I am starting this because I am broken. I know this, yet can’t ask for the help I know I need. The irony of my situation is that I am now a 13 year veteran of multiple combat tours in multiple countries as a/an infantry/flight/hospital medic has led me to see more of my brothers in arms and close friends to those I see as family dieing from in my arms on the ground, to in my vehicle or on the table. I have seen death and destruction on a scale that most people can’t understand. But it at this point in time it’s not a bullet from an enemy that threatens my life but one from my own gun. People tell me how brave I am and how I am a hero but it’s a lie. Sure, the first time I deployed I was scared. I was young, 18 years old just out of school wanting to do my duty to my family and country. But I died on that deployment. Sure physically I am still here, but that boy, that young man that had so many opportunities and options never came back. One of the final factors that made me who I am I today was that I had to realize that I was going to die. Not in the normal sense of we all die, but that I would never leave the country I just flew into in order to fight a war that I agreed needed to be fought but struggled with in seeing how fucked up the country was and it ultimately wouldn’t matter what we did. I saw that in clinging to hope that I would live through my deployement made me scared. I was scared to run out onto that road one of my platoon members was just shot on. I was terrified to run to the Humvee that was in front of me and just got hit by an IED fearing a secondary waiting just for me to come help. These fears made me weak, they made me unable to do my job. It took another medic telling me that he was told this on his first stent, but we have to realize we are already dead, but until then we have to do what we can to save those around us from facing the same fate we are inevitably going to face.
I’m not going to lie, for a day or two afterwards it took to let me fully accept that I was destroyed. But like the phoenix tattoo I now wear on a good section of my body, out of what died a new and (at the time) better version of me came to fruition. I became unafraid and was able to do my job better than almost anyone. I stopped caring about myself and only cared about saving those around me. This is the start of where I am now, over 10 years later fighting myself every night from drinking myself into a state where I can take the cowards way out.