When another writing friend, doing research, knowing of my military back ground asked me if I knew of someone that had suffered from PTSD and knew the symptoms of PTSD. She of course, was not aware that I had any problems. I have been out of the military for 49 years having secured my Pandora’s box deep inside of me a long time ago, I felt that I could share my experiences one on one with a non-military person without opening my Pandora’s box, but I was wrong. Everything came flooding back. I was able though to finish telling her about PTSD (Shell-Shocked), but it put me back in front of my Pandora’s box once again peering inside finding my nightmares, high anxiety, fears, high alertness for threats perceived or imagined and last but not least my guilt. It took me two days to close the lid on my box and bury it once again.
I struggled for many years with what was referred to then as being SHELL-SHOCKED. It was not something you wanted to admit to or even display the emotions. If you were considered shell-shocked by your peers, let’s just say you were looked at in a different way.
So, the solution for me came from my father who told me in so many words said, “The past was the past. You learn from it but you don’t dwell in it. Your past is behind you. Your future is in front of you.” By doing just that, looking forward not backwards, I did finally get my mind right. I was able to purge those thoughts from my mind and lock them in my Pandora’s box. A box with all my demons, all my darkness and all my guilt. I was able to put them in this box, lock it and bury it very deep inside of myself. Much like Pandora’s box that was buried deep so, deep that it could not be unlocked again. It worked. The dreams started to diminish along with my anxiety, fears and guilt.
I am not writing this for sympathy or any other emotional response that someone my feel towards me. I am writing this for me. My science fiction writing allows me to express my combat experiences, while keeping them in the realm of fiction. If the book is science fiction then it will remain fiction to me, keeping my Pandora’s box deep inside and hopefully entertain my readers while giving them some insight into combat. Just trying to keep it unreal.