Shell Shock: Break Down in WWI. Now they are free.

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An increasingly large number of men seemed to have simply lost the will to fight.

Well, before facing this topic I have been meditating and taking time for breathing, alone, in the woods. This is one of the most sensitive subject I am still willing to write about. For the side story, I am one of those who experienced panic attacks and tremors, neurosthenia, physical and mental break down, which led to occupational burn out, as a consequence of « Paris Terror », in january and november 2015. Still dealing with the aftermath. But I am confident, and I will sort it out or bust.

By the way, I lived a « fake alert », while terrorists were around the parisian region ; trauma is like you face your death, and I was still on duty when november’s attacks stroke. The hall of the hotel, where I was serving, was full of thousands of guests and some of them had lost a friend in concert hall « Bataclan ». Too much to handle for a little creature of the Universe, like me.

Our duty, my team leader told me, was to take care of the guests and their needs were priority. My hands were shacking and couldn’t make a sense of what was happening, so that I called my mother to say « It’s alright, Mum, I am okay ». In those morning hours I felt like I was experiencing a hospital battle camp. A lady firefighter told me about the girl who lost her friend, and a few minutes beside that, a guest, a spanish lady, breaks down to tears because her vacation was fucked up. How can you not go insane?

« Life is simple » a doctor of Occupational Medicine told me once, while signing for a sick leave between two temporary missions in the administration. « Something has broken ». He was refering to me and my Management. In fact, although my Manager in duty was pushing me to get back to my service at front desk, in order to boost my reaction, in a positive way, a part of me was struggling to avoid to go back, as Self preservation.

Back to 1918.

One century ago, in his office, Sigmund Freud meets the soldiers back from the war front, and he detects war neurosis or shell shock due to no-stop artillery bombing in the trenches. Men loose control of their senses, from speech to blindness, they can’t explain what they are experiencing, or want to see that hell anymore. They also develop paraplegia. Personally, I was in shock by seeing old pictures, in black and white, with soldiers hands on the ground. The Italian cinema shows a scene in the movie « The Great War » by Monicelli which shows comedien Alberto Sordi getting scared from seeing a « lost hand » in the trench. « What is that ? » he says. Italians showed to the world how to treat delicate stuff with humour, but still great poetry and humanity. Think about Roberto Benigni and « Life is beautiful » which won the Oscar touching such a topic with great bravery though respect. Humour in this case is meant to put a distance between our mind and horrific reality, as a shield or a filter of what would make you getting mad.

But WWI wasn’t just an Italian affair, of course, and we can see Germans against French on the western front in the movie « All quiet on the western front » from original book « Im Western nichts Neues » by Erich Maria Remarque, 1930. And eastern front, between Russia and Poland, when Austria – Hungary invades this territory. Personally, I have been in Mount Sabotino trenches, and mountains on the Carso, in Northern Italy where Ernest Hemingway has served and was wounded by a german artillery shell. 

In his own words, “There was one of those big noises you sometimes hear at the front. I died then. I felt my soul or something coming right out of my body, like you’d pull a silk handkerchief out of a pocket by one corner. It flew all around and then came back and went in again and I wasn’t dead any more.”

Hemingway’s wounding along the Piave River in Italy and his subsequent recovery at a hospital in Milan, including the relationship with his nurse Agnes von Kurowsky, all inspired his great novel A Farewell To Arm. His story “Soldier’s Home” conveys his feelings of frustration and shame upon returning home to a town and to parents who still had a romantic notion of war and who didn’t understand the psychological impact the war had had on their son.

 

 

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Shame and guilt.

In 1914, the contemporary scientists and medicine men are involved in the War, and ethically challenged. The therapy has the target to get soldiers back to combat and not to rehabilitate them. Psychoterapy is at the starting blocks and Freud, with his collaborators, mark a milestone in the human psyche’s understanding. Mental health starts to be recognised as apart from physical health.

First, what leads to modern PTSD, it’s recognising that an external event, like a shock, can damage the man’s mind, though brave, courageous and rational human being. Finally, sensitive officers can break down, after sending their men one by one to die under enemy fire to gain an uncovered lookout point. The risk to be seen as weak or wimpy was limited to a manlike system which still perdured in the military discipline. Big boys don’t cry, right ?

