Enjoy the good times as long as they last.

It is 2014 now. Another year further away from my survival experience during war, another year closer to the next SHTF situation that can happen anytime. Last year was wild year for me. I enjoyed all discussion and feedback I got for my survival course and here on the blog. At the same time I went through very dark times again. Depression and some anxiety caught up with me.

Most of you here are more experienced survivalists and preppers and many of you have great bug out plans, have good amount preps in their storage and understand what signs to look out for. At some point, when you have things in order, I hope everyone does not forget to live life in current moment, without worrying about SHTF.

Survival is double edged sword. You want to be mentally prepared for worst case scenario but nobody can without having been there. Sometimes when I read survival forums I see people living in fear, even life is not bad for them at the moment. If I have wish for everyone for 2014 it is that people get serious about survival and preparedness but also enjoy good times as long as they last.

Anxiety, depression and negative thinking can take your energy away before anything starts. This here now is post I wrote some months ago, to put my feelings and thoughts in words, but Jay thought it was too negative to post at that time. I agree but now it makes sense to highlight the price I had to pay for becoming “survival expert” without wanting it. I’m better since some weeks now but this post gives you maybe idea of what kind of scars constant struggle for survival can leave. Celebrate the good times in 2014. Nobody knows how long this lasts.

————–

I am kind of dead man. Emotionally I guess. I caught myself during my regular walks yesterday evening 2-3 maybe 7 year old girls looking at me and giggling.

I needed few seconds to realize why. While I was walking next to playground something just caught my eyes. 30 centimeters long green grass was slowly moving because of breeze, and smell entered my nose. I guess I froze and stood paralyzed.

I did not see the joyful and noisy playground anymore. Instantly I was moved back, 20 years ago and one other picture was in front of me. Me and my cousin are walking through the wet green grass, there are maybe 7-8 dead people around us, freshly killed in that grass.

And smell from the grass was so powerful and it is a good smell. Like spring, like freedom, it smells like youth, like young girls and boy teenagers drinking wine and listening to guitar playing.

It was impossible to comprehend and put together smell of grass and dead folks in the grass at the same time.

I do not know for sure for how long I stared at the grass next to playground, but I had strange look probably, because kids were giggling. One man, father probably, came and looked at me then quietly moved kids from my vicinity. I figured that I probably also had strange and not so nice glare in my eyes.

I never know what is gonna be, and when. I met guy from the same area where I was during the one period in war, guy was looking young, but he wasnt a kid. We were talking about war, and hard days. I asked him „do you remember Siljo, he died from wound infection?“

Guy was starting to look confused. Then he told me „damn man, I was born that year when he died“. I mean damn, he was something like 20 year old dude.

I am still living kinda in war, 20 years have passed but I still see myself as a guy from that war. I remember everything. Every dead guy. Right now I can smell that rotten smell of gangrene that took one guys leg, and his life later. It is still in my nose, and 20 years have gone by.

That 20 years are gone like in dream, everything after that war is like dream, in terms being blurry, and I keep catching myself asking „what was that yesterday?“ about something that happened yesterday, and I do not have clue.

When I walk out every second guy or woman I see remind me of somebody from that time, someone dead. When I hear kids laughing out, I hear screams inside me.

Loud music from the car that just passed me reminds me of song that was played on big speakers after calls for surrender as part of enemy propaganda.
Hell is not burning fire. Hell is impossibility to forget things. Hell is seeing these things in front of you again and again.

I caught myself thinking that best days of my life are over, not because I had it, oh no. It is because I am not able to feel real joy anymore. My tasks in life are blurred, and I think all that I want is to go somewhere next to sea and lay down and watch how clouds are moving and then sleep and sleep.

Man, something entered in my chest 20 years ago, and it is burning like hell from time to time, it is literally choking me and terrifying me. It is rage, it is sorrow, and it is tiredness. Pure horror it is. It is there and I can not kill it, I can somehow fool it and cheat it for some time. But even when it is not burning I can feel it.

When it burns I live through all again and again. Sometimes I use walking to kinda exhaust it. I keep walking and walking or go to gym and move weights to exhaust me. Sometimes I notice my kid na that my empty stare is scaring her.

I do not have friends because there are no common topics. I am alone. I am afraid of rage somewhere hidden inside me, I can feel it but I do not have clue when it will erupt and against who. I have feeling that it will be blind rage when it comes out.

I think about a good friend. He was one of the toughest people during war. He lived for some time good after war and we went shooting together in forest. He was preparing as well. He did not do anything that made his life worse. But suddenly, just few months ago he simply stopped to care. When man get caught in wild river and there is danger of getting drowned, without any help he can fight longer or shorter time, and eventually he will simply get released – flow free in the river, then he will get few short but tremendous moments of peace, of watching to the sky, then he will drown and die and is swept away.

