A tribute to all sufferers of PTSD, including those who bravely risk their lives so others can sleep peacefully at night…

I stand with my back against the wall. A man scratches his nose suddenly, the woman nearby laughs carefully hiding her sadness. Someone walks by, a lump in their jacket. What is making that lump? Where are his hands? Does he look upset or violent? Suddenly there is a hand on my shoulder. I jump at the touch, ready to grab the arm, ready to put my weapon into action. Its just my friend, telling me he found a good place to drink coffee.

Right now, I just want to get out of there, go to my safe place and be alone. Like many PTSD sufferers, I experienced hypervigilance. A state where everything is accutely observed to avoid danger, to avoid getting hurt… to survive. I like comparing it to noise, having ten different people shouting in your ears at the same time, and hearing exactly what every one of them are saying. Some who suffered any form of abuse become finely tuned people watchers. They can tell what feelings you hide, those little lies people tell, even intentions without needing a single word. That look someone has just before they pull the trigger. For people like this, it can be hell. Living in noise, just wanting to escape and be alone. I used to hear the gunshots after a girl screams, knowing that they come from my memories, tortured by the thoughts they bring.

If you have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or relate to this post in any way, I strongly suggest getting help. I was there too. I know the thought saying “I’m fine, I dont need help”. Man was I wrong. I got help years later, and I never looked back. Totally worth it!

I still suffer from noise… Seeing the pain in people’s pasts, still looking for signs of threats. I still sometimes retreat to a corner at parties, shutting out the noise by focusing on something silly like the taste of my one drink for the night. But now I can get along with it.

I can’t go back to yesterday, Im not the man I was then any more.


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