PTSD and a Troubled Soul

ptsd-hyperarousal-jpg-pagespeed-ce-y-b6cy5cqeWhen I was younger I had a serious anger problem. So much so that I was put into anger management through my chain of command. I was subsequently kicked out of class for telling some whiny Private that his NCO’s weren’t singling him out but that he was a dirt bag and should be pulling his head out of his 4th point of contact (backside). So much so that my first four or five years of marriage was abusive. Not physically, I could control it that much, but both my wife and I traded insults with wild abandon. We were very much both at fault.

Then something strange happened. I went to war. You may not believe this but that is where I forgot where I locked feelings away. From 2003 until 2016 the only emotion I have felt is anger. No love… no compassion… no empathy or sympathy… nothing. During Operation Iraqi Freedom I had taken my emotions, except the ones that helped me keep me and my men safe, and locked them away in the back of my mind somewhere. For good measure I constructed a brick wall around them and then lost the map and key. I was cold and calculating but not super angry any longer. My anger dispersed into some sort of machine that schemed and plotted.

I got to return a bit early from OIF 1 because my mother had passed away from cancer. So I was back stateside and getting ready for a trip. My wife and I loaded up our young daughter and started our trek to Tennessee. Unbeknownst to me this is when another battle started that I knew could happen but was totally unprepared for. During our drive we were on I-40 cruising along and somewhere along that line a car beside us backfired on the interstate. It would be an understatement to say I lost my crap; for lose it I did. I ducked down low in the driver seat and swerved the car over all the while searching with my hands for a rifle that I no longer carried with me.

I became completely hyper-sensitive to my surroundings. I could not sit in restaurants unless my back was to a wall and I could see all the entrances. No one came in the establishment that I didn’t know about, I saw where everything was. I even went as far as plotting how best to kill people if they became a threat to me or my family. Crowds of people became, and still are to a degree, a huge problem for me. I would have anxiety attacks and begin to panic.

When we arrived in Tennessee we went straight to my mom’s viewing. There were no tears or sadness. There was just cold emptiness. I felt nothing. It seems I have entrenched myself completely into a mindset of war where everyone was the enemy unless they were really close to me. I have seen too much. I had Post Dramatic Stress Disorder. Now luckily for me it was a mild to moderate case. I didn’t have nightmares or flashbacks but it did make my everyday life very stressful and me personally very mean and standoff-ish. It also gave me a serious case of insomnia. I averaged about 2 hours a sleep a night.

I didn’t know why I did not feel many emotions. It took years for me to realize what was going on. I didn’t start seeking help until around 2008. Five years passed before I decided I needed help. What happened you ask? Glad you did! Well two events convinced me there was a problem. The first was me waking up in my backyard in Arizona laying on top of a hill of fire ants at 2 A.M. with a loaded M1A with a 30 round magazine. That is a .308 caliber for those who don’t know. There was nothing going on but there I was in the prone fighting position. I don’t remember dreaming. It was very strange. The second was one night in Arizona I was in bed with my wife not asleep as usual and thinking “I wonder if my wife and kids would be taken care of if something were to happen to me?” WARNING! RED FLAG!

I immediately recognized that thought process as being pre-suicidal. Me being the man that I am this thought shook me up enough to go get help the next day. Years of therapy put a Band-Aid on my issues. I only really helped me to see what was really going on. Fast forward to 2016… I have prayed and prayed for God to help me find what I lost. He has come through for me even of it wasn’t what I intended. My past came back to haunt me and when I had confessed my sins to my God and my wife the floodgates were opened. I cried for the first time in more than a decade. I felt shame and guilt. Then I felt love. True and real love. The kind that comes when you are forgiven and you in turn forgive.

Nothing can truly prepare you for such a thing. It is monumental and stands out in my life. I rank it somewhere below the birth of my children. In my mind it was nothing short of a miracle. This doesn’t mean that I am cured but it does mean I am well on the road to a healthier mental state. I no longer view the people in the world around me as enemies. I feel love again. I also feel pain and torment over things I have done and things I have seen. Day by day I am becoming whole once more. Once again it is God who deserves the credit and glory. Thank you Lord for everything you have given me. Thank you for life.

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On Family and God

There are things in life that are very important to me. Two of those things are history and family. Combined together they become my genealogy. I do as much research into my family history as time and money will allow. I have been lucky enough to get my genealogy all the way back to 1683. This is where documents and factual information start to become scarce. So I recently ordered a DNA test for ancestry purposes. I am hoping it will help connect me to some distant relatives who have also done the DNA screening.

I am extremely proud of my family history as whole, although we do have some glaring issues from the past. People in my family have fought in every major war in United States history. Revolution, Civil, 1812, Spanish American, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf, and Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. One of my ancestors had a home right next to Thomas Jefferson’s plantation at Monticello. One had something to do with the formation of West Virginia (still researching facts for that one). I have reasons to proud.

