Monday, March 14, 2011

PTSD is a Hidden Killer

  I suffered in silence for over 30 years. The battle raging in my head is a constant one. One that I cannot foresee. I have a different traumatic stress than the ones our military men are getting because of the terrible things they are re-living. I feel for our soldiers who have had to endure the atrocities of war. I am not worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence as those brave men and women. However, we do share a common problem. Learning to deal with the traumatic stresses that, unfortunately, claim the lives of those that cannot bear the burdens.
  My traumatic stress occurred while I was in the military but do not involve combat. I was a medic in a regional hospital on a military base and was asked by a dying man to stop the pain. This patient and I had grown to become great friends. He and his wife, Bunny, had no children and they treated me as one of their own. I had this person on my unit for over six months and grew to love them, both. He was a retired fighter pilot and I would sit in awe of the stories he would tell. Unfortunately, he was dying of cancer and I still, after being warned by the staff, became very close to him and his wife. Then came the day that he asked me if I would do him a great favor. He knew that I would do anything for him. When he asked me to put a stop to the pain I was stunned. I knew exactly what he meant. He wanted me to go against everything I believed and do the opposite of what the Hippocratic Oath says, 'I will do no harm.' I struggled with this request for many weeks. I finally gave in and told him I would help him end his life. The day came, we said goodbye, and with tears rolling down my cheek, I administered a fatal dose of potassium chloride. I immediately left the room. By going against all I believed in it began years of mental torture. He began appearing in my dreams as a demon. I suffered in silence for the next few decades without telling a soul. The nightmares became such a part of my life that I could not function as a normal human being. It took years of therapy after I told a medical professional and medication to have a life that would seem to those outside fairly normal. My life is not a normal one. I still have nightmares involving him and I do not know if it will ever change. I want those that still suffer there is a way to live. I am not saying it is easy, however, it does get easier with time. Please, hang in there. Do not be afraid to talk with someone and get it off you. Life is too precious, live it as best as you can.    theblogmeister

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