A clean, well-lit place to vent
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Today's strip is quite tasteless and promotes racism, intolerance and xenophobia. This is not appropriate for the comics page. An apology is due.
Toggle's remark is a bit of an inside joke. The contractors who operated military dining facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan employed large numbers of Pakistanis to prepare the food.
I'm a daily bike-commuter here in the Raleigh suburbs. I recently had a really bad run-in with a guy in a pickup truck; the driver and I both eventually called the police. I saw the pickup driver again a few days later and we both apologized for our behavior. He said something that stuck with me -- and has left me feeling very guilty -- ever since. "I'm just back from Iraq," he said, "and as I drive down the road I'm literally thinking everyone's trying to kill me." I fear we will be reaping the whirlwind in the years and decades to come as all these soldiers return home.
My worst triggers were on hikes, walking out of a tree line and seeing another tree line, 200 or 300 meters away. Even though I no longer had a radio man walking behind me with his antenna marking us, my gut would tighten. The good news for you who are FNGs to the wonderful world of PTSD is that the triggers fade away after a couple of decades. The bad news is that the dreams don't -- at least for me.
To see Leo with both eyes...wow.
PTSD: Some weird trigger sends you diving for cover, face down on the blacktop of the grocery store parking lot.
As always, the story of Leo and B.D. hits home. I'm in the same boat as Justme and Dimitri. One minute I'm here, the next I'm in Kandahar. Yeah, the PTSD I can live with, the triggers suck, and they always will. Thank god my wife knows how to bring me back.
Triggers -- the wind, a smell, something you see from the corner of your eye. Geez, they ruin your day and make you want to curl up in a ball and hide under a table. Amping* is a nice idea but cannot control external factors.
*Using whatever affects you to overpower your fear or issues with it. Like if you are afraid of snakes you have to deal with your fear by looking at, touching and holding the snake. I look at it as torture to overcome your demons. I believe unless you do it all the time (like an exercise program) it becomes ineffective. It hurts. For me it triggers a lot of anxiety and panic. It ruins my entire day. I become physically ill. I hate it.
When you’re an MST (military sexual trauma) survivor triggers are 24/7 in the form of ”men behaving badly." So I just stay home with my dog and keep the TV off because it seems like most folk and script writers think “men behaving badly” is entertainment. I wonder what would happen if all we saw in movies and TV shows was combat and IEDs.
I still cringe and (slightly) swerve every time I drive past boxes or dead animals on the highway. And every time I can always count on my wife telling me there are no bombs (thankfully) on American highways.
"Go check on the gunner" indeed. Leo is a lucky guy. Every man needs a woman as cool as Alex in his life.
You mean to tell me they don't live happily ever after -- that some who get put in harm's way on false pretext get truly and irrevocably harmed? Please. To steal a march from follymonger George Will: get over it.
It happened to me almost the same way. On a quiet Sunday morning, a chopper very much like the CH-34 was lifting an air-conditioning unit to the roof of the local hospital. When I heard the engine straining, I suddenly didn't know how to drive my car. I was lucky to have had enough mind left to slow the car and take it out of gear. My wife, sitting shotgun, didn't know what was happening. I had been in two places at one time, years apart. The triggers always seem to happen when life is going fairly well, at the most inopportune times. It still happens 45 years later!
Speaking as someone who has more triggers than the Luger pistol company I have the greatest sympathy for what Toggle experienced on Monday. A panic attack can turn up out of literally nowhere. Bleeding tragic, isn't it?
Astonishingly, this strip is even more relevant today than any other time in its storied history. The Leo storyline is simultaneously gripping, moving and darkly humorous. How GBT manages to keep the action so rich and fresh genuinely Toggles the mind.
My PTSD ended when I entered law school in '72. Maybe litigation is better than combat as a way to resolve differences, maybe not. It's at least different.
The PTSD, I can live with -- like I get a choice. The flashbacks blow. What truly sucks is that the goddam triggers can be so seemingly random. My heart goes out to Toggle and everyone in our boat.
Love me some Leo!
This is going to be a good week of strips. I will say that you kinda have to be on the downhill side of there to get it and laugh. And, this may be selfish, but we're the only ones who get to laugh.
Today's strip captures perfectly the eerie cognitive dissonance of intrusive memories. Logically, you know where you are. Logically, you know that the things you are seeing in front of you, the sounds you are hearing, even the phantom smells, do not reflect the physical and actual events of the present. Yet, at the same time you are present you are somewhere else. Simultaneously in two places at once. I call it "forgetting where I am." It's hard to explain -- doctors used to ask me, "Are these hallucinations? Fugue state? How can you be seeing things that you know are not real? Maybe you just have an active imagination!" Yet today's strip illustrates it perfectly. Two separate but related realities, separated by years of chronology, suddenly overlap. One is layered on top of the other, simultaneously occupying the same sphere of vision. Even today, nearly eleven years after the Diaz School raid in Genoa, Italy, even a seemingly innocuous trigger, like an action movie on TV, can fill my head with the sound of screaming.
Today's strip... Ouch! I think I'm having one also.