What’s It Really Like to Have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
He Flipped Out Again
Jason had entered the house and was lying in wait in the bedroom for the enemy. He hadn’t been able to get to his gun—the troopers already got that. So all he had left was his fists. He knew that was enough because this was one of the enemy gooks who didn’t know how to fight. The wimp would beg for his life as it was being punched out of him.
Inside the house where Jason lie waiting, Dr. Kidd’s car pulled into the driveway. “Hey, yeah … hey, yeah!” he sang along with the stereo.
Hearing the commotion, Jason purred like a cat. Then he heard Dr. Kidd coming through the front door of his house, singing, “Hey, yeah … hey, yeah!”
After Dr. Kidd stepped into the living room and walked into the kitchen, Jason leaped out from the hallway. “F**ker!” he grunted, rushing towards the doctor.
In the blink of an eye, Kidd pulled his knife—just the way he’d been trained. Then, he held the cold blade up in front of his nose.
Jason stopped in his tracks. Guns didn’t scare him one iota, but knives—he had a childhood fear of them.
“Jason,” Kidd said, “we’re not in the war zone. This is Salem. Look carefully. You just think I’m the enemy. I’m your counselor, remember?” Kidd waved the knife in front of himself, trying to distract Jason.
Jason stepped forward.
“We’d have guns if the war was still going on,” Kidd said.
Like some zombie movie, Jason twitched. “F**k you,” he said.
“At ease, Jason, go back to your house,” Kidd ordered. “We’ll talk this over some other day.”
Jason’s rigid muscles unloosed a notch. “They didn’t send you to the war ‘cause you’re a f**king wimp," he said.
“Sometimes it’s OK to be a wimp,” Kidd said.
Like something out of the movie Exorcist, a huffing, screeching sound exited Jason’s mouth. Then, he turned and headed for the door, saying, “You’ll get yours.”
It didn’t occur to Dr. Kidd to call the police. They knew Jason was a nut case waiting to explode. He’d already punched out two of their finest. And that was why he was sent to the Cuckoo’s Nest instead of prison. Vets didn’t go to prison in that town until they confronted the “enemy” and killed them.
Several months after the incident, Jason attempted suicide. He recovered, but he did not seek further psychological treatment.
Real Life Symptoms of PTSD
Some know how life is crazier than in the movies. That is why I only saw a few more vets after this incident with Jason. My number seemed to be up, and eventually, I quit treating people with post-traumatic stress disorder altogether. It is not something that only veterans have. If you have experienced any life-threatening incident, it can come back to you in the form of flashbacks and delusions—like the game is still on, and you’re still in danger. When you a have post-traumatic syndrome episode, you will have some or all of these things happen to you:
- You'll see things in a distorted fashion.
- You'll stop trusting people.
- You'll see the past as clear as day and believe whatever threatened you is after you again.
- You might see things that do not exist, like men in the bushes at night, or weapons in people’s hands, when there are none.
- You can become hyper-intense, sure of yourself, one moment, and totally anxious and fragile, the next.
- You can be delusional, believing something is true, even though it is quite impossible.
- You’re capable of killing people, again, if that is in your profile.
- You want to do stuff that normal people do but it doesn’t seem exciting enough to make it worth the bother, so you say forget it.
- You feel different from other people.
- You can literally see the distance between your world and other people’s worlds.
- You believe in things kind of like jilted lovers do--that the impossible might still come true.
- You’re either uncannily calm or you jump at the faintest sound.
- You sweat and squirm and tell yourself that it’s all not true what you’re imagining.
- You’ll be trying to mind your own business when suddenly there’s a little snap and reality looks crystal clear, like it was something from a big screen movie.
- You notice every tiny thing that moves. and hear every sound like it was amplified.
- You watch the people, wondering which one is after you until suddenly, you see the enemy.
- You’ll be prescribed antipsychotic, anti-depressant, and anti-anxiety medications which sometimes help, but they can make the delusions and the hallucinations even more intense.
That is what I know from being with war veterans and other people who’ve been threatened with death. Yet, I must defer to the honored veteran Sgt. Dunson when it comes to telling the true story of PTSD. He did it in a song called PTSD. It is the best description on record of what it is like to experience this illness.
You may not want to watch Sgt. Dunson’s video if you don’t like scary stuff. But Sgt. Dunson’s video should be seen by people treating veterans for PTSD. That’s because he shows you the fight warriors go through, trying to keep their insanity as the madness creeps in and takes them over.
Sgt. Dunson—The Expert on PTSD
If you’d like to urge your senators and representatives to see that there are better treatments for veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder, I urge you to contact their offices:
You can locate and communicate with Sgt. Dunson on his website if you have any questions or want to offer support.