Second, not only there’s an enemy out there, but according to the german Psychologist, the real enemy is inside. There are the Peace Self and the Warrior Self, and second is one to watch out, the one who wants you to sacrifice and takes pleasure from it. Soldiers finally realize that they are going to loose their lives and it doesn’t make any sense any more. Their Peace Self wants to live and go home to their families. Many officers are just « boys ».

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Shot at dawn.

During WWI, shell shock is also a way to escape from the frontline battles. Sometimes, at the cost of your own life. The officers in charge of their command are often so greedy and vanish to execute their soldiers who couldn’t or wouldn’t face the bombing anymore. The sentence states cowardice. The case of Harry Farr and Jimmy Smith, to mention just a couple of these young heroes, speaks out loud. After Somme, Gallipoli and other bloody battles, they just couldn’t take it anymore. In case, shell shock victims were supposed to be commuted by the martial court. Not in that instance. They were put a blindfold to cover their eyes, cognac from the evening before, and a round of paper on their heart to mark the target. « What a way to get leave. » Wait, Private Farr, refused the blindfold, actually. And I spare other details in deep respect of those who left, and also the ones who « gained the leave » for shooting to their camerades. Pardon was given in 2006 by British Governement, to those who deserted and were executed at dawn. Will the others ever forgive them selves ?

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Inner Self.

Isn’t that a sort of « karma » ? Well, I mean, shell shock today is haunting our minds as cultural heritage and stigma makes it hard for anyone to take a sick leave, at work, just to have a rest, saying no to team leaders or managers when the task is simply too tough and we are running out of time and co-staff. The Peace Self says it clearly that we can’t take it no more, but the War Self forces us to sacrifice for the good cause. We fear to loose our job and the boss confidence, while in the meantime nobody is taking care of your healthy conditions at workplace. Sometimes we live again that nightmare of those who left their heart in a foreign trench. « Who is the real enemy ? » Listen to the inner voice, the Wise Men say, and you will get it.

With courtesy of Ryan Williams from CURE UP.ORG

Article published on 27th june 2018

 

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PTSD Books: The Burnout Society.

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And this is the book that I was offered from my doctor. Actually, he wanted it back. Lol

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our competitive, service-oriented societies are taking a toll on the late-modern individual. Rather than improving life, multitasking, “user-friendly” technology, and the culture of convenience are producing disorders that range from depression to attention deficit disorder to borderline personality disorder. Byung-Chul Han interprets the spreading malaise as an inability to manage negative experiences in an age characterized by excessive positivity and the universal availability of people and goods. Stress and exhaustion are not just personal experiences, but social and historical phenomena as well. Denouncing a world in which every against-the-grain response can lead to further disempowerment, he draws on literature, philosophy, and the social and natural sciences to explore the stakes of sacrificing intermittent intellectual reflection for constant neural connection.

 

About the authors

Korean-born German philosopher Byung-Chul Han teaches philosophy and cultural studies at Berlin’s University of the Arts (UdK). In the past few years, his provocative essays have been translated into numerous languages, and he has become one of the most widely read philosophers in Europe and beyond. His work is presented here in English for the first time.

 

Check also this article about Philosophy:

In Orwell’s “1984” society knew that was being dominated. Not today.

 

 

Willie Gillis, an ordinary guy, on The Satuday Evening Post.

Because I found these two articles so pertinent, and relevant, I would like to thank this cowboy, who is not posting since 2012, so I assume he might be somewhere else. If he is still alive, he can contact me, and ask me to delete his posts, or leave them, with his courtesy.

During the WWII years Norman Rockwell created a character named Willie
Gillis — an ordinary guy from a small town who joined the army.
Rockwell chronicled his experiences in the war in a series of Saturday Evening Post
covers.  After the war, he showed us Gillis returned to civilian
life — above you see him in college, on the G. I. Bill, having
survived and put on a little weight.

It’s a poignant image, for all it doesn’t say.  Gillis is
preparing himself for a “normal” life in post-war America, with his
pipe and his golf clubs — but the war souvenirs hanging over his head
suggest that he will always be haunted by memories out of place in a
“normal” world.

