Tree, Leaves, Bark, Hidden Things, Listening And Understanding

by Sherry Riter in PTSD

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For the last three weeks, I have been struggling. I haven’t been able to do the things I usually do and I’m really tired. Not just tired, REALLY tired.

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It has been barely two years since Alyssa’s intensive care experience and

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Two years since PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) took over my life.

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Like a knot in a tree, it has left me scarred.

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When the flashbacks took over my thoughts every waking moment, I was frustrated, emotional and my brain was a fog.

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I slowly fell apart on my blog and in my life as the PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) consumed me.

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I tried to be open and even explained how my PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) inflicted brain kept telling me to kill myself.

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Last month, I expressed how sad I feel since PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) got rid of the old me

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And how the whole traumatic experience coupled with PTSD still affects me without warning.

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I just wish I could shake my head and make all the PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) symptoms go away.

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Today while Bella and I were sitting on the couch staring out the window at the beautiful sky and setting sun, my mother called me. We talked for a long time and she let me recount the whole sad experience again.

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Those moments when I held Alyssa’s lifeless body were so painful that I don’t think there are words that can describe it.

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Mom listened as I cried and talked. Mom also shared how she felt and all the things that happened with other people in my family outside the hospital room. Everyone was basically a mess, but they never showed it to me during those five days while I leaned over my child whose life hung by a thread as fragile as a spider’s web.

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I remember them all smiling and hugging me. I didn’t know until tonight that they would fall apart after leaving the hospital room. They held it together in front of me because they didn’t want me to be more upset.

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So often we look at someone and think, “They have it all together,” or “Their life is so easy.” I’m sure people look at me now and can’t tell what is happening as I dance with the PTSD Devil. You never know how another person suffers inside unless you take the time to listen. Sometimes a listening ear is really what they need more than anything.

Thank you for being a giant ear tonight, Mom. 😉 I love you.

The Redhead Riter

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jeanine @ Seasonal Color Analysis June 8, 2012 at 12:09 am

I’m so sorry to hear about your struggle with PTSD!! I have it, too, due to childhood abuse, though I would say the volume is on low where that’s concerned. I remember, though, when I couldn’t hear anything else, so to speak. Hang in there!! I’m glad you were able to talk to your mom about it and I hope you have other supportive people in your life. Just reading your post reminds to be grateful for the loving friends and family I have.


2 Skip_D June 8, 2012 at 1:05 am

Such a beautiful tree, so strong & rugged – what a counterpoint to your pained words. The tree is a listening ear, as is your loving mother. But the tree is more than its mighty trunk. It’s also a spreading network of branches radiating outward from that trunk. In the same way your blog friends’ ears are listening, far & near, like the many leaves on all those branches. We’re here for you.


3 mom June 8, 2012 at 2:35 am

I love you Sherry, the pictures are beautiful on this post.

You said you were scarred like the knot holes on a tree. Did you know all those knot holes make the most expensive furniture? It gives the wood depth and beauty. It swirls and makes designs in whatever is made with that tree. Like the knot holes in a tree which makes the most beautiful wood for furniture, this will eventually lead you to a more beautiful full life if you will let it. This is how God works. He brings the best out in everyone and everything.

Did you know that the most expensive wood comes from tree logs left in rivers for decades? You would think that they would rot! When they are taken out of the water, they are scarred and disfigured. When they peel off the layer of on the outside, what beautiful designs and color from that old rotted looking tree log!!!! The Lord takes our souls like a cottage and builds a mansion. Tearing out walls and expanding rooms and ceilings is painful. When we are finished, my oh how lovely we will be.

So think of PTSD as an ugly knot hole in the outer part of your soul and let it bring the best yet to come from you. If anyone can do this, you can. You have me in you as well as your dad. I have never given up and my knot holes are many, but one day I will make a beautiful addition to Heaven’s rooms. I will dance across the floors as the daughter that God wanted me to be because I never have let the knot holes of life beat me. You know this like no one else.

Alyssa is sunshine to my soul, but she is just a part of the sunshine of my beautiful daughter.

I love you with all of me and I am proud of all you have done in your life. Thank you for coming to me…a poor, small town girl who was no more than a seed in the wind. That seed grew with the help of the love you nourished me with – you and your sister gave me all I needed so that I would try things and not fear. When I stumbled with life, it was the Lord who helped me be all I could for you two as a mother. It took scars, knot holes and wounds on my heart and soul to be who I am this day.

