I'm very pleased to introduce you to the author of the riveting true crime novel Murder in Baker Company, Cilla McCain. Cilla is a full-time writer dedicated to topics of social injustice. She is with us today to share one specific example of the difficulties that face our servicemen.
Throughout the years it took me to write "Murder In Baker Company" my main focus was on military families as a whole. But the other day, I received a letter from a former soldier who is now in a Washington State Prison. He was a Sergeant in the Army and a nurse in charge of treating our wounded troops during and after the Iraq invasion of March 2003.
By his 2nd deployment in March 2005, he was addicted to the narcotics he started taking to mentally block out the trauma of deployment and treating the gruesome wounds of our men and women. It was so severe that he couldn’t eat food because the smell reminded him of burned bodies.
When he returned home for the second time, he was spiraling out of control and eventually committed armed robbery to get money for the mind numbing drugs he no longer had easy access to. He sent me the following piece of literature written by a Nez Perce Warrior Indian Elder (circa 1865). It is the most stirring account of PTSD feelings that I have ever seen and it is still absolutely relevant today:
They said I would be changed in my body.
I would move through the physical world in a different manner.
I would hold myself in a different posture.
I would have pain where there was no blood.
I would react to sights, sounds, movement and touch in a crazy way, as though I were back in war.
They said I would be wounded in my thoughts.
I would forget how to trust, and I would think that others were trying to hurt me. I would see dangers in the kindness and concern of my relatives and others.
Most of all, I would not be able to think in a reasonable manner, and it would seem that everyone else was crazy.
They told me that it would appear to me that I was alone even in the midst of the people, and that there was no one else like me.
They warned me that it would be as though my emotions were locked up, and I would be cold in my heart and not remember the ways of caring for others.
While I might give meat and blankets to the elders, or food to the children, I would not be able to feel the goodness of these actions. That I would do these things out of habit and not from caring. They predicted that I might do harm to others without plan or intention.
They knew that my spirit would be wounded.
They said I would be lonely and that I would find no comfort in family, friends, elders or spirits. I would be cut off from both beauty and pain. My dreams would be dark and frightening. My days would be filled with searching and not finding. I would not be able to find connections between myself and the rest of creation. I would look forward to an early death.
And, I would need cleansing in all these things.
Thank you Cilla, for doing your part in bringing these issues to the forefront, and being my guest today. It saddens my heart to hear of another human being suffering in this way, and pray that some day he will find peace.