I’ve been physically sick again. Flu and PTSD memories make a lousy combination. I’ve been busy trying to write down more of my own personal PTSD experiences. I’ve been writing partly for the VA and partly for my children. The VA has their purposes. The writing of my personal trauma legacy for my kids, who are now adults, is so they will know after I am gone (hopefully still years away) why I’ve not been the father that television propaganda says they should have had.
More and more in my role as a university professor I run into young people who are bewildered why they don’t have a “TV Family.” Sometimes, it is because one or both of their parents had survived trauma before they even knew each other. That parent struggled for a normal relationship, marriage, parenting, but the PTSD still ate at them and there was much they could not say or express. And thus, we often appeared distant or cold to our kids, our spouse, and our friends. We were struggling with bigger issues: finding the means and the will to choose to stay alive. We may not be the best parents, but we care, and we choose to stay alive…when it comes right down to it that should beat the “Brady Bunch” any day.
My PTSD is progressing into its third decade, nothing compared to the Vietnam, Korea, and World War II generations and light years longer than our current vets. Unsung and largely unprotected go all of the women and children and men who have suffered various civilian traumas that are nation pretends do not happen – regardless of when they were traumatized. So, it seems we are all in it together.
And, over the course of these years of surviving I now know a few things about PTSD and spirituality and about staying alive. The combination of physical illness and the active remembering of trauma can make me ill and enhance the damage of my PTSD. But, at the same time, I know now what I never knew when I only had five or ten years of PTSD under my belt.
I know that this latest bout of PTSD symptoms will pass, that my writing in the long run is healing. I will not always suffer as bad as I am as I write this out.
It can certainly be worse, it certainly has been worse, and it certainly will be better. I won’t always feel this crappy, this helpless, this discouraged, and so damn worthless as a human being…. certainly not.
Genesis 1 (I think verse 26 or 27) tells me we are all made in the “image and likeness” of God. That means we have value, no matter how damaged we are, no matter what we have done, no matter what has been done to us, and no matter what we have failed to do. God loves us and is in relationship with us and values us, regardless. When I meet with people I try to remind them of that: Each of us has real value in the eyes of God. And, so do I… and …so do you.
We can all choose Life together. It will not always suck this bad, so stay alive, it will get better. I know.
Semper Pax, Dr. Z