A man sits within a tunnel, unshaven unwashed, the aroma is spectacular. People pass by, not a second glance, not a second to spare some change. This man sleeps every night in terror not in fear of robbery, he has nothing to lose, not through fear of being beaten, this mans taken the hardest beating of his life and all others are a mere hindrance. As his eyes close his mind is opened to a world in flames. His friends are dead, his cloths shredded, blood pours from his once incredible face and there’s a sharp pain down both legs. The flames lick around the seat he remains on, the piercing heat pours in through the metal framework that surrounds his body. He pull’s his frail skeleton from the wreck, just 10 feet between him and his world. Sweating and shaking he wakes up screaming, looking down he see’s his injuries. Injuries of the body that healed 3 years ago, these injuries remain in the soul. The bullets rip through the tunnel every night. The battle of the Fallujah rages on in his skull, every turn a trap, every step an ambush.
After returning from Iraq he was hit with episodes of rage, he beat his father in a drunken wrath. He woke up hands wrapped around his wife’s throat. A car horn is a trigger to a vexation beyond all recognition, not just a passer by, but a man that wishes death upon this already traumatised mind. His friends taken from him in a rocket attack appear in the street, in the bars, in the car. Work becomes impossible, a rifle range takes him back to the burning porter cabin, a car door takes him back to the fire fight his mind remains in. he left the military without seeking help believing the symptoms would stop once he withdrew, however they didn’t, the support was gone, his wife was gone, his life was gone. The anger grew, the alcohol became normal, the debt grew. He became reclusive, pushing away the very people that help him at every corner. With all he knew and loved gone, the money to pull himself out of the situation he was in gone, his possessions; repossessed, all he has is a tunnel, a haunting, and a scar in body and mind.
Violence in a war-zone is normal, it is necessary, it is a lifesaver, if you unleash more violence than your adversary you live… they die. Hundreds of soldiers throughout the world bring this violence back home with them; combat stress and posttraumatic stress are now more recognised and therefore more prevalent than ever before. With soldiers returning from theatres like Iraq, and Afghanistan daily with severe issues, the awareness for these conditions must be increased, the hardest men and women in the world sometimes need help.
Lets not just walk past the man in the burning tunnel called his life, pull him out the wreck he finds it so hard to leave. Because tears alone wont heal this mans burns.