30 September 2020
Flashbacks lives on…
I am a combat veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Like other veterans who deployed, I’ve experienced and seen both unpleasant situations. No time to think or react with emotions, just with what we’re trained to do… Keep fighting, don’t get defeated and don’t leave anyone behind. This was our life in the war zone, somedays were worse than others but we managed to get through because that is what we do. We survive. Another day gone, one day closer to arriving home to our families. What we didn’t realize then was how much it would affect us today.
I’ve been in therapy for 11 years now but still remember those days clear as day. Cans on the side of the road, ambulance sirens, supply trucks still remind me of my deployments. Just two days ago, I looked in the rear view mirror and saw a garbage truck coming up behind me but in my mind, the background scenery was what I remember when we were out on convoys. I was the driver of the last MRAP in the convoy and I can only go as fast as the driver ahead of us were. There is no veering off to the side like we do here in the states when we hear a siren. We were one convoy, one team and the last vehicle was the one who would take action first towards a vehicle coming toward us from behind. As the garbage truck got closer to us, all I could think about was this is it, we’re gonna get hit. That moment, that very second brought me back to Afghanistan. I panicked and made a right turn into an upcoming street, sweating, shaking, had bad anxieties but yet numb. Since it was a sudden turn, my husband freaked out and yelled at me; that too just sent my anxiety level through the roof. Once we parked and pulled over, my husband realized quick what had just happened. He realized then that I was having flashbacks and I reacted as I did when I was deployed. The only thing he noticed difference was I made a right turn onto a street. He does relate to me as we both were deployed at the same time but different locations, however he will never fully understand what that incident did to me and unfortunately, he never will. I don’t wish this on him or anyone, I just wish it would go away although I know this will be with me for life.
There were times when I tried my best to bury it way deep inside like it never happened but when it surfaced, things got bad. Throughout my eleven years of therapy, I can definitely say that I’ve come a long way although I will never be the same. People, objects, sceneries will always be triggers no matter how hard we try to avoid it. Fortunately it doesn’t happen all the time and as frequent as it used to bother me as I got better over the years. After a decade of my deployment experience, I am not quite where I want to be but I am employed full time, doing much better with my family, and became a published author. Although flashbacks still come back to haunt me, I have moved on with positive outcomes and will keep on stepping until I get to where I want to be.
Visit Roz at: https://roselinesalazar.com
My interview with Roz on StarzPsychicsNetwork:
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