In one, I was holding pressure on a wound, trying to stop the bleeding from a severed leg. In another, blood was splattered all over a sand-covered ground. Specialist B pointed to the blood, then over to a building. I raised my weapon as we went in for the kill. The last image was of eyes. A pair of glazed over, hauntingly sky blue eyes. They were staring directly into mine. I stared blankly into the toilet, engulfed in those eyes. The sight of death captivated me. I wanted it; it wanted me. It almost had me.

My focus shifted from his eyes to his head. I started to see blood running down his face as it came into focus. A green aid bandage was wrapped around it, attempting to hold his severed skull together. I looked down and saw blood covering my hands. I knew it wasn’t really there, but it all felt so real.

At that moment I felt numb, emptiness grew inside; my chest slowly became cold. Icy blood pumped through my veins. It felt like I was dying; like life was being drained out of me. I started shaking as a chill crept through me. Death enveloped me, clutching my soul with a wanton lust. My spirit quaked as my heart blackened.

Tears started falling down my cheeks as the visions slowly faded away. I felt like a hollow shell, void of any substance of life. Shaking my head I wiped the tears, but kept crying; unable to stop myself.

I walked to my bedroom, empty except for a small dresser. It’s been 7 months since I moved and still no furniture. Saddened, I closed the door and opened the window. A cool breeze blew through. The sun was bright, warm, and comforting. I took in a couple deep breaths; my jaw still jittered from the flashback as I let it out. My shirt was drenched in sweat.

I opened the drawer of the dresser and grabbed my pipe and weed. I ground some up, put it in the pipe and took a couple of long, slow hits. After about 15 minutes I was fully medicated, seeing everything in a haze. I stared out of the window and looked down at the courtyard. A young couple sat at a table drinking wine; talking… they looked happy. I could see smoke rising from the grill next to them and smelled the scent of barbeque.

Everything I was worrying about started to fade away. The pain in my back turned into a slight annoyance. I smiled a grin ear-to-ear and started beat boxing and singing; doing anything and everything to stop thinking about things – the nightmares from hell that still haunt me.

I poured a glass of cold water from the tap. After slamming a couple, the blue eyes started haunting me again. I felt myself sliding back into the other place when my phone snapped me out of the fall.

I looked at the screen and saw that it was Jessica; I answered annoyingly, “Hello.”

“Hi, what are you doing?”

“Just got home from work,” I said sharply. “Why, what’s up?”

“I don’t know; just seeing what you’re doing. You never call me just to talk,” she said, waiting silently for an answer.

I didn’t know what to say. “Sorry, I’ve just been busy.”

“Doing what?”

“Working. You know my hours at work.” I got upset. “Is there something you want?”

“Yeah, I was wondering if you would like to come over and eat dinner with me and Aleah tonight and this weekend? You know… have some family time.”

I was torn, feeling deep in my heart like I wanted to. But then I start thinking about what had just happened. The pain, the flashbacks, I was afraid to leave the house. I missed my daughter so much but I couldn’t drive like this. I lied, “I can’t, I have an appointment later today and I have to work this weekend.”

“Really? You told me you were off,” she said angrily.

“Well Mick asked me to work a couple extra shifts and I said yes.” I got upset again. “What do you want me to do about it? I can’t just say ‘No’ now; it’s work.”

“You never want to spend time with us. Aleah is always asking about you. What should I tell her?”

I felt awful. My heart started to burn.

“I’m sorry, Jessica, but I have to work.” I gave in a little, “I can come over after my shift is done. We can eat and play games. You can tell her I have to work and I’ll see her later.”

“Ok. Whatever,” she said.

Then it went silent for a minute.

“How come you don’t love me?”

“I never said I didn’t.”

“Then why did you leave?”

“Because we argue too much.”

“We argue because you don’t even try to listen to anything I have to say and you yell,” she said.

“You do too!” I quickly chimed in. “All you do is yell and I can’t take it. I don’t need people around me yelling all the time. I can’t handle it.”

“If you loved me you would try.”

My gut started hurting. “I do love you, Jessica; I just don’t know what to do.”

“Talk to me.”

Silence fell again, I felt so bad that we couldn’t get along. I do love her, but the arguments and fights, yelling in front of Aleah… it was too much. I don’t want her to think that is how relationships are. She should have a happy life.

“Ok, Sam! Bye!”

“Tell Aleah I’ll call her tonight. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Yep, bye.” She hung up, her tone saying all she needed to say.

The room fell quiet. I looked down at the phone and thought of all the good times I’ve had with them. The times I’ve curled over laughing when playing with Aleah. Hearing her laughs echoing throughout the house when I tickled her, I loved it… missed it.

How did I get here in this empty apartment, feeling sad and numb inside? I’ve tried my whole life to feel alive; to feel wanted, to be someone special. I joined the Army because it was where I belonged. Fighting for America, saving lives and making a difference, proving to myself that I could do anything, go anywhere.

Now I’m lost, stuck; sealed away in a cave at the center of a deserted world. I want to feel normal again; feel alive, not numb. My past keeps taking over my mind, flooding it with blood and explosions. I want it to end. I want everything to end.

How did I get here?

It was because of the war. Why did I ever sign up to go in? I don’t want to feel like this anymore; alone, struggling to hold onto reality day in and day out. I want a life worth living.”

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Combat Medic
A soldier’s story of the Iraq war and PTSD

Next Up – Danger- Gunfights in a Cemetery