I had a run-in with that nasty, vulgar beast – Fear – on the weekend…

…it forced it’s way through my body the way it always does – almost violent in it’s intent, and as just as unforgiving. It broke through my defenses – Correction – It BUSTED through my defenses, using the old diversion trick and fair trampled my mind! Whilst my brain-box was elsewhere in the moment, it slipped around the back, pried open an unlocked ‘window’ and slid inside. It was that easy – I ‘stood down’ for just a moment and – BOOM – suddenly, I was elsewhere.

And it was only for an instant. A sound crept through my synapses and somewhere in my subconscious an alarm bell went off – the kind that would go off at sea when all hands went to ACTIONS STATIONS – it’s electric ringing clamor growing steadily louder, and with it – the ‘noise’ of a jet fighter competed as it broke cloud cover over my head, through a bright Perth sky. My mind raced to react to what it thought was a perceived threat at the time, transporting me back immediately to a period where such a sound was considered a REAL threat, and my body – and all it’s associated chemistry – followed without thought or question, exactly as it had been trained to, a long time ago.

In a moment the instant had passed. Just a moment in time – almost impossible to measure – and as fleeting as the time taken for that jet fighter to streak it way, clean over my head. However; in my brain-box, that moment in time is attached to so much more. Given the right triggers, a traumatic or extremely intense experience – caught up in an unguarded mind moment – and that instance becomes your whole world. The ‘threat’ rears it’s ugly head, the ‘triggers’ act as if they’re receptors awaiting such an event, and all of it tugs on millions of little strings racing around inside your skull – catylising a chemical reaction that prepares you best for one of two things: Fight or Run.

Here in is where the confusion lays: your brain screams at you a warning, and you’re body starts to react, but hang on a sec fellas – something’s not right. NO – your brain screams again, NOOOOO – it’s gonna happen – MOVEIT! And your body trips over itself (chemically speaking) in it’s rush to react appropriately to all the signals it’s receiving, but falls head over heels over the conflicting impulses your body’s other senses are sending back, yelling out: WHOA THERE… just settle down for a moment! WHAT threat you dickhead?

KERRRRIST – Well for fuck’s sakes… what’s it to be? Your body really wants to know, but the moment has passed, and your mind’s bits and pieces lay all about the place like discarded fire hoses, spent and unattended after a fire – as if they’ve been abandoned because nobody wants them anymore. For a mere moment they’ve been deserted in the confusion see, and wearily you come to recognise this, as you set about trying to put your mind back in order. It’s chaos – for one concentrated extremely dense moment it’s utter madness, it’s frightening and… it’s completely debilitating.

And after? Well, for a small while your hands keep shaking. The ice running around inside your veins warm slowly, and the tension almost seems to fall right out of you. You’re body slowly fights off all the urges to do all those things it used to normally do when presented with such moments and gradually, you return to the real world. The colour returns to your face, your breathing slows down, that horrible tunnel vision sensation backs off and your body, finally stands down.

It’s been a long while since such a moment has ambushed me. They generally don’t get the time of day, but every now and then one sneaks in through the back door, and makes its presence felt. I know what they are now. They’re real, not contrived. They’ll pass, not live on. They’re manageable, but only if you acknowledge that they’re there. And – they’ll be with me for the remaining years of my life. They’re part of me now, and mark me for who I am. To deny such things rattling around in my brainbox, is to deny I exist. I have grown, and I do NOT fear such moments as such – I just hate when they get me by surprise.

There was a time when all of this overwhelmed my senses. I was lucky, some of my friends recognised the signs and dragged me off for help. None of it was pretty. I didn’t like the process, I hated who I was and I hated what fear made me become. I fought back – and only because I had those around me who helped out – and stayed with me.

So when Fear visits me now – sure it gives me a fright. It’s supposed too… it IS Fear after all. But it doesn’t shut me down, it doesn’t make me a prisoner of my own making. It just reminds me how incredibly lucky I am… and I breathe – and I move on.

Belongum – Out!


About Belongum

People bring 'things' to me. Not necessarily PHYSICAL things as such - mostly just the loose bits and pieces floating around in their 'brain-box'. Sometimes, they also bring themselves - and THAT isn't anywhere near as simple as it sounds. I come here to pass some of this 'brain-box business' on to the ether world, and to empty my head. Besides folks - I love a good yarn - so come and join me!
This entry was posted in ACTION STATIONS, bad, complicated, damage control, fear, good, hard, Isolation, Jet Fighter, messy, Military, people, Perth, PTSD, Royal Australian Navy. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to I had a run-in with that nasty, vulgar beast – Fear – on the weekend…

  1. Callisto says:

    Quite a few years ago, I had a series of panic attacks, for what reason I still can’t figure out as life was good.

    I still remember the inescapable sound of my heart in my head and the adrenalin coursing through me…


  2. Ian says:

    Yikes…. there’s no mistaking that feeling…. gets us all occasionally, thank kerrist that you’ve had some training ta handle it.

    Best wishes


  3. The Daily Magnet says:

    Phew – prepare for re-entry!

    Glad you got your feet back on the ground Belongum – for me, I find earth-based things really help with keeping body & soul in balance, like gardening, walking + swimming etc.

    I’m sorry that you experienced that – but I haven’t read such a good explanation of the way panic feels.

    I didn’t go to the skyrace, but the sound of the jet fighter took me by surprise both mornings(when coincidentally I was in the garden). I couldn’t see its relevance to the little old decrepid planes they do the race with.


  4. Belongum says:

    Yeah C… panic attacks are bloody awful things – and they’re great at getting you by surprise. No wonder you feel exhausted afterwards – you’ve just ran a mental marathon – and you’re buggered if you know why.

    That it does Ian… as to the training, well – I was trained to deal with set situations and threats, when they actually WERE threats. No-one really helps you to come down from that level, especially if it’s been reinforced by actual situations you were involved with. Post Traumatic Stress is still a bugger of a thing – even now that it’s been readily identified and diagnosed… how did our all those who survived the World Wars ever get on mate…? Some amazing courage that we never got to hear about.

    DM – I agree, I was never one to remove myself from such things, and always stayed in touch with them. Gardening was a big part of my ‘recovery’, that and the XO (my other half). Cheers


  5. Kim says:

    Me too – chronic panic attacks of late. But think of it as your little alarm system. Something is a little awry in your life, something you may not have been aware of. Your body is saying:

    “Hey, sort this out.”

    Once you do, no more fear. I’m feeling alot better since I figured out mine and life is returning to normal.

    There are so many of us out there. And we’re all doing the best we can. Good on ya Belongum.


  6. Melissa says:

    That is the most perfect explanation ever. You have quite the way with words, Belo.


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