One of the virtues of Ken Burns’ newest documentary The War
is that it addresses the sort of post-traumatic stress disorder that
returning vets, and the whole civilized world on some level, suffered
in the wake of WWII.  For the vets it was peculiarly disorienting,
with feelings of triumph, guilt and shame all mixed up together.
It was not something that could be talked about in the world Willie Gillis was
trying to become a part of.

All of this I think reinforces my notion that it was in art, in film noir
particularly, that such disorientation could be engaged in a safe way,
a socially acceptable way.  You can read more thoughts on
the subject here.

Posted on  by 

A Norman Rockwell for today

POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER AND FILM NOIR

World War Two was a “good war”.  America and its allies pulled together
and destroyed the Axis powers.  On balance, and in retrospect, it
has to be considered one of the great achievements of
humane civilization.  But human beings don’t live on balance or in
retrospect, particularly where war is concerned.  They live inside
the horror of it and it takes a toll on individuals and on societies
which can never be fully measured.

The upbeat spirit of American propaganda during the war, and the
genuine satisfactions of victory, veiled the true experience of the war
for millions — not just for those who fought it on the battlefields of the
world, but for those at home who lived in terror that their loved ones at
the front might never return . . . and of course, most especially, for those at home whose loved ones didn’t return.  On a broader level, anyone who simply witnessed
the spectacle of total war on a global scale, from whatever distance, had
to have experienced a soul-shaking anxiety about the fragility of all
social structures and cultural norms.

After WWII, the whole planet experienced post-traumatic stress disorder
— localized in this case by the fact of the atomic bomb, which ended
the war but left the world with a paradox that wouldn’t go away.
It took an act of colossal horror to finally “win” this good
war.  And the prospect of this horror being again visited on the
world was far from unimaginable.

We now know a lot more than we used to about post-traumatic stress
disorder and the ways it can be treated.  In the immediate post-war era, the
phenomenon was more elusive, and often unrecognized.  We made
meaningful social restitution to the veterans of the war, with measures like
the G. I. Bill — we reconstructed the devastated nations we
conquered.  But that just scratched the surface.

It was in art that the true psychic cost of the war was exposed and explored — nowhere more pointedly than in film noir.  The sort of trauma that engenders PTSD is identifiable by several characteristics — a sense of being out of control and confused, a sense of terror, a sense of being outside the normal realm of human
experience.  Is there a better description of the usual
predicament of the protagonist in a classic film noir?

PTSD on a broad cultural and societal level is what best explains the phenomenon of film noir, which on its surface is so mysterious.  Why should a triumphant
nation, after a great collective victory in a good war, have been
gripped by that mood of existential dread which informs so many Hollywood films of the post-war era?  Why should the most spectacular achievement of American arms have led to a crisis of manhood, a sense of impotence, a fear of powerful women
incarnated in the morbid fantasy of the femme fatale?

femme_fatale_by_kaceym

Film noir was a dream landscape where the buried costs of WWII could be recognized, reckoned and mourned, as a prelude to psychic recovery, or at least psychic survival.
Veterans of combat often report the difficulty of dealing with people
who have not shared their experience of it — people who can never
really know what it’s like.  Film noir, far more than the WWII combat film, was one of the few arenas of American life where the true legacies of war, its lingering moral and
psychological dislocations, could be engaged without apology or shame.

Posted on  by 

Silver Star winner poses for Norman Rockwell.

