PTSD, Still in the cave… I was TERRIFIED!

I have had a lot of people ask where I have been lately…

I can’t seem to write down the words. I can’t get them out. I try to write them in my books. I try to type them on the screen.

How come I can write about almost dying in my teen years? Guns shoved into my face… Teasing… Bullying… Violence no one should have to deal with…

I can’t write this one thing down though. (Honestly, two events. I ignore the other completely) I can share this one only with voice. The voice can’t possibly tell all the details… Every single detail. I relive every moment. Every second.

I was triggered and fired, like a gun. My fourteen-year-old son did this with just a few select words. He didn’t mean to. His intentions were 100% welcomed, helpful… NEEDED… But he didn’t know… The words should have maybe been whispered to my wife. Maybe I should have been left in, *shivers*, the dark?

I am 43 years old… 6 foot 4 inches or approx 2 Meters depending where you are in the world… I am not an easily intimidated male.

He spoke his words in urgency… They echoed in my head. A haze covered my eyes.

I turned into a 10-year-old little boy… My heart dropped and I was terrified. Adrenalin released into my system and my fight or flight instincts screamed at me to run. My body is broken from cancer. I can not run anywhere… My lungs are broken, my legs no longer listen to my brain.

Now, I am emotionally compromised. The memories flood into my brain.

My son disappears. Something in me took over. I know I looked at my wife. The fear, there in her eyes, was for me… She knew I wasn’t in the same room with them anymore.

I was now in the past. A time machine… Amazing technology, emotions.

I relived everything, again, in just a few moments.

Even these words are hard to write. Like peeking into Pandora’s box of emotions.

After the event… My son sat guiltily and emotionally upset for what happened.

I just started talking. I told him most of the gruesome, disgusting details. I didn’t hold back. I hope I don’t give him nightmares or scar him with the memory. My wife didn’t stop me though. I think she wanted him to know. His words after I finished. After I dumped it all out on his still growing mind…

“I never knew that, dad… I never knew it was that bad… I never heard that before.”

Things are still bad. I want to leave… I want to walk… I can’t stay here and yet I am trapped, surrounded by those that love me.

I want to leave so badly. They will come for me soon. The dreams… The terrors… The hands reached for me last night. They came and I was frozen as they rapped my mind and emotions.

I was frozen…

I haven’t seen a shrink in almost fifteen years… I never got far with anyone before I stopped seeing them. I’m thinking about trying again.

You don’t have to comment. I write this only for myself. If anyone gets any understanding or comradery out of my personal crap. That’s good then, right?

I’m not a person who wants others to feel sorry for him. I really just want to know if people like my stories and poems… But I need to vent somewhere… I have been keeping it in for 33 years… I don’t know what to do…

“I am such a nonconformist, I refuse to conform to your nonconformity!”

T.L. Stafford


  1. Just write. Anything. Nothing. Everything. Turn off the comments if you just want to release without dealing with blowback. Write partially. Write the entire thing. Write it and delete it. Write it and publish it. Write two words. Write 2,000. This memory, it can’t hurt you anymore. It’s a part of you, yes. But it only has the power you give it. Release it. Embrace it. Relive it without fear because your woman is right there holding your hand. Your kids are right there too. And so are your friends. Don’t lie in fear. Hold your head high. It’s a piece of you, but does not define you. Go forth and release it, my friend!

    • A huge issue is it can hurt me still. The potential is there for it to happen again. Say, for ONLY an example. You were five years old. Outside your home was a HUGE mud puddle. You tripped and fell face first into it. For some reason you couldn’t get up. Maybe you broke your arm or your brothers/sisters were pouncing on you. You took in water. You were resuscitated. You almost drowned.

      Now puddles of water terrify you… The potential is there to happen again, however unlikely the same as before, but there.

      I know it is silly, stupid to think that way… Honestly… my mind (even now) starts shutting down thinking about the potential. It is fucking debilitating. I already have enough issues to deal with.

      Am I making any sense? I am not used to “sharing” things with anyone outside of my wife. I usually keep it to myself.

