Category

Living with Ghosts

Category

idiots in suits & white shirts will be the death of us all

The windows overlook the back end of another grey municipal building; the carpet is made of that indestructible plastic fibre that will still be around for the apocalypse.  Untouched by the tread of police boots, coffee spills and no doubt, if acid were to spill the acid would flop impotently back into the jar.  No doubt.  I am the fly on the wall watching and listening to the meetings being held behind closed doors in police, EMS, Fire Fighting and military recruiting departments across the world: one burning question to ask, “How do we hire people who won’t get PTS?” Post Traumatic Stress Work related stress injury. How do you hire folk that won’t get PTS? Well, said the fly, that’s really quite simple. “Hire a human that resembles that carpet beneath your feet.  Hire a human who will look on at the suffering they are witnesses to, the pain…

Flashbacks: "GET OVER IT!"

My uncle is a kind, gentle, intelligent man. I distrust him as I do all adults, whilst I respect his intelligence and his knowledge. He is a Head Doctor and has answered my questions with a sad, deep sigh, saying “There is nothing that modern medicine can do to help you. You must simply try to control it and do not whatever you do, open that pandora box in your head. If you do, we will not be able to put you back together again. The child brain is more plastic than the adult – it has ways of protecting you in a way an adult brain, cannot. Do not talk about it. Just do your best to avoid the things you know you can’t handle.” The year is 1985 and I want answers. My mother has hit me for the last time. I took my beating, both physical…

Flashbacks: Another Day in Paradise

The silence is what I most remember. “Collapse and disengagement are… an evolutionarily ancient part of the parasympathetic nervous system.. it slows down the heart and induces shallow breathing… once this system takes over…[everything and everybody including myself] … ceases to matter.  Awareness is shut down, and [I] no longer even register physical pain.” (The Body Keeps Score by Van Der Klock) Disengage Collapse Freeze Fire fights were nothing new.  The ping ping of rapid machine gun fire was a childhood lullaby with a chorus of blood curdling death screams and the agony of all spoken and unspoken; this was the air I breathed.  What was unusual was that the bullets were hitting the metal box with wings I was sitting in as it clipped the tops of the bush trees.  There were no shouts.  No screams.  Just silence as the man in the cockpit fought to control our increasingly…

Human Fainting Goat

I am a human fainting goat. Google it. Normal folk, those who live blissfully ignorant of PTS, can mindfully hover over their thoughts, feelings and emotions taking their time to respond to whatever has set their internal alarm bells off, giving their executive function (left brain) oodles of time to inhibit, organize and modulate any reaction. Me? I fall over.  Face plant into whatever is below, beside or in front of me.  Muscles lose their ability to hold me up, and down I go, knees buckling, brain shut down.  Blood rushes to my internal organs and away from my extremities, my whole self prepares for the mother ducking beating I’m about to receive.  It’s just a bit unfortunate that this reaction occurs at the first sign of danger, including when the next door neighbour shouts ‘Good morning!’ unexpectedly or a car backfires on a busy New York street, worst of…