Even writers can have PTSD

IMG_0088Yes, even writers can have PTSD.  Although Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is commonly associated with soldiers who experience the traumas of war, it can happen to anyone.  PTSD  is a severe condition that may develop after a person is exposed to one or more traumatic events, such as sexual assault, serious injury or the threat of death.  The diagnosis may be given when a group of symptoms such as disturbing recurring flashbacks, avoidance or numbing of memories of the event, and hyper-arousal (high levels of anxiety) continue for more than a month after the traumatic event.

Now that we know what it is, what does it feel like?  In a single word, hell.  Dreams and flashbacks can trigger vomiting, the onset of a panic attack, tremors, depression, anxiety, and an overall feeling of misery.  Without proper treatment misery becomes your shadow.

I have PTSD brought on by childhood sexual abuse.  When  the misery became over-whelming, I sought treatment:  longterm psychotherapy accompanied by medication.  The medication made me more receptive to the challenges of therapy.  Now for the good part. Through the guidance of my therapist, self exploration, and some really dark times, I learned to trust, to love, and to gain an openness where I now see the previously unseen.  New experiences evolved, too numerous to mention in a blog.  Without PTSD and the ensuring long term therapy, I would never have become a writer and have three books to my credit. The experience has given me an insight that maybe others with a less challenged life do not experience.

Do the symptoms of PTSD disappear and never return?  No, but they are manageable.  Sometimes a slight depression sneaks in like a distant fog, troubling dreams may appear.  I still have moments when my body jerks at night, and I literally throw my body out of bed to escape an attacker.  The other night I hit my head on the corner of my nightstand when I fell out of bed.  A week or so earlier I shoved everything — lamp, keys, iphone — off of the nightstand onto the floor when I fought off and overpowered an intruder.   Sometimes my wife and I have discussions as to whether I should move to another bed.  (That’s during the bad episodes.)  But life is good, and I can draw upon these experiences to assist me with the type of writing that I pursue.  Yes, life is pretty damn good.  I’m a lucky man.

Published by llfranklin12

Larry L Franklin holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University. He performed in the U.S. Navy Band located in Washington, D.C. from 1967 to 1971. From 1972 to 1975, he taught music at Southern Illinois University. In 1976, he completed requirements for a certified financial planner designation and maintained a successful investment business until 2007 when he retired to devote his energies to writing. In 2003, he received an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. Franklin is the author of “Mnemosyne: A Love Affair with Memory,” published by Xlibris; “The Rita Nitz Story: A Life without Parole,” published by Southern Illinois University Press; “Cherry Blossoms & Barron Plains: A woman’s journey from mental illness to a prison cell,” published by Chipmunka Publishing Company; and “Supermax Prison: Controlling the most dangerous criminals,” published by History Publishing Company. He currently resides in southern Illinois with his wife, Paula.

2 thoughts on “Even writers can have PTSD

  1. Larry, Thank you so much for bringing me a copy of Mnemosyne! I will read it with great interest and great respect and admiration for your courageous journey out of darkness. All best to you always.

    –Gail Peterson

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