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 Healing News March 1997


 Word from the editor.
 Poetry
 Quotes 
 Articles on PTSD
                    

    This is, as always, written by and for survivors. I hope you enjoy reading the following pages and hopefully find something to  help you heal. Remember it is not a substitute for therapy or a  doctor's advice. If any survivor wishes to contribute just email 
your submissions to me.  
          
                             Sincerely,
                                Gayle Crabtree





POETRY
Midnight
Darkness and silence,
Silence and fear,
Fear and pain,
Pain and terror,
In the night the demons descend,
To rest upon broken hearts,
Tormenting and torturing,
Is this never to end?
 

Darkness and silence,
Silence and fear,
Fear and pain,
Pain and terror,
Their wings wrap around the shattered souls,
Binding to them the terror they bring,
Banging against the door, demanding to be let in,
Please let this end.

Darkness and silence,
Silence and fear,
Fear and pain,
Pain and terror,
A crack in the door, a sliver of night,
Rushes of insanity, claws of dreams sink into the mind's flesh,
Please, oh please, let this all end.

Darkness and silence,
Silence and fear,
Fear and pain,
Pain and terror,
A hand reaches out to stroke the brow,
A kiss on the hand, fingers laced tight,
Light penetrates midnight, love washes away the pain,

Ah, at last, this is finally to end.
Courage and peace,
Peace and support,
Support and encouragement,
Encouragement and love,
Love and you,
Thank you my love,
Thank you my family,
Thank you my friends,
Thank you my Father,

At last the night ends.
By Lori A. Scriver, Feb. '97

The Gift
You came to me through pain,
You came to me through terror,
A tiny piece of heaven,
You dwelled beneath my heart.
You came to me when I needed you most,
You came to me and brought with you a hope,
A gift of wonder,
You dwell forever with in my heart.
You saved me, my precious,
You saved me, my strength,
A gift sometimes misunderstood by others,
You dwell forever with in my soul.
You're a gift of love,
You're a gift of joy,
A treasured child of spirit, a child of light,
I love you forever, my dear, tiny one.
By Lori A. Scriver, Feb. '97

Pathway

 The Pathway Pain and terror,
Destruction and loss,
Grief and anguish.
Time and courage,
Tears and ablution,
Courage and solace.
Forgiving,
but not forgetting,
Faith and trust rebuild...
The pathway of healing.

By Lori A. Scriver, Feb. '97

Another Year

A year goes by
A year again.
I don't know where I've been.
A daily struggle to wake and breathe.
An anger builds and poisons seethe.
A troubled heart,
A jumbled mind
Things were said Things done unkind.
Where to go?
What to do?
Another year turns into two.
Patti

Untitled
a tiny flame arose tonight
and in it spoke of deep sorrow and pain
a tiny flame arose tonight
it started off as one
then grew to two and three and four
the tiny flame of sorrow and pain
grew into a light of love and peace and tenderness
and now together the flame will purge the sorrow and burn the hate
and send it all away
so that for this night the tender of the flame
may rest in peace

Dana 


QUOTES
Do not follow where the path may lead....go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. ~anonymous

Keep your head and your heart going in the right direction and you will not have to worry about your feet. ~anonymous

Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain. ~anonymous



Post-Traumatic Disorder, Depression Linked
NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), made famous by returning Vietnam vets, may be even more prevalent in civilian women, a new study shows. And researchers say PTSD may be linked to other psychiatric illness such as depression, anxiety, and alcoholism. "Women are twice as likely to get PTSD than men," said Dr. Naomi Breslau, director of research at the Henry Ford Health Sciences Center's Department of Psychiatry, in Detroit. She says that not many studies have looked at PTSD sufferers outside of veterans who have experienced the unique conditions of warfare. Her team's research into the psychiatric histories of over 800 Detroit-area women found that violent incidences such as rape, assault, and accidents can trigger PTSD in even higher rates than men. PTSD is defined as a constellation of symptoms, including 're-experiencing' phenomena such as nightmares or flashbacks, avoidance of traumatic locales or objects, emotional detachment from others, and jumpy, panicky, and suspicious behavior. Breslau says about half of those experiencing PTSD will show a fading of symptoms over a period of 6 to 12 months. But for others,the condition can persist for years. She says it's not clear why women are more prone to the illness. "It remains something we just don't understand," she says. But she notes it follows general psychiatric trends. "Women, in general, have more psychiatric disorders, more anxiety and depression, than men." Her study found that PTSD was strongly tied to incidences of other forms of mental illness. For example, researchers found that having a previous diagnosis of PTSD doubled the risk for first-onset major depression, and tripled the risk of later alcohol abuse. But a cause and effect relationship was not so clear. "The relationship between major depression and PTSD is like a chicken-and-egg situation. For example, we found that if you have an incidence of PTSD, you're then more likely to develop depression. But also, if you had depression first, you're more likely, upon exposure to a terrible event, to develop PTSD," Breslau explained. To further complicate the equation, researchers discovered that those with psychiatric disorders (like anxiety or depression) were also more likely to find themselves placed in violent or traumatic situations. "We know that psychiatric disorders affect people's motivation, their interests, their judgment," Breslau explained. "It is very likely that people who are depressed are not very able to make good decisions, in terms of who to choose as their friends, and where they go, and what they do with their lives. This leads to them not being able to protect themselves, or to use the kind of judgment that's needed for self-protection." Breslau says there are no PTSD-specific medications currently available to help those with the disorder. But she says antidepressants and antianxiety drugs, along with behavioral therapies, do seem to be helpful. She says the research effort needs to expand its base, in order to better understand how catastrophic events affect not only soldiers, but civilians. "We need a lot more research on civilians, people out there who suffer from PTSD but weren't under the unique conditions of combat," she concluded. SOURCE: Archives of General Psychiatry (1997;54:81-87)
There are two kinds of PTSD. Acute PTSD happens immediately after the trama. Victims have reactions of fear, guilt or anger. They can get the shakes or have nightmares or other problems they did not have before. With traumatic events like violent crimes, the person is able to understand that her reaction comes from the recent experience. Trauma such as incest may be partly or fully blocked from memory, but the reactions of disgust and self- hate still occur. The victims feel bad about themselves and don't know why.

