It is, I am told, Mental Health Awareness week. Alienora Taylor wrote of her own experience in her blog today. I have chosen to repost the piece below. It can happen to any of us, for whatever reason.
For me it was the attack on my son. A mindless attack, for no good reason, that left him in a coma, close to death, expected to die, with a screwdriver rammed through his brain.
I didn’t realise how bad PTSD is till I lived through it.
Put a bone under too much pressure and it will snap. So can the mind, in varying degrees.
The ripples from an event like this spread far.
One thinks of post traumatic stress disorder in connection with major tragedies, soldiers on the battle front, natural disasters.. but it gets even the least of us, quietly, and often goes unregarded.
For me, the nightmares started early. That first week. I woke screaming. After ‘watching’ every member of my family, ever person I have ever loved, be mangled, dismembered, flayed and left for dead in agony.
But that, one assumes, is normal under the circumstances, a normal reaction to the horror we were living through. How could it be otherwise?
But when, a year later, a whiff of the aftershave Nick used to wear makes the supermarket dissolve away yet again and leaves you back at his bedside in ICU, standing stock still, unaware of normal life, time travelling back to the point of horror, then you know something has to be done.
Flashbacks take you back ..not as in memory, but as if you are there again. You see, hear, smell, feel and experience what was, while what is fades from existence. It can happen once a blue moon, or ten times a day. You can’t see it coming and can’t escape it once it starts.
It colours every aspect of your life, leaves you afraid to sleep, destroys relationships and normality itself. And yet, you still have to function.
I wasn’t the only one affected. We are still suffering the consequences and damage this attack caused to us all and while we, as a family (or what is now left of it) continue to be blessed by my son’s impossible recovery, by the support of people like you, who read this, and by messages from all over the world, please don’t be fooled.
It still hurts like hell.
Only another nightmare …
Scarred images in
Reach for another cigarette,
Another sleeping pill,
Unable to forget.
Always the gore,
The torture of loved ones;
Correct in their essence.
Trigger the flashbacks…
Engulfed and excoriated,
Strangled by memories
Ravaged by vision,
Dreading the dreams
Expecting the torment.