NewYears IED

Monday, December 12, 2011

Developing Civilian Situational Awareness. Basic Training Week 2

I learned 3 weeks into AIT at Fort Bragg, that if I shut off my emotions and made my facial expressions blank, the drills had a harder time yelling at me. This became very valuable down range when some REMF would gig me on some dumb shit or try to tell me how to handle myself outside the wire when they themselves had never even left the FOB, or the first time I saw bodies destroyed by IEDs. By controlling my emotions I could numb myself to what was going on around me and protect myself.

As a civilian this became a problem. I was so out of practice dealing with all the new situations that I could never blend my emotions with the situation. For example: I was good at staying cool during arguments with anyone, but as soon as I needed to respond I was either too cruel and cold or I'd fly off the handle. It got to the point that I would bottle it all up, then get mad, stay mad and explode with rage. I knew enough not to hit the person I was mad at but I did hit walls, break electronics....shit like that. After these outbursts I would usually end up rocking back and forth in some corner, hugging my knees into my chest shaking, grinding my teeth and mumbling, 'they don't understand' over and over again. It made me feel pathetic, which just made everything worse.

What I came to learn was that I had to become more sensitive to what was happening inside my body physically before I could get a hold on the mental shit. The pain I was feeling every time I slept , sat down, walked up stairs... etc...was wearing me down. I didn't have enough energy left over to deal with the civilian frustrations: girlfriend arguments, paying bills on time, the everyday stuff. In combat, my ability to shut down made me effective, but as a civilian it made me wasteful and ineffective.

Again, it was Armoring Down the shoulders that helped me start to become more sensitive to my own physical problems which translated into greater civilian situational awareness.