Now you have a name for your cluster of
Post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD for short.
We have defined the problem. We know what
it. We know why you were
We know what it is not: It is not insanity. It is not weakness. It is
not laziness. It is PTSD. You fell into a bucket of shit and no, you
don’t smell like a rose. There’s no point in pretending.
The first step to healing post traumatic stress disorder is to accept that you really should not feel okay.
If you broke your leg, you wouldn’t pretend everything was fine, and
wear long pants to hide the bone sticking out of your skin. You
wouldn’t smile through your pain. You would scream and cry about it.
You’d show your injury to everyone until someone helped you. Best of
all, you wouldn’t have to show too many people before someone got you
into an ambulance or a hospital. Everyone would be sympathetic.
Too bad trauma isn’t like that. Our culture is squeamish about
emotional pain. Some people don’t even believe in post traumatic stress
Those that do, would still rather not hear about your unfortunate experience especially if you’re going to get all teary-eyed or angry about it.
Having your soul ripped apart hurts. A bone can be set and heal in a
matter of months. Emotional pain takes more than a cast and 30 days to
heal. Trauma causes
But many would prefer you cover up your pain. They want you to smile.
They don’t want to hear about PTSD. They want you to be pleasant and to
pretend everything is all right because, quite frankly, they don’t want
to hear it.
Screw what people want to hear. The truth is always the truth and the truth wants to be told. Listen to
your own truth.
If you won’t say it with your mouth, your
will say it.
If you pretend it didn’t happen, your
will betray you.
If you refuse to admit your pain, your
lack of emotion
will show it.
If you say it doesn’t matter, your shame will eat at you.
If you refuse to ask for help, your irritability and
will scream for it.
The problem is, that the people around you might not recognize your
symptoms are a way of asking for help. Mostly, they will think you’re
being a pain in the ass.
So don’t be a pain. Don’t try to protect those you love by hiding your
problems from them. You won’t protect them, you will hurt them. They’ll
assume they’ve done something wrong, or that you don’t love them. So
don’t lie when they ask you if you’re all right. You are not all right.
But you will be. Tell them that.
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not much is required;
so little we need
the smallest of dreams,
a mere mustard seed.
a glimpse, or a glimmer,
a flicker of light,
a promise of day
against vapid night.
Books by Suzanne Grosser