There's a rush that comes on the heels of significant events here.
After the IED explodes, or the RPG whistles overhead, or the shot cracks past, there's a moment of panic as you process the fact that you are still alive- that this time, they missed you. After that seconds hesitation, the rush hits.
No one really knows what it is, exactly, but we all feel it. It's physical. It's emotional. For some, it's spiritual.Some say it's endorphins or adrenaline; some say it's rage, or hate, or joy. Some say it's safety- the knowledge that Someone is watching out for you. It's different for everyone, but it's always there.
For me, the rush is mostly exhilaration. It's a feeling of invulnerability. I've heard the unforgettable sound of an RPG somewhere very, very near my little sector of space, and stood a little taller yelling "Missed me, you bastards!" as I spin the turret and look for the shooter.
The first time I got blown up, I had to remind myself to get up and look around for the trigger man or possible gunmen set to take advantage of the confusion. I felt like I was floating through a world where time stood still. There's something about looking directly at an artillery shell and seeing it vanish with a sharp crack and rush of dust and debris that changes you. My brain was yelling at me "This isn't normal! You shouldn't be alive and thinking right now!", and my body was yelling back "Well, I'm definitely alive, so hoist your doubting ass up into the turret!"
I've never felt more alive than I do in the moments after a near miss. I feel the same way after a big jump skiing, or after jumping off a bridge, but here the feeling is magnified a hundredfold. It's incredible when you do something that you shouldn't live through but do.
Some might call me sick, or crazy. I assure you that I am sane, and very much alive.