rockwell_ontimeOh well, I like the art of Norman Rockwell since my twenties.  As an artist, and painter, he moves me to tears. Here is a nice story of a vet’s daughter that I copy from Tracking the 101st Cavalry, with courtesy of. Before I leave you with this, I’d like to add my small personal experience about WWII. Of course, I am too young for having memories from the war times. But my hometown was on the yellow line, in Italy, and my mother lost his brother at 16 because of a bomb left unexplosed. Actually, she came after his death, in 1946, and she was given his brother’s name, Tonino, on the female, Tonina.
They say that your name carries a karma, so I wonder which karma my mum carries from her brother. It’s heavy for a baby to get this debt. Anyway, she comes from a family of 7, and this costume to have at least 4, 5 children was very common in the 40s. Another brother of her, Armando, left during 2 years. This story was never told. He was supposed to be in a concentration camp, maybe in Germany, but I am not sure. Nobody ever talked about his time in the camp. He came back home, once the war was finished, walking along the Adriatic Coast, near Rimini, on his own feet.
But I can’t say more, by now. Tabou. All families got their secrets, right? 
Until 90s, in Italy, Military Service was obligatory, so, my granddad choosed Navy, in 30s, he was on the beautifulAmerigo Vespucci training ship, as seal led, and my father, in 60s, in genius bridge builder. My brother was the one who didn’t give a damn of it, and he was invalided from army. First, because of his flat feet, and second, they didn’t accept shortsighted.
Me, as a child, in 80s, I was serving as a proud boy scout, on the Romagna hills (Sant’Agata Feltria, in a windy night a tent fell down, at 3pm, and I admit, that was my biggest adventure as Ladybug that I recall except hiding in the woods in the dark, and get lost, of course, or dish washing in the river), but still too shy to become a team leader. Such a shame.
My youth education was based on war stories books. Not only at school, but also, at home. Granddad, il nonno Ristin, liked strategy and big leaders biographies (Stalin, Lenin); we had this massive cultural propaganda against Communism, despite my family came from farmers and workers. At Christmas time, I remember dad, uncle and granddad having huge controversial conversations on politics, as well as football topics.
Tourism boom was the service industry which made people rich and individualist.
Personally, I have been captured by Primo Levi biography and books (If this is a man – Survival in Auschwitz), so when I saw Schindler’s List, I finally put images on what I read. And this shocked me (the scene where they run, naked, in circle and the physicians visit them or the achitect lady who was shot building the hut because she warned the Officer that the hut was going to fall down and more). Levi, I felt much empathy for him, especially, after his suicide in Turin. He fell from third apart’s floor, but someone says it was accidental. What I couldn’t understand as child was how could he can commit suicide, in 1987, after 40 years back home.
Sorry, I guess, I’ll stop here.
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Vincent Kelly, Company F, 116th Squadron, 101st Cavalry, posed for this Normal Rockwell illustration. It is used courtesy of the Army Art Collection, US Army Center of Military History.

I interviewed a few veterans who told me that “some guy in the unit” posed for Normal Rockwell. No one knew his name, no one could provide any details, and no one confessed to being that mystery soldier. It was a real dead end, so I didn’t include anything about it in Tracking the 101st Cavalry.

I had, in fact, almost forgotten about it, when I heard from the daughter of Staff Sgt. Vincent A. Kelly, Company F, 116th Squadron. She (regrettably, she didn’t sign the email, so I don’t have her name and recent emails have been returned) wrote that her father, who was originally from Brooklyn, was asked to pose for Rockwell while the troops were still in the U.S. Kelly was seated behind a machine gun for the painting, which was called “Give ‘um Enough and On Time.”

“Norman Rockwell walked over to him and tore his shirt,” she wrote. “He paid him $5.00 in a check that he wished he had never cashed. He was also given some sketches from Norman Rockwell.”

Her father didn’t talk much about the war, she wrote, just a few random comments like many of the men. “He did say that while they were waiting to land in France, he almost passed out from the fumes building up in the tank. He said another time that he was taking a picture of something, and a sniper shot at him. At first, he thought he had been shot in the face, as the bullet tore through the bellows of the camera, and he fell back into the tank yelling, ‘I’ve been hit! I’ve been hit!’ Then he realized that he had goop from the camera on his face instead of blood. He laughed about that.”

On April 1, 1945, Sgt. Kelly was under heavy enemy sniper fire in the vicinity of Distelhausen. Although he was wounded and facing continuous sniper fire, Kelly rushed into danger to give first aid to seriously wounded personnel and help evacuate them. For that bravery, he earned the Silver Star.

“He didn’t talk about winning the Silver Star very much,” his daughter wrote. “He did tell me that he felt bad because one of the men he was trying to rescue was shot in the head as my Dad picked him up. The bullet went through Dad’s leg as well. Dad wondered if maybe he had left the man on the ground, maybe he would have been saved. I know my Dad was a hero, and our entire family is proud of him. He passed away in 1998, at the age of 85.”

