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chi & thinking your way through PTSD

Updated: Nov 27, 2021

If you, the latest, brightest apple of my eye,

would condescend to meet again, though I have wrought your ire,

I would that you would bring a friend,

of Bourbon, or of Rye… but please come…

You see that all that you don’t know of me,

could fill the basin of the sea,

and still spread intrigue on the shore,

like beer froth spilling o’er the bar.

You’ve never met a man like me,

nor any man that I can see,

they’re all afraid of living still,

but none have seen the torture mill.

Or they who have keep to themselves,

and laugh at all the world calls pain,

cause we’ve been there and back again.

And coming back… Is so god damn beautiful.

It’s like watching a flower blossom.

From the inside.

And live.

And God Damn live.


If you’re fucking up my chi, I’m out.

I didn't realize it when I wrote it, but this is a large part of PTSD. During the exercise of war, one's concept of what is important is drastically changed. There is no longer the past or the future. There is only the now. And if you don’t live like that's true and think like it’s true, you’ll fuck up and die. You don’t make any future plans at war. At least I didn’t. Because if you focus on what you’re feeling instead of what you’re doing, you’ll fuck up and die. The only way to make it to your future is to give up all hope of it. To live entirely in the now. I remember reading something by a grunt in the Battle of Fallujah. He called it “living life 20 seconds at a time.” All that is most important… hell the ONLY things that are important at all are those things going on in the micro-present. If everything else isn’t forfeit, there won’t be anything else. The concept of “future” is thereby subverted and engulfed in the now. The very same concept that you’ve been building in your mind since you were a baby has now ground suddenly to a halt. The reason I believe there is so much hopelessness among combat vets is that when we got back, nobody told us to start that shit up again. So, we keep living life 20 seconds at a time because we have learned the hard lesson that if you don’t, you’ll fuck up and die. Start dreaming again. Start wishing. You have to revitalize and renew the concept of your future. And you are a very different person now than when your concept of future stopped, so it’s not easy. Start hoping on purpose again. It takes awhile, but if you know what you’re up against, it makes it a lot easier.

The things that matter at war make all others seem pathetic and a distraction to the greatest gift a survivor can imagine: life. And rightly so. There is, however, in this a great propensity to just shit-can everything around you that gets in the way of this revelry of life. A friend of mine quit paying his mortgage because it was a hassle and he lost his house. He just stopped writing the checks. He had the money, but he couldn't be bothered with it. He's fine now. Doing very well, as far as I know. His wife stuck it out with him and helped him get things back together. The point is that other things actually are important. Pay attention to how you’re thinking about things.

I was working as an electrician's apprentice a few years ago. I was standing on the very top rung of a 20 foot ladder working on something above my head when my boss walked in. He was pissed. He said if I did anything like that again he'd fire me. At first I thought this guy should be stoked that he has people on his team who will get the job done, come hell or high water. I actually took pride in the fact that I had just risked my life to accomplish the mission. And I was right. You should be willing to risk it all to accomplish the mission. But the mission is NOT to drill a hole through a 2x6 27 feet up. So, what’s the mission then? Well, that’s why you have to start dreaming again. It’s the only way to figure that one out.

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