My friend did just that. He just surrendered, I still try to swim.

I can not eat, all food taste same, actually no taste at all, my mouth is dry, I feel like I chewed sand.
It is what it is.

————–

What I want to say is that there is enough darkness out there. Whatever puts you down in 2014 and future, remember to swim and not give up.

60 responses to “Enjoy the good times as long as they last.”

  1. Robin says:

    Get a large punching bag, or make one. Before going to bed start beating that bag until your knuckles bleed. Take a shower and then tuck your daughter into bed, lay down with her and read her a story until she falls asleep. The Devil roams the world looking for someone to devour. Kick him in the ass and send him down the road!

  2. Matt in Oklahoma says:

    What you have brother is PTSD. Anyone who went, lived or saw has it to some degree. Don’t fight it, don’t be ashamed of it, don’t worry about it. It is and always will be there. It is part of you and some of us understand. If you need to talk you have my email and we can open a private discussion on it.

    This is common after any traumatic event. Even folks who went thru the tornado here are having it and this spring there will be many “feelings”.

    Flashbacks are tough and the emotions after the flashback causes the depression because of what you think of yourself, what you just felt and the anxiety that just happened. Selco went thru a heck of a lot more than any of us and I know that. Brother you deserve to be able to peacefully have them and be damned what anyone else thinks while you do. Just pick back up with life and go on. Enjoy it as it is what we should be doing.

    There are people out here reading this that know me so it’s hard to write this but…
    I channel mine. It is a driving force in my preparation. It is what makes me get up at 4am and work out daily even as I age and should be resting. It is why I am good as I am at hunting and as quick as I am on the kill.It’s why I’m good at combatives. It’s what makes people think I’m weird, i’m tackleberry, i’m “that guy”.
    It’s also why I have to try very very hard every single day not to slip to the dark side, control my emotions, can’t drink, hate Military holidays, try my best to be the best and want better for my kids and pray they never ever see or experience anything. It’s why for no reason I sull up and just am pissed for a short time. But I have learned to swim as you say and even backstroke and enjoy and have a pretty dang good life.

    I pray for peace for you and everyone else who has experienced it.

    • Tolik says:

      Life is PTSD , EVERYBODY will have it as they get older to a degree , if you have experienced the death of a close relative or friend , gone through a divorce , etc ………….you have PTSD . I resent the government trying to make it sound like its a severe mental illness and the people who have it labeled freaks in order to deny them 2nd amendment rights as well as other things in the case of combat vets .

      • skidmark says:

        Tolik, you seem to confuse having experienced something stressful with experiencing PTSD.

        I agree that most folks are capable of experiencing stress and moving on without problems, or with problems that they can work through and eventually put behind them. PTSD is what they call it when you cannot work through the experience, you cannot put the problems behind you.

        Yes, some folks claim to have PTSD because they want sympathy, or want special attention or recognition. Most of those with properly diagnosed PTSD would prefer not to have it. They would prefer to go forward with their life without the distress some traumatic event(s) caused them.

        Selco has given some information on the first step of dealing with PTSD. I hope he goes on to the following steps which might give him a better chance of moving on in spite of the memories and emotions and physical symptoms that will probably always be there. So far there is no known cure for PTSD but there are some really good ways to be helped. Those second and third steps (admitting you need help and then asking for help) can be harder than anything else. I hope he finds the strength to do so. I hope you do, too – even if whatever troubles you may experience do not meet the official diagnosis of PTSD.

        stay safe.

        • Tolik says:

          Problem is ( with anything in psychiatry ) they are constantly changing the definition , sometimes to conform to politics .

      • Doug says:

        I agree with you that people should not have their rights taken for having PTSD but comparing it to divorce or something like that is ignorant… I was deployed I know a lot of what selco talks about its better to stay silent or admit you don’t understand then to make a comparasson like that

        and skidmark I don’t think it’s something that will ever be “cured” it’s called a disorder because it’s easily quantifiable that way… easier then saying these people lived through hell and they wont ever be who you knew before best anyone can do is deal with it one day at a time

    • Selco says:

      Yea Matt i know. Lot of folks here have it. People cope with it on different ways. I find my own “meaning of life”. Things can be tough sometimes. Writing about it is also one way of coping with it. Also being prepared and tell other people how (and for what) to be prepared is something like mission now.
      Thanks

      • Drew in Michigan says:

        Dam I hate the no friends part, even sitting in church I see other guys who have no clue what hell awaits us/them I have been through 2 wars now and seen a bit, but nothing like Selco. The smells, sights & bodies, so many bodies, would love to trade all the memories for a warm beer and a good smoke! Not sure how I make it day after day but I do feel joy in my heart even if I am not happy most of the time I guess knowing that when we die as “believers” the pain stops and we are whole again body and spirit keeps me going. [just sharing and I don’t do this often, sorry for taking up space.]

