Poetry

Life on hold – An ode to PTSD

By 10th June 2007December 9th, 2019No Comments

I do not own the causes of my pain
But they demand ownership of my mind
Grief and trauma are not contagious
But no-one wants to be touched by them
The unseen wound that never heals
The mental scars hidden from prying eyes
You pass me by with surprising regularity

Seeing what others do not
Hearing the sounds, smelling the odours
Vicious and invasive to this day
Dreaming uncomfortable visions
I cry out, remembering effortlessly and without desire
Slow-motion replays in an eternal loop
The sweat, the anguish, the shame

I should work as others to earn a daily crust
But am I valued even though I cannot provide
I once had status and responsibility, long gone
Once independent, reliable, energetic
The demons have captured me, body and soul
I stare at the flickering screen, it holds my gaze
I am overwhelmed by indecision

My mind aches for relief
Release from this mental struggle
I am tired, oh so tired of being tired
I want to sleep again without intrusion
Not to fear the laying of my head upon the pillow
Not to struggle with long nights of lonely vigil
I want to feel awake, alive, refreshed, anew

Once at the centre, now the fringe
The boundary pushing ever outward
Friends and colleagues getting fewer
The loneliness of a crowded room
Days without purpose, yet no time for thought
I see no future, but obscure the past
A haunting melody with sad refrain

I feel, therefore I must endure the moment
Attacked relentlessly by predatory thoughts
Mental knives that slash into my brain
Feelings uncontrollably surging, my heart awash with sadness
Gushing tears of bloody anguish, staunched only by chemicals
Then emptiness, a flat-lining void bereft of sensation
Empathy with the dying soul

Still here, life on hold
No rewind possible for this poor soldier
My imposed employment, to exist
Ask the existential questions, endure without respite
Fleeting moments of happiness in a sea of pain
I am a soldier still on duty, stagging on
Don’t pity me, just don’t look away!

Graham Cordwell

Author Graham Cordwell

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