Ending 2010 ...
This was a very difficult year for me with regards to coping with PTSD, simply because I opened up a small window into my soul for the greater good. The greater good being the campaign to shed some light into the lives of veterans with PTSD. To help their loved ones and other pople understand them, their journeys, their concerns and their hurdles.
For some veterans the hostile zone lies in the past, for many others every day is a battle against stigma, a lack of being understood, being isolated and ignored and fighting to get from one day to the next. The problems that you face in daily life affect Veterans too, they become the extra layer of crap to deal with on top of an already exhausting fight.
In a way I failed other veterans on this blog because I couldn't open up as much as I wanted to. I allowed you glimpses into my life but kept the real stuff locked down ... tight. There is a fear within me that if I sit with someone and open up everything that I won't be able to control myself - I'd be walking around like weapon without a safety catch ... and writing the poetry book added to the sense of vulnerability as my soul was exposed to you in an attempt to make you understand the pain that PTSD can cause.
As I watch the waning moon I sit and remind myself of the most recent emotional scars; feeling the pain of the events that caused but them, firmly, closing the door on them. All the current crap that has happened over the last 3 years.
I moved to Nottingham over those last 3 years and felt the undignified way that the NHS in the area handles Veterans that transfer from other areas. The only department to handle the situation with any dignity and understanding was the pain clinic. The rest were completely ignorant of PTSD and what the average Veteran goes through. I recently recieved a letter from the NHS that stated that a recent study showed that people only benefitted from accupuncture over a period of 12 months, after which is was of little use. I've been trying to con my body into accepting their finding but it seems to utter one phrase in return. 'What a lof of bollocks!' I really dislike needles and would not choose to sit and watch them being inserted into my body for a good laugh. Yet, the treatments act as a valve release for both physical pain and the mental stress. I feel like I've shared a spliff off Cheech and Chong (you know - the big fat ons they roll?), I'm completely zoned out and relaxed by it. BUT, I have to bow to the superiority of some jack arse that wrote a report and listen to the trust tell me in a round about way that they're cutting the service down because they don't have the budget to keep it available to me. So, another of those doors that are closing is the NHS and it's service provision to me as a 'priority' patient. My thanks to the Tory/Lib Dem alliance; shame they haven't invented an effective cream for that dose of hemorrhoids yet.
I met my father over the course of the last 3 years somewhere. I felt he needed me and I tracked him down and went to him. I didn't know that there had been a death in the family. He started to grieve as he saw me and I held him and allowed him the silent dignity to wash his pain. I told the younger members of their household to leave us. He told me his brother had died and I listened in silence and he just cried until there were no more tears. I'd never seen my father cry - hell in the time since my parents split up in 1972, I've only seen him 6 or 7 times. I guess there are some things an elder son is expected to do for his father and this visit was one of them, even though I was unaware of the event before meeting my father.
As he calmed, we sat and talked of more general things and we agreed to meet again quite soon. I told him that there was somethig that I needed him to read. I opened my soul to him about my journey with PTSD. We met a week later and I handed him the words. He read the first page, then skimmed pages 2 and 3 and handed me the words back saying, 'It's all in your mind, this is nothing.' I remember thinking, 'Genius! He could be a psychiatrist!' He certainly had the required level of ignorance to be an average psychiatrist. He then looked at me and said, 'I don't like you.' The dislike centred on my having a different family name to his and not following the religion of my ancestors. That might be the bit about being the eldest son that I tagged 'Blow it out your arse'.
I was careful with my children on that score. Teaching them about spirituality and keeping them away from organised religion ... but also raising awareness of the different faiths and teaching them tolerance and letting them know that if they decided to adopt an organised faith in later life - it was their decision and it was ok with me because my role in their lives was just to help prepare them for their journeys - not to live their lives for them.
So, my father is one of those doors that will firmly close as the SnowMoon disappears.
The relationship with my children has changed too as they firmly enter that horrible period of hormonal change. The doors open for them and I'm still here ... but the times are a changing and they've got to learn to get up on their own feet and learn the words their talk will walk.
So, as far as being more open about my PTSD goes ... it stops here. I may write something every now and then ... but it'll be for the genune people that want to know or as a therapeutic act for me. I'm not interested in the limelight.
The writing continues! I'm half ay through writing the next volume of poetry and I'm still travelling to different places to bring back more images. Keep an eye on http://www.wolf-photography.com/, there's always something different going on the site.
I feel honoured by those of you that visit my site and read some of the bollocks I write. It's a symbiotic relationship. Your input, words, encouragment keeps me going and adds purpose to my art. The purpose being to share what I see and what I feel with you. You're closer to me than any real family that I've had, whether you've ever met me, wrote to me or not.
What ever crap is going on your life, try to leave as much of it as you can tonight and close the door on it. Do things that make you laugh and feel alive.
I wish you a joyful 2011 and every happiness.