        Matt in OK. remember Thomas? if not I got the wrong Matt, sorry.

        • Matt in Oklahoma says:

          Hey Drew, yep it’s me. If there was another MIO and DIM or AIM in would be funny. Small circles huh brother LOL

  3. K C says:

    It is your honesty that is so compelling. I have not been through war
    but through a terrible time. I recognize the emotions, the feelings you
    describe. It is exactly as you say. It took me nearly 16 years
    to not think of that time every day. But, I have some joy again. And I
    want to have some good days as long as possible. Thank you
    for truth, Selco.

  4. 2knives says:

    Was in some shit when I was much younger. Walked the walk. Paid my dues.
    As I enter the last part of this life I am learning that an old tale told by Richard Alpret Ph.D. is true. He wrote three simple words that sums it up.
    Be Here Now.
    Nuff said.

  5. Chris says:

    Live day by day. Try to fill your days with positive things. The thoughts of children playing. Attractive women. Whatever you like. You don’t have to be an optimist, but it helps to focus on pleasant experiences and memories. These can get you through to another day.

  6. Tim says:

    Selco,

    I’m working with a friend of mine who is a retired combat vet with PSTD. I’m an herbalist and I’m working on an Anxiety Tincture to help with these kinds of problems that returning vets are coming home with. If you would like to try some please let me know. Email me….davist2@hotmail.com with “Anxiety Tincture” in the subject.

    Tim

  7. shadowfaxhound says:

    It is tough. Pray for peace, deliverance, joy, & direction. I work out with weights. I go to the mountains. I fish, hunt, hike, camp, backpack, snowshoe, etc. I target practice–often. I stay in shape & hone my skills. I have a photographic memory. It has been both a blessing & a curse as you can imagine. And the photo memory has weakened as I have aged but it takes a “tiny” trigger and it “all comes back.” I try to walk away from those triggers. Smells, sights, sounds, memories–they are everywhere. It is how YOU deal with them that rules your life. I choose happiness, joy, peace—forgiveness (even self forgiveness) & move on. LIFE goes on…you SURVIVED…many do not. Live the good life that you have been rewarded. Peace my friend. Shadowfaxhound

  8. Ron says:

    Hello Selco,
    Thanks for the great posts! and sharing your experience. As someone who has recovered from severe ptsd and is feeling great I would like to share with you some things that may help you. I want nothing in return. I am a natural healing consultant but do if for the joy of helping others. Contact me at the above email if you would like some information. Again, I am not selling anything. Stopping suffering and pain is my goal and my reward for I have suffered tremendously but feel amazingly well at age 51. Peace brother

  9. Lonnie Sinclair says:

    Keep on swimming, man. Tread water and breathe while you count your blessings. Thanks for your honesty.

  10. Tolik says:

    You see a lot of vets like that , they are still there . I have worked with several Vietnam vets , there are just two types , the ones that put it behind them and moved on , determined to have a good life , you wouldnt ever know they were there or had bad experience , then the other type , the ones that have all the stickers on their cars , wear at least one piece of army clothing , weather its a hat , pants , etc . they have disfunction in their life , they are still over there mentally .Just Sayin .

  11. kuntryguy says:

