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PTSD (Long)

Posted by EDW74 , 27 January 2006 · 84 views

This post will most assuredly be more personal than I ever intended any of them to be. I'm not looking for advice or pity, as is not my nature, I just needed an outlet, and maybe someone will read this, and then I know that at least someone out there knows.

I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, not from combat, as many other veterans do, but from personal experiences from when I was a child.

I spent 8 years as my stepfathers personal punching and kicking bag, and at times his target as well, when he was in the mood to throw things. I don't know why he was the way he was, and at this point I don't really care about the why's and how's of it, I've moved to the point in my life where it's just what happened and it cannot be changed.

My mother was not a trustworthy woman, and I must say that I was innocent and trusting enough to believe her when she said, "I don't lie and I'd never lie to you." If I had a nickel for every time she'd said that and proved herself wrong, I'd be rich. She used to ask me to keep an eye on my brother, who is 11 years younger than me, so she could run to the bar for a pack of cigarettes or a six pack of beer, and come home four or six hours later, and the answer was always the same. "So and so bought me a drink, and one led to two, I'm sorry." To me, I'm sorry means that I didn't mean to do it, I made a mistake, and I'll try not to do it again, but she always did it again. Integrity was not a part of my motherís character.

So, I got started off all wrong, and the first woman I was supposed to be able to trust, I couldn't. The first man I should have really been able to trust, I couldn't trust him either. Dad? Well let's not start on that, I'm not even sure he knew I existed. If he did, it was for brief moments.

So, let's fast forward a few years, I grow, I move out, I'm on my own, I start living with this girl, we'll call her "B". She was nice at times, when she wasn't fighting with her childrenís father, or sleeping with him. Strike 2 for women, things at this point were not shaping up to be a good life.

We'll move on down a little further, to my first wife, we'll call her "K". For her I was a way out, a way out of school, a way out of her parents home, and a way to get away from everything she was. We were married, too young, and financially less than destitute. I figured that since I had nothing when we met, and she still wanted to be with me, that had to be love, right? Well I joined the Army, to support my new wife, and take care of things. I didn't know that while I was away, the "K" would play and play she did. It didn't stop there, no, no, no, Once she moved down to NC where I was stationed, she picked up with new men. When I was at work, or off at a school or even when I was at home and she "Was out with her friends". Friends being the operative word here, as it can have so many meanings. I'm not bitter about this anymore, but as you'll see here, I'm still feeling some of the after effects of it to this day. Strike three! I'm out. Where as to what she did, and what she's doing, or even how she's doing, I'm indifferent., almost thankful to a degree.

If we hadn't been where we were, then we couldn't be where we are.

So after her and I split, I took about a year off from women, no dates, no sex, nothing. I just wasn't interested. I didnít' want the hassle, or maybe I was secure being numb. I drank a lot, partied way too  much and have periods of time I cannot recollect because of my behavior. I toned it down and started only drinking Thursday, Friday and Saturday as opposed to every day.

So I meet this wonderful woman, my current wife, we'll call her "A". She was patient and understanding, had some emotional baggage from a bad marriage too, we had a lot in common. Both loved to dance, a love of animals (My house is a zoo). Loved to travel. I figured all these things I'd been feeling would go away, all the insecurities, the petty jealousy, all the baggage I've been carrying around for most of my life.

Things got bad for a while, so I went to see a Shrink, we'll call her "Dr. D". A woman Dr. you say, how could you even conceive of seeing a female Dr.? Well it took me three months to finally "open up" to her, she was amazingly patient. We'd discussed this in a session, a few years after I'd initially saw her, and se told me that every time we'd meet, she'd wonder, "Is he actually going to start talking to me today?" and for about three months I didn't. I hid, I dodged, I ducked and sometimes, I'd just stare. I'd calculate my answers to her questions, so as to use up as much time as I could, so the session would end. One day I finally opened up, don't know why, or what caused me to do so. I do have to admit though, it felt good! I didn't know that some of what came out was even in there, her diagnosis, PTSD. 2 years after we started I went to Korea for a year. So a year without therapy, at least for me was a wasted year.

