A Calendar

by Veteran Knowsley

What type of calendar do you have hung on the wall? One of those you can put events on or is it one with just dates on? There are many reasons why I don’t hang a calendar on my wall as dates are one of my triggers to my nightmare world. 

To many I know that sounds odd. Yet those who have combat PTSD know I mean   You see the date of an event, be it the lost of friend, the date of an accident. It comes back. There are other dates that bring cold sweats down your back.  Dates that to a person outside would mean little to worry about. Take Bonfire nights 'remember, remember the 5th of November'. Yet it goes on before and after the 5th. The sounds of fireworks going off some sounding like gun fire others like a bomb. I wish we could turn are hearing off like we can close our eyes.

Just think in the next week or two we have 3 events on top of each, one they call 'mischief night' in which we children go around in gangs getting up to mischief. That can cause problems as mischief may be fun for some. To the person with PTSD it can open some doors they want closed.

The next night is Halloween. When I was a child it was duck apples, chestnuts, making a lantern from a turnip. Now it is strange kids knocking on your door shouting 'Trick or Treat'. Kids that you have never meet, I find it odd that parents tell the kids not to talk to strangers but allow them to go around knocking on the door of people they don’t know. The final is of course is Bonfire night.

It is not just the dates but the build up to them. I hate April as it then the being of the build up. May 9th the night of the bomb, 15th the lost of a friend to a car bomb, July lost of a friend to a bomb.  That is follow by the Hyde Park Bombing also in July.  The fear in the build up some years is a living hell. Others I suddenly see the date the pain the sadness. I then feel guilty that I had forgotten. The guilt is a feeling that many feel they came home or survived. It is a trigger that hangs like the sword of Damocles hanging over you. It creeps up slowly when you remember an event. You are at your sad point when it bites you then feel more down then before. It adds to the pain it also drag it out. As you go over the event and miss the trigger Guilt.

The veteran who lives alone even those with Family close by Christmas really hurts. People call you Scourge because you don’t want to know. You ask for cards not to be sent. You hate going shopping as the shops all full of the day you want to miss out on. You hate it when people pass you by and wish you a Merry Christmas.  They make you feel more down. They pass you by muting a few well names about you. What causes this hate again it is the old enemy guilt. You feel rotten you don’t want to be part of something because you guilt of surviving and those who you remember did not.  You try to tell Family friends why but it is like talking to a brick wall. They think you Scourge and just don’t care. You do care but why is it they hear but don’t understand.

You may ask how come don’t panic about Remembrance Sunday. That is a day brings back memories. It is the time and the place to remember fallen comrades. It is that special moment when you feel part of something that is hard to put into words. You know you’re not the only one remembering. Also you remember those who have died in the last few years. There is also that pride that you remember them along with others who remember the fallen comrades.