    It is what is is Selco………………………….until YOU MAKE IT AS YOU WANT IT

  12. Aussie Mick says:

    G’day mate..Mick here..long time since I wrote…this article…and more so the comments,…prompted me to write again. I am a vet on a pension for PTSD…63 years young…been prepping for 4 years. My friends and family think that I am negative about the future…mainly because I try to wake up the ‘sheeple’….I do not do this out of fear….I do this because I care…I care about my 3 grandchildren…I care about my own 2 children…I care about my wife…who is my main detractor….but not the same as when we first married over 40 years ago…very hard to kiss the lips that that denigrate you to others. I care about my country…and other people in other countries…I care about freedom. Prepping is not just a hobby..or an obsession with me…just so happens that everything that I enjoy doing…can be called ‘prepping’. I like hunting…fishing…gardening…learning new skills…like how to butcher game…how to prepare it and preserve it..I like teaching others how to start gardens..and give away free plants…I like frugality…a few years ago, I lost everything..being broke is a bad place to be…don’t want to go back there. Give you an example..helped a friend to clean out a big shed…he gave me a box of razor blades…not the plastic pieces of crap that they sell today…if I shave everyday…and live for 30 more years…I won’t run out…especially as I know how to sharpen them. So I got free exercise…free razor blades…helped a friend..and taught a young labourer a lesson about money. He had just paid $15 for a set of 4 plastic throw away razors. I look forward to every day..today or tomorrow, I will pick my first dragon fruit for this year…will be close to 1kg in weight…the first of many for this year…I get the pleasure of growing…also..good nutrition…and others benefit from free food. I try not to spend any money with the criminal corporations that rule the world…I don;t need to mention their names…your readers know who they are. My own family drink about 60 to 90 cans of diet coke and pepsimax a fortnight….love the aspartame….makes a good cocktail when mixed with the fluoride in the water and any other medications that they happen to be taking at the time..also helps wash down takeaways. Sound negative?….no, I’m positive…that it is no good for their health! The biggest battle that is to be fought in life…is to control your thoughts…we all have the ability to control what we think about…become proactive ..instead of reactive. Give you an example…last night…8.30 pm..driving to have a coffee (free) with a friend…car going in the opposite direction threw something at my car…hit the drivers window…my first reaction was to turn and chase…get even…would have been speeding..then maybe bleeding..or making others bleed. Today…I am washing egg off my ute….could have been a lot worse. I am not in total control of my life…but I do all I can…maybe not ALL that I can..but at least ..do something. A ship without a rudder is going where? M.

  13. Jesus says:

    Selco, you need to accept that those friends have died but you will always cherish their memories. You need to remember the things that made them unique. Do something that is out of the ordinary. For example, I once bought an ice cold coffee and I was surprised to how big it was. I though I was getting a small one. Talk with people you don’t know. As for your enemies, don’t even think about them. I go with this mentality- They decided to make conflict to me, I won’t care what happens to them when they fight me, even if I send them to the hospital or the morgue.

  14. Jav says:

    If Selco wasn’t who he is after his journey through life, he wouldn’t be able to share and help us. Thanks Selco!

    We appreciate you sharing your thoughts. We know you will continue to pick yourself back up and continue your journey.

    It is well known among Vets that no Marine or Soldier with combat experience can return home, “back on the block” as it’s referred to, and find things “normal”. He/she has changed through the journey and the clock cannot be turned back. We are a product of experiences. We no longer view the world the same way.

    I remain shocked to this day at “man’s inhumanity to fellow men” that I encountered while serving my country’s political leaders. Upon my return, I was further shocked by my fellow citizen’s indifference, but I recognized they had not been exposed to the “inhumanity” and were just living their daily life. I rationalized that some citizens in our society would bear the burden for the inhumanity. I moved on with my life, returning to the easy life of “Joe citizen”.

    Occasionally, a vivid memory comes back, triggered by some common sight, smell or taste. Sometimes I pause & ponder, most times I just push through and refocus on the task at hand. I learned to live with myself and I try to enjoy each day.

    The memories will keep coming and I will keep trying to enjoy each day. I recognize life contains tragedy & suffering, but I should focus on the joys and good days!!!

  15. CS says:

    I wonder about the apparent difference of the events Selco describes and what a WWII veteran experienced. My father was in the US Army prior to WWII. He went into N. Africa, into Sicily, into France on D-Day+3, and across Europe into Dachau. My brother was born 2 years after his return. I came 6 years later. If WWII made a big difference to him, we couldn’t tell. He was still US Army, and all his friends and most of our relatives were WWII vets. They seemed to enjoy life, raise their families, and return to “normal” life in post WWII America. If PTSD was a factor, it was hidden in the very rare occasions he got drunk.

    I wonder if the large unit environment, the slow de-mobilization and multi-month time to return to civilian life helped a large portion of WWII vets avoid serious issues with PTSD. If so, is there something to be learned about recovery from a SHTF situation?

    • JDC says:

      CS, you said: “They seemed to enjoy life, raise their families, and return to “normal” life in post WWII America. If PTSD was a factor, it was hidden in the very rare occasions he got drunk.”

      My father was also a WWII veteran, who also went ashore at Normandy on D-Day +3 – he was with the 30th ID. My impression, most of my life, was very similar to yours. I knew that he had been on a mild nerve medication practically from the point he got home after the war, but – other than that – his life seemed much as you described it, above. Then, while he was in his mid-60s, I was reading a book about the 29th ID, and mentioned it to him. It turns out that the 30th and the 29th advanced through much of the war pretty-much side by side, and went through a lot of the same places. I loaned this book to him after I was done, and he seemed to be enjoying it.

