The boys of Metallica have done it again.
They may or may not be to your taste, but for me, the song One from …And Justice For All always summed up what I knew to be the horrors of war. I think back to my own personal soundtracks through all of the deployments, and One was always on the list. It’s officially considered an anti-war song, but the reality of it always struck me. For those who don’t know, the song chronicles a soldier who returns from war who lost their hearing, sight, ability to speak, and all of his limbs due to a landmine. A Metallica fan from before I joined the Army, the song brought new meaning after I experienced combat myself.
As I mentioned, they knocked it out of the park again, in my opinion. On 18 November 2016, they released their latest album, Hardwired…To Self-Destruct. One of the songs on the album, Confusion, is about veterans who have returned from combat, only to find the battle still raging inside their heads.
Wake to face the day
Grab this life and walk away
War is never done
Rub the patch and battle on…
Just as impactful as the song, however, is the video. Take some time to watch it here; if you’ve deployed to combat, it may hit you in the gut. I know it did so to me the first time I watched it.
Do all veterans experience this drastic back-and-forth after returning from combat? Of course not. Does it perpetuate the stereotype of the battle-scarred veteran that can’t readjust to real life? Maybe, but then again, it is as much art as reality. It’s the fact that this is a glimpse of what it is like in the mind of some veterans.
Coming home from war
Pieces don’t fit anymore…
This is what some veterans experience, put to music and represented in video format. We can tear apart the fact that she wouldn’t be patrolling herself, the scarf is unauthorized, all the other stuff, but miss the point: this is a very real experience for many veterans. At the same time, it doesn’t have to stay that way…there is help out there.
Rapid is the road to sacrifice
Just takes longer to come home…
This is the challenge that many veterans face. They are quick to sacrifice, the service that they provide for their brothers and sisters, to endure hardship. It does take longer to come home, but coming home is not impossible…it only is if the veteran thinks it is.
There does not have to be a never ending war. The guns can go silent. All it takes is to reach out for help.
Did you enjoy this post? Please comment below and share with your network in order to join the conversation regarding veteran mental health. You can sign up for updates from Head Space and Timing and follow Duane, a combat veteran and mental health counselor, on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Donna Ingram Brewster · December 1, 2016 at 6:00 pm
I don’t know if I’ve ever, consciously, heard “Metallica” before, but this video is… so revealing? I’m at a loss for words, but it has helped me to somehow “feel” some of what a Veteran friend, suffering from PTSD, must be feeling. Thanks you for the article and the video.
Duane France · December 1, 2016 at 9:49 pm
Donna, I’m glad you found it informative. As I mentioned, it’s not this clear, but the video is as good a representation as I’ve seen. Thanks for the feedback.
Don · April 17, 2017 at 9:17 am
An under documented fact if WW2 were the number of veterans that died at home after the war years before PTSD had a name. Lots of his peers died of avoidable deaths that their training and experience should have prevented. So great the denial of the problem that these got explained away too conviently.
Coming home mentally is possible but no trivial task. If some parts can solve quickly others may unbend slowly over 40 years as the means to corner and solve them safely materializes. I met a marine sergeant who hid his fear to help his men avoid the lethal risk of succumbing to fear. 40 years later, he was finally processing the ethics of lies rather than excusing them and berating anyone who might say it could be wrong to lie. After all, lies about lack of fear helped his team live through island cave fights in the Pacific. It is even possible his perception that such lies saved more lives than without them was true. Personally, I think his men appreciated his effort to care even as new replacements temporarily benefited from a shot of confidence before realizing he actually did have fear. But that is their story, not his. He ask me we it right to lie to friend rather than foe if it helped them live? 40 years was this question eating at him. They realized the truth well enough, it is the harm to the marine sergeant himself that turned in to the complicated wound.
Duane France · April 17, 2017 at 9:24 am
Thank you for the heartfelt and meaningful reply, Don! Your description of the type of challenges that veterans face is critical to breaking down the stigma against talking about and seeking help for these issues. Much appreciated!
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