Soldier Boys, keep the beat inside.

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Who can mend my broken drum
Will it be as good as new
I must play when morning comes
If I don’t, what shall I do?
He keeps the beat of marching feet
He keeps the beat inside
Spencer Morgan And Dieter Hedrick Are On Opposite Sides Of The War And Fighting For The Same Thing.
At the age of fifteen, Dieter’s blind devotion gets him promoted from Hitler Youth into the German army. Dieter’s determined to prove his allegiance and bravery all costs.
Spence, just sixteen, drops out of his Utah high school to begin training as a paratrooper. He’s seen how boys who weren’t much in high school can come home heroes, and Spence wants to prove to his friends and family that he really can be something. 
Their worst fear was that the war would end too soon — that they wouldn’t get the chance to prove themselves. But when they finally see the action they were hoping for, it’s like nothing they could have ever imagined.

Giving up vs Surrender.

Here are some of the most emotional movies I have ever seen on the TV screen. Stephen King strikes. Despite I feel ashamed not to have read all of his best of. And despite my welsh airman friend would laugh at me, and say swear words in Italian against me, because to him King is just an amateur of horror. He’s more into Lovercraft.

At 16 years old, not only I have started penpalling, but I subscribed all kind of no profit associations which helped to recomfort prisoners. One was Italian, a fan of comics, blond and cute, I can’t remember why he was inmate, lost contact quite soon; I feared he was released and stalk me. Then, this man from Pennsylvania, math teacher, whose sentence was quite heavy, but tried to engage in social life of the correctional system, and wrote a book. He called me Sioux Princess, and wrote to me very long and inspiring letters. Now, this other american teacher, who will spend 23 years in jail, no kidding. Except this last one reached me by International Pen Friends, a friendship association, based in Australia. People who love snail mail are more than welcome. Yes, it still exists.

Where does this empathy for prisoners come from? Perhaps, I finally got it. Do you believe in karma? If so, check your twelve house. I recently found out that Saturn, in my chart, is in the 12th house and means alot of things. It explains me my connection with prisons, hospitals, rehab and monasteries. Spiritual practice and yoga discipline. Dealing with loneliness despite of aloneness. It all started somewhere, and somehow …

Overcoming Confusion and fear of being nothing or nobody; the lure of escaping through drugs, alcohol or a life of fantasy; sense of spiritual isolation; resistance to letting go of trappings of identity.

Encouragement Releasing the temporal for the eternal; a spiritual practice; strong sense of deep service; direct engagement with spirit.

A big theme here is taking responsibility (Saturn) for your own spiritual direction. And in the Twelfth House, the lessons are about the art of surrender.

In her book, Intuitive Astrology, Elizabeth Rose Campbell writes, “One of the biggest challenges of the twelfth house, ruled by Pisces and the planet Neptune, is understanding the difference between giving up and surrendering. Giving up is an abandonment of one’s center and capacity to respond. With that abandonment comes a loss of instinct. To surrender to a circumstance, even a difficult one, is a different dance entirely. You must retain self love and self respect through the surrender.”

Btw, freedom is one of my greatest goal and achievement in this lifetime. You can bet it.

John Coffey: “I’m tired, Boss. Tired of being on the road, lonely as sparrow in the rain. I’m tired of never having a buddy to be with, to tell me where we’re going to, coming from or why. Mostly, I’m tired of people being ugly to each other”.

Ellis Boy “Red” Redding: I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I? don’t wanna know. I would like to think they were singing about some thing was so beautiful it cant be expressed in words and make your heart ache because of it.I tell you this voice soared higher and farther than anybody in a Gray place dares to dream it is like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made these walls dissolve away. For the briefest moment every last man in Shawshank felt free.

 

Charlie, who?

IamNotCharlieFirst Paris attack came in january 2015. The whole week, unhappily, I’ve been watching videos on the web. Every day we got striking news about actions of terrorists around the parisian area. They said that they were stealing cars and hiding in the woods, so I was in alert. Police forces were hunting them, streets to airports were blocked, everybody was on his nerves. Since our company is american, it was on the target of terrorism, after 2001, and still is, so we felt like something could strike soon or later.