      I guess he was about halfway through the book when I got a call from him, asking me to come get it. I went over to get it, and he told me he couldn’t finish it. It seems that, the previous night, he had woken up in the middle of the night, in the process of beating the holy hell out of the wall next to his bed – he was “fighting Germans” in his sleep. He was afraid that, had he been turned the opposite direction in bed, he would have been hitting my mother. Years later, during his last 2-3 years before he passed, he seemed to be almost reliving his time during the war. I had grown up hearing war stories, of course, but they were mostly about the funny things that happened. During those later years, though, I heard more war stories than I really wanted to hear, and there wasn’t much “funny” going on in them.

      I guess what I’m trying to say, is that things can seem just fine with a combat veteran, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still weighing on them in some way.

      • Tim Gray says:

        My grandfather was also on the beaches of normandy, I remember as a very young kid picking up what looked like a piece of smashed metal that was a massively caved in helmet in my grandpa’s workshop and brought it to the house asking him what it was. He grabbed it right away and me and headed back to the workshop. he told me that that can never come into the house. I asked him again what it was, and my smiling grandpa’s face turned almost to stone and his voice changed.

        “That is the helmet of the fucking kraut machinegunner that killed most of my friends. These marks are where I bashed his head in with my rifle, I pried his skull out of the helmet the next day.” My grandfather carried that helmet with him through the rest of the war and then home. I never looked at him the same way after that day. as a kid, I saw him as a GI-JOE bad ass. When I got older and could understand what he said, I saw him as a tortured man that brought his demon home with him and keeps him on the wall as a reminder of the horrible things he did. He had in his will that he was to have the helmet buried with him, guessing he wanted to take his demon to the grave with him.

    • Matt in Oklahoma says:

      No difference. Some have it, some don’t some deal some struggle. WW2 had a lot of issues just do your research. It was unpopular to talk about it then.

  16. star says:

    I thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and what you are going thru .Yes I do understand no matter what one does in life the trauma will always be in the back of the mind and rear its ugly head at unexpected times . Speaking of a dark side we all have one and it is a ballet to keep it suspressed and yes one moment one can be happy then the next no . Maybe this keeps you on an alert mode and may be a good thing as so many are in a always will be peace mode with blinders on their eyes . All I can say is keep swimming God Bless !

  17. J says:

    Selco – Sometimes I go through life and miss the opportunity to do something or say something that I should. Today, isn’t going to be one of those days.

    I can feel the pain in your article and just wanted to let you know that – even though you would not recognize me and I would not recognize you if we passed on the street – and no matter where you are emotionally at any particular time during any particular day – there are many people who know of you and to whom you are important and valued. I am one of those people and there are many others.

    J

  18. Rani says:

    Thank you Selco. Thankful for what you share and we care about you.

  19. Ted Colt says:

    I see my dad space out like you describe. Please stick around. You’re not alone as it may seem.

  20. Wombat says:

    Thanks, mate.
    No pop-psychology Dr Phil advice from me. People who haven’t been there don’t know, and they should have the sense to admit it, shake your hand and move on.

  21. stevenr.f. says:

    Every time we get back up from a fall, we win. The only way to lose is to refuse to get up again.

    I too have noticed that it is easy to fall into a sort of paranoia, or to look at non-preppers as fools and have a condescending attitude towards their mindless pursuits. It’s tough to hold both in your mind, to both prepare for hell-on-earth and to enjoy the relative ease we are experiencing now, where I live. I have a job. I have income. I have a little free time. I don’t have to hunt to eat, kill to survive, or scavenge to stay warm. I have time to put away for the hard times ahead. It’s ok to enjoy a little lightness too. It’s not all death and darkness and gloom.

    Prepping is a marathon, not a sprint, right? 🙂 And our mental, emotional, and spiritual health are just as important as having the right stuff stored or the right info and skillsets.

  22. Xabier says:

    God bless you, Selco.

  23. Ghost says:

    While reading this article, I was thinking exactly what 2knives wrote…”Be here now”. Here is an excellent book to get into the proper mindset:
    xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/17906145/…/SpunkinsPeacefulWarrior.pdf‎

  24. Tim Gray says:

    “Most of you here are more experienced survivalists”

    I disagree. Selco you lived inside of hell trying to survive and protect the ones you trusted most. I am betting less than 1% of the guys here know what you went through. less than 10% of combat vets have an idea of what it’s like to be trapped and fighting to just survive with no way out and no end in sight.

