I awake with a jolt of adrenaline as beaded sweat drips down my face and soaks my t-shirt. The living nightmare of the IED exploding yards from the tank I was manning and directly in front of our lead tank, comes at least once nightly. I can still see the skull piercing, blinding flash of light and smell the acrid burning of rubber, bodies and landscape. Once my breathing has slowed to a mild panic, I’m able to take in the bedroom and the faint light worming it’s way through the cracks in the door. The light illuminates another ruined pillow, ripped to bits in the trauma of the dream. The dream never changes, it’s the same horror repeated night after night, and it seems, the only thing I can do with it is to stuff it down, into the darkest corners of my soul.
I haven’t been on a date in months. I’m too afraid of what may happen. I’m afraid of being assaulted again, of course, but I’m also afraid something strange will set me off. Last time it was that stupid song that was playing as he ran his dirty, rough fingers through my hair. But this guy is so kind and sweet and I just really want to forget and get over the past. As I look across the table into his swimming blue eyes, I’m happy I had the courage to make this choice. But just then, as the waiter walks by, the server’s cologne assaults my senses. I’m thrown back to every detail and every horror of that night. Suddenly I’m convinced my water is spiked. I swing my arm across the table and launch the glass into the adjacent wall. I don’t even realize that I’ve crumpled to the floor and cowered beneath the flowing tablecloth and solid wood table, until my poor date joins me. I’m so embarrassed. Not again.
Post-traumatic stress disorder can manifest itself in all of the ways above, or just some. PTSD can occur from a variety of traumatic circumstances, including events such as war, abuse, a car accident or a natural disaster. Symptoms can include recurring nightmares, flashbacks initiated by triggers, agitation, guilt, hyper-vigilance, emotional detachment, and/or unwanted thoughts, depression, and even traumatic reliving of the experiences (hallucinations) once suppressed.
According to Carl Jung, “your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” At The Stockton Therapy Network, we are here to help you discover your own heart. Through therapy, we will safely and tenderly lead you through your trauma and help you to see both the dark and the light inside of yourself. Through this process, we will help you to release the nightmares of your living Hell, and find the path to emotional health, balance, and wellbeing. Advance Confidently in the Direction of Your Dreams.