Military vent post read if u can need support



this is messy and all over the place sorry

i feel like i was made to fail. i was born in iraq in baghdad and was raised there up until i was 9. i hate this, i hate it a lot. i will never forget when i first moved to the US, went to american elementary school and all i could do was stare at the kids who were my age playing innocently. all i could think of at the time was “how are they so carefree and happy?”

all i could focus on was trying to live with everything i saw and went through. all i could focus on was surviving…while they got to have a childhood. i am happy for them, i would never wish what i went through on my worst enemy. but how nice would it be if i can live life without having to regulate myself? how nice would it be if i was born innocent?

i turn 19 this year. from the time i can remember, until i was about 16 i was going through the terrible emotions as i was processing what i truly had gone through.

when i turned 18, i have been nothing but numb.

the flashbacks don’t give me chest pains anymore, the memories still play over and over in my head. but somehow, this numb feeling feels worst to me…

at least when i felt pain, i felt as if my pain and trauma was real. but when i’m numb like this, i feel as if everything was made up.

my PTSD is not just PTSD. because of this disorder, i have many more disorders stemming from my PTSD.

life was so easy when i wanted to die, because when i wanted to die nothing mattered and i felt like i can ruin and destroy my life and be fine since i’m gonna be dead.

living is so hard, wanting to live makes me wanna die even more. because now that i want to live, i have to fix my mistakes. i have to actually live, have a job and go to school….i have to ignore all my self destructive behavior behind. but it’s so f*cking hard

life was easier when i wanted to die, because death meant it’s gonna be over.

i want to live so f*cking bad, which makes me want to die.
because now that i want to live, i have to fix everything. i have to be better. i have to learn how to function like those innocent kids i saw playing after i escaped war in baghdad.

i escaped the war that caused this, but how will i ever escape the prison i call my brain that this war locked me in?

seems like i was given a life sentence , just for being born.


i want to live so f*cking bad, which makes me want to die.
because now that i want to live, i have to fix everything.
I see you working so hard. You can do it. But you don’t have to fix *everything*. And you don’t have to do it alone. There are people who will support you, as you learn to support yourself.

You didn’t deserve any of those traumatic experiences. You can tell your story on here and to people like therapists, other survivors, friends, and others who care. As you go through the past with a compassionate witness it can begin to loosen its hold on your mind and body.


hello deen. welcome to the forum. sorry for what brings you here, but glad you are here.

gentle empathy on the injustice of having been handed a life sentence for the crime of being born. you probably mistook me for one of those blessed u.s. children with perfect lives on the playground. that's okay. i probably mistook you similar wise. it is the nature of children to assume they are the only freakazoids on the planet while wanting to fit in so badly that they hide all their freaky spots as best they can. children can be pretty good at it, too. we fooled each other, didn't we? i vote we stop trying to fool one another and help each other heal, honestly and openly. just voting. . .

i'm still living out my life sentence, but healing has happened and i have developed that life sentence into a life i am rather proud of. i still have to deal with the cursed side of that life sentence, but taking those play by play leaves me enough time and serenity to appreciate and nurture many good things.

this very forum is one of the tools i use to deal with those curses. i hope it serves you as well as it has served me.
welcome aboard. i hope healing happens here.


but how nice would it be if i can live life without having to regulate myself?

I remember when Omar Khadr came to my province to speak (amidst about a dozen protestors, with only a single counter protestor) one thing he said always stuck with me, when he said he absolutely was not allowed to fail or show weakness or lack of composure in any way. He had to be 100% on, all the time. And I was like, 💩 yup. That's it. That's the feeling.

(And similar to @arfie , my example here is quite deliberate - I'm a white Canadian guy, but my appearance is about where my similarity to my peers ends.) This was the guy who "killed" Chris Speer, and even today, there is a lot of animosity toward him in Canada, by Canadians who couldn't comprehend the first thing about armed violence. When I was there I read posters like "you're not welcome in our city." (And I was the maniac yelling back "you should be ashamed of yourselves!" 🤪)

- especially when children are involved. While other people are afforded some degree of leniency (and I am sure, that they actually deserve this leniency whereas I have demonstrably proven that I do not) the end result is a constant need to be in control of yourself at all times - if you slip up, people are genuinely afraid of you. My own family members have expressed fear toward me. So have my therapists, my friends, etc.

