People in general, especially those who prescribe my psychiatric medications, often want to know about my childhood. I seldom write about it because there is little drama and it was quite normal and good. Actually it was too good. I don’t feel I lived up to my potential that I was led to believe I had, prior to joining the military.
The biggest reason why I did not live up to my potential is that I have Schizophrenia and have had it since and because of my military service. I also think the military opened my eyes to what extent evil plays in this world. Most Americans would not believe how cruel people can be to one another and animals.
I think the key point where I had enough stress to trigger my genetic tendency towards Schizophrenia happened in my what they called at the time NBC training. This comes down to what civilians call a chemical suit and gas mask.
To motivate people to put one on fast enough and to test how good the seal is, the Army has everyone go through a gas chamber filled with tear gas. You then take your mask off while inside, for about 5 minutes. This happens during the mid point of Basic Training.
You are also exposed to tear gas later (in the open air) during Field Training Exercises, where you put together all your initial training. It is a very depressing form of camping. Later you go through the gas chamber each year, while in the Army.
To some people this may seem inhumane, but it is very necessary considering the parts of the world we fight in and who we fight against. It is much more humane than people getting gassed with poisonous gases. Various parts of this training for chemical weapons take a large part of the time for the Combat Survival Training first learned in Basic Training. There is even an NCO (for example, a Sergeant) who in the Army is responsible for the NBC training in every unit.
We learn how to clean off skin and eyes exposed to chemical weapons. We train to give shots to ourselves or others, in case of nerve agent exposure. We practice shooting and do our specialities in complete chemical suits (what they called MOPP4 gear at the time). We needed to know how to recognize signs and grenades that signal chemical weapons. We also tested on how to put on the entire suit in a few minutes.
So being in the military made me too paranoid to take almost any risks. One of the things I learned from the military was to be very careful how I exposed myself to possible accidents or commit to any extensive responsibility. At this time I decided for sure I never wanted to be a leader. Our platoon, nicknamed Troopers, had a motto called “No Slack” which meant that you are never given any allowance for failure in any way.
When I look back on what happened to me during my childhood, I thought I would be an international businessman and specialize in distribution for big business. A good example of one of the most well known ones today is the current CEO of Apple Inc.
In High School, I became an Eagle Scout after being in Boy Scouts (now called Scouts) 11 years and was elected to the Order of the Arrow and staffed at several Scout Summer Camps (one on the coast and one in the mountains). I started and was President of my own Political Club. I was President of Model United Nations in my High School and lead a committee in the regional Model UN conference, I won first place in a National Peace Essay Contest for my state and won a minor scholarship and trip back to Washington, DC.
I also was also in Cross Country and Track most of Middle and High School with one year I took off to be in Cheerleading as the Spirit Man and Yell King (of my High School). I took 4 years of advanced English literature, 4 years of Math, 4 years of French, and 3 years of Science in High School. I was treasurer of my Catering Club and was given an award for my Speech club and went to State competition in both Speech and Future Business Leaders of America.
In the military I had some success. I was told in front of my entire platoon that I would be the one promoted as the Drill Sergeant had only one she could promote but that I had already had that rank for being an Eagle Scout. I missed getting a gold coin for 95% grade in my Advanced Training classes by a fraction of a point, so my AIT Drill Sergeant gave me hers from her Drill Sergeant school.
I even tested out of an entire year of college, did so well at my job that they wanted to keep me (knowing that I had mental problems), and I was doing very well in my physical fitness. I went on a half marathon through Kole Kole Pass in Oahu Hawaii, where I was stationed. I got A's in the 2 civilian college classes I was studying at. The one I slept through the final but still got an A+ on the then 9 page essay final (no book).
That is why I have not written much about my childhood. It makes my life as an adult sound sad in comparison. So now I never travel very far, I haven’t had a job in a very long time, and do not lead anything or are even been a member of anything.
I have written a lot in the last 25 years - maybe 2,500-3000 book size pages and run a website for that long, but that doesn’t sound very impressive. I tried various volunteer jobs and between my not having a car and not being able to be around bleach (my other disability from the military), there are basically no opportunities.