Those who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder build a wall between themselves and emotion. Emotional healing requires tearing down that wall.
I haven't yet been to "The Wall" in Washington, D.C. The names are in chronological order so it wouldn't be difficult for me to find those of the men I saw die. But there is another "Wall" for those who suffer from PTSD. The "Wall" they've all built inside their minds and souls that keeps the festering wounds from healing.
Many of you know I've written blogs about the horror of PTSD. Interviews, emails and over a year of research have taught me many things I didn't know. There are so many common threads among the stories. There are too many similarities in the explanations and rationalizations I've heard from those who suffer so silently and so long.
So many times I've heard and read the same words from men who have never met but who share a common affliction: PTSD.
"If they could see inside my head." "If they could know what I have locked inside." "Nobody knows what I've seen." etc, etc.
In a recent report, a journalist who was terribly wounded by an IED in Iraq spoke of her way of dealing with the trauma she'd suffered. Two of her associates were killed in the incident. She said a therapist told her it would help her cope with PTSD if she talked about the trauma instead of holding it inside. That seemed to work because she also stated that as soon as she'd recovered enough to speak again, she began to talk and hasn't stopped since.
The opposite is true for so many... too many. I talked to a fellow Corpsman who told me he still hasn't told his wife anything about his time in Vietnam. I know how he feels because for too many years I kept it inside.
If there is one goal I hope to achieve by opening my own wounds and removing my own "Wall" by writing about these things it is this: If you have a loved one who suffers from PTSD, do what you can to get him/her to begin to open the rusty gate on their "Wall." I know it's not easy.
I was asked by a counselor if I'd ever had a "release." Many of us who have kept the secret of PTSD for years or decades think of opening up that gate as a horrifying proposition. What kind of flood will result from breaching that dam? Will it be too much to handle? Once released, can control be regained?
The problem with that way of thinking is that "control" word. Control is something many who suffer from PTSD think they have as long as that "Wall" exists. They couldn't be more wrong.
It's a difficult thing to tear down that "Wall." But as long as your loved one hides their pain and fear behind it they will never be able to feel or give the love everyone wants and needs. As the bricks are removed one by one, the healing will begin. I'm not saying all the years of suffering will go away. That can never happen. But the anger and pain may ease so communication can become easier.
I wish there were an easy answer to PTSD because our country is in for an epidemic after the current vets return from Iraq. But each case is an individual battle. I've been working hard to get past the obstacles I've built for myself. The first step is admitting we have a problem.
PTSD can never be completely eliminated as long as there are wars but take it from one who knows... Your inner demons will never leave unless you begin to TEAR DOWN THAT WALL!
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|Reviewed by La Belle Rouge Poetess Of The Heart
|CONTROL in caps is something PTSD sufferers feel they must maintain or they will be destroyed or destroy someone else, this is one of the very best articles I've ever read on it Chuck. Unfortunately some live most of their lives behind the walls and others never learn how to tear the walls down. I'm afraid the tip of the iceburg is all that is visible now with our vets.|
|Reviewed by Elizabeth Price
|Very courageous for you to offer yourself up as an example. The vulnerability that opens you up can be very scarey. Keep going. It's worth the effort. You deserve the best. Liz|
|Reviewed by Karen Vanderlaan
|wow, such an overwhelming thing--and how do i help my student diagnosed with ptsd?? tough stuff|
|Reviewed by JASMIN HORST SEILER
|Now that we have spent four hundred billion on the war, maybe it's is time to spent the same amount to help all those poor veterans that came back, they've done they're tour, now let the government do theirs to help, it would be the only decent thing, or moral thing to do would'nt it Chuck? Bless you, and may you and all your friends heal! Jasmin Horst|