Loving son, brother, friend never got to be husband or father and FORMER proud British soldier. That word is the key to my decision today to commit suicide. Though I physical die today we all know I died in Hellmand Province in July 2009 when we lost 6 in a week to IEDs among them Tace and H and I was there for both. People think IED they think your killed outright if your lucky you are but often your just waiting to die or your seriously maimed that’s the next best thing. I sat with Tace as his hand shock and he yelled in pain for his Mum till it finally ended. It was a relief. I lied to him telling him it was all going to be ok we both knew it wasn’t. H was lucky. People don’t realise IEDs create smoke, dust, smell and that’s burnt flesh, blood or explosive and if your near by blood and other bits that get on your uniform. Your deafened by the noise, your ears ring and your first thought isn’t someone died, it’s I didn’t is any part of me missing. Your thrown up in the air you have no control of where you land. In my case on both days no I didn’t die I walked away. I survived 3 IEDs that week the next one in August 2010 I survived but I lost my left arm, I was too close but someone died, ironically I lost the hand that Tace held. You never give them you right hand that one is still on your gun. Between those two dates I killed as many Taliban as I could each one for the boys we lost. I’d have killed more if I could have it helped me to forget the horrors I became immune to it. I enjoyed it I admit it. I got my nickname post-it as I would write the day, time and number of them I killed. Yes I denied it all this time but I did it and they are in my top box in the living room. The count was 57. It’s a good number in a year and I can say I’m proud of it. Proud I killed 57 Taliban fighters but sad it wasn’t more double would have been good.But it’s after when you come back it starts the sounds, smells the full horror it turns up at any time. a noise, a smell and your back there sometimes a face anything triggers you. They send you to rehabilitation for your lost arm bit of therapy for the PTSD then they let you go. Bit of money but that’s it thanks for your service as the Yanks say. Your a civilian and your not a priority so your on lists to see various people who don’t know what it’s like really they haven’t served haven’t been there. You can’t tell them the real issue I want to go back I want to keep on killing Taliban it makes me feel better.Then there’s Di. The war took that future from me the one with a wife, children don’t even remember that dream. Truth is I left her because she didn’t get it. She thought going on with the wedding was a good thing. Talking endlessly about dresses, food, venues, cake when all I could see was Tace the day I asked him to be my best man. She didn’t even know I’d asked him because she assumed it would be her brother after all he was my best mate and we met through that. But he wasn’t my best mate. He couldn’t be we had different lives great bloke but he worked in Asda not much like a war zone in anyway I’d stopped being Henry. I was Post-it he was still Jack. So I walked away I know my timing 3 days before wasn’t great but better than going through with it. I’m rambling because I want to write it all down. Everything even the bits you don’t know. I want you to show everyone what I was like when I made the decision to take my life.But I know you’ll be devastated Mum. You’ll want to know why? What did you miss? What could you have done? Should I have done more? But truth is you couldn’t you did everything you could the private therapist was working and in all my dark days I never even thought about suicide. So why? You ask.I fought in a war that they said was changing the face of a region bringing it into the 21st century. A world where people could grow up, listen to pop music, girls could go to school without fear, girls could dream of being anything they wanted to be. No more burkas if they didn’t want them, hair and beauty salons and to finally own a pet. Yes to own a pet. You knew I was still in contact with Aalem and his family. His two girls were at uni one wanted to be an architect the other an engineer. They wanted to rebuild and improve their country. We talked about my visiting but we’d delayed it due to Covid. What you don’t know is he got a letter saying he didn’t qualify to come to the U.K. in the evacuation he was now considered a threat. A guy who was an interpreter and scout for us. A man who I’d sat down in his home, with his family, to eat with many times. He’s left to face a future going backwards. See that was our legacy the glue that stopped me thinking of suicide. We had done our job these people had a good life free of fear of the Taliban they had a future it was getting better now they just pulled the rug from under them. Their back to square one we wasted 20 years and all those lives ours and the civilians for what so a politician