The eyes of a Wolf always see straight into your soul ...

...You can't hide the truth from them


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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Stretched to breaking point...

Have you ever had one of those weeks when just about everything that can go wrong actually does?

I didn't realise how much extra pressure I've been under lately.  For a few months I've been training hard towards a grading and have been pushing my body too hard.  The result has been an increase of pain levels by about 50%.  I often forget to take note of how this impacts my mental health, as I'm too busy trying to shut out the pain and achieve an objective. 

In addition to that it's been stressful getting things ready for the launch of my second volume of poetry: 'The Way of the Wolf - Poetry of a Veteran'.  The latest hick-up is coding problems in the version that is to be uploaded to Waterstones.  I've spent the day clearing errors and am down to just 1 error and 2 warnings.  The original list was huge!  There's a little publicity arranged for the launch but nothing major.  Independent writers don't have large budgets to call upon and are reliant upon word of mouth and kind hearts.  My heartfelt thanks go out to all the people that have helped and supported me in my writing.  They leave comments now and then and they make me smile because there's an interaction out there; someone wants to read my words and understand what it's like to walk in these moccasins and in turn become more aware of what other veterans may be going through.  These people help me to carry on ... and I'm grateful for their support.

The icing on the cake this week was dropping my camera.  The sigma 50-500 lens broke apart at the neck, leaving part of the mount stuck in the Canon 40D.  Sigma feel that they can repair it - so it's all boxed up and ready to ship.

I was sat with my neighbour Edna this afternoon.  We sit by her back door and talk while drinking tea.  I can have a rolly and keep the smoke out of her house that way and can hear the birds that frequent our gardens.  We both let out whatever was bothering us and it wasn't until that point that I realised just how close I'd been skirting that slippery slope.

Time for bed.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

PTSD & emotional defence mechanisms ...

What happens if someone with an emotional vulnerability feels he or she is being attacked at the point where they are weakest?

You could get any number of different responses but in my case it tends to lead to me shutting down emotionally until I can process what has happened.

I was recently involved with someone who thought that I was purposely closing her out and perhaps trying to punish her by withdrawing my warmth...but it wasn't so.  I tend to be more vulnerable than the average human being in society because of my particular experiences through life.  When subjected to pain, who wouldn't withdraw themselves.  If your hand gets too close to the fire and starts to burn, do you not pull it away?

One of the realities of living with PTSD is that I have a defense mechanism that closes down all my emotions - it's a bit like being surrounded by thick, metal doors.  Nothing gets in or out until I've managed to sort out whatever's just happened. 

If you're in a relationship with a vulnerable person, take care and communicate openly and effectively in a sensetive manner.  It doesn't mean that we've stopped caring for the person that we've had the upset with ... just that we need time to deal with what has happened.

Friday, 4 May 2012

The Way of the Wolf - Poetry of a Veteran

Where does the time go?  I released Words of a Wolf - Poetry of a Veteran in 2010 and have been working on the next collection of poetry since then.

'The Way of the Wolf' is due for release in May 2012.  I'm working on the finishing touches as you read this blog piece.

One of the aims of this collection is to touch on the issue of racism in the Armed Forces and the Metropolitan Police in London, England.  When I think about my experiences and the incidents that caused me to contract Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), I have no doubt that the racism I was subjected to compounded the situations because during certain times, I knew that no one was covering my back - this is more true for the Metropolitan Police (MP) than the Royal Air Force Police (RAFP); although there were the odd incidents there too.

The big difference between the racism I suffered in the RAFP and the MP is that I had mates in the RAFP that had my back and actually brought the racism to a senior officer's attention in Northern Ireland.

I'd love to mention the names of those of the people that helped me in those times of uniform service, the only thing that stops me is the risk of some sort of repercussion towards them in case they're still serving in those sorts of careers.

The book provides an insight into a Veteran's experience of living with PTSD and raises awareness of Asian Veterans who can, if they're not properly supported, disappear between the cracks of white British and Asian culture.  My experiences stem from the 1980s.  A time when joining the Armed Forces or any of the Constabularies could leave you ostracised by Asian communities.  The other side of that coin was just as harsh, as very often, you could be serving with people that didn't want you in their uniform.  You had to work hard to survive in those roles.  From what I hear from some officers in the Metropolitan Police, things haven't altered all that much for Asian or Black officers.

The Way of the Wolf continues to touch on other emotions, some light, on the continual journey of life that hits peaks and troughs.  Writing these words and continuing with my photography allows me a way of trying to balance through the extreme periods and to continue my existence.  It also reflects on the futility of war and hints at the games politicians play with little regard for the members of their Armed Forces.

The immediate aim of both these books is to raise money to carry on with awareness raising work on the difficulties faced by Veterans with PTSD and their loved ones.  This will be done through exhbitions and workshops.  Should there be any profits, some funds will be used to buy materials for the Occupational Therapy units at 'Combat Stress', as part of my work is to raise awareness of the benefits of using creativity to cope with PTSD.

Another area of work is to help disabled artisits to promote and protect their Intellectual Property on the internet and to help them to develop simple ways to sell their art independently and through networks. Please check out 'Respect IP'.  This resource will continue to be updated as and when time and energy allows.  This resource has already helped some new artists to get off the ground.

I hope that you can support the projects by buying the titles and spreading the word about my work.  There are no publicists involved in this project, I only have you to rely upon.

All the best

Villayat 'Wolf' Sunkmanitu

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