"I just want to see trees"
International award finalist "I just want to see trees" tells the courageous story of Marc Raciti's journey through PTSD. It starts off with him seeing trees as a means to hang himself. After 5 deployments, he was left feeling angry all the time, underserving of happiness and completely isolated from his friends and family members. He was separated from his wife and children and felt haunted by the lives he had not been able to save and the families that had been destroyed by the ravages of war.
He had tried to seek psychiatric help once prior to his last deployment and was dismissed by the psychiatrist. With much trepidation he sought help and began his journey to wellness. His story shows the hurdles many of our service members are faced with after a deployment and the long journey to recovery. The story also shows the burden PTSD can place on relationships and the misinformation present in our society.
It is available via Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Just-Want-See-Trees-Treatment-ebook/dp/B01G81ZRGG and will soon be available on audiobook via audible. For new events and current information, join our Facebook page at
Excerpt from the book:
As I lay there reminiscing about the past, my thoughts suddenly turned on me, becoming angry and resentful, telling me I did not deserve a family or any happiness, only the sadness and isolation that would end in early death. How would my suicide impact their lives? I asked myself. Will I be missed by anyone? Did I explain in enough detail my feelings of hopelessness and sadness? Would they understand and, more, importantly, would they forgive me? Tears streamed down my cheeks. I was unable to move. Then my thoughts turned again, this time to Unforgiven. I wanted to understand what happened to it. This once magnificent tree was probably covered with healthy green leaves that danced in the wind in its original days of glory, brimming with branches full of life and flowers that bloomed year-round. At one time, it provided great shade and shelter for smaller animals. What had happened to it? There were other trees in the area thriving. How come they were spared, but not this one? Or was the tree like me? Was it somehow punishing itself?
As my eyes grew heavier, I leaned back and looked up into the star-filled sky. The beautiful crisp air filled with sea surf and the sweet aromatic scent of the nearby Plumeria trees had a calming effect on me. The sound of the waves crashing on the North Shore was rhythmic and soothing. My mind began to slowly settle down. The thought of getting up and going back to my place crossed my mind, but there was nothing waiting for me at home.
Sitting on the moist ground at the base of Unforgiven made me feel good. If I were sitting on a comfortable chair, the guilt would have been too much and I probably would have gotten up. But, sitting in the dirt made it okay to feel good, even if it was only for a moment.
Now I could feel myself drifting away and the sound of the waves becoming fainter as I sank into sleep. The dreams I had as I slept there were vivid but surreal. In one, I was walking toward Unforgiven and as I got closer to the tree I saw myself sitting still, lifeless in the exact spot where I’d fallen asleep. I had no expression on my face, but my eyes appeared sad and in a downward gaze. The longer I stood there looking at myself, the less I would see of me. I was slowly becoming part of the tree—another root outside the ground.
The drizzle of a light rain woke me up or perhaps it was the dream. Did I die in my sleep at the base of Unforgiven and then became part of it? I shook my head to shake off the sleep and gain my bearings. Then my thoughts turned to how far I had fallen, convinced that I deserved to sink to this low level. Just for a moment, I caught a glimpse of the old me in my mind: a great husband, father, soldier and American—the version of myself I no longer recognized. Now, all that was left was a man plagued by survivors’ guilt, unidentified anger and profound sadness.
I was a man who had worked my way up through the Army ranks from private to field grade officer and medical provider. I had raised myself up by my bootstraps, tirelessly pushing myself to improve. I was determined to make it through college—mostly by attending night school after working all day as a soldier—while holding down a part-time job. I made a decent living and I secured a future for my children. But, in spite of all of this, I had lost my family mostly by my own doing.
The self-destruction of my life was slow and methodical, and all because I did not believe Ideserved things such as a loving family, a comfortable life, or a successful career. Fallen soldiers and friends who did not come home from Iraq would never have those things, so how was it okay for me to enjoy my life, knowing they would never see their loved ones or home again? I felt like a fraud.
I rose to my feet and headed to my Jeep feeling sore but more rested. In an instant, a feeling came over me. It was courage to make one more attempt at suicide. I pulled the strap from the cargo pocket of my uniform, and headed back toward the tree. I tied the strap around one of the main branches and then slipped the noose around my neck. The words “FUCK THEM ALL!” slammed through my brain. Sucking in one last breath of life, I walked right off the main branch that was about 10 feet off the ground and waited for the noose to tighten and my neck to snap. But, strangely enough, everything was happening in slow motion. I was falling so slowly that I was able to look up through the branches above me and beyond to the night sky. The noose started to tighten around my neck.
In a few more seconds it will all be over, I told myself. No more guilt, sadness, despair or self-loathing. I kept waiting for whatever was supposed to be greeting me on the other side to appear—an angel, a white light, any of the things I’d read about that appear when people die. Instead, my body hit the ground like a sack of potatoes. My spine felt like it had migrated through my chest. The impact of hitting the ground jolted me awake.