Day 12 of 30 Days In June, “I Fight To Protect My Own Six”

Day 12 of 30 days in June, PTSD Poetry Project

Poetry created from PTSD/TBI blog posts 

“I Fight to Protect My Own Six”

Sweating, screaming, overheated

I wake with screams in my throat

Nightmares where I’d screamed for hours until I was hoarse

I wake and my throat feels raw

As if I was in that place again

No questions answered

Moments of frantic squirming inside my memories

I want answers

 Give me an answer

Help me to understand the questions

I will have the right answers

I don’t understand what they want


Please make it stop

Please make this pain end

Please before I let go of my life

These moments sneak up when least expected

Past is in the past

Yet it intrudes upon the moments of good

Good which is in my life now

Surgeries somewhat healed my broken body

Afterward soft hands held mine

“You can heal, you can live your life

Now you can move on”

It is only a theory

One which is a sweet taste in other’s mouths.

Reality, is a hardtack road

Mud eaten as I drag my dirt covered body

Through this thing they call “moving on”

Would they have said this knowing it would be so hard?

Times I wanted to quit

Wake in the night to the piece of paper reminding me

“If you quit the process they keep winning”

They do not get to win

Don’t be a quitter

Protect your six

Because baby no one else will

You don’t get to quit

They continue to be the victor if you quit

You cannot quit

You do not have the luxury of quitting

Six months in finally digging deep

Three months more before I could speak my truths

A year more when I could say them into someone’s eyes

I must protect my own six

Or I will never protect anyone’s six

So I continue to fight

I fight against all the unanswered moments

I fight to protect my own six

I fight so someday I can protect someone else’s six

When they feel they cannot win this fight

When they wake in the darkest of nights

Whey they fear the process

Of this thing called “moving on”

I will fight to protect their six

Because I first fought to protect my own.


“Have I Got My Own Six?”

originally posted March 2015

       The unanswerable questions are what haunt me in the night. Those questions pursue me until I wake up panting for air. Sweating and overheated I bolt awake. I swallow back yet another scream. In my nightmare I’d been screaming for what seemed like hours on end until I was hoarse. As I wake up my throat hurts again as if I was still in this place where no questions could ever be answered. I have no answers and I know I never will.

      The unanswerable. Those are the worst. Those moments when I feel frantic as I remember wanting answers. Just give me an answer, help me to understand the questions and I will have the right answer. These are the days I dread. They come upon me when I least want them to. They sneak up in my psyche when I most need to focus on important life happenings.

       I know, for myself I have to move on, I have to focus on the good things in my life. Good things do happen. I am healing and have healed in so many ways. My body has healed, been broken and healed again. Surgeries have ensured I am healed and can move on. I remember the surgeon holding my hand with hers, “you can heal now and you can live your life, you can move on.” It’s a seemingly simple moment. I truly wish I believed as she did. The simplicity of just ‘move on’. It’s a theory which is only this, a theory.

       A theory which in actuality is a hardtack road. I’ve fallen down in the wet mud. I’ve swallowed the dirt and crawled for miles in order to not get up and face these things. I’ve lain on my back and screamed at the sky until I was hoarse and tears streamed down my face. Then there was the day, or for me it was the night I woke up sweating and trying to catch my breath. I’d gotten to the end of it and was done. I was ready to do whatever it took to face this and heal.

      I knew I’d chosen a road fraught with so many pitfalls. A road which seemed so easy and once I was on it these pitfalls became clear. These massive potholes which jar me along my journey. Some days and some nights I just want to quit. I want to give up. I keep a piece of paper near my bed for those nights. On it is written “if you quit the process then they keep winning.” It’s a strong personal reminder of the consequences of quitting at this point. 

      Don’t be a quitter, you can’t quit I will tell myself in the night. Some days I just go out in the garage and say it out loud, “you don’t have the luxury of quitting. You chose this fight and you don’t get to quit.” It’s those moments I truly do question my sanity.

I’m not a quitter, I never was a quitter and I’m not quitting now. The progress I’ve had is just the beginning, this fight isn’t over, it may never be and this is OK with me. I’m fighting for me. I’m fighting to get myself to step back far away from the brink and keep moving away from this abyss of just giving up. I’ve had to take hard difficult inventory lately about how I nearly gave up. I just quit moving forward, I stagnated in place until I literally couldn’t move forward or backward.

The night I woke up and realized this wasn’t where I wanted to be, I was not the person I wanted to be anymore? This, this was THE moment change happened. I’ve wanted to quit a hundred times since this decision. I wanted to quit when I couldn’t find a specialist in PTSD. I pushed forward and timing got me to where I am today. I wanted to quit at the six month mark when I knew I had to quit waffling and just dig deep and deal with this mess of my life.

Today, three more months into the process of finally digging deep I want to not keep dealing with it all. Yet I will not give up on me. I won’t..

It’s a process where I have to protect my own six and I never thought I’d say this one out loud. But if I can’t protect my own six? How could I possibly think I could protect anyone else’s?

I don’t have the luxury of quitting on me and so I won’t.


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