Once your "wiring" is exposed to chronic appetitive aggression, the more your ability to socialize and connect with other humans lowers. Especially as these experiences are branded as "uncommon" in North America (they actually are not, they are just not conceptualized in the same way, whether because they are different - the sources do not agree on this - or whether we just want to believe we are somehow special, I don't know).

And even if you do manage to get into therapy, the guarantee that a therapist will actually comprehend what you're telling them? In North America? In the civilian sector? Is pretty low. But that doesn't mean that it's worthless, or purposeless, to try and find a bit of healing. We have a hugely diverse group here with a lot of disparate experiences, many of which do involve war, and some that involve the regrettable circumstance of children being exposed to these events as well.

In my opinion, this type of peer support and facilitation is plainly invaluable. Networking with other survivors is paramount to being able to learn the information you need to navigate the psychiatric and medical systems around you in a way that is less harmful and more oriented.

i have to learn how to function like those innocent kids

One thing (I'm 31 now, and I didn't start really tackling this process until I was 29 - the rest of my attempts to "heal" were very much narrowly focused and did not involve any emotional engagement) that "clicked" with me after a long time was that, very simply, I had never learned how to have fun as a child. Instead of playing with toys I was learning to reduce dislocated joints.

And as an adult, I'm not very fun, either.

I'm always analyzing the situation, looking for threats, figuring out what the people around me are thinking or I'm using drugs or numbing with videogames. Those things aren't really "fun," they are just mindless. I'm talking actual fun, playing, fantasticism, the way kids are supposed to be. Learning to have fun is difficult if you've been traumatized, but I started with simply doing activities with people I trusted (it's OK if that means doing things alone).

Over time it did cause something to be eased inside.


Did you serve in a military or paramilitary group, or are you a victim of war & warfare?

I ask, because you say you left Baghdad when you were 9. I’ve served with & fought against child soldiers. Hell, I was trained on an AK47 by a kid who was somewhere between 6-8yo, and it was hands down the best weapons training I have ever received, as kids notice things adults don’t. So If you fought in Iraq as a child in any capacity? I believe you.

Attempting to grow up / survive IN war, however, is a wildly different thing… with incalculable helplessness & fear & normalcy attached. And severe culture shock on every level, once leaving it. No matter how much “better” adults think the switch is.

So, as someone who has been there -an adult amongst both child soldiers & refugees- from the other side, the distinction is important.
Last edited:


how nice would it be if i can live life without having to regulate myself? how nice would it be if i was born innocent?
We all think about what things would’ve or could’ve been if things had been different, and it’s not easy processing that, even now I’m grateful my baby cousin (only a couple of years older than my child) never went through what I did yet I can’t help moments of jealousy that she got much of what I hoped for even when I was in primary school.
As to life without having to regulate, even children with a stable/safe childhood have to regulate themselves though initially of course need guidance from carers/parents, and with childhood trauma we often have to learn or relearn how to do that as adults, but it’s something everyone does to some extent, even if regulating road rage compared to flashbacks/nightmares is different ends of the spectrum of regulating oneself.
I believe every child is born innocent, and no child chooses the circumstances of the family and residence/location they grow up in.
Processing and recovering, especially from childhood trauma, takes time, and sometimes we can go through phases of stalling or finding another layer to remove. Keep going with therapy, maybe you need a different type of therapy or a different approach right now, and being at a stage in life where society says you should be choosing xyz doesn’t help, however you can’t fix or undo the past, you can learn to move forward and live present in the moment and create your own future. Hang in there, recovery isn’t a straight line or easy, but it is possible and whilst the trauma doesn’t disappear by relocating, neither does your worth as a living being disappear because the baby was born in war zone. Choosing to live is scary, it’s also amazing and beautiful when you allow yourself to do it. I don’t know if it’s helpful for you, when I was around 18 a gratitude diary was suggested for me, I thought it was bs, but I gave it a go, just 3 things I was grateful for each day in writing before I went to bed (sometimes they were seemingly stupid things, but I persisted). It helped, I think in part changing the brain wiring, but it helped remind me that there’s more possible and out there than the hurt and trauma and fear, and the cage of the past and my earlier childhood started to get cracks, and some of life just became enjoyable without effort, and yes some things required effort but I discovered I enjoyed putting the effort into creating something I was choosing.
I’m rambling and mother duties call, but I hope you find a ray of potential and light in feedback, and we’re all here somewhere on journeys through life, and in this case living with and beyond our traumatic pasts 🌺🐾