      Easier to share with the world then those who are “close to you”. I guess…

  2. Hey, I’m hear for whatever you write. We all need a safe space to shout into the void. Even if the shouts are cryptic and the void doesnt understand the words, we in the void understand the pain. And pain shared is pain lessened. It is an honor to help you carry this tiny piece of your burden. (((hugs)))

  3. Just know that you are an amazing writer. I love you literature and even your art though I have seen very little of it. By what is reflected in your poems and writings, I can also tell that you are an amazing person too. Hope you are okay.

  4. Write, scream, whisper, but just keep breathing. Meditate. There are some great apps out there. One thing I learned as a blogger in the WP community is, there are amazing people, who listen (read), especially when you pour your heart out. Don’t be afraid to talk to us. We’re here when you need us

  5. No matter how strong and tall we are, what scares us most relies inside… and we need to get it out …. talking or writing. Sometimes writing is not the best for it… talking does it because it’s in the moment…
    you are not alone , as a writer you are talented because you have your heart on your sleeve…

  6. OMG… Have sought out a therapist now? I think you truly need to. I’m am so terribly sorry you have been facing this all at once, and are so fragile at this time in your life. If there is anything I can do, please let me know. Even if it’s just to vent. My e-mail is… Please reach out if you need to. You know this is a strong group of people that are there for one another.

  7. PTSD is so horrible. It exists in so many parts of our lives. My eldest still won’t tell us what sent him back to the states in a cargo plane within days of whatever happened.

    Your bravery in this post might give others confidence in releasing their own demons. 💜💜 Demons shared, shrink.

  8. Wow just wow!! Your writing is well honest, emotional personal. I truly admire you. I’m sure just through your honesty your son will have a lot of respect for you. Fabulous piece of writing & well to say it’s real & personal is, well I feel for you. Let it out x

  9. I’m sorry I didn’t see this post sooner; time gets away from me. I can only speak from personal experience when it comes to managing a trigger response. One of the tricks my therapist taught my partner was calling me by name and reminding me of where we are. When you hear your name it sometimes bring you back, but it doesn’t always work.

    As for the writing, I agree with everyone who says sit down and write. Just write, don’t think about it, and don’t look at it.

    Write and don’t stop even if all you’re doing is writing the same sentence.

    Don’t look at the work. Put it away a for a day or two. Then read and edit what you can and stop
    working when you feel overwhelmed.

    That’s what works for me.

  10. Thanks, man! I appreciate the advice. *After deleting a huge response, lol* I went way into detail, too much…

    I re-read and write and edit a TON. I think not looking would create some kind of paradoxical portal into a world of writers that never read, anything, and are waiting for just me to appear and make me read subjects that I have no interest in Like, “Larry Finds a Piece of Lint”. 450,000 words long. *shudders*. Though, this Larry individual does intrigue me… anyway…

    It’s hard not to look… 🙂

    My wife talks to me and grabs my hand. I don’t deserve her at all… She is amazing.

    It’s a pleasure, as always man.

  11. Thank you so much for sharing this.
    I too have been dogged by trauma, as have many others, and am finding it really difficult to lift myself from the power of it. I have been given the label of PTSD and begin working on it next week with a talking therapies group. I’m not sure how this will go as whenever I try to talk a lump forms in my throat, I begin to shake and sweat as I try to go back and fathom the the threads of it all in a coherent way.
    I came to the conclusion that to take my power back and work through it was to start my blog (complete newbie) and go through what happened bit by little bit in the hopes that the traumatic power diminishes its hold in my life.
    Blessings to you xx

  12. Hey, I’m so sorry to hear you’re suffering. I think it’s really very encouraging, even though it sounds like it might have been frightening to you and your family, that you were able to confide in them. Particularly for men, it’s so easy for trauma and fear to be papered over by anger since that’s what our society encourages. I’m glad you have your family. You aren’t alone, so many of us are traumatized. I hope you have all the support you need and that you continue to heal.

  13. Thank you very much for your encouragement. I can’t help but agree with these types of moments being papered over. I think I experience that anger and that aggressive nature to “bite” back on more than a few occasions, even with my own family. Honestly, the urge to shut off completely is almost overpowering sometimes. I don’t, mostly…

    I think I will have to take the chance and seek out and try counseling again. The past has already dominated my present in more than one way.

    I do have great love and support… Thank you! 🙂

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