The Internet cable severed off the coast of Egypt has really affected me. It's amazing how much we (moi, that's French for me -- as in me too, or better put, I) rely on the Internet and e-mail.
It's Groundhog Day everyday for me -- February 2nd over and over and over. Just consider the new report from the Army stating the severe rise in soliders attempting suicide from 2003 to 2007 -- and you thought Bill Murray's character had a crazy binge during that movie!
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that nearly 74,000 former soldiers who returned from Iraq and Afghanistan between 2003 and 2004 sought Veteran's Affairs treatment for mental disorders in the year after they returned home. I know some of them. They're my good buddies. I believe that, although it's socially taboo, seeing a mental health professional is nothing to be ashamed of for those in the military or law enforcement. We might do things that most other people will never do, nor can they relate to. We see things and think things... In short, the psycho-social changes people in those professions encounter from post traumatic stress or critical incidents are "normal reactions to abnormal events." Of course, suicide is never the answer. And, I'm glad I don't drink.
I've experienced some frustration though. No doubt about that. Some days there's a complete sense of loss of control. I'm not talking about self-control. I mean, I can't fix problems back home like I could if I were there. I finally got through to my wife to discuss some important things. She hasn't heard from me in a few days. I don't know whether or not she read the blog where I said I might be moving to where Johnny was killed or not. She didn't say, but to be honest, I hope she didn't. Obviously, if she did, that would have worried her more, indeed.
John was an old Army teammate, and she knew him too. I wrote a blog about him a while back ("John is Dead"). Anyway, she had written a bunch of emails. Many of them saying things like, "I'm beginning to be really worried."
The phones are an issue all to itself.
If you think communication during marriage is difficult when you're with your spouse, try being separated by continents and include faulty Internet and phone systems. Yikes! The flames of marriage can sometimes be scorching hot (positively libidinal and/or destructively negative), but without commo, as we refer to it in the military, now you've got problems. But, hey, any good tactical plan accounts for commo failure when (not if) Murphy's Law of War strikes. Although hand and arm signals won't work in this situation, good old fashion snail mail does -- and I'm grateful for it.