And as low of attraction demonstrates, when you FEEL something, it happens … this point is worth to be stressed enough, concentrate on positive, means sending good vibes into the universe ….and cosmo will send you back ! Viceversa, live in fears, and your vibes won’t have the same effect. You see what I mean? This time I was quite nervous because these two men were around, and there had been already a shooting in Paris, a police woman was killed the day before, following a car accident where one of the terrorists (the one from casher supermarket) was involved. He was wearing bulletproof vest and had a kalashnikov rifle. Another policeman was shot in Paris, a few days before, he was lying down the ground begging the killer to spare his life. He had no pity. And shot his head blood cold to finish with him. On You Tube you could find this video supporting the theory that, the fact I just told you, was a fake. It was meant to put people in chaos. And nobody knew exactly what was really trustworthy. Except people who knew that man, like a guy I was dating on line, yes, his father was a jobmate of that poor guy.

lucieleclerc_charlie-hebdo

That week “Je suis Charlie” went on a massive world movement, and suddenly turned all pictures on Facebook, into french colors. Mine, too. But I was angry, angry with Italians who hadn’t any idea of what was going on here, and with my peers, nobody showed up to say « hello ». Only a few posting on Facebook to show off at which point « everybody was french ». But no calls on my phone.

Until saturday morning, 10th of january. The day I had a date with Death for a chess game. Things hurried up at about 10h30 am, when the hall was full of kids with their families. First, I saw a security man walking speed in front of the reception, and directed to the floors. Second, two others, right after. Our screens on pc were on news all the time. The two killers, at the printing house, were shot the evening before, in Dammarie-les-Lys. Two persons held hostage were still alive. The man in the casher supermarket, who killed other persons, caught and dead, too, by the GIGN commando. What else could happen ?

Suddenly, someone shouted at the bottom of the hall, « SORTEZ ! ». « Go out ! » Damn, I swear, in first seconds I had no time to realize what was going to happen, I was just scared to death, and only knew that I had to go out from there. No matter what. My Brazzaville’s jobmate said something, and I replied « « Dear, pray, that we can tell this story, some day». We were all expecting something terrible to happen. Our energy vibration was tuned on those videos on You Tube, so in a certain way, we were waiting on a bomb strike or kalashnikov rifles fire.

Two seconds, and your life suddenly stops. Someone pushed « stand by » button. One, you hear « sortez », two, what the f*** …and in between, it stands your life until today. « What did you do until now ? » « How did you spend your life ? » »Did you explore your potential ? » »Did you do what really counted for you ? » »Did you try harder ? »

Questioning your life in two seconds, and third, last question, …where’s EXIT ?

Before I had time for longer self reflection, I hold the first little girl’s hand, and slowly, hurry up to the door and to the parking area. The man who was entering was a policeman, and I won’t ever forget that eyes look. Thank you french cops. Never enough. As soon as I stepped out of the building, my full body nerves coulndn’t stop shimmering, and seeked for other colleagues. Crowd was in panic, one close jobmate was crying, evenutally calling her sons, while I realized my phone was left inside, and I couldn’t reach my mother…. That was better, I supposed, cos what would I tell her ? « I love you Mum » like in 9/11 ? That was the feeling.

As team, we were used to test evacuations on a regular basis, more for fire prevention. But this one was supposed to be not a fake, and it was the worst and worse organised I ever experienced. Not only we weren’t informed on what was happening, but we were held in the parking area, at zero degrees, me in short sleeves, without the possibility to leave. The gate were kept closed. I mean, … Thousands of people in a parking as hostage ? Yes, police call it « freezing ». They keep control on the situation by avoiding people to go away, just in case, there is anybody involved in terrorism. Someone was jumping the gate, but eventually also the closer train station was blocked. So, I spent one hour and a half with this couple of spanish army, with their two little girls, and I admit, we were quite sure that something important was going on. A german jobmate, tried to calm down guests, and dancing salsa in the handicap parking space. No much results. So, it came naturally to me to leave my team apart, and stay with the little girls. The younger showed me pictures of her cartoons heros. We tchit tchat for a while until we were told to move. We did. And after this endless snake line we could go back to our work. Danger was over. Was it ?

