I have thought of this often! When did I realize I had baggage in my brain? I never thought I had an issue, never thought I had baggage. I always thought I compartmentalized everything away into nice justified reasons and causes of why things happened.
The moment I keep coming back to was a major incident where I can only describe briefly the scene. Picture what from outside views was a young couple with kids at the folks house on hard times. Not an uncommon thing after the crash of 2008. Now picture a small handful of people rushing into a situation because of a cry for help.
As the door opened the visible smoke of a shotgun blast and burnt flesh rolls throughout the house. As we push into the house in an attempt to help, we find a scene of horror that deeply effects everyone there who is seasoned in trauma except me. I was Cold, Numb, Zero Effect on my heart rate or emotions. All I saw was a situation to stabilize. I was Blind to the Pain, Shock and Suffering around me. People screaming, babies crying covered in blood all of that was a “Situation” to me, my goal was simple, to help my Partners. We forced people away from the traumatic scene, corralling them to a room out of the freezing cold and as far away from horror as we could get them.
The above is a brief and G-Rated version of the events that bitterly cold night. And the one thing I can remember is nothing emotionally, only a snapshot of facts. In my brain housing group I thought, or better I justified my Numb, Cold Reaction as Professionalism due to personal experiences.
I looked back and said to myself if everyone else responded in a different way, maybe it wasn’t them who was different, maybe I had an issue. I then tried looking back at when things began to change in my life. There where no shortage of traumatic events that could have started a snowball rolling down hill. It was just this most recent event which made me realize how damn big the snowball was. I think for many people that is how it happens. Similar to boxers that get punch drunk, they simply never gave themselves a chance to heal from one trauma before suffering the next.
In Combat this can be expected, there is now downtime in Battle. The only time off people get in battle is if they happen to rotate stateside for a time before redeployment. But what was unexpected was rotating back from Combat straight into this chaos at home. These are my short observations about this so far, I will expand on it as my notes get processed better.