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My Experience With Complex PTSD: A Poem

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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is like a snake that never leaves

• What is PTSD?

It coils itself around my body taking control

Sometimes I don’t realize it’s there until it’s crushing my soul

The pain is debilitating and the guilt and fear

I do everything to tell myself it’ll be better in a week or month or year

If I could just stay in the present today right now right here

But in this moment when everything feels so overwhelming

When I’m curled up in a ball and I feel like nothing can help me at all

My body shakes and my mind races

The memories take me back to all the people and all the places

That broke my heart and fractured my mind

And healing is just a thing I think I will never find

Out of broken hopes and broken limbs

I’d always choose the latter

But when it comes right down to it

None of that seems to matter

I am restless and I’m exhausted

I am hopeful but I am haunted

Every breath I breathe is sharp

Every heartbeat I feel is dull

I am completely drained of life

And of death, I am completely full

I have to shine a light

I have to tell my story

Yet sharing all this darkness seems like it might be the end of me

I try to comprehend how I could have survived this gore and horror

When simply recalling it all

Seems to have much more power

My mind betrays me because I don’t just see, I feel the memory

all of a sudden I’m right back in it

I have fallen down a rabbit hole where a lifetime goes by

But it’s only been a minute

When I come back the world is different than it was before

And there’s a new layer of pain

That I just can’t ignore

But underneath the weight of debilitating devastation

there’s a thread of strength that keeps fighting without hesitation

I will push on, push through every prison

I will climb every mountain

I will fight for my freedom like it is my mission

I will hold onto the truth

And tear down the lies

I will ring the neck of this beast

Until this diseased snake finally dies

Unsplash photo via Maeghan Smulders

Originally published: May 31, 2017
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