On UK television tonight is an excellent programme about PTSD and its cost among young soldiers.
A soldier’s friend on the programme said that PTSD is not just a ‘black dog’, it’s more like living with wolves who won’t leave you alone.
Last summer I wrote this, from the depth of a series of PTSD holes.
Wolf memories (‘trauma memory’)
Wolf-memories weave around my legs.
I tiptoe. Whisper.
Wolf-memories startle. Leap up, snap,
shove me over,
rip at my throat.
Wolf-memories lap my blood, slump
against my rib-cage,
snarl in their sleep.
Wolf-memories wake when they like.
when they like. When they have done with me.
Wolf-memories rise, shake free, lick
Saunter outside. Sated.
Sunlight through curtains. I
for wounds. Test my feet beneath me.
Each bout with the wolves leaves me
she says. More restored. I hate wolves.
‘She’ is my therapist and I’m grateful for her. She helps me to understand that PTSD as a healing process, keeps reassuring me that it is the normal response of a normal person to experiences in my past and that the way to ‘bounce back’ from PTSD, to ‘fight’ it, is to treat the wolves with respect, even welcome them and learn from them.
It’s not just soldiers who have PTSD.