I was gifted with two wonderful daughters early in my marriage. But not a son. I understand this is a patriarchal thought but I was always dismayed that my line would die with me. Then a year ago the miraculous occurred; my son was born. Eleven years separates my son from my youngest daughter. I consider him to be a special gift from God. So I am looking forward to my children growing up. I am looking forward to the day when my house will be filled with grand-babies who I can teach the family history too. It makes me smile to know that my surname will continue onwards as well through my boy.

I am thankful everyday for every blessing God has given me. My family, my home… everything I have in my possession is because of Him and He deserves all the glory for that. I have sinned most of my life in ways that should damn me to hell. I have committed atrocities and have been evil at times. Yet God has grabbed me up and covered me in His grace. He is restoring my feelings and is giving me joy. Slowly my life has been twisted from something perverse into something magnificent.

I know not everyone believes. I know some do not care one bit. I also know that some completely refuse to admit there is anything more. That is your choice… but as for me and my house we chose the Lord.

The Peace of Home

I had multiple appointments and some shopping to do yesterday so I was roaming around the larger areas of central Texas. I don’t live in a large city (thankfully). My town only has 1,800 – 2000 people in it. The closest larger town maybe has 20,000. One of the things I remarked on was how peaceful life was. People were doing what they do everyday… going about their business quietly and peacefully. There was no anger, no rage, no protest, no riots and no cowering in fear. Life goes on as the cliché goes. I thank God that he covers us in His Grace.

The evil that exists in the major cities doe snot have as strong a foothold here in middle America. There the manufactured mess affects everyday life. Here things move more slowly. I don’t have to worry about traffic. I don’t have to worry about people blocking intersections and thoroughfares. All I worry about is whether my goats have food, water and are healthy. That my family is taken care of. All the threats we see on the news and the dire circumstances of life seem almost not to touch the quietness of home.

While I know by and large that our peace here is a façade of sorts, it is comforting to know that I can escape what is going on in the world by coming home.

The Sadness of my Addiction

addiction-and-fear-5-ways-to-address-fear-in-addiction-recovery2

Addiction, it is more than drugs and alcohol. Some say it is will power and some say it is a disease. Perhaps it is a little of both in my case. I have always thought of myself as of being of strong mind yet here I sit admitting that I have a problem. It was always there lurking but in my life up to this point I was to busy to notice it. My wife did, but as all arrogant headstrong men, I ignored her pleas.

My addiction is not drugs or alcohol… it is, this may sound stupid but it is true nonetheless, spending money. That’s right. If I have it I will spend it. It’s a sad state of affairs really. When I was younger we were pretty much dirt poor and I mean we had no money to spend. Now that I am an adult and have some money all I want to do is spread it around. My wife is opposite, she to was living in a poorer household yet she wants to hoard money. She isn’t miserly but she does not like to spend money if she does not have to. I, on the other hand, want what I want when I want it and will drop tons of money to get it. I am an impulse shopper too.

Well… thanks to my addiction to spending the coins and my wife’s role in beating it into my head I am on a path of hopeful recovery. I have been praying about this and I know God’s will be done in this matter. All I can do is continue to place it in God’s hands and pray. He will show me the way and help me along my path.

Why We Need to Keep the Electoral College

Michael Moore: Morning-After To-Do List: “You must say this sentence to everyone you meet today: “HILLARY CLINTON WON THE POPULAR VOTE!” The MAJORITY of our fellow Americans preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Period. Fact. If you woke up this morning thinking you live in an effed-up country, you don’t. The majority of your fellow Americans wanted Hillary, not Trump. The only reason he’s president is because of an arcane, insane, 18th-century idea called the Electoral College. Until we change that, we’ll continue to have presidents we didn’t elect and didn’t want.”

So this man who bloviates from his posterior wishes to do away with the Electoral College. I would argue against that. Yes, the majority popular vote went to Clinton, that is true. To say that the majority of Americans in each state wanted to elect Clinton is an obvious fabrication. The Founding Fathers did not want a true democracy because that leads to mob rule. They believed, and rightly so, that they needed to ensure that as many individual Americans as possible were able to share their voice. So they invented the Electoral College to just that.

The number of electors are selected based on the total number of Congressman and Senators a state has. In its basic premise each state decides who they want for President and votes via the Electoral College. In Texas, 52% of votes were cast for Trump. So he received the Elector’s votes. In California, 61% of the votes went to Clinton and she received all 55 state votes.

If you look at the Election Map you will see the breakdown of states that voted Republican and which Democrat.

