It starts from nothing; A
Simple annoyance that
Any other day wouldn’t
Even register; No carts at
The grocery store – that
Is the pin prick where
It begins; compounds.

Annoyance; What I want
Will not all fit into the
Basket I am now forced
To take. The elderly woman
In the motorized cart
Moves like molasses as
That electric engine whines.
The noise – disturbing.

Suddenly the produce
Isle is full of too many
People; Two kids tear
Ass through the store
Like screaming madmen;
Anxiety and fear set it.
Then anger. Angry that I
Even fucking came here.

Pacing back and forth
Stuck on the decision on
Which oranges to buy –
The real decision is do
I stay and deal with this
Mess, or do I go; Around
The bend some toddler
Shrieks as the parents buy
Milk and that is it – Trip over.

I don’t care what I have
Or what I don’t – this fucking
Trip is over. Frustrated that
The world is in my way today;
Frustrated too that maybe,
Just maybe it isn’t.

About anotherwarriorpoet

Mathew Bocian served as a Captain in the United States Army with the Stryker Brigade and was deployed to Mosul and Tal'Afar in 2004 - 2005, and to Baghdad for The Surge in 2007 - 2008. He left the Army in 2012 and now uses his poetry as a way to heal from the traumas of war, while attempting to express to readers the realities of war. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and holds a master's from the Graduate School for Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh.
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6 Responses to Cascade

  1. I still get the anger to seemingly minor things in everyday life.
    Too many people not enough space is one but add loud noise and that moves to the top of the list. Tell me, do certain smells also trigger a response? Hot oils is one of my stress triggers.

    For me, something still simmers beneath and it’s not nice.


    • For me not so much smells, but certain noises – particularly when they break a silence – and sudden, erratic or unpredictable movements by people. Young children I find particularly difficult to be near / around. Thanks for sharing some of yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing. I have PTSD from a medical procedure gone traumatic, and being in hospitals are huge triggers. Smells, beeping sounds, etc.

    Have you found anything to help when there is a trigger?


    • No no, thank You for sharing. I’ve previously been through different adjustment disorder / PTSD counseling when I was in the Army and also at the VA but to be honest, for me it boils down to self-restraint. Discipline and self-restraint. Some meds help, too. I honestly do my best to avoid situations that I know will have a large number of triggers, but when I find myself in one and I begin to get annoyed, anxious or on edge – I try to just breathe and ‘endure’ the situation as long as I can. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

      All the things that help me are probably the wrong ones; avoidance and if its a big social situation (party, restaurant, etc.) a beer or glass of wine to calm the nerves. I’ve tried other stuff; Exposure therapy and all that junk – whatever. I have heard that there is a lot to be said about progressive muscle relaxation but I haven’t tried it. In the end for it its just trying really hard to dissociate the situation I am in from the intrusive thoughts.


      • Yes, I have found avoidance to be best, as well. Thought do creep into my mind on occasion, and I try to let myself “go there” because I feel like maybe it will somehow not scare me because I know that I’m not really “there” anymore. Some days that works, some days, not.

        I, too, have been on meds. Got angry that I had to use meds and I couldn’t think my own way out of it. My husband knows when these thoughts are hanging over me and he will gently say, “time to help yourself” – which means take a half a Xanax, and the other half later if I am still trapped in the thoughts.

        I know that our experiences are not the same as far as location and situation, but PTSD sucks. And there is no warning of when it is going to be set off.

        Talking about it with you has helped, though. Thank you.


        • You’re right; we have two different experiences, but that doesn’t make one’s more difficult than the other’s. I don’t mind the meds I am on. It took me years of experimenting to get the right ones that made me still feel human, but I still say that one of the most adult decisions I ever made in my life was when I went through our OIF III post-deployment health reassessment program (PDHRA); at one of the stations, a clinician coldly said as she read a checklist, “do you want to speak with a mental health professional about anything you experienced or witnessed?” And I thought, and I said ‘yes’.

          At the end of the day, one thing has worked for me and I’ll do my best to explain what it is. Acceptance. The second I stepped foot in Iraq, I knew I would be different. And when I came home and was not the same, I thought long and hard, and after some time (and a lot of anger, resentment and sadness) I accepted that this is who I was. PTSD was what I had. And that this is just how it was going to be from now on.

          When I came to grips with that, life got a little easier. I identified with it – I didn’t ruminate over it – I accepted it. Because no matter what happened to you, this is you now. Your husband seems to accept it. And if you accept it, despite triggers or bad days, you still get to be ‘you’ and you still deserve to live life and be happy.

          Thanks for talking about it with me.

          Liked by 1 person

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