I get messages like the following and they floor me. Every time. I wrote the poem this young man references when I could barely leave my bedroom and was completely consumed by pain, anger, and despair. At it’s worse, PTSD makes you feel like garbage. The idea that I’d soon find the love of my life and we’d build an enormously happy family would have seemed silly and probably offensive. But find her I did on an epic motorcycle journey, and today, our home has kids bouncing off the walls from dawn to dusk!
This young man found some hope and understanding in “I Was Wondering”, the same light in the darkness I found when I wrote it. Even though my life was out of control and deadly, this poem helped convince me that something worthwhile and creative could come from it. This hope pushed me to continue writing and led to all the work I do today. By trying to explain how much my life sucked to no one but myself with a poem, life started to get better.
Please read the couple of messages below from this young man. He understands the darkness, PTSD makes you feel like garbage. He wrote them anonymously but told me I could share them. Encourage each other folks. We might be suffering in plain sight to the world, but we don’t have to. It might begin with a poem, it might begin with reading a book even though you’ve read “all those books.” Whatever it is, just begin. In hindsight, that first step you take will be the very one that leads to some amazing things.
Take a minute to look through my website. Read about my life, my family, my traveling. It all began when I found a desire to live even though I had a table full of pills and a gun to my head. The poem below was written then. However dark your world seems, there is light.
I don’t even know his name, but I want to thank this young man for the continued hope he gave me. Life is easy to live when you know your effort is helping others. PTSD makes you feel like garbage, but we aren’t garbage. We all get broken and we all need to respond to that brokenness actively, with love.
E-mail I recently received:
From: Another guy with PTSD
Thanks for a message of hope. Many resources are there, many medicines I have had, but rarely, in the seven years I have been back from Iraq and diagnosed with PTSD, have I found a read such as “Who am I?”. Reading it, I felt like I wrote parts of it (although, as an engineer, my writing skills are nowhere similar to yours). I am talking about how similar this disease of PTSD is, among people, no matter the background or the story, or training….. I have a blog as well. It is just such a relief to write about some of the day to day fighting against PTSD and anxiety, just to went (it is still anonymous, for now). Just wanted to say thanks! http://fightcontinues.blogspot.com/
Excerpt from his blog:
I wish I can find the words to fully sum up this disease (that may be a loooong essay), but reading a poem from Silouan Green, I could not have said it better:
I was wondering
From one grave to another,
One bound in dirt while the other,
Wakes to face his every day
How different is death
From my long dreary breath
Can a corpse ever see itself crying
Silouan Green in “Who am I?”
“This is how I feel, exactly how I feel; a corpse being devoured by anxiety. Not one pico-second (that being 10^(-12) of a second, a veryyyy short time) of happiness or joy in my accomplishments, hobbies. Just a desire to stay locked in my apartment, or to run away to Alaska, far far away (but that would require me getting of the couch and being able to fend for myself in nature). I feel like a piece of garbage on the side of Route Tampa going north, right before a right turn to Tarmiyah Iraq.
Recently I have come across some eye opening reads, as well as my friend who posts here, made me realize that there are many others like me in the world, we are just suffering from PTSD and hiding in plain sight, until the disease becomes so strong, that causes us to be revealed and have to run, be it in social circles (this is something we can control by staying isolated) or at work (this here, a realization that my “colleagues” know there is something wrong has cost me many of jobs where I had just picked up and left, for no good reason; no performance problems, no outbursts, just Anxiety of knowing they know).”
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