I received this question on October 7, 2013 from my an Email I recieved through my CONTACT bar on my wordpress website at https://jmaxtaylor.wordpress.com. I have been trying to sort out a way to answer this question for several hours.
It depends, to some degree, whether you are in the jungle (Like in Laos, Cambodia, or North Viet Nam) or you are in a foreign country. Both situations create a high level of anxiety, tension, and nervousness. Every one of your senses is magnified. I can remember many times that I was at so high alert level, that I could feel the air moving the hairs on my arm. There is no way to really explain what adrenaline will do to your body. It is just something that you have to experience.
You may have experienced some of the adrenaline rush I talking about if you were driving a car and somebody pulled out in front of you. You stood on the breaks and tried to steer away from the car. Let’s assume you managed to avoid hitting the car and nobody was hurt. Remember how everything seemed to take forever to happen. Your time sense had been affected by the adrenaline rush. When it was over you were still tight, and it took some time to become normally relaxed again.
This probably wasn’t the best explanation, but at this time it seems to come closer than anything else that I have thought of. The only difference is that on a mission, by yourself with no support, the adrenaline almost never lets you come completely down. The PTSD therapists call it “Being on High Alert”!
They don’t really understand what that means, but in this case, they are correct. At the high end of the “Alert” everything seems to be moving in slow motion. As is decreases a little, your time sense returns back closer to normal until some sound, smell, or other sense turns the adrenaline meter up to high again.
In retrospect, I am surprised by how long I could stay in this state of heightened awareness. It sometimes lasted for hours. If it had been on for a long period, I would start to get tired and touchy. When this happens you have to “Go to Ground”. By this I mean you have to get someplace where you can get control of yourself again. If you don’t get yourself under control, you will make a mistake. This can get you killed so fast you wouldn’t believe it.
Sometimes the only answer is to get out of sight and be glad no one has seen you. I’m glad that most people have had only very short time experiences with the adrenaline rush. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. It can leave you weak and shaky.
It always seemed to happen more often if I was in the jungle. If you look at the front cover of my book (Inside the World of Mirrors – The Story of a Shadow Warrior) you will see what it is like in the jungle. The picture is of a stand of bamboo in Laos. Take a hard look at the picture, and think about how much you can see, or maybe can’t see is a better term. When you know there are people out there that would kill you if given the chance, it is little wonder that the adrenaline kicks in.