PTSD battle takes its toll in life-long fear

You don’t know how easily I scare.

I hate to admit this, but I become afraid when I get into harm’s way. I try to avoid it. Try to go with the flow. But when harm settles in my general area, I become as timid as a rabbit jumping back in a hole after seeing his own shadow.

Is it PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)? Or have I always been this way? I don’t think I felt this in my youth. But I do know this is the condition I face each and everyday now. When I perceive a theat or violence aimed at me, fear starts to rise. It’s like a friend I have tried all of my life to dissociate from, but no matter how much I try to be  “macho” and to “walk like a man,” he’s there. Beside me. Or rather “inside me.” Can’t shake Mr. Fear for the life of me.

I can “bob and weave” at the first site of danger, but if harm grows, or refuses to dissipate or go away, I get defensive. I “flashback” to when my life was truly “on the line.” I shake. My heart rate increases. My palms get sweaty. And I am back in that war zone that never leaves my head.

Violence can take the shape of a slammed door, a pop from a Champaign cork, the yelling of a loved one. If someone should curse me, I can usually take it. But, If they call me an “asshole” I want to cause seriously bodily injury with any object I find to shove into and down their throat. Yes, certain “red flag” words and actions “set me off.”

I am responsible for all of my actions, but at those brief moments I attack — the best defense being a good offense — the restraining bars I tried to install simply fail. I lose the little control I have and I retaliate, like someone bad, evil, un-God-like.

Completely depleted and exhausted, I am quickly spent. I crumble, folding in on my self as a flimsy house of cards, a punctured balloon, a small insignificant specimen of a human being. I detest my actions. And I feel as worthless as George Bailey in “A Wonderful Life.” Before the angel appears.

Loved ones take the brunt of my explosion. Often the wrong word or action can cause the most harm, to my “overly” or “hyper” sensitive nature. If I had no close or intimate friends, I often wonder if my PTSD would diminish. Or would I throw  rocks against the wall, break the beams holding up the cave I enclosed myself to protect others from me, and me from others.

When will it all end? Not in this lifetime. Perhaps, I suffer from karma developed in another life; perhaps even in my life against an unseen enemy I killed years earlier and never knew his name. Take a good look at this warrior and the toll he pays. His best was left at the Draft Board and he’s doomed to fight the battle over and over.

8 comments on “PTSD battle takes its toll in life-long fear

  1. Lea Strongheart says:

    After having a severe flashback, blacking out and running 14 blocks the other day…in spite of decades of inner healing, and physiological instability with numerous attempts of emdr, I think my goal now is to have peace with the unpeacefullness. Blessings Michael..You are a voice.

    Your Friend,


    • contoveros says:

      Oh Lea,

      Give us six days of peace versus that one of involuntary war and we might be able to handle it.

      Trouble is, we don’t know when hell will consume us.


  2. mittaipink says:

    Devastatingly honest. You know and recognise what is happening. Hope God will help you cope.


    • contoveros says:

      Thanks. I do have good days. It’s the bad ones that stick out like the squeaky wheel demanding immediate attention when all you want to do is silence the noise.


  3. JhanaJian says:

    Interesting that this post starts out with fear as the subject but then progresses and ends with rage as the subject. Yes, those two emotions are so closely connected, even physically in the brain. Do you remember the article I told you about once before — saying that says that anger is an empowering emotion that comes up as a response to feeling un-empowered (i.e., helpless and fearful). Leaves me wondering if you’ve ever tried to accept your angry self rather than fighting with it. Have you ever considered the possibility that it exists for good reason, and that it does have a right to exist? In any case, it is certainly not going to go away just because you don’t approve of it. Not that you have a right to abuse people, but hey! whatever happened to that rooster?


    • contoveros says:

      Rooster is as rooster does. Was last seen trying to hump his offspring. We’re not sure if the little white chick is a male of female. Rooster does not seem to care.

      In the Buddhist Wheel of Life, doesn’t the rooster represent all desires? A pig, ignorance?

      Should have known.

      michael j


  4. This is quite an educational peek into what it must be like for you. I couldn’t otherwise imagine what PTSD is all about.

    I wish there were answers, for all the young men who are facing this or are yet to face this. We need our warriors, but you have to wonder at the long-term expense of this need.

    Thanks for writing this Michael.


    • contoveros says:

      Writing helps purify parts within. It’s like cutting open a wound to allow more sunlight and air to help heal the PTSD “inflamation”.

      ADHD ain’t no fun either, from what I hear. I guess we all have some burden to carry along our journeys. Builds character. (Always hated that expression, kind of like your “benefit of the doubt” musing.)


      michael j


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