So, we all were asked to go back to our job locations. That is very bad for provoking anxious state, and strange enough, we didn’t get any psychological support. First, after I entered the building, I went to toilet, of course, and stood a little, thinking to what I just experienced. Was it real ?

Nop, it was a fake. 

Yes, a fake alert. What the f*** ! That meant that I won my match against Death, yes, I was given some more time, and from now on…. from now on, what? 

In respect of the victims, and highly sensitive people, just like me, I won’t put any videos on Paris Attacks. Anyway, I might suggest you this one: “Three days of terror” on You Tube.

Canary and miners.

Bonjour !

Here I am. The first time I’ve heard about PTSD I would never consider – me – being involved, once in a lifetime. Never say never. Usually, PTSD are referred to vets from battlefields. This is not the case. Although, living in parisian region since last years, it’s sometimes recalling Tel Aviv or Libanon tv images. Anyway, I won’t tell you that this is apocalypse, cos to be honest, I am not so fond of biblic books. But I watch tv news once a while. And still live in real world:) Catastrophic events are more and more likely to happen to common people, like your neighbour, or ME, and YOU. And because we are unique, as individuals, we can have unique reactions to the same event, eg. earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorism attacks, fake alerts, war battlefields, but also everyday stress and anger management issues. Times they are a changing. Society evolves fast and speed, as well as enterprises are transforming their structure calling this process of internal reorganisation, « rational ». Their politic is mathematical and algebrical, so no more room for emotional issues, or troublemakers, ….

Do you knoe the story about canary used for testing carbon monoxide gas in last century ? According to a few sources, canaries are good early detectors of airborne poisons, they simply need more hoxygen, to fly high, than mices. The idea of using this sentinel species is accredited to physiologist John Scott Haldane, the inventor of hoxygen mask against World War I gases employed by Germans. He investigated mine disasters, especially, the toxic gases which killed most miners after firedamp and coal dust explosions. Finally, in 1986, electronic gas detectors replaced those lovely vocalist birds. This use of canary for testing environemental health reminds me of my burn out, at work, in september 2015. Constant stress exposure during a long period of time, or chronic stress, and Paris attacks (january and november 2015) caused me PTSD ( panic attacks, physic, mental and nervous exhaustion, break down, tremors nerves, anxiety, sleepless nights, memory-lost, rage attacks, hypervigilance, paranoia, and various addictions).

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To be honest with you, I admit I have been quite workhaolic since 10 years now, since I left my homecountry, and moved to France, parisian suburbs, in december 2007. That means, that all my family network lives in Italy, and although I am quite social, and friendly, it’s been quite hard to build new relationships, and friendships. Especially, considering the crazy turn over of young people in the company I am working for, still an uncertain time (please, accept my discretion on this subject). That means that every two years, I saw my new friends leaving for Uk, Us, Italy and Spain. Some spared money and they are world traveling, right now. Some met a life companion, dating on line, and eventually got married. And moved to Abu Dabi, Emirates, to get a cute tan and a new lifestyle. Since I am not keen on high tech, I have been in and out social networks, several times. I still like penwriting. Or writing emails to keep in touch with old friends. This habit is less common today. It goes all so fast that people can’t find their time to stop, close their eyes to relax a second, and breath ….I don’t blame anybody, coz I have been that person, me too. You just feel compelled to go on marching in.

Circumstances led me to my very personal « battlefield ». And this blog is meant to detail what kept me alive, and still does. How I crossed over the desert, and met wonderful people who helped me getting out of deep quicksand. Step by step. Inch by inch. In Al Pacino words, from the movie Any given Sunday : « I tell you this, in any fight it’s the guy who’s willing to die that who’s gonna win that inch. And I knoe that if I have got a life anymore, it’s because I’m still willing to fight and die for that inch. Cos that’s what living is. The 6 inches in front of your face. Now, I think you gonna see a guy who will go that inch with you. You gonna see a guy who will sacrify him self for this team because he knows that, when it comes down on him, you gonna do the same for him. That’s a team, gentlemen. And either we heal now as a team, or we will die as individuals. That’s football guys. That’s all it is. Now, what you gonna do ? »