“Here comes the rain again/falling from the stars/drenched in my pain again/becoming who we are/as my memory rests/but never forgets what I lost/wake me up when September ends” — "Wake Me Up When September Ends" – Green Day
I still jump - whether it’s the distant sound of a car door slamming or the days before the Fourth of July – crawling out of my skin. I still, on occasion, wake up in the middle of the night, a slight panic overtaking me, a sense of confusion grabbing me for a few seconds until my head clears. I didn’t want to believe it but PTSD is real and while I certainly don’t have the worst of it compared to others I know, I still jump.
I’ve heard it all before too – you’re just a camera man, what do you know of war? Because I tend to walk alone – you don’t support veterans. Because I don’t show it on those really tough days - you don’t have it. Maybe I do, maybe I don’t. And it’s not really my point to come on here and try to puff out my chest and prove what I’ve done. You know what you’ve done; I know what I’ve done. I know I still jump.
I wish I didn’t. I wish I didn’t flinch while watching television and an engine backfires two blocks down the road. It’s amazing to me how the mind will play tricks on you and that backfiring car becomes a mortar round launched from its tube. I wish I didn’t have moments where I’ll hear something on the radio and it’ll stop me dead in my tracks as wave after wave of memories come flooding back. And sometimes, I wish I couldn’t look into the eyes of a fellow veteran and know - know the mental hell they go through at times and the pain and suffering they’ve seen. Smells, sights, sounds, they all take me back there.