You didn’t ask for PTSD

While it may be difficult for you to accept, you must remember, you didn’t ask for PTSD. It’s not your fault and that’s just a fact.

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Yesterday, I ran into an old work colleague of mine, and it was a moment I am grateful for. How the gratitude came to light after I, as always, made a plug for my book The Road To Mental Wellness. (See what I did there?)

Whenever I mention my book, PTSD inevitably comes up in the conversation. And while many simply don’t understand the complexities of trauma, my former colleague was an exception. He has gone through his own challenges. Chief among them is being a supporter of someone close in his family.

Upon hearing his story, I felt it necessary to check-in with him: “How are you doing with it all? I know that many people who are the supporters get lost in the wave of trauma. Much to my delight, he said he was doing well, thanks to therapy. “When you love someone, you do your best to work through it.” he said happily.

When he said this with the upmost love and conviction, I immediately became conflicted. On one hand, it warmed my heart to see this tall, imposing figure of a man stick by his partner’s side; on the other, I was hit with a tidal wave of sadness.

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Even though I tried to fight it, the sadness emerged the victor. Despite doing my best to be attentive, I found myself blurting out, “I don’t deserve that!” I quickly followed it with, “I’d only ruin it.”

What happen next set me back a bit. He looked at me, straight in the face and said, “Don’t ever say that it’s not your fault you have PTSD.” Despite his attempts to make it clear, I remained unconvinced. Though I struggled to believe him, he continued, “You didn’t ask for PTSD, it’s something that happened to you.” An amazing perspective considering the challenges trauma can present to the uninfected partner.

A man sitting on a chair with hands by his knees - you didn't ask for PTSD
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“You didn’t ask for PTSD.” This seemingly insignificant sentence has plagued me ever since it left his lips. As a result, I keep hearing me whisper, “You know, he’s right.” I mean, he’s factually correct. My PTSD was earned with distinction.

Mainly, the trouble with trauma all started in the years I spent as a firefighter. I know this to be evident, moreover, I know, on a logical level that it’s not but…… but I’m hurting too much for the visible part of my brain to win out.

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Regardless, I need to absorb this and embrace this, you didn’t ask for PTSD, statement. Maybe I deserve love after all? Yes, I do deserve to be love – thanks old friend.

More about self-care here


Categories: Behaviour and Personality, Firefighter, inspiration, Mental Health, Opinion piece, PTSD, Road To Mental Wellness-the book, The Road To Mental Wellness- the book, Therapy, Wellness Store

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