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I assume you were there as part of our military presence trying to bring peace to the area. On the day after Veteran's Dan, from a fellow veteran, I want to thank you for your service. The mentioned kids have no idea what it takes to (try to) be normal after such experiences, please know that you have a lot of support from others around whom you may not even realize. The experiences may never go away, but I hope you re-gain the skills needed to re-cover pieces of your missing sanity.
I completely agree with aikidobiker1's comment, although I am in no way a Veteran of war. I am sorry those children acted the way that they did. They do not understand how something like that would make someone feel. My brother made it home from Afghanistan as well (and I am so glad for that), but he is different. Things happen over there that the regular civilian won't even try to comprehend.
Thank you so much for your service, OP, and thank you, also, aikidobiker1.
It's because of the sacrifices and protections provided by our military throughout the past two centuries that those two entitled, spoiled, insensitive kids are carefree enough to laugh in the first place. They'll realize that when they're older, and they'll look back on the incident and be ashamed of themselves. I know I look back on incidents when I was an entitled, spoiled, insensitive kid and I'm ashamed of myself.
I think there's a certain level of 'hush hush' behavior that goes on in teaching children about the effects of war, not persay what happens during a war like they may learn in history books but rather the effect it has on returning soldiers. When we learned about war in history classes I was never taught about post traumatic stress disorder, or depression, or the high rates of sexual assault in military ranks. As young people, even going into high-school (children in their teenage years, for those who aren't familiar with the American school system), it wasn't ever something we learned about. We read about past wars, talked about current events in relation to the history we where covering, but we never had someone sit us down and tell us what happened when it was over. I don't think these young kids really understood what was happening when they saw you, they probably assumed it was just a grown up being startled by something mundane and trivial to them and saw it as silly. They are ignorant because the adults in their lives haven't taught them differently, not necessarily because they are spoiled or entitled. Unless you where gardening in your military uniform or the children knew your life personally they could never have even known you where in the war to begin with. Children need to be taught to lose their ignorance, they aren't simply born understanding.
Thanks so much for your service!!! What you are having is Post-Tramatic-Stress-syndrome!! Please seek counseling for this and I ask God to heal you! I've had experience with this when my son was taken from me to the Middle East and I got him back but had fear that someone was going to come take him from me again! I healed with God's help and You will Heal too! My experience was different by far from your experience but we can master fear by our minds! It takes time and patience on our part but by no means should you try to go through this alone! YOu are a survivor!
War is heartbreaking but you must fight this fear with God's interjections. Turn to him for your support and do not get involved in alcohol or drugs as it will be a ruination of you as a human being and will not cure but suppress your emotions and will be an endless Battle that you cannot fight ever!12 steps can help and support you if you are unable to control your thoughts and fears. Be strong! You will get better- time will quiet the memories but please do not try to do this on your own. God Bless! Seek intervention and support and know you will Heal!
I have been back for a few months myself, it gets easier. If you think some of your sanity died please get help, start by talking with other veterans if you can. There are plenty of groups, find one you are comfortable with. The reaction to the car backfiring though, is not insane, it is normal, maybe not for you front yard, but your brain needs time to adjust perceptions of danger to you environment. Explosion = Bad Day in AFG, this is not something that can be turned off over night. These are the instinct that kept you alive! If these kids knew what you have done they would probably have a million questions and would see you as a hero. Try not to read too much into their reaction, you handled it as best you could by laughing it off. Don't worry about how many time you dive for cover, focus on the the times you get up and go one with you life afterward. Welcome home brother.
The best question I was ever asked was in a University English class. My professor said to the class, "Of all the money we put into training our soldiers, how is it so little is spent on rehabilitating them back into society?" I'm sorry that such sacrifice on your part has to turn into something so damaging. You're my hero for what you gave for us.
Loud unexpected sounds still scare the sh*t out of my husband, and he's been back from Afghanistan almost a year now. I remember the first time I dropped a plate...I've never seen him so scared. I just went and put my arms around him until it passed. It does get better. I know my husband is not as jumpy anymore and the nightmares are pretty rare now. If it's not getting better, there are people out there willing to help, even if you just need them to sit there and listen. You are not alone. Do not let the ignorance of a few kids get you down. Thank you for what you've done for our country.
Thank you for your service to your country. It takes a brave man or woman to become a soldier. It's mean that the kids laughed at your reaction, but perhaps they didn't even know why you reacted as you did. Once when I was driving a bus, there was a loud noise and one of my passengers was suddenly missing. I could no longer see him in my rear view mirror. I turned around noticed him on the floor with his hands over his head. It took a little cajoling, but he got back up and sat in his seat again. He was of middle eastern origin so I guess it affects everyone. I hope you can seek further help and get through your PTSD. With love from Australia. xo