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Looking Back at the Gulf

Discussion in 'Social' started by madjon, Apr 13, 2006.

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  1. madjon

    madjon Active Member

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    today i looked up images from the areas i was in during the first gulf, seeing the old places and reading about a million people on the move, looking at pictures of endless starlifters, of armoured columns of parades of 10k+ it all somehow seems strangely unreal on a scale hard to picture like a movie running , where you see the pictures and know they are real but somehow they seem so large and far away yet look like yesterday, of memeories half forgotten of 12 mile long convoys, of air raids, they all seem like they were taken yesterday but are over 15 years old, where does the time go that these images haunt me, that i hear the sounds of the choppers the sting of the dust and the smell of oil, so far away yet so near, have looked at the odd image in the press, but looking at the pictures brings back memories that seem like a hazy dream, looking at a patriot system going into action and hearing the noise, but somehow far away, damned weird, watching the war unfold in pictures of familiar names and places, the scale of it, so damn big, no idea what im going on about, just strange looking at things and seeing the things again i saw then, remembering things i had forgotten, chasing ghosts in the ethereal spaces of time. trying to think of words to describe the scale, so big, so many, just strange, how have people looked at images of things that happened in the past, how does it feel to see the things in impersonal pictures, seeing the whole instead of the small part you were in? of images taken from a camera instead of memory.
     
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  3. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    I try to avoid it myself, as it does exactly that, brings back memories, but also generally triggers me into attacks or something, where I get the physical and mental side of PTSD. I end up angry, disgruntled, depressed, anxious, sleepless, etc etc... all from just seeing pictures. The same happens if I watch things about conflict on the news... hence I no longer watch it.
     
  4. madjon

    madjon Active Member

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    it brought back memories for me , taken me 15 years to get round to looking at them properly, time was right for me to look back, somehow seeing them again after so long, strangely helped, to look at something so long ago and realise it was, been thinking , strange but it helped me look again at myself, to help work into me how long ago and far away it was, to remember , taken me a long time but, getting time frame seems to have done something to help. i wouldnt reccomend it for people, it was just strange. dreams have been weird days have been strange, something in me needed to look back, there are sets of memories very strong in me and i cant take certain images but , the others reminded me of other things. helped click something into place. understand my past more.
     
  5. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Thats really excellent that it has helped you. Your absolutely right though, in that only the person themselves know when the time is right to push themselves further, look at pictures, maybe even revisit the country if safe to do so, and so forth. That is really good that you could take such positive steps for yourself and your road to a better life Madjon. Congratulations on a great achievement.

    I had a conversation with a Vietnam Vet some time ago, who did actually end up revisiting Vietnam to help console some of the images and thoughts within himself and his PTSD, and he came back a different person. He regained a lot of his persona that had been lost since the war. He said, seeing the country as it is today, really helped shine a light on what it was then, and how things are now. He said, "the war isn't actually still happening anymore, but it was in my head!" The visit actually ceased the thoughts in his head of the war still occuring today, as the myth and the fact where two different things.

    He said, "it was like getting a piece of himself back that had been missing for decades." I completely understood that, as I feel the same, in that I have little pieces of me left within each country I was involved in operations within. A little here, a little there, and then Timor just really knocked my socks off. It was never just one operation for me, I think it was a gradual buildup of operations over the years, where Timor was just the final straw that broke the camels back.

    What really helped me relate to visiting the country again, was that when I was in Timor in 99, when it was classed as a war zone, then I returned under the UN in 2002 for another stint, it was like I did get some pieces of myself that I had left in 99 back again. Some of mass killings and incidents that occured where still around as shrines or memorials, ie. killing walls, killing rooms, etc etc, but from the first time when the country was burnt down, raped, pillaged and plundered by Indonesia, the country had reformed and was partially rebuilt in 02, they had a University built and operating again, and basically the East Timorese where much happier and moving forward in life, which really took a part of me. Whilst a little threat was still present in 02, it didn't bother me that much compared to what I endured in 99 when it was a war zone for good reason. A good part of me still remains in that country, but I got a little back atleast, which was comforting to myself. Saying that though, the trip still made me worse, as I had PTSD when deploying, and didn't know it... If only I knew then what I know now, I most certainly wouldn't have deployed again.

    I don't think I am up to looking at pictures of conflicts I've been involved, but I do hope that my time comes just as it has for you. Hopefully it will help me to get past some of the past issues a bit clearer than currently.
     
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