Having PTSD is like…
I was chatting with a friend last week and they asked me to explain PTSD. It’s easy to sit back and read about the symptoms of PTSD. Many think that only soldiers and first responders can get it….Wrong! The largest group of sufferers are young abused
A while ago I posted my explanation of PTSD in a photo and got some wonderful responses and PM’s. Here it is again as plain text for anyone who wants to copy/paste and or share. 🙂
PTSD it in terms the unaffected can understand.
Imagine if you will, every bad thing that has ever happened to you in your entire life. Be it witnessing a fatal accident, someone dying in your arms, the loss of a child, the death of a parent, brother or sister. Maybe you were molested as a child or robbed at gunpoint, sexually assaulted and left for dead. Or maybe you were the victim of a violent crime, in combat, trapped in a house fire, abused by your spouse, or almost killed by a tornado. Or maybe something as simple as a car accident….
Now imagine ALL these horrific memories, with all the associated emotions, flashing through your mind one after another all the time. You see them so vividly it’s like you’re right back at the scene. All your senses are raw, the sounds, the smells, the taste and touch…
You get no respite as you sleep, if you can sleep, because your memories attack you as nightmares. You feel isolated and guilty, you no longer trust anyone. You have no motivation and your concentration is shot. You have flashbacks, are depressed, suicidal, paranoid, on edge, angry, scared, and tired. You talk to no one and push close friends and family away. Your heart races, and you’re often paralyzed by anxiety.
Now, imaging that you can’t turn it off, ever!
….and it can hit anyone.
I dream in Red
I dream of the people I couldn’t save, couldn’t help, the many that died in my arms.
I dream of being totally covered in a suicidal soldier’s blood, after he slashed his wrists and wrestled with me when I tried to staunch the flow of blood.
I dream of the man who’s truck engine tore through his lower body when he slid off the road and hit a wall. I dream of the smell of his flesh as he cooked on the engine. I dream of holding his head together, all the while knowing that if another car comes along and hit us, I’m dead. I see him looking at me every time I close my eyes at night. I see him staring back at me in shock.
I dream in red.
I dream of walking into a deserted office and looking down at a live IED some nutcase decided to try and kill office workers with.
I dream of a tiny seven year old boy flung from his parents car, now lying broken and torn to pieces on the highway.
I dream of wrestling with the dead boy’s hysterical mother, both of us covered in his blood as she screams and tries to reattach his tiny severed leg. I see that young boy every single night in my dreams.
I dream of the Sailor who was so depressed that he shot himself in the head with a 303, alone in his house.
I dream of the smell.
I dream of lifting up his pealed face…what was left of it for identification.
I dream of all the sudden deaths I’ve attended.
I dream of the fatal accidents. Bodies broken and in pieces.
I dream of the swollen bloated half eaten bodies from drownings.
I dream of the suicides.
I dream of the carnage.
I dream of the death.
I dream of the blood, and
I dream in Red.