Now lift that pretty head and walk with the sun on your face and refuse to allow this to destroy you. Let it make you, like the furniture with the beauty of the knots, the most beautiful soul which I already see.

Good nite, my child. You are ever on my heart and in my prayers.



4 Susanne June 8, 2012 at 8:36 am

Hi. I understand about the head shaking, the thoughts of suicide, the depression, the tears and the constant ruminating. I know the utter exhaustion that you describe. To look at me or listen to me, no one would ever suspect that I carry I permanent wound that will never heal. Even those closest to me, can’t totally comprehend the profound effects “it” has had on my life. How can they? They don’t live with it on a daily basis. They don’t realize that each day I face a battle with myself. The feeling that I am a failure, the woulda’ coulda’ shoulda’s are permanently etched on my brain. Some days they hide in the deep recesses of my mind, and I have a rare few moments of peace, but for the most part, as I’ve mentioned before they reside in a very heavy trunk strapped to my back. No therapist, no medication will ever find the magic key or phrase to release me from that weight. Having said too much, yet again, I’ll end by are never alone. You have a wonderful community, that you have assembled with your gifts and talents, who will listen and support you be it a good or not so good day. Sending you a big hug.


5 Sue June 8, 2012 at 3:52 pm

I am your kindred spirit……


6 Roy L. Murry June 9, 2012 at 7:38 am

Nature is the place we need to go for silence – that is where God is.


7 The Redhead Riter June 9, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Thank you, Roy. I think so too.


8 katlupe June 9, 2012 at 8:43 am

I understand how you feel even though I do not suffer with PTSD. My husband does. It is tough for the people who love someone who is affected with this condition. I never know how he will be from day to day. I dread the mornings that it is raining because for some reason that sets it off and our whole day will be depressing and difficult. His condition also is brought on by two major mishaps in his life that happened fairly close to each other. An accident he had at work where he was sure he was going to die and his daughter taking her own life. Somehow, you have to get past those feelings. Maybe by writing? A journal?

Taking your own life does not end the suffering, only your’s. It would affect your lovely daughter forever. She would suffer for the rest of her life. You would miss out on your future grandchildren. And what about your mother and sister? Not to mention all the members of your community, that you built who really love you. I may not know you in person, but I truly love you and admire you. You are not a failure in any way, shape or form.


9 The Redhead Riter June 9, 2012 at 6:59 pm


Thank you for your sweet words. I love you too and I don’t think not having ever seen you face-to-face makes any difference at all. I think some people just touch your heart and are forever there and you think of them without warning. Today I saw a house with half the roof covered in solar panels. My first thought as I slowed down to get a better view was, “How cool!” and my second thought was, “Katlupe has solar panels too. I wonder what she is doing today.” You often cross my mind.

I feel great compassion for your husband. You said, “An accident he had at work where he was sure he was going to die and his daughter taking her own life. Somehow, you have to get past those feelings.” I don’t know if he will or can ever get past the traumatic affects of those incidents. It isn’t like he wakes up in the morning and thinks, “I will hang onto my PTSD today and not heal.” I know you know that, but some people think we can just snap out of it. Mom said, “If anything ever happened to Alyssa, I would have to bury you shortly after you buried her,” and she is right. I would probably grieve myself to death. I admire your husband because he is still alive and although he suffers, somehow he has survived. I think I am weak – at least that is how I feel.

I was telling Mom the other day that I feel like my PTSD controls me and my life. In many ways, it does and it doesn’t matter how much I try to break the hold it has on my thoughts because it just doesn’t change. My daughter is still alive and yet I am like “this,” so I know it isn’t “what” caused my PTSD as much as “how much” our souls-brains-hearts couldn’t take the pain of the trauma.

I don’t know the answer of how to “heal” your husband, myself or all the other people who suffer with PTSD. There are many things that have helped me, but there isn’t one “right” answer for everyone. PTSD is such a strange thing. We are really in a mess! However, there are many things we can do to help ourselves and things other people can do to help us. It is really just a very individualized “action plan” for everyone.

I feel very blessed to be able to call you my friend, Katlupe. {{{hugssss}}}


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