So! Like most good things, the idea of Project PTSD started over an awesome lunch. Well, it was over several awesome lunches actually. This pathway started in 2005, when I found myself fighting in the Family Law Court for my very literally for my own life.
In the years prior to that, I had been a Military Policeman in the US Air Force. And as they have us say -”Securing Personnel, Property and Resources deemed vital to National Security.’ It was by all measures, a position where the use of Deadly Force was seriously considered and authorized. And I served in that Military capacity, with distinction and that responsibility through Desert Storm.
After Desert Storm, I returned home to Riverside, California. And I became a “Civilian” Police Officer in the California desert city of Indio. It was from this position, along with my initial Military training, then subsequent Duty and Assignments that I learned very intimately what stress was and is. I learned firsthand what stress could do to the human body, and the individual perception and personality.
The stress you feel in a daily basis, stuck in traffic, is nothing at all like the stress you will feel in Basic Military Training. And that stress is nothing when compared to the stress you will feel in your Military Technical School. But even that stress, is nothing like the stress you will feel in Military Combat training. Which is yet again, nothing like the stress you will feel in actual combat… With people shooting actual bullets at you, all with a very strong desire to make you a trophy of their War Chest.
But the stress of combat didn’t come from battle. You are prepared for that, you trained for it and you expect it. If and when that battle happens, your training kicks in and you just go “AI” Automatic and Instinctive. For me, the stress came from the preparation for the battle.
The “Before” and “After” events… Searching on foot, in the dark of night, for a suspect who had just committed a murder. Walking in that darkened alleyway, with just a flashlight to light your path. The dogs once alerted, violently barking nearby, as the rocks crunch under your feet. Telegraphing to anyone who might be listening exactly where you are at the moment. Or looking for the guy who had just got into a bar-fight and brutally stabbed the person they were fighting with. Or for that matter, even while on Military Security Patrol. With the ever present, and constant thought of how to effectively and safely position those on my team, to affect and neutralize the engaging force.
BUT – Above and beyond all of that, fighting in the Family Law Court, concerned for only my daughters physical safety and mental well being… Was more stressful upon me that anything I could ever imagine. Far more than anything I was ever exposed too and trained for. It was more stressful upon me, then actual combat. And if it wasn’t for a very dear friend, it would have killed me and it damn near did.
That tumultuous event started a lunch get-together that continues to this day. It was during that time that I met Jennifer. And after that fateful meeting, every other Month Jennifer and I will get together for lunch. Obviously it’s an event that will always be her choice, my treat. You may just know how much it helps, to relieve your burdens even if only for only an hour or two. It was Jennifer who suggested that I write about my experiences in the Family Law Court. And by extension, create a publishing company “Caecus Fidelis Modica LLC” to publish “The Non Judicial Parent,” the very book I wrote. Within a few short years, I had also started a small production company “AngryMan Productions”.
And it was during one such lunch, just a few months ago that we were talking on this very subject. We were speaking of our returning War Veterans, and the shockingly high suicide rate. We were engaged in a conversation about how most people are just too busy, with their problems and everyday life to listen, let alone empathize with another. What makes our Veterans, our Service Men and Women unique, is the stress of War. You don’t get that kind of stress from Starbucks, you don’t get that kind of stress from freeway traffic, you don’t get it from the line at McDonalds. You get that kind of stress, the direct and intense life altering stress our soldiers felt, lived, breathed and functioned through. That kind of stress only comes from Military Combat. And the stress brought about through constant life or death situations and events. It is only tempered when presented to a family member, or a beloved one who might be a Veteran or a returning military serviceman or servicewoman themselves. For the majority of people, they just don’t want to expose themselves to that reality, or expose themselves for a lack of understanding that level of stress.
BUT – Most people love to read, and by that simple extension they will live and breathe your life, as told in your words. They will feel your fear, your elation, your desolation and your loss. And they do this by reading about it, by losing them selves for just a little while in a book.
And that brings us to… “Project PTSD” And the belief that just one story, could change a thousand lives!