At first it was hard to trust my wife while I was away, after what past experience had told me. I knew I was screwed. So I did what I tend to do in extremely stressful situations, I partied, way too much and way too hard, and again, I have periods of time, which I only know about because my roommate, or another friend told me about. So sad is my existence, I know, but it's all self-inflicted wounds.

So I come home from Korea, and go back to Dr. D for some more therapy, and it helps. She gives me some medication, but it didn't help, so I stopped taking it. I was doing good. And now I'm out of the army.

SO what does this all have to do with PTSD Ed?

Slow down I'm getting there.

Here is what it is, or the bottom line if you will.

I, sometimes, am taken back there, to those times, to those things that have happened. My wife will do something, and I'll lie down to go to sleep, I'll shake, because I feel, no I know that something's not right. Something's amiss. She'll go to a friends house, and be there all night, I'll come home from work, or wake up and she's still gone, and there I am back in NC, in the house I lived in. Or there I am in bed, but not the waterbed we have, the regular mattress bed I had back then. She'll say to me "I was doing this or that, or it's not like she was doing this or that", and emotionally, I'm back in the yard in NC, and I hear her voice, but there's another voice intermingled with it. She'll get mad, and tell me to deal with it, or get over it, and I'm 9 years old, in the kitchen with a broken nose, bleeding into the sink, and I can hear my stepfather yelling those same words. Or she says she's going to a friendís house, and 5 hours later I'm 11 - 12 years old, looking out the window at the bar, where my mother went. I lie in bed awake, begging for sleep, I wake up four or five times during my sleep cycles. I carry a gun around when I'm home alone. And from time to time, but not always, not like it used to be, there's a ball of heat, of anger and hate that sits in my chest. Sometimes I cry, because I don't know what else to do, and other times I refuse to cry, because it would hurt too much to do so.

I have no friends here. I have me, and my wife, but at times like now, when she's angry, because she doesn't understand what this is, and just thinks I'm being an (expletive deleted)hole, I have no-one but me. I don't go out of my way to make friends, why should I, they'll just use you. I do have one friend, a friend of 20 years, but he's 1600 miles away. I guess Hootie & the Blowfish said it best "I'm only lonely on the inside", By no means am I a shut in, I go out and do things I enjoy. Most people who know me, say I'm fun to be around and a funny person, but it's just the mask I wear. My grandmother once said to me, "Take off the armor, relax and have some coffee" I didn't know what she meant. I always, during the colder months, wore a black ankle length leather trench coat, boots, gloves and a mock turtleneck. She told me that it was all to keep others away from me. If I looked intimidating, then people would leave me alone. I'd covered up so much of my physical body, all I was really trying to do was hide myself away. She was right.

My wardrobe these days, is more colorful than ever. Most days I'm in a pretty good mood, and the PTSD only rears its ugly head from time to time. I read on a website that people who have this, their psyche will give them bits of trauma to deal with from time to time, as the person is ready to deal with it. I don't know. I do know that I love my wife, but I cannot handle these feelings anymore. When I think it's over, it's back, and angrier than before, meaner, uglier. I sometimes wish I could just go to sleep, for a very long time, and this would all be right. Life doesn't work that way, so I'll go on, and deal with this. I'll most likely die old and alone, for no one will be able to put up with me.

And all, all of this does is prove that I'm an idiot!

Jan 27 2006 04:14 PM
Hi, I read your post, and I'm still trying to figure out Why your in 'idiot'??
I sympathize with your terrible past, I know how hard it can be to let go of such trauma. It takes alot of work. It feels like poison destroying you.
there are books that can help, if you like reading. if you want titles, I'll pm them to you. Just let me know.

Hang in there.
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Jan 28 2006 09:44 AM
bounce.gif you know what they say, if life was fair,elvis would still be alive and all the impersonstor would be dead
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