Living with PTSD

Living with PTSD is challenging. The experience is individual. Some have flashbacks, some suffer from poor sleeping, others have anxiety, depression and a whole host of underlying ailments. A friend of mine had once a boyfriend with PTSD and described his ailments. She sent me a poem that I would like to pass on to you who read this. In the hope that it touches you as much as it touched me.

My brain and
heart divorced
a decade ago
over who was
to blame about
how big of a mess
I have become
they couldn’t be 
in the same room
with each other 
now my head and heart 
share custody of me
I stay with my brain 
during the week
and my heart 
gets me on weekends
they never speak to one another
    – instead, they give me
the same note to pass
to each other every week 
and their notes they
send to one another always 
say the same thing:

“This is all your fault”

on Sundays
my heart complains
about how my 
head has let me down
in the past
and on Wednesday
my head lists all
of the times my 
heart has screwed
things up for me 
in the future
they blame each
other for the 
state of my life
there’s been a lot
of yelling – and crying
    lately, I’ve been
spending a lot of 
time with my gut
who serves as my
unofficial therapist
most nights, I sneak out of the
window in my ribcage
and slide down my spine
and collapse on my 
gut’s plush leather chair
that’s always open for me
~ and I just sit sit sit sit
until the sun comes up
last evening, 
my gut asked me
if I was having a hard
time being caught 
between my heart
and my head
I nodded
I said I didn’t know
if I could live with 
either of them anymore
“my heart is always sad about
something that happened yesterday
while my head is always worried
about something that may happen tomorrow,” 
I lamented
my gut squeezed my hand
“I just can’t live with
my mistakes of the past
or my anxiety about the future,”
I sighed
my gut smiled and said:
“in that case, 
you should 
go stay with your 
lungs for a while,”
I was confused
  – the look on my face gave it away
“if you are exhausted about
your heart’s obsession with
the fixed past and your mind’s focus
on the uncertain future
your lungs are the perfect place for you
there is no yesterday in your lungs
there is no tomorrow there either
there is only now
there is only inhale
there is only exhale
there is only this moment
there is only breath
and in that breath
you can rest while your
heart and head work 
their relationship out.”
this morning,
while my brain
was busy reading
tea leaves
and while my
heart was staring
at old photographs 
I packed a little
bag and walked
to the door of 
my lungs
before I could even knock
she opened the door
with a smile and as
a gust of air embraced me
she said
“what took you so long?”
   ~ John Roedel (

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