Ghosts of the Past – PTSD

I cry in terror as the demons of the past pull me into the dark with the ghosts of my past. I cry out, “Leave me be”, I pray for a moments peace, to sleep and to escape, even if for just a while. I pray with tears rolling down my face but, my prayers go unanswered, peace eludes me. In the dark awaits the judgment for all my actions, all my decisions, it is my very own personal hell from which I cannot escape. There is no Jury that can pronounce a sentence harsher than this.

There is no cure for that which awaits me every night, no relief from what I cannot see, yet fear with every waking hour of the day. There is no escape from the fingers, pointing, accusing, judging, the ever burning question I ask myself time and time again, what, if anything, could I have done.

My body, wracked with pain screams for relief but for a moment in weakness, I cannot allow it relief. My brain fills with images and I can smell, hear and feel memories that may have faded with time but terrifying all the same.

I want to reach out for help but I feel shame, for, in my mind, am I deserving of the torment that has become my life.

I long for the days when laughing came easy, life was an adventure and I had pride, self esteem and a sense of purpose. I wonder, would I find the peace I so desperately desire in death? No, it is not a path I can take, it is the love of another in which I find some strength. I cannot allow my own selfishness to cause her pain. Within her arms, I feel safe and willing to face my demons.

It is not so much the judgment of others I fear but that which I put upon myself, the man I see in the mirror disgusts me, he is weak, he has allowed his soul to be corrupted by demons of the past that are of his own making.

I sit here in the quiet hours of the night, awake and afraid, but so desiring of a peaceful sleep knowing only too well it will never come to me. I feel the demons of my past reaching out, imploring me to allow them in, it is the same each and every day, there is no escape for I am condemned to relive the past because I cannot forgive myself.

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychological injury. It comes after an event where a person is exposed to actual or threatened death, serious injury or sexual violence.

The event could be something that has happened to you, or something you have seen.

For example:

  • a natural disaster such as an earthquake, flood or bushfire
  • a major car crash or other serious accident
  • severe physical injury
  • rape or sexual assault
  • domestic violence
  • war or other attack
  • witnessing murder or violent death
  • a traumatic birth experience.

People with PTSD have intrusive memories of the event. The memories affect their physical and mental health, relationships, work and daily activities.

PTSD affects about 4% of adults in Australia and New Zealand. War veterans, police and emergency services workers generally have higher rates of PTSD.

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