    Your thoughts today are a fantastic lesson to a lot of people. Many have never experienced the smells of the dead. I have smelled gangrene and even just talking about it I am wincing at just the thought of the smell. The smell of a rotting body left there for a few weeks in summer heat, not only can you not get it out of your nose, it also feels as if it’s on your skin and will never come off. Then my thoughts go to the poor child that lived with that rotting body there because it was mommie to her and you puke your guts out on the floor and cant stop. Nightmares every once in a while to this day and it was 30 years ago. And my experience was civilian in a safe peace time. I had a safe place to go home to and away from it, but it still followed me home.

    The demons of what you saw, did, or experienced come to you when your mind is calm. They wait inside your head for when you are about to go to sleep, or when you seem to be content, and remind you of what you did or what you lived. Those demons will never stop, the only thing you can do is fight to keep your head above the water.

  25. NM Patriot says:

    You survived that time and you have and are turning it into positive action. Your words that we read help others a lot. For now you might consider just being happy. Life is too short to be unhappy. If your life is unhappy then change it. Time is running out. To be honest we have to accept what is coming as it is the only way out of this mess. We all learn a lot from people like you who have survived. The issue here is your future. Don’t live in the past any more. You can build from the past but live for today. You might not even be here tomorrow, right? Thanks.

  26. JBee449 says:

    Dear Selco, if you’ve never read C.S. Lewis’s “Surprised by Joy” you might find it illuminating, or at the very least, interesting.

  27. dvest says:

    many of us still have ‘ghost’ that pace us in silence…we are told we are the ‘lucky ones’ who came home in one piece…sometimes a loud clap of thunder, or a bright flash of car lights, or a smell of dead meat, or the sight of ‘that rolling gait’, or a sight of ‘that kind of face’ …these all call out that single file parade of ghosts. at other times, we just smile and listen to a song and remember in stoic silence… then go out, away from people who ‘know us’ and silently scream and quietly cry hot tears, where none see…

    and we are the ‘normal’ ones, just ask those around us… (I can act so ‘normal’ it would make you puke.)

    we hunt and kill effortlessly, we walk silently in the the edge of the shadows, we am eternally vigilant, we are ‘light’ sleepers…it seems this will be going on forever…(I do wish it could be different.)

    age is not on our calendar…(in my mind I still am ‘that’ age.)

    we are warriors who spent our lifetime ‘there’ , and now… we are wearing ‘civvies’… we are now permanent chameleons. we hide in plain sight …(I smile and frown at the learned times. I survive.)

    I saw, I did, I was…and now I am…

  28. sootsme says:

    Selco, we’re with you, and you are in our prayers. Thank you again for what you do… it matters and makes a difference…

  29. jujubee says:

    Concur with JBee 449 about CS Lewis. I don’t have a combat experience but had my share of other traumas and will only say that I found that when we can’t get past those traumas, we ourselves empower them to live on. And only we can pull the plug on that power. I pray that you can.

  30. Kentucky Lady says:

    Selco,

    Thank-you for sharing your will to survive with us. Every time I read of your struggles, pain, horror and then ultimate survival it takes my breath away.

    Kentucky Lady

  31. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    Memories are a powerful reminder of your past life’s experiences. Many people who survive a traumatic event are affected by guilt (why did I survive and he / she didn’t ?). We develop scars and callouses on our soul because of this, but a powerful image or smell brings it back like it just happened. Frightening.

    Your honesty is to be commended Selco, I hope you find peace.

  32. CrazyHorse says:

    Selco,

    Thanks for sharing. I’ve battled depression myself off and on through the years but haven’t had a bad spell in a long time, but that requires constant vigilance. I think I can relate a little bit. Like you say, everyone has to find their own way of dealing with it. I hope it brings some comfort that your writings are helping others and providing a sense of community of people that may be better prepared in bad times and can spread that help outward to others. Plainly put, you’re helping. However, you’re no good to anyone if you don’t take care of yourself – so please make sure that comes first.

  33. california woman says:

    Selco

    I see our time on earth a spiritual tug of war. Good vs Evil. It seems as if your heart is very cold right now from your horrific experiences. Christ is love so just ask Him to enter your heart to make it warm again. Don’t let the Evil win.

  34. David says:

    Hi Selco, You have a friend..ME… I regard my net friends.. people who I have much more in common with than most of my community or even my family… as great value. I look forward to each new post.. I wish you would write more.. but I see the cost and appreciate the effort.

    As a LONG TIME survivalist and prepper I can appreciate the unique and true value of what you write and teach. I take action on the things you teach and advise. So.. take satisfaction from what you report and teach here. It is valuable…it is REAL.. compared to a lot of what is put on the internet.. as I think you know. If others can learn from your painful experience.. then I guess it is not all waste and loss. Thanks. ( And I do not dwell in Doom. I have a nice life, and appreciate it.)

