Community//

Growing up around PTSD …

PTSD from the eyes of a child ...

This article will be included in my first book, which is not intended to be a memoir but will offer bits and pieces of my personal story. I believe deep down that when we open up and tell our stories, we are helping ourselves and helping others. I am devoting at least a third to the idea that when we open our hearts, when he share a piece of our journey, when we take the risk and get real, real vulnerable, we save ourselves and those waiting to hear our story.

Five year old Susie grew up in this house. She was born closeby in Rockville Centre, NY in 1956 and was in this sweet cape cod until she was almost six, 1961.

Yes, this is where her tiny self started her life journey. Mom, dad, Susie and her older sis and beagles, dad always had beagles.

Susie was extra tiny and extra sensitive. Everyone she met told her she was pretty and a ‘spittin’ image’ of her dad. She loooooved her dad and followed him around most days. Always with a beer in one hand and an occasional cigar in the other, Tom usually smelled like the outdoors. Susie followed him into the garden, the garage, wherever he was. Even with his fervent emotional baggage, he knew there is relief in nature. This lesson would remain with Susie throughout her life. Here’s where the imprint begins.

Most days felt stormy, living with a fear she doesn’t recognize. She has no real measure of what life is supposed to look like, and soon fear turns to numb.

Dad has grown up with childhood trauma or PTSD. At the age of 5 he had to witness his brother in a hunting accident. The tragedies continued until he lost his mom on Christmas Day at 13. He never really recovered.

Sadly, Susie’s mom was ill equipped to raise her children within this framework except for her ability to love deeply. Helen never threw anyone away, she loved you, no matter what.

Helen’s parents were working class Germans who seemed to always be trying to keep food on the table. This left Helen lonely, even as a child. She grew up seeking attention and love. Once married, she realized she didn’t have the experience or coping skills to deal with a loving husband with PTSD who drank too much. His temper was vile, they were in unknown territory.

Susie’s sister is eight years older and not the companion she is hoping to find. Her sister is also spinning in this loud darkness with a way out. By the time Susie is ten, her sister is off to college and the drinking is progressing. So is the disease.

This book is not a memoir. I believe deep down that when we open up and tell our stories, we are helping ourselves and helping others.I’m devoting at least a third of my first book to the idea that when we open our hearts, when he share a piece of our journey, when we take the risk and get real, real vulnerable, we save ourselves and those waiting to hear our story.

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