In the Middle East, summer months were always fighting months. No one but the United states really wanted to fight in winter (and to be completely honest we didn't want to fight either). Summer though? It seemed like IEDs, snipers and all sorts of other fun parts of fighting would appear out of nowhere and make your life a real fun time.
Even a brief glance at casualty figures will show you that the summer months were not pleasant for US troops. Fighting picks up in tempo, routes that had been green only a week earlier are suddenly black, people start dying. It really starts at the end of May and picks up during June, July and Ramadan. Those are usually the three hottest times in the ME.
Perhaps it is because of this that myself and so many other veterans report lack of sleep, restlessness, and nightmares during this time of year. Last night for me was particularly bad. It was the old one I've never been able to shake. Harrelson in the truck burning, screaming for help and I'm just feet away unable to do anything. I know he was dead before the truck started to burn, but still. . . its a thought that haunts my dreams.
I know I'm not alone. I know I'm not the only one with nightmares, but when you face the long cold night alone, when you experience your worst nightmares over and over again. . . well you tend not to want to sleep even when you're exhausted.
I've been sleeping in short spurts over the last week or so. a few hours here a few hours there. It leaves you constantly feeling drained and devoid of energy. Unfortunately there's nothing to do but suffer through it. There isn't a sleeping pill I've yet tried that actually works and will knock me out for a full 8 hours. I doubt that there ever will be, and if there was I wouldn't want to get addicted to it.
I'll deal. It is what it is and I can't really fix it. I'll wake up with a start. Remember some horrible dream that leaves me shaken and go on about my life until I can get back asleep again. That's just the way of things for the summer months.