Tonight I saw the classic rock band The Who live. When I heard the band's record "Tommy" I was 17, a senior in high school, and in the worst year of my upbringing in an abusive family with two untreated mentally ill parents. I had a father who would fly into using his fists in violent rages on both my mother and myself from his untreated bipolar disorder. I had a mother who was incredibly manipulative, cold, and cunning from her untreated borderline personality disorder.
Living between the two of them was a real trick every day, to say the least. Instead of getting treatment, even though they knew they were ill (my father got a master's degree in psych rather than going to see a psychiatrist) they tried the geographical cure, running away from their problems. Instead, they found out that mental illness is portable. Giving up on the idea that distance would help, then, they committed themselves to hiding their madness in the chaos of war zones. That's why I grew up in the Tupamaro War in Uruguay. It's why at age 9 I was in a car bombing there, it's why I was in a riot in which mounted police shot and killed a university student next to me when I was 11, and it's why a military patrol mistook me for an enemy combatant and tortured me in my own neighborhood 4 blocks from my house when I was 15. It's why I'm here at DS PTSD.
The effect of adding war zone PTSD to their own already untreated illnesses led to extremes. They were at times too paranoid, going to the extreme of bars on my bedroom window. That meant I couldn't escape out of it when my father went into blind rages and beat me with his fists after kicking down my bedroom door every so often. On the other hand, they would be too lax in their parental supervision, having guests in the home who sexually assaulted both my sister and myself as kids.
I describe all of this as background to how, then, "Tommy" was such a godsend when the movie came to town when I was a senior in high school in our war torn town in South America. It explains why "Tommy" spoke to me so directly when after seeing the movie I bought the album and played it in the madness of my strife-filled home. When Tommy says so clearly, "see me, feel me, touch me, heal me" he was speaking for me. For the first time it hit me that I wasn't the only kid ever hurt by abuse, and that it was possible to reach out to be seen, heard, touched, and healed. That senior year of high school I left home at 17 four months shy of my high school graduation to escape that home and its war to leave that war torn country for safety in the USA, believing there were more people out there who got the message, too. I was right; there were. They're here, in fact, on this site.
It's what eventually brought me here to DS PTSD with belief in how our support helps us, as our banner slogan says on our site, in "getting better together." Tonight, then, when the band The Who played that song and sang the words "see me, feel me, touch me, heal me," I felt fulfilled. I wept tears of joy because I had believed that those words applied to me just as much as to anybody, and I had acted on them. How I ever had the guts to come alone from Uruguay to the USA to start college in January at 17 I'll never know. It helped that I was driven by the chaos behind me in my home and in Uruguay.
I'm so happy to be able to say that I've found peace, and so has Uruguay. It's one of the rare reconciled democracies in the world now, like Germany is today after its world wars and divisions. I'm still alone. My PTSD isn't well adapted to starting and raising a family of my own. Instead, I wrote a book on Uruguay and became a college instructor. Writing that book gave me peace, and that done, as for me personally I went on to a second career. As you all know here, I became a hospital chaplain in a Chicago ER using my PTSD recovery to work with fresh trauma patients. Now I teach nursing students trauma patient care at a community college.
It hasn't been easy. I've been divorced twice, and I've been in a couple of psych wards. Each time it was for only a few days, but I was in psych wards nonetheless, with all that it entails. So far, there've been no suicide attempts for me, though, and none of the domestic violence I survived in my marriages even through those two divorces. So when I wept tears of joy hearing those words sung, "see me, feel me, touch me, heal me" tonight they were tears of joy in gratitude for peace well earned. It wasn't about being a rock star fan, it wasn't even about the music. It was about its message. It was about healing through lots of years of weekly therapy, lots of years of weekly face to face support groups, lots of years of showing up to give and to receive daily support here at DS PTSD through thick and thin.
"See me, feel me, touch me, heal me" indeed. May you all be seen, felt, touched, and healed, too, my dear DS PTSD friends. :-)
Gmorning and Happy Friday!in the long road of this illness I still suffer from self esteem issues about where I am in life,generally speaking. I’ve been strong and stable for years now, work full time in a leadership role but never seem to progress any further. Doesn’t feel like opportunities are there. I don’t feel there are limitations to what we can do in life, what we can achieve,...
I was violently raped several years ago by my (at the time) best friends husband. I have been working with a T for the past 2 years and thought I had worked through my feelings and issues. I had been doing better for a few weeks, not having bad flashbacks/nightmares; not thinking about it everyday; not being so triggered all the time. But the past two weeks or so everything has been flooding...