Fear to Sleep


I’ve been restless at night and haven’t slept well for the past few weeks; I’ve had headaches now for three days. Its funny how the mind works — triggers; everyone has them; a smell for instance will trigger a memory, maybe just they way someone says something would cause trigger that brings back a memory. I think those of us who have experienced extreme violence; violence most people would think humans are not capable of, have more triggers then most “normal” people.

My line of work has in the past caused major triggers to go off in me; there was this one project that I was on that dealt with things going on in Iraq and Afghanistan, which I am not at liberty to discuss so I can’t go into detail. It got to the point where I could not sleep and when I did I had horrid dreams which would wake me; I would be covered in sweat and I could feel the tension in my jaws, my jaws tired and weak from being clinched. The dreams were not just those of what I was dealing with because of my work, but things from my past, Things that you try like hell to forget and put behind you.

Doesn’t work; I mean as hard as you try it’s there, it never goes away, you just accept it in a strange sort of way.

Do I ever wish I have never experienced things that are the root cause of this? Good question and I’m not really sure how to answer that. I believe that we as humans are the sum of our experiences; we are today, whether for better or for worse, what our experience have made us. Then there are those defining moments that you cant change anyhow, things that you do for your family and country; like war. So I guess, for me and in my case the answer to that question is no. If I had not done and experienced what I have in the past, I would not have the 6 children and the wife I have and love today, my circle of family and friend have given me memories that are priceless and I would not exchange anything, even a different path in life for them. But there are those nights still. Here is a poem I wrote after one such night;

Fear to Sleep

I awoke hot and trembling,
From my sleep that one late night,
Weighted memories from my past
Screaming from my mind.

In dreams of vivid incidence
That once I had live though
Brought terror to my mind and soul
That I could not sleep though

In waking hot and wet from sweats
Laying, still, upon my bed
The fear once felt in the past
Still running though my head.

Creaking sounds of this old house,
Amplified it seemed
Wakened senses long subdued
Survival my mind screams!

Rising from my bed in stealth,
Stalking though the house,
Checking on my children
And checking out the house.

Looking out the windows
Into the dark of night
Straining to see of mine, enemy
Is after me this night.

Once I feel the house is clear
I lay back down on the bed
Awake there listening for sounds not right
Eyes open in the black.

No sleep will come till break of dawn
Not wanting dreams again
Tiring to subdue the things that me think again.

– Bill Baker 2/6/2009

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2 Responses to Fear to Sleep

  1. Deb Deegan says:

    Hi Bill,

    I found your site while searching for a Faberware manual; thank you for those!
    Your site caught my interested and I read a few posts. They are very well written and a pleaseure to read. I too am from a military family, and would like to say Thank you for your service to us/our country, and God Bless!

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