THE BLOG

A Goat, PTSD and Me

17/02/2015 15:50 GMT | Updated 18/04/2015 10:59 BST

Two weeks ago, I watched a Goat die. Drama. What does that have to do with me, Afghanistan, and my sanity. Well, normally watching an animal with no real tangible value die wouldn't cause most people any problems. It was a goat, named Goat (original). Goats eat everything in their path, even trouser zips. They act on instinct, the instinct to eat....everything. A creature like that doesn't generally build bridges or bonds with humans.

When I sat there comforting the goat, watching it painfully die I looked into it's eyes. The goats eyes met mine for the briefest of moments and I felt a wave of emotion. Emotions I hadn't felt since August 2012. I guess you could say I had a flashback. It wasn't so much a visual flashback, as more of an emotional flashback. Towards the end of my second deployment in Afghanistan, I had to deal with a mass casualty situation. Eight people were viciously injured - I was tasked with dealing with a casualty. Unfortunately, he died. I carry something with me every day, it has never felt like guilt and yet I wish I could have saved his life. The moment he died I felt something, it wasn't sadness. It wasn't fear, I don't know what it was. I've never been in a situation where I've had to play god medically - I stopped pumping oxygen into his lungs and let him slip away. What I felt was strange, I looked at my friend for some kind of inspiration and all he could do was make a joke about my medical skills. We laughed so much, it was a nervous laugh but all emotion left me. I was stood there In bloodstained clothes laughing, it was messed up. I guess from the moment we made that joke and laughed I suppressed a large amount of emotion.

After watching the goat in pain I took a few minutes to compose myself but I couldn't. I was fucking angry, I wanted to kill it myself or help it. I tracked down the goats owner and confronted him about the goats situation. It was completely irrational and could see by the look in his eyes that he didn't understand my outburst. I left and went to water the plants in the garden I was working on. My girlfriend approached me, she asked me if I was okay and I exploded with emotion I couldn't understand why I was but I couldn't stop myself. As soon as it had started it was finished and then I was numb again, even now I don't understand it. The only silver lining was that for three nights afterwards I slept like a baby.

So, in conclusion. Is the answer to my problems, crying? If I explode emotionally every three days will I sleep well for the rest of my life? Am I suppressing my true feelings so well that it's going to take watching animals die to bring that out?

Honestly, I don't know. I'm not going to pursue something I don't understand, time will show me the path.