Everybody has a secret or two, something that they keep hidden. Whether it’s something painful that remains deeply buried, something shameful or outright outrageous and could land you in a fair amount of trouble.
Like every man i have a fair few of these.
Being a former serving soldier there is a fair amount of baggage that remains buried and very few people know about.
This is the route cause of my recent apathy and disconnected feeling to everything around me.
A couple of weeks ago, I was going through the usual yearly routine of getting my documents in order at work. For car, travel insurance etc.
I happened to leave my driving license and passport on my desk whilst retrieving some documents from the printer.
I returned to my workshop to a couple of colleagues working on a piece of equipment, this is pretty normal, I have the largest space in the building and people will use the space when they have to build larger pieces of kit or range test lasers etc. I usually just get on with whatever im doing regardless.
After maybe half an hour we start talking about general stuff, where work is going to take me in the next few months, where ive been etc. One of them spots my passport on the desk, as it was the topic of conversation he has a look, Its a double thickness passport due to the amount of traveling I do. There are entries in there still dating back to my time in the Armed Forces, many of them quite ‘exotic’(you wouldn’t go there on holiday).
After a quick look through this he moved on to my driving license, immediately comments were made about the entries i have on there. They date back to when i was serving, I’m not proud of them, they draw up memories that have long been put to the back of my mind.
All would have been good if it had finished there, the other colleague then got to it before i could. I believe the words were “lets have a look then”. This guy is the company loud mouth, nothing will remain secret for long(before this the only one who knew was the company HR).
Time to baton down the hatches, this is hard, now many people ‘know’ some of my past. I am now reminded of this every time someone mentions it.
It brings back thoughts and feelings i would rather not remember, It was a dark time, I get withdrawn much like Danny did after his new years incident .
It is not hatred or fear that comes back to me, instead there is much sadness and depression linked to this time.
I lost many friends whilst serving, on operations i participated in the deployment with the most losses from a single British unit in Afghanistan. I coped with it quite well at the time, writing home to my partner at the time, sometimes laying things out in some quite graphic details. This was to be my undoing back then, whilst i was coping with this method, my partner(also a serving soldier) did not take this so well!
I was recalled home from operations just after 5 months, I was met by my Regimental Sergeant Major at the airport, this was very odd, i knew something was amiss as soon as i arrived to see this, you usually will get a duty driver, not the not the highest ranking non-commissioned soldier in the unit!
When we got back to my unit I was sent to shower and eat, I was then called to my commanding officers office, non of the usual ceremony etc that is associated with going to see him. This is when the news was broken to me, My partner had committed suicide not 48 hours before.
I was in my own personal hell! Thousands of miles away from the death and destruction i was living, I had made someone else live it via proxy. This was not intentional, it was a release valve for the built up emotions that i had at the time.
Something so small and seemingly innocent at the time took me back to a dark place, somewhere i will not go often.
I have learned my lesson, I am more cautious about what I leave around, even in the most harmless of places things will happen that challenge your current frame and take you back a few steps to someone you used to be.
I will be hiding my past more so than before, It may take a fair amount of time to recover my frame and bury the emotional damage that was done nearly 10 years ago.
Everyone has these moments, some to different extents, but we all do.
The lesson here, if you dont want things digging up, hide it. Hide it well, it is hard with the internet intruding more and more into our lives. But dont make it easy, it takes a hateful and jealous person to go digging past the superficial and readily presented information.
If you find a person like that, do everything within your power to remove them from your circle, it will only harm you in the long run.
Learn from your errors.
He did not say a word to me