Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
by Louis Talley
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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
by Lou Talley
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is something that many veteran's have to one degree or another who have been under fire and in combat situations and also one of the most difficult subject to deal with.
Over the years I have noticed that most being treated or in therapy for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stess Disorder) have a source to blame for all their problems, things that may have valid reasons for bitterness and resentment or can just be "perceived injury" or abuse but in all of the cases I have known, very few have been willing to take full responsibility for their own pattern of thinking, i.e., self pity, woe is me, villains they hate and look for, unwillingness to forgive, always an outward source to blame for the condition and quality of life or lack of it.
I can blame the VA for giving me medication that only multiplied the mental condition that evolved into a mental illness, giving a mixture of Doxepin and Clonazepam which actually induce hallucinations and caused behavior patterns that are schezophrenic, but years prior to this I was really the cause of it all in being wreckless and not taking responsibility for my actions and thinking, always blaming some other source for anything that went wrong or why I had a failed marriage and a tortured mind.
What we can not do is make choices for other people and it is a choice to retain bitterness or not, a choice to be fully into oneself or self oriented or not, a choice to forgive or not, a choice to be irresponsible or not, a choice to let God have your life or not, you would think by a lifetime of failure that people would accept what frees us and accept the solutions to it all, but many just not willing to do that since it means getting down and honest with ourself where we really live and what things we are hanging onto that are kicking our brains out and keeping the well dirty that we drink from.
All I can offer is what ended so many years of being in a rut between a rock and a hard place, what ended the nightmares that ate me alive for almost thrity years, what dumped the trash that was overflowing and what gave life real purpose rather than the Purpose Driven Fad that mocks God.
The moment I run into the never ending flow of critics who still want to make their own way in spite of seeing no way to go to make things any better, all I can say to them is to keep what you got since it will never get any better but will certainly get worse, will never move forward but just go in circles and end up back in the same place again like chopping weeds at the surface, not going to get the job done until you kill it at the root and eliminate the sources.
I heard a man talk the other day about how to raise a loser in always telling a child that they are no good, useless, never amount to anything, deficient, wasted. A child will begin to play out that role if that is what they are convinced about and instilled in their mind, never recognizing any good thing they do but never letting them forget the failures and blunders in their life, no encouragement or vision for something to aim at and become or work towards and it is the same with many who are crippled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, convincing ourselves that we are in a rut and no way known to get out of it, just seeing what is going on and letting these things govern our thinking and direction and feeding on the very things that insure a wasted life without vision and true purpose. Solomon said it a few thousand years ago:
"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." Proverbs 29:18
I hurt for people who insist on retaining bitterness and resentment and feed on it day and night, hating every moment and yet that is the diet for the brain, never knowing what freedom is there for the asking and what is available that takes effort or a total desire to move forward, but only a fool will sit in one place like a caged animal.
A story related some time ago had to do with a bear in one of the older zoos that only had twenty feet of space to walk in, so the bear would just pace twenty steps one way and twenty steps the other way and that was his whole life and activity which I would call a rut for sure. A day came when a whole new environment was made just for this bear to have all kind of space like in the wild, cave, running water places to hunt or dig for food, abundance of vegetation and other bears to socialize with. The big day came when the bear was moved to his new location with all these things there for him, but still all people saw was this bear still taking twenty steps one way and twenty steps the other way, conditioned his whole life to do that and it just never settled in that he was free to do almost anything that wild bears do and all the space needed for it.
Does that tell you something about how we can be? Some people just quit as I did, depending on doctors to make me all better again but that never happened, as they were more like zoo keepers and pumping medicine in me that actually induced schezophrenic behavior and often out of control, strapped to a table for two days after flipping out, put in a drunk tank and a threat to myself and everyone around me, out of touch with reality and scared to death that this was the end and all I had to look forward to, not wanting to live one more day that way, but just not knowing what to do about it or where to start.
Have already spilled my guts enough on the website but need to relate the good stuff and where the real healing process began, needful to see it all as a process and not a project since it is a daily thing one step at a time.
In 1995 when first moving to this area near Mount Baldy, I recall standing out on the patio with the mind drifting out there wondering about the future and if I had any that was any better than now, not expecting to hear what sounded exactly like 20mm aircraft fire and instantly the brain was back in Nam remembering how we had been fired on by mistake in 1966 or very early in 1967 prior to moving to Kontum, but think it was just a door gunner who unloaded on us when mistaken for NVA, but some were caught out in the open while others were hit who were so tired that they slept on top of some sandbags, hearing one man yell "Who slapped me?" but I knew we had been fired on from a chopper or aircraft as a trail of rounds dug up some dirt between me and another man and missing us by inches as we could see it coming and jumped back, but Leroy Burchette had been shot in the head and didn't know it until I ran over and saw the blood flowing but had to alert the Company Commander Capt. Keuker who was sleeping inside a bunker and trying to yell for a medic at the same time, seeing old Doc Seymore running over to stop the bleeding and telling Leroy that just a hair closer and it would have been fatal.
While the mind was caught up in flashbacks, more of those sounds were heard and I just went berserk, almost yelling for folks in the swimming pool to hit it, but caught myself just before yelling at them, heart beating like crazy and everything seeming strange in knowing I was not in Nam but still being shot at, but this was actually the sound of the high powered drag racers from the fairgrounds and the sound had just carried along way in the night. It was very strange but some voice way back in the head that I could hear very clear was saying "Forgive Them" forgive the door gunner who fired on us by mistake, forgive everyone else who may have offended throughout an entire lifetime, turn loose of that right to be bitter, forgive them all and let it go. This was not something I had the ability to do but I knew it was right to do it, just against my nature in being someone who always had to square things to make it balance, but I knew I was wrong to have an attitude of a vigilante or even a revolutionary needing a justifiable reason to unload the anger, but forgiving just wasn't part of all that and never something offered by the shrinks as a way through all this stuff.
I can recall saying "OK God, if that is You saying that, I sure want to comply, but I don't know one voice from another and had a whole herd of them talking stuff to me in the past when the brain crashed, but I know it is something right to be doing, just need a whole lot of help in doing it, but am willing to go for it."
I will not say it was God who whispered the words, but I do know it was a solid beginning, seeing that forgiveness is not forgiveness unless it is total, which meant that I had no more excuses or reason to be angry or bitter or holding anyone at fault about anything, forgiveness meant turning that all loose and starting out clean without any of it hanging on to fester and start the ball rolling again.
This did not seem like an answer for PTSD and yet it proved to be the very thing that ended the nightmares and dumping all the trash in the brain and replacing the inbuilt anger with the kind of things that have enduring qualities, no condemnation of anyone or myself, whole new beginning which it proved to be for me and being able to look back on it to see what the things were that were kicking my rear end all these years and how we can unload it like excess baggage and not have to carry the weight of all the junk, certainly going to be scars but scars say that healing happend and no more open wounds, but healing is a process and don't happen by itself, starts inward and not outward and change starting with me before going anywhere else, had to clean my own front porch before looking at any mess elsewhere that could be just as dirty, but had to start with me and it all starts from the dungpile and goes from there, stink will wear off along the way.
What I have learned along the way is that for any length of time if one entertains self pity, one is dead meat. Any bitterness or root of bitterness allowed to settle in, we are dead meat. No goal to achieve and we are yet again dead meat. With no vision and just wallowing around in the muck of trying to justify what can not be justified or looking for valid excuses to retain the things killing us day by day or drinking swamp water that is stagnated rather than coming from a pure source.
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Nothing better than a testimony to inspire people. As good as any preacher mostly because you've walked through what you've written about.