The second type of PTSD, chronic delayed - onset PTSD, happens years after the traumatic experience. The survivor experiences fears, intense mood swings, guilt, and flashbacks but may not always remember or connect these to the old experience. Chronic PTSD occurs when the person had to bury feelings about the trauma while it was going on and never had the chance to talk about it and get help. PTSD can be hidden and emerge only when therapy has begun and you have started talking about the feelings. It's common to feel as though you're getting worse at that time A person who was sexually abused will have some level of PSTD.

Following is a list of symptoms used to determine if someone has PTSD. -reexperiencing the event through flashbacks, dreams or memories -withdrawal from other people or things or feeling detached from (not emotionally connected to) others. -feeling emotionally numb or unable to respond with feelings to other people -intense angry outbursts -panic attacks -sleep problems (difficulty falling asleep, waking up a lot, nightmares) -feelings of guilt about the trauma -trouble concentrating and/or memory problems -remembering the trauma with no feelings attached. By Emily Shadowdove 


PTDSTS-Mental disorder for tragedy!

Post Traumatic Delayed stress Tension Syndrome,or in the old days we used to call Post Traumatic Vietnam Syndrome. What is it? Why does it affect us? Not an easy answer,yet so simple. Our mind creates it's own defense mechanisms. PTDSTS is one of them.

Take an abused child(my specialty) some create multiple [personalities to cover up the horrifying events of physical abuse. Some have a little child that is so sweet. Others have a tough guy who hurts them,cuts them, some even die at their mental hands. As for rape; there is a mental period which is a form of shock most go through like a badly molested child. This period is one which creates a mental block to help diffuse the mind from the momentary to set events off later in the mind of the victim .

The police,psychologists want perfect recall of the event. Not so for the delicate minded-m or f. They are held in reserve by a mental process of temporary healing,and protection. After a period of time(individual times for each-no common thread here) the mind settles i enough to believe it can deal with the crisis. It relaxes it's defenses,and whalla!Flashbacks in mild-to-severe reminders-nightmares-daydreams come back.As it happened so far back the mind does not feel the on the moment shock,and does not again sweep it to the back of the brain.

For some the return to the event in such a traumatic fashion sets off mental anguish,and pain. Often throws the victim into a state which the psychiatric community have labeled PTDSTS.As Vietnam brought it out they found that it held similar symptoms as WWll shell shock,or Korean flashbacks. Since then they have through careful study found this in disaster victims,now rape, incest,vicious child abuse, spousal abuse victims. Having counseled many Namvets,child spouse abuse victims in the past(not even discounting the fact I was a prime example of Post Nam syndrome,also an incest-child abuse victim,then trauma from a severe car wreck I think I understand.) How with multiple conditions did I survive,and I wasn't a strong mental mind to begin with.

Survival was the key. I had no support,no family who understood,or cared.Family refuses to believe a mother could sexually molest a child for seven long years,or beat the child, verbally abuse,and degrade it to the max.It left me with little self esteem. I then went to Nam 70-71 to Binh Thuy where I was further crushed by the constant barrages of rockets,and mortars.

My only help was a cry out to God,believing that there was hope,and fighting like hell! Then my present wife Cindy came along. She taught me love,and taught me to fight even harder. In time I won the battles. Sure I have bouts with depression,but even they cannot take me. You can find that righteous person(whether they be spiritual,or just a fine ,good human being), and fight like hell to bring them back out. You can work daily on continuing to tell yourself I am a winner,and not even PTDSTS can take me down,let alone some punk who's sick in the head! You can do it,and I know it! Now you believe it,and learn to know it.
You will learn- You know that you are who you are!

by Charles R. Coyle A Veteran 


A letter to everyone, survivors and partners living with the PTSD aftermath:

Dear James,

I have a disorder called Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Some things are very hard for me that come very easily to you.
I still need love, attention and the freedom to be myself. I still want to contribute in some meaningful way in the lives of those around me.

