Boom! Boom! Boom! In My Room

13658614_623955984430049_857126162_n[603]Beneath my eyes there are bags. Within those bags, a collection of awful things once seen. Terrible things. The things people like to pretend don’t exist. They pretend it doesn’t exist and yet, they lock their door at night anyway – just in case. Because the reality is, it does… For a number of years, it was my job to confront those things. To respond to the things that go ‘bump’ in the night. I am not a police officer and yet, I have had to fight for my life, and the life of my partner. I am not a fireman, but still, I have inhaled the fumes of a burning man’s skin. I am not a priest, but I have watched as someone has taken their final breath. As a paramedic, we know a little about a lot, and we do plenty, with very little. These are the things that weigh heavy beneath my eyes. This is the weight they carry. You would think with the weight of it all, it would be easy to close my eyes – it’s not…


Tonight, I sit somberly in my chair, and write this. PTSD has chosen to wake me once more. I went 36 hours without sleep, and then slept for only 5. That is all my brain would allow. I am tired. When I move my eyes to navigate this page, I can feel the bags beneath them move as well. They are heavy and irritated. I am awake but my ears can still hear what they heard in my ghoulish dream, moments ago – the harrowing wails of a grieving mother. The mother of the son that I could not save. Accompanying her pleas of denial, are the tremendous thuds of her fists, colliding with the floor beneath her knees. In my dream, it sounded like a drum; ‘Boom! Boom! Boom!’. When my eyes shot open, I could still hear it. It was with me in my room. Slamming with repetition. That is when I rolled over and looked at the clock, only to realize that I had not slept for long enough. Thing is now, now I’m afraid to sleep. Frightened and alone, in the safety of my own home. Scared like a child. I do not know what other horrors await me behind my eyes. So, I’ll keep them open for now. Easier that way. Despite how heavy they are.


As I continue to sit on my throne of solitude and remembrance, my body aches as if to have been physically punished. I suppose it has in a way – I do after all, at the age of 34, have arthritis in both knees. That’s right, arthritis in both knees. You’ll be hard pressed to find a soldier or veteran or medic, who does not. My back is in pain. It remembers lifting the sick, weak and dead.


I can see a reflection of myself in the television screen. Although hazy and lacking real detail, I can still see my eyes – they look tired. They look old. They look worn and overused. On the outside, I am sore as I have said. On the inside, I am tired, and sore. There is an ache within that pulsates and claws its way through me. It causes my brain to bleed images of hell and despair. It stores those nightmarish images beneath my eyes. Some of them anyway. Overflow maybe? Thing is, none of it is fabricated. It’s all real. They are comprised of all the terrible images that I once bear witness to. Tonight, it’s images and sound that are haunting me into sleeplessness. Collaborating with one another in a brilliant choreography of PTSD. They are the sounds of a grieving mother, and the images of her dead son. They refuse me rest. I am so tired, that my hair hurts. My fucking hair hurts!?!


I think sometimes, the thing that makes me most frustrated, is how my mind can wander. How it can draw connections to things that are not at all connected. Not really anyway. For example, this boy I speak of, the one we tried so desperately to save but could not, he seemed like good kid. Clean cut appearance. Nice clothes and a family in distress, meaning, that they cared. And then, there is another young man that I had met before this other boy, a man who also chose to hang himself, but a young man that we DID save. The poignancy here is that, the boy we did save, was from my wife’s (now ex) home town. So, a year or so after having revived this boy, there he was at my wife’s, sisters high school graduation. Selling drugs to high school graduates and those still waiting for their time. He was alive and well, selling drugs right there before my eyes. Having no clue who I was, he paid me no attention but, I could not take my eyes off of him all night. Then, fast forward years later, and there is this clean-cut young boy, who was beyond saving. He had chosen to end his life, because his grades were not as good as he would have liked. And the one I did save, peddles drugs to society. The one I didn’t, leaves behind a screaming mother and distraught family. And now tonight, keeps me awake. Those are the things I am referring to; the bouncing of a tortured mind from one trauma to another. However, I am pretty tired so, none of this may be making sense. Although, I hope it does.


I was going to make a tea but, my milk has gone bad. Ha! Perfect right!? Figures… Anyway, looks like I am off to the store. I’ll chat with you all later. Hopefully you’re sleeping better than I am – and hopefully come morning, your milk isn’t bad – what a shitty start to a day that would be…

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