Now that a new category has been added to this Blog, I will begin by sharing a little about how I came to acquire this brain injury. Once the awesome Bob Wagner has been added as a co-author, get ready for some gritty, real talk about this condition. As both of us are sufferers you will get insight into this nightmare from the sufferer’s perspective. Our aim is to educate, illustrate, inform, and provide support and information to others with this injury, and to those who have loved ones with PTSD. Don’t expect any of this to be couched in gentle, uplifting phraseology. There are no pink hearts and flowers and inspirational quotes written over attractive woodland settings to be found here. PTSD does not ‘do‘ platitudes.
When persons think of PTSD they often think of Combat Veterans. While it is true that a large percentage of individuals with PTSD come from the armed forces, one need never have seen battle in order to end up with this diagnosis.
We Australians are very reticent about sharing our personal lives with others so this post is not a comfortable one to write. I have no intention of providing the minutiae pertaining to the events that left me forever broken but I will provide you, dear reader, with a small amount of the story. So how did a capable, intelligent, confident Mistress become wreckage on two legs; placed on a Disability Pension, unable to work, and forevermore unable to function in ways she did before? The short answer is “A group of Americans”. If only ‘being forced into the wilderness of a foreign country on threat of death and you will be cool about it’ was the worst of it. If only having to pretend that I was ‘okay’ throughout the ordeal, with a hastily fashioned garrote in my back pocket, a sharpened hunting knife at my side, and the continued knowledge that I had to be faster than the ex-Military owner of the AR in plain sight if a decision was made to use it, was the worst of it. It wasn’t. But I pretended. My life depended on it. I pretended that I was ‘cool’ with something so far from ‘cool’ that I amaze myself when I think on it now.
It did not stop there, of course, and I am giving a summary here. While relations had (obviously) soured, this damage leaves the wounded party believing that this is not only their own fault, but that it was deserved in some way, so it may not come as a surprise to learn that I was too concerned to break contact with the individuals who did this thing to me, in case there was worse to be endured. There was. When dealing with sociopaths there is always worse to be endured. I was subjected to emotional blackmail, emotional abuse, the deliberate breaching of private correspondence, mobbing, bullying, and eventually tactics straight out of a manual on techniques used in the military as part of psychological warfare; lies, fabricated events that did not occur but were just believable enough to leave one questioning their own memories and sanity, false accusations about motives, behaviours, events, and actions, and a systematic and deliberate crusade to leave me feeling as unsafe in my own home country as possible: “Have gun, will, and can, travel”.
I am not going to write any more about this now. I have given you a glimpse of a horror far larger than I have shared here. I must stop now because even writing this much has caused me to relive the experience in vivid detail that has left my breathing shallow and my heart pounding hard and fast.
Just know this. Brain Imaging shows exactly what changes occur in the brain physically when one has PTSD. It is not a chemical imbalance, it is a wound. When I am not thinking about how this is all somehow my own fault, or dealing with intrusive memories, anxiety attacks, the loss of the ability to write, create new memories, make new friends, or even think, I am occasionally jolted by a comment or a picture that shows me quite clearly that this is an injury not a straightforward illness. At those times I get angry. At those times I can see physical damage inflicted upon me, as if someone had broken my ribs, as opposed to something that I ‘deserved’. And then I am utterly livid with the perpetrators. But let us not go ‘there’.
I am not safe. I will never be safe again. And, at least one of the individuals I have written about here, still stalks this Blog of mine. She will read these words. I can only hope that she is finally satisfied that she succeeded in destroying me completely. I am not dead yet. But there are things far, far worse than death: this waking nightmare is one of them.
Congratulations. Well done. Much kudos to you all for destroying another person. Rejoice! You’ve got to be happy with paying something like that forward.