There are a few things I need you to help me with. These are not very difficult but should come along with practice. A large dose of patience, and support will also help make this easier because it this difficult to speak with you about.

The nightmares that come during the night. When I awaken, please talk to me, sing to me, turn on the bedside lamp. Give me a minute or two to survey where I am because it is not where I was a minute ago. Be soothing to me. Don't touch me for a minute, this sometimes scares me. During the day sometimes these flashbacks seem to come from nowhere. Again please, don't touch me unless I ask, give me time to ground myself in the reality of now and release myself from the torture of the past moment.

Sometimes you tease me about being so jumpy. That is because I am always on alert. I always watch and wait for the next disaster to strike. I constantly survey my surroundings to be sure that I am safe. Every nerve in my body is ready to strike out at real or perceived danger.

Because of this I ask you to not bang things around, reacting to loud noises like a car backfiring, a stereo, someone shouting, or things that go bump in the night is my specialty now. It is not something I wanted but because of something that happened to me when my life was in danger that I react this way. It may have been last year, 10 or 15 years ago or even more. I still sometimes react. It is hard to show my love to you.

Things are a little different now than they once were. Please remember that I still love, I still want to be there for you. Even on days when the world is against us I still care about you. Please do not forget this even if it is hard for me to show you.

Sincerely,
Jane 


Waiting for the Explosion:
Living with someone suffering from PTSD

Living with a person who is dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can be a real challenge. My wife, was brutally raped and beaten two years and several months ago, and yet the echoes of that night still reverberate through our marriage. While I can only speak of my experiences in our marriage, the messages I've seen on the Secondary Survivors email circle seem to indicate that our experience is far from unique.

Waiting and anxiety are recurring themes in a relationship with a PTSD survivor.
Waiting for the next explosion to come, dreading it and faintly hoping that maybe, finally the storm will be over. Waiting for life to return to “normal” (and what was “normal” anyway?) and fearing that the present darkness would be with us forever. Wanting to remind her that I do have valid needs too.
Waiting to be told yet again, “You don't understand.” You're right. I don't. I try, the Lord knows I try but I simply do not have any relevant experience to relate this to. I'm sorry, I am struggling to see, to process, to empathize. Waiting for closure, for something to be finished. I

n our case, nothing about the rape itself had been finished. No arrests (the police aren't even look for the suspect we named), no job (they denied the whole thing happened), no bills being paid (since the company denies it Workman's Compensation has not paid any of the $50k medical and psych bills).

It is hard to look ahead when all this stuff behind you needs attention. Waiting to be wounded in the crossfire. Gayle is fighting a battle towards healing and wellness. It's a very brave and heroic battle. Sometimes when she is fighting the world or herself, she may miss what she's aiming at and hit one of us instead. I'm glad she doesn't exhibit violent behavior, but she like everyone else dealing with PTSD does often have a short temper, an irritable disposition or a suspicious nature.

These are little things, but over a long time can add a real stress to a relationship. Stress that only professional counseling (individual and joint) will heal. These past two years has been hard on her, on me and on us. I am hopeful, however, that with time, counseling and the Grace of God, our marriage will be healed and stronger than ever. We will never be the same people we were before the attack, but we pray that we will be wiser and more compassionate.

I wish I could say the bomb squad can rush in and defuse the bomb we all are waiting on, but it doesn't happen that way. My feeling is that the explosions will get smaller and less frequent as time goes on. We very well may have the occasional “pop” for the rest of our lives. I think and pray that I can live with that. I hope you can too. Keep working for the best in your marriage, even if it means getting help to do it.

It isn't easy to live with the PTSD but in time, we know it too can be overcome.
by John Crabtree
A Survivor's Partner


Other sources of help for people with PTSD : http://www.psych.org/public_info/PTSD~1.HTM This online resource offers help from the American Psychiatric Association. It is in an easy to read format although some of the information does get technical. This site is very informative and has options to order pamphlets if you need more information. There is also a listing of books in this site.

David Baldwin's Trauma Resource Pages http://gladstone.uoregon.edu/~dvb/trauma.htm Some of the info here is of a technical nature. However; the Support section was very well done, easy to read and had a vast amount of information and links to other pages and sites. It is well worth your visit for clinicians, survivors, and friends.



Many thanks to all those who contributed this month.
Our hopes are that you found something in here to help.
For those with any comments or suggestions feel free to email me at Gayle Crabtree

1996-2001
Copyright Gayle Crabtree
All Rights Reserved



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