2016-election-map

Hillary won the popular vote but imagine how? New York, Virginia, Florida and California would decide every single election. Their populations are enormous compared to Montana for instance. Even if there were no democrats at all in Montana they would NEVER have a say.

Thank God for the Electoral College! It isn’t perfect but a direct popular vote for President would be a disaster. Outdated my backside!

Dry vs. Wet: A Case for Individual Liberty

For generations the town I live in has been dry, meaning that they do not sell alcohol. The county is wet but the within city limits the sale of alcoholic beverages is not permitted. This past election we have had a referendum vote on dry vs. wet. I have seen some pretty vitriolic votes before in state and national elections but this one was pretty rough.

I am a Christian and unabashedly so but I do consume an occasional drink or two. Usually a beer or two while on the BBQ or a Friday night glass of scotch with a cigar. I do not believe that drinking in and of itself is a sin. After all, Jesus Himself turned water into wine. The sin lies in drunkenness from what I have read. I personally do not care if our small town of 2,000 is wet or dry I will still go to the Class Six on Fort Hood to buy my beverage of choice. For the record, I live in county and not within city limits so I could not vote on this measure.

There were basically two distinct arguments for the vote. 1. Allowing the sale of alcohol will promote underage drinking and make it easier to get said beverages in the hands of those who will abuse them. This argument was put forth by the religious set of our town. It is an argument I reject completely out of hand. I have lived and traveled many places both wet and dry and have not seen a direct correlation between heavy drinking of minors based off of this distinction. That is, of course, my opinion. The people on this side of the argument also feel that drinking is a sin. Let us be honest though, if people want to drink they will get it.

2. The other side of this argument says that the town is losing out on massive revenue streams from the sale of alcohol. Some businesses refuse to come in and set up because of the prohibition within city limits. This argument is also laughable. In a major city it would make sense but truth is that in a town of 2,000 you could drive three miles from the courthouse and be out of city limits. What is stopping someone from setting up shop at that distance? Zoning? It is a bit ridiculous.

As I said earlier I could care less either way, however, I would vote yes if I could vote on this measure. Why? I would vote yes because it is not the place of government to limit liberty but to ensure it. I see this as an individual responsibility and not something the government can tell me what I can and can not do. I said before that if people want to drink they will but it isn’t someone else’s place to tell me that I can’t. That is between God and me.

In the final days of the Whig Party before the Republican Party rose from its ashes they were infiltrated by an ultra-religious constituency. They basically pushed the party to take on a more theocratic platform which ultimately caused their downfall. Once the Whig party went the way of the birds and the new Republican Party was formed this ultra-religious element was left without a home. They then joined the Democrat Party which in turn lead to Prohibition. Prohibition gave rise to organized crime.

I believe that politicians need to be grounded in God and that they should make sound and Godly decisions. These decisions must be liberty minded though. God has granted us free will to decide to do what is right or wrong and not to force us. The government needs to take that same stance.

– Auguratrix

2016 Presidential Race

It has been a heated race these past two years. Although I am a Senator Ted Cruz man I supported Donald Trump once he won the primary. I simply ignored all the vitriol between he and the others running and focused on the issues at hand. I set aside what bad he had done that came out late in the game for that was more than a decade ago and he professes to be a born again Christian. I felt I should take him at his word. I could not even think of voting Clinton. Within my mind’s eye she is evil to the core. Lies, mishandling of classified documents and the pay to play scheme through the Clinton Foundation is not just recent but ongoing. The media and the establishment hates Trump which made me want to vote for him even more. He is a fighter for sure and even if he does something impeachable, which I doubt, his Vice President is a solid Conservative which is excellent in my book.

My thoughts tonight are about polls and media coverage. The media is obviously left leaning and even Fox News is going that way. All the coverage was on Trump and most of it was negative. There was barely anything about Clinton in the news. It reminded me of the Wizard of Oz; “Pay no attention to the candidate behind the curtain…” “Move along now folks, nothing to see here”. The polls were just as bad. Misleading at the least and downright biased at their worst. Of course after watching previous elections this is no surprise. Both polls and media coverage are no longer about giving the public information but attempting to manipulate public opinion. In this case it backfired.

Trump won big on Tuesday. He even managed to flip a few blues to red. Impressive. I call it #AmericaStrikesBack. The entire media was completely disillusioned when the discovered their master plan failed miserably. They just could not believe it. The truth is Hillary Clinton and the establishment Republicans are directly responsible for Trump winning. The more criminal activity Clinton was implicated in and the more hate she and establishment types heaped on top of Trump the tighter the voters held to him.

There is a lesson here somewhere. Listen to your constituents when they tell you what they want. Stop taking lobbyist money and think about the country and the people in it first. Overall a politician is his/her own worst enemy…

– Auguratrix