Day 23 of 30 Days In June, PTSD Poetry Project
***Warning..PTSD triggers contained in blog post below Poem***
“One Long Trigger Pull”
The autumn approaches
I dread the meaning of this season
No happiness held for me
It should be happy and fun
I will face this head on
Planning, preparation for this year
It will not continue it’s hold on me
Death which equaled the spin out of control
I’d known inside myself this day was approaching
Yet I did not know it would be so public
Fall apart in front of everyone
Screams never ending
Bodies crushing mine to keep me from running
Yet even this day
Was not THE day
It was only the one long trigger pull
Until the bullet left the gun
Life intruded upon me
I could no longer ‘fake it’ in my own life
I spun out of control
Seeking out danger and more danger
Until danger answered my call
Danger hurt me
Danger destroyed me.
Danger kept me inside my house
Until even there I was not safe
Friends tried to love me
Friends tried to be there for me
Friends eventually left me
Life nearly let me go
Yet I am still fighting
I do the work
I push through the pain
Time taken to reach this place
And letting go
Not of me
But of him
Today I have let you go
PTSD Blog (USFRA.org)
Posted by Bree N. on October 31, 2014
(CAUTION- WARNING POSSIBLE TRIGGERS REFERENCING SUICIDE OF A LOVED ONE CONTAINED IN POST)
Today is a tough one for me. It’s an anniversary of a death that set off the spin known as out of control. That long slow slide into dangerous situations and near madness.
Today should be a happy fun day. It should be filled with decorating, figuring out costumes to meet the neighborhood children at the door with candy, yet for me it’s a time I want to just run.
Control. Why is it a commonality among us PTSDers? I ache for control in my life again. It physically hurts to not have control at this time of year when I feel deeply out of control. This year is different. I specifically made an appointment to be able to talk. I am actively seeking help for this particular day. These fields, of which I was a “fence straddler” having feet in not only one field, but many at once. Multi tasker to the max, that was me. Controlling, non emotional and distant. I could be anything and all things within the confines of the “job” at hand.
No one knew what had happened to me. No one needed to know my personal hell.
Then this day happened. Actually tomorrow.
In front of everyone, all my lab students, all my peers. A fellow paramedic casually mentioned what had happened on the job that day and how sad it was. Unknown to him in those few seconds he had just informed the fiancee of his patient that the man who’d been a part of my children’s lives and my life had ‘eaten his gun’.
I to this day do not remember anything but screaming and screaming. I felt so disconnected at that moment from myself. All I was aware of was being physically surrounded by over 25 men, all trying to keep me from running. Voices telling me “you’re OK, oh my God, we’re here for you, we’re here. Oh my God how can this have happened to her? why? We love you, we’re here.”
Then later, sitting in the office while my female Fire Chief (who’d also been my instructor) called the numbers I had to confirm that it was true. He was dead…I’d had no intention of marrying him, had been trying to gently disentangle myself from the relationship, yet still be there for him. It’s all that ran through my mind. All my self loathing came to rest firmly in front of me in those moments.The never ending stream of thoughts “I wasn’t enough, I’ll never be enough, why didn’t I answer that call?”
He wasn’t in these fields. He was, however, a minor celebrity in his own field and everyone but me knew the line he had been trembling on for a long time. A drinker to excess, lover of life and Halloween and facing getting older and not having a career. His life was falling apart and I had a clue yet never really saw it. Unbeknownst to me he’d been carrying a rifle in his truck along with his beer for several weeks.
I got through that night with the help of an amazing student who drove me home, stayed with me, helped me tell my children and slept on the couch. His own father had committed suicide when he was a young teen. His first thoughts, knowing my small family, was about my children. My Instructor/Fire Chief went through the funeral time with me and I will eternally be grateful for her acts of extreme kindness during that time.
Then….and isn’t there always a “then…” ?
Due to a weird glitch in the system of mobile phone companies merging I started receiving text messages ….. from him. His phone was shut off and in evidence. I got a voice mail from late that night when he thought he’d said good bye and shut his phone…of him killing himself.
There are times I look back at those months after that moment in time and realize I had lost it. Totally lost it. I had retreated so far inside myself it’s a wonder I passed any additional classes I was taking. It’s a wonder I applied for and interviewed for a PD job that I got. I’m sure due mostly to my 2 mentors at the time pushing me. One had confronted me about my PTSD not knowing the depth of it had told me to get help.
See the thing here is that life happens. Sh*t happens in life that sets off everything. My life had been recovering already from a huge loss of self, of life and was going on a quite positive path of resurgence.
Life happened and I was NOT ready for this, no one is. There are some from my previous life who think it is this moment that caused it all. It’s not, yet it was one huge trigger pull that caused everything to fall apart. Piece by piece my life fell apart.
I sought out increasingly dangerous things to try, relationships I knew were destructive in personal ways. I was great at my jobs though. Under such a tight fist of control on the jobs I continued on after a point as if I was OK. Peer pressure comments of; “forget him he’s nothing, he was selfish, aren’t you over it yet? wt?” move on or you get moved over. So I moved on. I got initial help for that moment but walked away because I could not be absolutely stringently honest about the deeper cause.
So here I am today..9 years later.
What amount of time it takes is what it takes. I’m ready to let that moment go, to no longer fall into the abyss of this season.
I am very ready to FORGIVE….not just him, but myself.