    Peace to you my net friend.

  35. Bob in St. Louis says:

    Selco, I read the price that you have paid and it reminded me of the price I’ve paid. I cried, wiped my eyes and moved on. Thank you.

  36. Felix says:

    Selco

    I truly wish I did not understand your essay as well as I do…

    I fought the last two years in Rhodesia and watched the country I was fighting for dissolve around me. An elderly lady picked me up hitchhiking into town (R&R) near the end. My Uzi strapped over my shoulder told her I was in the forces – my accent told her I was American. She looked at me and said, “Don’t leave us yet – we need you.” I failed her.

    I live with that and it cost me a marriage – the wife justifiably complained that just two years of my life were all I thought about. Not always, really but too damn much. I’ve been successful in other areas and I trust in God Almighty. But now this country is heading down the tubes and I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to protect the old ladies here either. It sucks, dreadfully.

    Like you I returned from war and chaos to a place where nobody had a clue what I’d been doing or even where Rhodesia was located. Literally a two weeks after shooting my way out of an ambush near Que Que I was ducking traffic in Los Angeles. I’d gone from a respected NCO who could count unconditionally on his pals- to a guy looking for a job in a town I no longer recognized. Like you I dealt with it.

    But I remind you, and myself, what General Lee wrote about duty: “You must always do your duty and your very best. As to results – that’s up to Providence.” I suppose so.

    I’ll toast you tonight as a comrade and say a little prayer. Remember – it comes and it goes.

  37. josephhyde@yahoo.com Hyde says:

    Selco

    Good and bad is to be had in this life. I have had very very little bad so far, in fact none compared to you.

    This site is that of a Korean-American lady that is no longer alive, but she’s left her testimony for us that it is possible for things to be better for us ‘after we go’ than worse than what we have now.

    This may be hard to read or even seem to be ‘nonsensical’ to some, but I truly hope it won’t be to you.

    It’s what she lived through just as you have lived through war.

    http://99.198.110.36/english/

    All the Best!

    Joe

  38. Reader1 says:

    Selco, I’m a sometime reader. I want to thank you for your work.
    For what it’s worth, you might look up Achilles in Vietnam and Odysseus in America, both by John Shay. http://www.amazon.com/Jonathan-Shay/e/B000APL572/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1 He is a psychiatrist who specializes in US veterans. He compares his veterans’ experiences and therapy with the classics, the Illiad and the Odyssey. He shows just how much our PTSD/Shell Shock/Battle Fatigue/Seeing the Elephant, etc are really permanent parts of the human experience. I didn’t know what I was dealing with after coming back from a deployment overseas, and it was minor compared to a lot of guys, and I dealt with it on my own, but reading these 2 books illuminated some of my own experience and made a lot of sense to me.
    Thanks again-R

  39. Gregory says:

    That is why I live and enjoy my life to the fullest and always prepare for any situation.

  40. carol says:

    Selco,

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I am sure that you are lessening the pain of some folks by telling your story.

  41. NWDUB says:

    Any man who has witnessed as much death as you or I changes your personallity forever.

    You are never the same man you once were, and no matter how much you wish it to happen, you will never be the man you once were.

    You can only accept that you saw it, you survived. You feel kind of guilty, but you worked so hard to survive when others did not. You made the right choices, why don’t you feel like a king?

    We are all but men, and the choices we have made are our own. You are inherantly a good man, take pride in that. When you’ve focused on survival for so long, it numbs you. You’re right, food doesn’t taste the same, I smoke that cigarette because I always have, I need that 5 minute break from reality.

    This is when people start to abuse drugs and alcohol, you get your thoughts out on here which is cathartic, but when people don’t REALLY understand, it is hard to connect with others the way you need to. Don’t give up hope, life is cyclical and we all go through periods of this (anyone who has watched much death).

    The world is different now, for better or worse, it will never be like it was before. Maybe just as shitty, but different and we all want to find out how it ends.