can try and remain President. So people can say no more Americans are dying in a foreign land, to save money. See Mum no legacy and I tried to contact Aalem all day Saturday because he was scared they’d come for him. His phone dead is he ok I don’t know, did he escape I don’t know. I’ll never know but I can’t watch these politicians slapping themselves on the back for a job well done getting people out, telling veterans we didn’t make sacrifices in vain. We did you never sacrificed anything your greedier, you lie and you have now started the killing again you’ve thrown the people in Afghanistan to the wolves. Sitting somewhere in a house, in Kabul maybe, probably watching people maybe even family killed around him you’ve created the next Bin Laden. The next terrorist not against the Taliban but YOU. You who left him behind to suffer he will blame YOU not them he will come after US not them. It will start again. It already has with the bombing on Thursday already a politician is saying well hunt you down. It will be your fault. I can’t be a part of history like the Vietnam veteran before me forgotten because of a failed American war just like this one. You’ve killed me along with them another victim. I’ve made peace with just leaving now. I want you to know I was getting there but this just started it all again and I can’t go through it again. I’m sorry. I love you Mum I’m sorry it’s so close to you losing Issac but I just can’t do it all again another 11 years of therapy etc. Can’t pick up and start again because that one thing I had was that glue we made a sacrifice for them to have a better life. It was worth it is not now it’s ruined, spoilt gone. Please don’t be annoyed you’ve seen my darkest days I can’t do them again. I’m tired of waking up sweating after seeing Tace blown six foot in the air to land impaled on a rusting piece of discarded metal with both legs hanging there. So I’ll miss Sunday dinner best Yorkshire puddings and roast tattles ever. Please look after Storm she’s a great cat tell Maisie she really helped me but I can’t stay just for her please keep her I know you will be company for your one they’re sisters after all. I’m off to see H and Tace. I’ve done my research I’ll just go to sleep. See you again one day. All my love to everyone.Post-it for me Mum post this. Many of us are still fighting this war in our heads and probably always will but not me anymore I’m done fighting I can’t do it anymore.Eternal loveyour Henry.””
- Sounds affect our lives whether we realise it or not. We may not notice or attribute the effect of sound, until we have a problem.
- We notice sounds that give us a flight or fright reaction, for example, the breaking of a plate or glass, the screaming of a child, a siren. These all cause a flooding of adrenalin which enables us to respond.
Other sounds may pollute our environment or space with less noticeable effects but they all affect us on some way.
We all tend to agree that the sound of waves at the shore is peaceful and soothing. Even if classical music is not our taste, there few pieces that make our heart rates increase, or give us headaches. We tend to like birdsong, flowing streams, the wind among trees, lullabies, and, generally, human voices.
When my daughter was born, I made a low, hum sort of sound whenever I picked her up, fed her, bathed her etc. It was a sound that she associated with love and safety. When she began to cry, I would make this sound and her crying would stop almost immediately. I used this sound whenever she was upset all through her life. A few years ago, I asked her what it made her feel. She said a warm sensation, a feeling of comfort. That had been my intention when she was born.
There are sounds we hear everyday that damage our bodies. We are matter. That means that our bodies vibrate, as all matter vibrates. Sound is caused by the vibration of matter too. Drills, tractors, sirens, traffic, alarms, smoke alarms all affect us on a regular basis. If we work in a noisy environment, those sounds may be destroying cells in our body without us realising it. Some work places provide ear mufflers, but those don’t protect passers-by.
So, for me, high pitched sounds, like my neighbour’s wind chimes, dentist drills, and anything whiney is destructive. Partly because I have PTSD from having open brain surgeries. (PTSD and sound is a whole other subject.) I also know that pneumatic drills, and some synthesised music is detrimental to me.
If you get headaches, unaccountable irritability, run down, or any other symptoms that affect your life, make a note of sounds you hear regularly or around that time, and then see how you can avoid them by changing the route you walk, or changing a place you regularly drink coffee, or changing your job.
You can find an app. for your phone named Healing Sounds, or Ocean Waves. These repair damage to our bodies. Better still is plenty of walks in woods, by the sea, or a river or streams.