I dedicate this story to Dr. Richard Barnum: Thank you for guiding me through the roughest of waters.
PTSD is the black hole that lives in my mind. It is so greatly overpowering and it’s darkness consumes me every day of my life. This powerful monster consists of all of the memories, all of the trauma, all of the pain and every thing that I have lost.
I received the diagnosis of PTSD when I was very young, and at that time, I didn’t accept it; there are sometimes when I still don’t accept it. I didn’t want to believe it was true.
“But I have never been to war.”
This is what I said and still stay when I don’t want to believe what happened to me.
It varies day to day, some days, I accept and I know that these experiences have left me so broken that there is no way to ever piece me back together. Other days I paint a smile on my face, wipe the tears from my eyes and I say it was nothing. The truth is, it was something.
I carry all my broken pieces around with me, just as I carry my belongings; they never leave me, not even when I close my eyes to sleep. There is no rest to the emptiness and there is no end to the memories; I know they will never stop and I know that they are forever my burden and nobody else’s. I see in the world that I am not the only one. I am not the only one in the world who is left haunted by evil ghosts. Living with PTSD is not something I talk about, but maybe it is time to start.
I may have never been to war, but I have looked death in the eyes with fear in mine. I have had my mouth taped shut and my words silenced. I felt my heart break in half as everything I knew was ripped from my hands. It has taken me over ten years to sit down and speak of my demons because I am someone who likes to pretend that there is nothing wrong. It took me so long because I was frightened at what I knew I would feel. I was frightened to look into the eyes of these demons who have never left my side.
When I look in the mirror I see a short girl with messy hair and hazel, yellow eyes. Behind my eyes live those ghosts that I never speak of. The ghosts of the past. But I am not alone. You are not alone. Don't lose your voice as I lost mine. It is OKAY to have feelings, it is OKAY to cry, it is OKAY to be haunted, but it is not okay to be alone. I strongly believe that help is the best solution to living with PTSD. It doesn’t take the pain or the memories away, but it gives you some solitude. Every month I see my psychiatrist at least twice and he has saved my life. I speak to him about my problems and even though they may have nothing to do with my PTSD, it helps to speak out, I pray for everyone suffering and I send them all of my love. More than anything, I send them a message. A message that says: you are not alone.
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