  42. Ed says:

    Well said M. You seem to be not only practicing a very healthy, modest lifestyle, but set a good example for a society that is totally out of reach with reality and nature.
    Keep it up and take care,
    Ed

  43. Johnny Bailey says:

    Folks, it’s a fact that the constant negativity that MUST enter your mind in order to be an adequate prepper WILL wear on you. I mean, what is the BASIC premise behind prepping? Preparing to weather NEGATIVE happenstance! Constant scenarios, constant “What ifs,” Constant, “What if THIS happens? What happens if i didn’t buy enough of X?” Worrying about protecting your family from what are right now in April, 2014, COMPLETE UNKNOWNS! This stuff could drive a person MAD, because we’ve ALL discovered, there is NO WAY TO COVER IT ALL, EVERY SCENARIO. And for those that are already driving a little close to the curb, this constant mental grind can and HAS pushed more than a few folks over the edge.
    And yet, there IS NO ALTERNATIVE……One can ignore all that is manifesting around them and leave not only THEIR fates, but the fates of loved ones to the four winds…… Not acceptable to prudent people.
    What I do to manage? When I feel the anger building up? When the frustration begins to boil over? When I walk past people and i don’t see PEOPLE, but folks i might have to lock horns with one day? Walk away from it….. For just a spell. Take a prepper vacation! One HAS to in order to hit the release valve. The constant grind on the mind and emotions of folks like us that take this seriously is psyche-damaging and compassion destroying, IF WE LET IT!
    Sometimes, you HAVE to walk away from it for a week or 2, even a month, to get your equilibrium back. No tv, no internet, no prepper sites, no peeking down in to the basement, no looking at and refining lists, no politics, NADA! Just shut it down. And then go do something stupid! Or fun. Break the routine. Jump off the track. It may feel hard at first, but find something else that you can throw your mind into that will absorb it to such a degree that prepping and our screwed future is pushed out for awhile. Fact, as stated above…. You are going to be worthless and your self control questionable if the ball drops and you’re riding the end of your mental rope. When your family and friends who were inadequately and UNDER-prepared, need you more than ever to jump into the driver’s seat.

    By all accounts, we are in for a rough road in the future. The fate of the dollar is looking dismal, and when that finally meets it’s inevitable end, good times are gonna be hard to come by, for AWHILE. So indeed, GRAB all you possibly can! Make things fun for the family, and for your spouse. Trust me…. If this new lifestyle is beginnig to grind you down, I can ASSURE you, they’ve noticed the change, even if they won’t admit it……This will NOT be some 2 week, or monthlong scenario, but something which has ramifications that may last YEARS. Make sure when that time initiates, you are at your mental peak, and not all tweaked out and burned up the moment the ball drops.
    I had been grinding down post-Christmas, 2013. My brain was so stuffed with prep issues and bad politics, i was about to explode. My wife had bought a cruise for my 50th birthday in February a year ago. Never been on one, but i was DREADING IT as the date approached! Impossible, but true. Why? What was i going to do with my firearms? What happens if we got broken into in our absence, and our preps were vandalized or stolen? What happens if i’m on a ship in the middle of the Caribbean when the bottom falls out? Can I make it to the port city with only one tank of gas? No kidding….. My prepper mind was ruining this vaca for me before i even entered the registration line! Got the the hotel the night before, and when everyone was asleep, I went out at 1am to FILL THE TANK! JUST to make sure we HAD the gas to get home in case the dollar crashed while we were away. Went to Walmart, and bought a bunch of packaged food and stashed it in the car, for the journey home, JUST IN CASE. It is an understatement to say I was NOT in the cruise mentality AT ALL…..I was happy-facing it for the wife and kid’s sake, as they were all completely stoked, and i didn’t want to ruin it for them……
    Next day, laying in bed, made a decision to SHUT IT OFF, for not only MY, but my family’s sake for the next week. I OWED it to them, and I didn’t want to disappoint my wife, who had gone to all the trouble to make my 50th special.
    Mentally, the cruise was the BEST mental medicine i have ever had! A stinking CRUISE! Whooda thunk it? No celllphones, no internet, no politics, no SHTF preparations running through my head, and by day 2, I could give LESS than a crap what Obama happened to be doing at the moment, or what insane scheme they were bringing to bear in my absence. Who CARED? It would STILL be there when i got back. The trip could not have come at a better, or more crucial time for me mentally. I mean, there were other passengers on the trip that were OBVIOUSLY liberals or leftists, and i didn’t even have the urge to hold em under water and count the bubbles! I even said hello to a couple of em, and even carried on a civil conversation with one! For just a short spell, the anger was GONE!
    Just walk away from it folks, when you feel the pressure building…. You HAVE to…. As I discovered, it will INDEED still be waiting for you when you come back to it, from WHATEVER mental vacation you choose…..

  44. Dave Z says:

    Selco,

    I firmly believe that you are literally saving lives with your writing. Whether local or global, short or long, when SHTF some of us and those we stand with have a better chance at life because of what you share.

    I wish you pride and solace in your work, Brother, and ease to your pain.

    Dave Z

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