Writing About PTSD While Writing With PTSD


PTSD

 

By Jay Kirell

 

Last month I received word my VA disability compensation claim had been completed. The money and health benefits I was awarded is nice, but even weeks after the decision came down, I’m still left shaking my head about something.

Namely, that I officially have PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It was listed in the packet under service-connected disabilities.

It’s not that I was shocked that I have it, but rather that I was diagnosed with it.

Brain injuries and psychological trauma aren’t always easily noticeable, so I’m thankful, I guess, that got a VA doctor who knew what to look for when he examined me last year.

To try to describe what PTSD feels like to someone who doesn’t have it is painfully difficult, not only because there’s still a stigma attached to PTSD [the whole snapping and getting violent kind of stigma], but because PTSD itself makes it hard to describe anything.

The impairment of the ability to concentrate being the obvious reason why. That, and the simple task of just remembering how I used to write before I went to war are not coming easily to me anymore. Words used to flow off the page for me. I used to command them and could unleash thousands in a matter of minutes.

Now I’ll struggle for over an hour on two paragraphs. Structure, transitions, simply using the correct grammar and punctuations – stuff that any high school junior has got down pat, is degraded in me. And I was a guy who first started typing short stories on an old school ribbon typewriter before they even had computers. Try that today, kids.

Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe this is just the writing equivalent of ring rust. Writing is a depreciable skill, after all.

Either way, I’d just beg patience from whoever reads this, while I try to improve the quality of my work and get back to the level I used to be at.

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10 Comments on “Writing About PTSD While Writing With PTSD”

  1. Larry StCroix (@LarryStCroix)
    September 19, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

    Write for enjoyment, to help you relax or to blow off steam. Don’t re-stress yourself or be hyper self critical. There should be no shame in your service connected limitations, (temporary I hope) mental wounds are just as valid as the more visible physical ones. All the best, Larry

    Like

  2. Courage
    September 24, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    Jay, you’re not alone in this. Your brief piece here describes my own struggle as well. I live with the aftermath of many traumas, am in my mid-50s, and was the kid in school who won every spelling bee. I was on a path to professional authorship when my well-being was felled several years ago…and I am working my way back (I hope) to full ability. Then again, maybe that’s “working my way forward” — to new possibilities. It’s been a long process of first fighting and denying my injuries — then, gradual adaptation, acceptance, and applying imagination to what is possible now.

    Keep at it — at the writing, at thinking through things, at making sense of it all.

    Like

  3. Jules Ford
    September 25, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    Jay, your writing is brilliant, thought-provoking and 100% necessary to help people wake up. Please, for your own sake, go to homecoming4veterans.org. There are eight New York neurofeedback providers who will GIVE you 20 FREE sessions in honor of your amazing service. Neurofeedback is a calming, easy way to get your brain tuned back up to where it was before the PTSD and maybe even take you to a new higher cognitive level while helping you square away that PTSD. If you were in Los Angeles, I’d train you myself. You’re a gem and I really appreciate your writing. Keep up the great work and seriously, neurofeedback can help you get your brain back to the way you want it to be. Good Luck to you!

    Like

  4. Renee Fulsom
    September 30, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

    EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) has helped many with PTSD here is one link on youtube “EFT for War Veterans with PTSD by EFT Tapping Founder Gary Craig” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4hhMm8qsCs

    Like

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] I first started this blog I wrote about having been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by the Veterans […]

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  2. I Spent A Week In A VA-Run Psych Ward. You Won’t Believe What I Learned. | the Sterling Road - June 13, 2014

    […] been in a psych ward.  Since I’ve already revealed I was on food stamps and have PTSD, I might as well go for the resume-killing trifecta and tell this story […]

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