Because my wounds are not visible, people often ask me, “what does it feel like to have PTSD?” I wrote this poem to explain what it feels like for me to live with post-traumatic stress disorder.
It doesn’t matter if it’s cold, hot, sunny, snowing or raining.
There is no telling when it is going to strike
Are they alive or dead?
Is that pain real or echoes from pain long ago that
Resurface with a memory?
It’s like being held hostage by your mind.
Thinking that today would be the day I am free.
I look like everyone else.
I know the difference between right and wrong.
Yet in my head I often can’t remember
The last ten minutes of my life, or what day, year or time it is.
Are those smells real or is that a smell from a place and time
when I was being held against my will.
Am I really hearing the sounds of helicopters, planes, cicadas or birds?
Or it that the sound coming from a place that no longer exists and
Should never be talked about?
I want so much to be like everyone else.
So I will keep pulling myself up the rope,
Out of the clutches of PTSD and all the skeleton hands of the past that
Keep trying to pull me down.
I am like everyone else only my job is to live, so I CAN live.
That is all I can ask of myself if I am going to have a future.